The cliffhanger last episode introduced what is to be one of the major big bads this season, Savitar, the god of speed, but I think the Flash will have his hands full this time with a more closer, intimate threat – his friend and Team Flash mate Caitlin Snow is on her way to becoming Killer Frost! Meet me after the super speed jump for my thoughts on this week’s Kevin Smith-directed episode “Killer Frost!”
I talked a little about Savitar here, but there’s a lot more to this guy in the comics, or his appearance on the television series wouldn’t make so many fans gasp out loud. I don’t think we know his real name, but this third world test pilot was struck by lightning some time during the Cold War. Crashing into enemy territory, he soon found he could move at super speed and used it to defeat his opponents. Obsessed with this new power, he named himself after the Hindu god of motion, Savitr, and began to search for more power.
Savitar ran afoul of Johnny Quick – in the comics, Jesse Quick’s father – and nearly killed him: he would have if not for the interference and help of Max Mercury. Together the two speedsters hurled Savitar into the Speed Force, where he remained trapped for decades. In the meantime, he learned all he could about the Speed Force, gaining powers other speedsters did not have, while back on Earth, a cult arose in his name, awaiting his return. When he returned, Wally West was the Flash, and it took all the speedsters active at that time to stop him.
As long as we’re talking super-villains, I don’t think we have ever, in three seasons of reviews, talked properly about the origins of Killer Frost. It’s got her name on it, so this episode’s review might be the place for it. There have been three Killer Frosts, believe it or not, all arch-foes of Firestorm. The first was Crystal Frost, a jilted love of Professor Martin Stein who could absorb heat and project cold. She died at the hands of Firestorm by absorbing too much of his power.
Louise Lincoln was the next to take the mantle of Killer Frost, an associate of the original who blamed Firestorm for her death, and repeated the experiment that created her so she could have her vengeance on the hero. More psychotic and ruthless than the original, she had a long career in evil, serving as a member of the Suicide Squad and the Injustice League, and even sold her soul to the demon Neron for more power.
A third Killer Frost arose while the first was in the grave and the second serving time. This was S.T.A.R. Labs scientist Caitlin Snow. An accident caused by H.I.V.E. in the Arctic merged her body with a thermodynamic reactor, turning her into a heat vampire with the ability to draw heat from people and object, effectively freezing them. We have yet to see the extent of what evil she is capable of in the comics. We have seen the Earth-Two version on the show however, and she was pretty bad.
God of Speed
As well as things were or were not going when the last episode ended, this TV version of Savitar is a bit different than the comics. First off he’s big, like Shade or the monster a couple episodes back, and nobody but Flash can see him (or maybe just speedsters?). When Joe takes a few shots at him, the distraction is enough for Doctor Alchemy to escape.
Then Savitar (with the same type of growling voice Zoom used last season, only not Tony Todd this time) takes Barry for “a run.” He drags and beats Flash as he races across the city, with Team Flash’s tracking back at S.T.A.R. Labs indicating he was appearing and reappearing simultaneously at several places once. Yeah, Savitar is that fast.
Team-Up and Aftermath
Iris begs Cisco and Caitlin to help, to use their powers and help the Flash against this invisible CGI opponent. Neither wants to, but they do, and it’s on. After the build up however, there’s not much to it. Caitlin freezes Savitar and then he escapes. Not even a goodbye or farewell threat.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry is banged up, Cisco has had a mini-stroke, and Caitlin is not quite the same, her eyes turning crazy cold white. Wally however, is still in the pod thing he was put into last episode. Caitlin describes it as a chrysalis, and Barry suggests it might be similar to the coma he was in before he got his powers.
Evil In the Arrowverse
Joe, frustrated he can’t help Wally for the second time in two episodes, falls back on his police work. He starts to hammer out his anger on one of Alchemy’s hooded henchmen. Just as he’s about to get something, Caitlin interrupts, says Wally’s awake, then proceeds with her own icy evil interrogation. Without getting answers, she blows her way out the police station with Julian in tow against his will.
Caitlin is quickly losing it, eyes icy, hair going white, and using force rather than talking it out. She’s making Julian find Alchemy for her. I loved the Flash hitting him to shut him up. Regarding Caitlin though, I can’t help but recall a fan theory from Arrow, before The Flash, that suggested all metahumans were evil. I have even seen it bandied about since then that the Flash and a select few are actually aberrations and that for the most part it’s true. There are only evil metahumans in the Arrowverse.
The Nature of Evil
Yes, Caitlin is turning evil, but it’s a very specific kind of evil. She lies, she hurts, she’s evil in a way that doesn’t need super powers. She’s what some folks in the Trump era might call a “bitch.” She knows how to hurt Barry to stop him (that’s physical) but then she does the same emotionally by telling Cisco that the creation of Flashpoint killed his brother Dante. She’s killing the team without raising a finger.
Catching up to one of Alchemy’s henchmen, Caitlin even gives a super-villain speech about her parents being doctors and “do no harm” while threatening him. At least it’s verified that not only is the Doctor just an acolyte of Savitar, but he can remove her powers. The henchman also said Savitar showed them the future – she’s there as Killer Frost.
After a brief skirmish with Vibe and Flash, during which Killer Frost gives the Flash her trademark cold kiss of death, they put Caitlin in the Pipeline. Her icy tongue rips the team up and down before they leave her. Anyone who wasn’t sad or got teary eyed either doesn’t watch the show or has a heart of ice. It’s a rough monologue, and would be hard for most folks to forgive. When they leave, the conclusion is that she’s broken.
When H.R. and Joe break Wally out of his cocoon (I guess to take their minds off Caitlin), they need her help to fix him. Barry goes down to the Pipeline to chat with her, and lets her out. When she won’t kill him, he talks her out of being Killer Frost. It sounds hokey and it’s done well, but it’s just not believable, about as unbelievable as Wally’s turnaround into speedster. Odd that all apparently forgive Caitlin, but Cisco might not forgive Barry?? A far too convenient happy ending in both cases. This is two in a row. Perhaps the show is broken?
And then there’s the loose end of Julian, who Flash hit so hard it put him in the hospital. He saw and identified Caitlin, with his fear and hatred of metahumans, he can have the cops on her in seconds. Once he’s awake, Barry gets in to see Julian before Detective Patterson, played by Greg Grunberg, formerly of Heroes and Heroes Reborn, and one of the few actors to appear in both the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises. Julian promises he won’t tell on Caitlin, but he has a condition.
Barry must resign from the Central City Police Department. Julian insists he is a disgrace to the job, and if he doesn’t resign he’ll tell Patterson about Caitlin. It’s a deal, they shake on it, and magically Julian doesn’t remember what happened. Later when Barry is packing up his lab, Joe and Iris are there to tell him how proud they are of him. Now he can dedicate all of his time to protecting his family and friends, not matter how tenuous those bonds may be at the moment.
Later that night, Julian hears a voice calling him. At first I thought, “Oh no, he’s one of Doctor Alchemy’s metas,” and then I realized the truth. I had been hoping against typecasting, but no, it’s true, Draco Malfoy is once again the petty henchman of a great evil – Julian Albert is Doctor Alchemy. As we close, Savitar is summoning him back to duty. At least they will get a week off, because next week is… Invasion!