Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 7 - Killer Frost

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


When Caitlin is forced to use her powers to save Barry from Savitar, it seems to trigger a transformation that brings her bad side out. When she takes Julian Albert hostage as part of her desperate search for Alchemy and a return to normalcy, Barry and Cisco may be forced to fight their friend in order to stop her before she truly lives up to the name Killer Frost!


The Flash comics of John Broome (creator of Doctor Alchemy), The Flash comics of Mark Waid (creator of Savitar and The Alchemist) and the Firestorm comics of Gerry Conway (creator of the original Killer Frost.)


Granting that the performances for this episode are generally excellent, they do not excuse the fact that the script is built around the asinine conceit that Caitlin's sudden villainy is due to her powers being inherently evil and that Caitlin will suddenly start taking hostages and breaking into police interrogation rooms.. The whole thing feels horribly forced and while Caitlin's anger at Barry over her current circumstance may be understandable (if not justified), it still doesn't explain why she wouldn't seek help from Cisco as opposed to taking Albert hostage. As a result, the central conceit of the episode doesn't ring true.

If Barry is right and it is Caitlin's powers that are turning her evil, why didn't they put the power-blocking cuffs on her while she was unconscious in a bid to win her back from the dark side?


Danielle Panabaker sells the hell out of every scene she's in. It's almost enough to make up for the weak script. Almost. Yet there are some great moments here, particular her scenes opposite Grant Gustin.

On that note, I don't often speak about Grant Gustin's acting talents because he is so rarely tested or required to push into new areas. This episode is different, with Grant turning in a phenomenal performance  - particularly when Barry releases Caitlin and tells her the only way she is leaving STAR Labs is by killing him.

Not to be outdone, Carlos Valdes delivers an unusually sober performance as Cisco Ramon learns the truth behind his brother's death.


Whatever else may be said about Kevin Smith, the man can direct the heck out of scenes involving two people talking.  Most of the episode plays to Smith's strengths, consisting of a series of dialogues. Even the few action sequences are built around conversations.

The sequence of Savitar "taking Barry for a run" looks fantastic.

Flash Facts

This episode was directed by filmmaker and comic writer Kevin Smith, who also directed episode 221 - The Runaway Dinosaur.

The new role of Detective Tom Patterson is played by Greg Grunberg. A veteran actor who has appeared in numerous science-fiction television series and movies (perhaps most famously as telepathic patrolman Matt Parkman in HEROES), he is notably one of the few actors to appear in both Star Wars and Star Trek. He is also co-host (with director Kevin Smith) of the show Geeking Out.

Savitar was a villain introduced in the Mark Waid run of The Flash. A pilot for an unnamed Third-World country during The Cold War, the man who became Savitar was struck by lightning while testing a supersonic jet and developed super-speed. He took the name Savitar and began to study the applications of his powers, developing techniques no other speedster at that time had. Among these abilities were the creation of force-fields made of inertia and the power to drain the speed from moving objects. He developed a cult of followers, whom he was able to loan his speed to and sought to depower every other speedster on Earth who was not one of his followers.

As HR notes, Savitar is the name of the Hindu god of motion.

We know little about the DCTVU version of Savitar so far save that he is apparently so fast that ordinary humans cannot perceive him. When he grabs a hold of Barry, all everyone else sees an invisible force holding Barry down.  Even Barry only perceives Savitar as a white bolt of light when he is in motion. Despite this, Savitar is still vulnerable to Caitlin Snow's freezing powers, which ice his body over, rendering him visible, and holding him in place for a couple of seconds.

We learn in this episode that Doctor Alchemy is apparently the head of a cult devoted to Savitar and that there are three other people in the cult.

Caitlin attempts to kill Barry at one point by kissing him and draining the heat from his body. This was a favorite method of absorbing the heat from another person used by Killer Frost in the comics.

In the final scene of this episode, Julian Albert is confirmed to be Doctor Alchemy but he seems to be a reluctant servant of Savitar.

In the original Flash comics, the first Doctor Alchemy was a man named Albert Desmond whom suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder. It was his darker personality that spurred his acts as a super-villain. That may be the case here as well.


Savitar's speed is such that when he is carrying Barry with him, the tracker at STAR Labs seems to show Barry teleporting from point to point around the city. Barry says that it seemed like teleporting, even from his perspective.

Cisco is able to create intra-dimensional breaches - i.e. portals between two points on the same Earth. However, this is an even greater strain on him than creating a breach between two different Earths, for some reason.

