Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

The Flash: Growing Pains

“You need to think about what’s truly best for the public good.”

After a couple of weeks of juggling multiple storylines, this week’s episode settled for telling just two. And it was all the better for it. It appears both Barry and Frost had some learning to do.

Despite being the titular character, The Flash played second fiddle this week while Frost took center stage. Her story is the culmination of a multi-week arc that began the moment Caitlin and Frost separated. For better and worse, this was the only episode where any real character growth took place. Although, given the title, it was appropriate.

Frost may fight on the side of angels, but even she admits she’s not one. However, she and the rest of Team Flash believed her change of heart when it comes to criminal behavior was enough to excuse her past misdeeds. The question is, how much has she really changed?

Let’s look at the evidence. Frost’s first (and second) response to discovering Kristen Kramer’s mission to capture her was to “kick her ass.” While that may give Frost some momentary pleasure, it certainly isn’t an argument for her innocence. The kinder, gentler Frost is definitely still a work in progress.

The good news is, she realizes (after being told repeatedly) that assaulting Kramer might not be the wisest choice. The bad news is her decision to prove her innocence involves an admittedly awesome bar fight and breaking into a warehouse.

But wait, there’s more. Frost’s answer to Caitlin’s arrest for her crimes is to break Caitlin out of jail. While I understand Frost’s frustration, I fail to see how that solves the issue at hand. At best, it makes Caitlin seem like she and Frost are in cahoots. Which, I guess, technically they are. To cap things off, Frost subdues the real murderer by impaling him with an ice blade. These are not the actions of a hero.

I wonder if that was Frost’s moment of truth or whether it was being cornered by Kramer. At that point, her only means of escape involved implicating her friends. Regardless of the reason, Frost realizes good deeds can’t absolve her of her previous crimes. In order to prove she’s a better person, she has to be one. And that means owning up to the things she’s done.

And what of Mark Blaine AKA Chillblaine? He is another character direct from the comics. However, they have taken significant liberties with his backstory. So far, I like what I see. Given Frost and Mark’s initial mutual attraction and the fact they’ll both be in the same wing of Iron Heights, I doubt this is the last time we see Chillblaine. Whether he joins Flash’s Rogues Gallery or can be redeemed is still in question.

It’s worth mentioning that Kramer was neither a mustache twirling villain (which would have been difficult) nor an irrational Ahab. She may have jumped to a few conclusions, but she was willing to follow the evidence. That said, I wonder if her purpose was to remind Team Flash of Frost’s faults and their duty to Central City. Or if capturing Frost is the first step in a larger agenda.

Which brings me to my one teeny-tiny complaint with the episode. Both Joe and Barry knew Frost hadn’t murdered anyone. All they needed to do was work the case and find the real criminal. Instead, they spent their time giving Kramer the names of other cold related criminals. I wouldn’t have been convinced either.

Frost isn’t the only one with some growing to do. In Barry’s case, growth necessitates an expansion of his worldview. Barry’s discomfort with the Speed Force has nothing to do with her potential for evil and more to do with his emotional state of being. And just to make sure you’re paying attention, his issues with Nora are manifesting themselves by wreaking havoc with his speed.

Those issues are multi-layered. Once upon a time, the Speed Force was a dispassionate entity that only contacted Barry in emergency situations. This new version of the Speed Force is both a product of Iris and him as much as it is the origin of his speed. Is it any wonder that it feels bonded to Barry in a way the previous entity never did? Unfortunately, Barry feels smothered by Nora’s attempts to help. Having the Speed Force physically in his life 24/7 while wearing his mother’s face and using her name only complicates matters.

While Barry’s problems are more nuanced, the answer is simple. He needs time. He and Nora may need each other, but they don’t know each other. Trust and respect can’t be rushed. They must be earned.

I still have so many questions. First and foremost, what happens to Frost now that she’s pled guilty? Theoretically, she could get paroled or given community service, though I doubt it. What is the Speed Force now? How can she be the thing that sustains Barry’s speed yet needs his protection? And how can they fight the other Forces together? Speaking of which, where and what are our other “Forces?” Inquiring minds want to know.

In my opinion, this was a solid episode and an improvement over the last couple of weeks. Yet I’m still underwhelmed. Fingers crossed that they are on an upward trajectory.

3.5 out of 5 ice fueled bar fights

Parting Thoughts:

Blazin' Bessie Blount was King Henry VIII’s mistress. Chester’s mind is an interesting place.

Just for the record, how can two members of the police force, a police technical consultant, a former prosecutor, and journalist call a known criminal so cavalierly when she’s under investigation?

I realize Ivo Laboratories is a callback to Professor Ivo of the comics but it should mean something completely different in the Arrowverse.

If one can artificially create dark matter, can they artificially create metas?

I wonder if Kramer will discover who The Flash is. Bumping into her car they way he did was a mighty big clue.

Quotes:

Frost: “I just got a life and now you’re telling me I can’t live it.”

Chester: “We are like the Power Rangers of forensic science, basically. But the Speed—Nora here—is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. She’s like our Zordon.”

Barry: “Look, you chose me to be the hero. So, let me be the hero.”

Caitlin: “When Kramer sees you, all she sees are the mistakes you’ve made.”

Frost: “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t live up to my name.”

Frost: “You fight like a boy.”

Allegra: “I’ve been to Iron Heights. Jails do not make better people.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

4 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I so agree with you, Shari. I did really like that they addressed Frost's criminal behavior, especially now that she has a body of her own and any consequences to Frost won't also punish Caitlin.

Unknown said...

Bessie Blount is also the name of a black physical therapist and inventor from Virginia (1914-2009). This would be a more likely reference for another inventor to call out, especially Chester who is also a black inventor and the son of another.

Shari said...

You're right. That Bessie Blount makes way more sense...

Shari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.