Team Flash may not feel at its finest after the challenges of this episode, but The Flash and its cast certainly show super-excellence in an episode that feels like several gut-punches, one after the other. This may be one of the best episodes of The Flash yet.
After last episode this one was one high after another. The opening of this episode was gorgeous. I loved seeing the characters just interact and lead with their strengths and fight their fears. Iris and HR driving the thinking and the heart of the team; Caitlin pushing herself to save Barry - that it's not even a question really to do so; Vibe giving himself a mini-stroke and still managing to direct Caitlin in attack. Savitar's implacable power, stopped only by Caitlin's own implacable power. It was well-choreographed and the special effects enhanced rather than took over all of it.
Jesse L. Martin once again pulls off a virtuoso performance. For several episodes now we've seen how Joe is getting bored and frustrated with the 'science stuff.' Tonight he felt he needed to let go - and maybe overdid it. He miraculously suffered no reprisal after attacking the imprisoned minion of Alchemy, despite totally losing control. Maybe he needs a chat with Misty Knight of Luke Cage fame. No, wait, that's Marvel. Kidding aside, if you weren't freaked out by the intense murderous look in Martin's eyes, or the intense concentration later in the episode as he tried to free Wally, you weren't paying attention.
His performance is well-matched by Danielle Panabaker's. I still have so many questions about her transition to Killer Frost - good questions. After managing to raise enough power to freeze Savitar, Caitlin begins to change. I have to wonder: how much of this meta stuff is nature, how much is nurture? Like Joe, Caitlin has lost control, and the question is whether this is a choice or a compulsion. Her imprisonment and harming of Julian will have long-term consequences: external and internal. I loved Caitlin's eyes throughout; warm or frosty, she's expressive.
Poor Cisco. During a fight with Barry, Caitlin spilled one final secret: Cisco's brother, Dante, was alive before Flashpoint shuffled the timeline. Confronted with this fact, Cisco retreats into EmoCisco, but pulls out of it so he can stalk down Caitlin and try to figure out whatever the heck is going on. And going even though he knows this attempt to help a friend might end with them both fighting each other? I thought Carlos Valdes was one of the real heroes of this episode - no matter what he learned, he just kept going.
And our hero? Barry's really going to have to figure out a solution other than running fast to deal with Savitar. I think there's hope - he managed with Caitlin, and he managed to save Caitlin from the wrath of Julian Albert. That scene in the hospital room was so good it was awful; I was cringing for Barry. I felt the big reveal was anticlimactic in one sense - it was telegraphed from the beginning that Julian was something. On the other hand, we got a totally new level of understanding of what's going on here - and Julian seems to be being coerced somehow. We also know that for all Savitar's power, he seems to be waiting for something only Julian can do for him. So what is this thing? Will Caitlin stay good? And will Wally continue to fizz and bubble?
Flashes of Insight
Was once distrustful of HR, now find Cavanagh's characterization a joy. If you think about the many-worlds theory what's happing with HR Wells makes sense. It's pattern detection and analysis which the Wells series of people is skilled at. Whether he applies it to detection or science or, in this case, plots and humanity, is just window dressing.
HR and Joe seem to be budding friends, despite HR stealing Joe's date last episode. I'm starting to ship these two.
Cisco pushing Barry.
Barry punching Julian.
Caitlin stabbing Barry.
Caitlin giving Barry Kiss of Frozen Death +3
Note: ask therapist why do I like all violent moments? Must watch kitten videos. But seriously, all these moments were well played.
The whole buildup about Wally's cocoon being busted open early was basically solved with a shot; I was kind of hoping there would be more of a downside.
Love that Joe figures out Julian blackmailed Barry to quit CSI without Barry even opening his mouth.
The good Iris appeared this episode, not the Dad, let me make out in front of you and try not to show discomfort Iris. (My husband still gives dark looks about that episode.) The mature sensible Iris I can get behind
Barry seems to have the ability to tame those with cold powers. Wonder if there's a little jealousy behind what Caitlin said about him and Iris having the happy ending?
Too many great moments but had to mention one more: HR making them think of Captain Cold Defense Techniques to find Caitlin. O Great and Awesome Wentworth, wherefore art thou?
Cisco: You really think seeking medical advice from someone named Doctor Alchemy is the way to go?
Barry: He said he was God.
Cisco: That's nice. That's nice. That's not scary... at all.
In a Flash
This episode kicked butt all the way through. I gave last episode a 5 because the ending saved it, but this episode didn't need saving. Well, with three speedsters around, plus an ice queen and Cisco, maybe Savitar won't be so much of a challenge...