The MRI Caitlin takes of Cisco's brain shows changes in the capillary morphology similar to that of a mini-stroke. Thankfully, this is more serious than it sounds and Caitlin assures Cisco he'll be fine after a few aspirin. However, she still advises him against attempting an intra-dimensional breach for a while.

Wally's vital signs and brain function within the cocoon are subdued. Caitlin describes them as being on par with those of a coma patient.

When a caterpillar is in its chrysalis, its body brakes down into enzyme soup before rebuilding itself as a butterfly. For that reason, Caitlin advises against trying to cut Wally out of the cocoon he is in.

Caitlin asks Julian Albert to create an algorithm that will allow him to locate anyone who conducted a specific web-search within the past six months. In this case, the word "Savitar".

Cisco is able to track Caitlin by using the STAR Labs satellite to detect the ultraviolet cold signatures created by her powers. It can also detect rapid temperature decelerations.

Caitlin disables Barry by severing his triceps surae - a pair of muscles located in the calf. Even with Barry's quick healing powers, it will take him four hours to recover.

Joe's attempt to cut Wally from his cocoon results in a power surge in the STAR Labs cortex.

Cisco is also able to program the STAR Labs satellite to scan for rapidly moving objects.

Caitlin theorizes that removing Wally from his cocoon early left him in a fuege state. His synapses aren't used to functioning at super-speed, so his muscles and mind are misfiring. She develops a synthetic neural compound that she thinks will get mind and body working at the same speed again.

Dialogue Triumphs

Savitar: You may serve The Speed Force, Flash, but I rule it! You are only a man, but I am a god! Your god! I am Savitar!

(The Flash runs in, planting himself between Julian Albert and Caitlin)
Barry: Stop.
Caitlin: Get out of here!
Barry: You know I can't.
Julian: What are you doing?! Take her out! Take her out!
Barry: (To Caitlin) You don't want to do this. You don't want to hurt anybody.
Julian: She's willing to hurt someone! Knock her out!
(Barry punches Julian at super-speed, knocking him out.)
Barry: Caitlin...
Caitlin: Leave me alone!
Barry: What are you doing?
Caitlin: I have to find Alchemy!
Barry:  We will find him. All right? Together.
Caitlin: No. You don't understand. I don't want to lock him up. I need him to help me!
Barry: Help you what?
Caitlin: I need him to get rid of my powers!
Barry: Oh, Caitlin... I don't know if it works that way.
Caitlin: You don't know that it doesn't!
Barry: I know that we love you. And we will do everything that we can to help you. You and I? We've - we've been through too much together to let each other down now. Please... let me help you.
Caitlin: Like you helped your mother?
Barry: Caitlin...
Caitlin: Or Wally? Or me? You keep messing with everyone's lives, wrecking everything and we're left behind to pick up the pieces from your mistakes! Some things you break can't be put back together!
Barry: ... I can fix this.
Caitlin: Oh, like you fixed Cisco's family? You didn't tell Cisco that you screwed him worst of all, did you? (loudly to the open air)  You hear that, Cisco? Dante was alive - health and happy - until Barry created Flashpoint! When he reset things? That's what killed him. Barry is the reason your brother is dead!

Caitlin: (To Craig the cultist) Both of my parents are doctors. It's all I ever wanted to be. Growing up I used to practive the Hypocratic Oath. I was obsessed with it. If anyone was even going to step on a bug, I would say "Do no harm!" It's built into my DNA (makes an razor-sharp icicle) Unfortunately, my DNA isn't what it used to be. So believe me when I say... answer every one of my questions or I will harm you and your family.

(The Flash comes running into the scene. Caitlin throws a chilling blast in front of him. Barry slips on the suddenly icy road and falls on his bad leg.)
Caitlin: How's the leg?
(Barry sighs, suddenly punching at Caitlin's ankle and sweeping her off her feet. She lands next to him on the pavement. The two lie there a moment, both pained.)
Barry: I'm sorry, Caitlin
Caitlin: That was cold, Flash. But this is colder.
(Caitlin rolls over on top of Barry, kissing him. His skin turns blue almost instantly as if the life were being sucked out of him... which it is!)

(Barry opens The Pipeline and looks at Caitlin in her cell.)
Barry: We need your help, Caitlin. Wally, he - he's out of the cocoon but his biochemistry is all out of wack. He went AWOL.
Caitlin: So?
Barry: So when we find him, he's going to need your help. He's going to need your medical expertise. Your experience with metas. What he needs is Caitlin Snow MD.
Caitlin: So you came to try and talk some sense into me?
Barry: No. I came to let you go.
(Barry opens her cell door.)
Caitlin: For a smart guy, that was an awfully dumb move.
Barry: Like I said, you're free to go.
Caitlin: What's the catch?
Barry: You have to kill me.

Caitlin: You want to fight? Flash?
Barry: No. I'm not going to fight you. But if you want to leave this room, you're going to have to kill me.
Caitlin: Don't think I won't...
Barry: Then do it.
(Caitlin makes a shiv out of ice and holds it up. She hesitates in stabbing Barry.)
Barry: What are you waiting for? What's the big deal? (tauntingly) C'mon! Live up to your name, Killer Frost. I want to see some killing!  You want to be the villain? This is what they do. They kill their friends, because nothing matters to them anymore, right?
(Barry steps forward, pressing his chest against the ice shiv.)
Barry: Right?! C'mon!  Kill me, Caitlin!
(Caitlin still hesitates in pushing the shiv further.)
Barry: You can't do it. You can't. Because underneath all that cold, you're still you.
(Caitlin's eyes suddenly shift back to normal as she drops the icicle and collapses against Barry, her eyes tearing up. Barry just hugs her.)
Barry: It's okay. I've got you. It's okay.


The episode continues right where 306 left off.

Cisco is able to use his powers to teleport through a breach between two points on the same Earth, though this leaves him horribly sickened afterward.

Caitlin's ice powers are strong enough to freeze Savitar in place and ice-over his body, if only for a few seconds.

HR claims to be a crossword puzzle wizard in two planets.

Alchemy is revealed to be an acolyte of Savitar and their cult is devoted towards Savitar. The cultists believe Savitar will judge humanity

We do not find out what powers any of the cultists have gained from their association with Alchemy.

There are three members of the cult besides Alchemy. One of them is captured by the CCPD but goes unnamed. We do not find out what powers he has, but he claims to sense the fear in Caitlin.

Caitlin is able to use her powers to exhale chilled air (a.k.a. freeze breath) and create a smoke-screen of chilled fog.

Cisco is able to track Caitlin by using the STAR Labs satellite to detect the ultraviolet cold signatures created by her powers. This is the same method he used to track Captain Cold in 203.

Detective Thompson is a trigger-happy police officer who hates metahumans and believes they are all crazy.

HR does not have any children.

Cisco learns that his brother's death was caused by Barry's creation of The Flashpoint timeline.

Another cultist- who escaped - is named Craig and has a house in the Central City suburbs. He also has a wife and children, as Caitlin threatens to harm his family, though we only see the wife.

We do not know what powers Craig has but he claims to have seen the future and says that Savitar has plans for Caitlin. He also claims to have seen Caitlin as Killer Frost in the future and that Alchemy can take away powers in addition to giving them to people.

Caitlin refers to both Eddie Thawne and Ronnie Raymond as people Barry failed to save in both 123 and 201.

Barry refers to what Jay Garrick told him about his not being a god in 302 after Iris says something similar.

Wally frequently went to his old house in Keystone City when he was missing his mother.

Wally is confirmed to have super-speed. His lighting is yellow, like Barry's.

Wally's exact top speed is not mentioned but it is said that he's faster than Barry was when Barry first started out as The Flash.

Wally compares the feeling of The Speed Force to everything feeling buzzing and electric, like he can do anything.

Cisco tells Barry, quite honestly, that he isn't sure if they are going to be okay now that Cisco knows that Barry is responsible for his brother's death.

Julian Albert agrees not to identify Caitlin Snow as his attacker if Barry agrees to resign from the CCPD.

It is starting to storm as Barry leaves his lab after packing his things.

Julian Albert is confirmed to be Doctor Alchemy.


The Wests's old house in Keystone City.

The Fridge Factor

Caitlin's entire arc regarding her gaining super-powers is based around the trope that some powers are inherently evil and using them is a one-way street to becoming a villain. It's somewhat disturbing that of all the people to develop powers around Barry Allen, it's the one woman who is in danger of being corrupted and falling to The Dark Side.

The Bottom Line

Strong direction and some strong performances from the core cast salvage an unusually weak script. Thankfully, it seems they are done toying with the idea of Caitlin becoming a villain or are at least going to go about it in a slower, more natural way than her powers just making her evil.

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