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The Flash: Snow Pack

"Your father is trapped inside an ice monster, Caitlin. What was I supposed to do? Split custody with him on the weekends?"

I've said it before: season five is the season of Caitlin. (And Frost.) Her story gets overshadowed by the bigger Arrowverse plot lines, but taken by itself it's a tragedy of a woman as lonely as she is brilliant.

It's easy to see why Iris is upset at the start of the episode. Barry's decision to exile their daughter to the future is the sort of thing you talk about with your spouse. But it's strange when Iris says it doesn't bother her that Nora's working with Thawne. That should bother her. I'm totally with Barry on this. He watched his mother die (several times) at Thawne's hands, and no one should ask Barry to overlook that.

And I wasn't happy when they both accuse the other of using their emotions to make decisions, because listening to your feelings is part of the decision-making process. When the first scene ended, my wife said, "Can we stop vilifying emotions, please?"

But Barry's right about one thing: Thawne is manipulating Nora.

That's not all; he's also manipulating time itself. The big reveal is that Thawne, at some point, created his own version of the speed force. This explains a lot about him. I never really understood how he exists in the first place since Eddie's suicide was supposed to prevent that. Sometimes I feel like Eddie died for nothing. It also explains how he can screw around with the timeline without invoking the Time Wraiths or being sensed by other speedsters.

How does it work? Apparently you need to get pretty angry to use the negative speed force. Angry enough that your eyes light up red, and Nora's just that kind of angry now. This can't be good.

But our real story this week is about the Snow family, and it was actually refreshing to see Caitlin finally get pissed off instead of repressing. Her mother usually gets the brunt of Danielle's pent up anger, and she probably deserves it, but there's still a lot of dark feelings Caitlin doesn't deal with. Maybe that's why Frost finally emerged from her subconscious. Anyway, it's also about time Caitlin gets to ask why her mother treats her so distantly. Being Caitlin's only family, you'd think she would be a bit warmer.

Villain of the week: Tommy Snow, a.k.a. Icicle, a.k.a. Caitlin's dad. Sort of reminds me of Martin Short playing Jack Frost. Not unlike the monster in Frankenstein, he's decided to do some pretty weird things to make his own family.

The theme of the season seems to be something to do with keeping secrets from your family. Iris has always been a little bit of an extremist about this, expecting Barry to share every inch of his life. Cecile Horton gains the power to probe minds and can't grasp why anyone feels this is an invasion. But on the other side of the ring we have Caitlin's mom, who never tells Caitlin anything. It might have been useful to know that her father was alive.

It's easy to get annoyed at all of these people, but, in real life, none of us ever gets this right. No one tells their loved ones everything, and some people share too much. It's impossible to know exactly how much should be kept from the people you care about. Team Flash is dealing with people who have overstepped on both sides of the issue, but a committed family will find a way past these mistakes.

Parting Thoughts:

-Which genius police officer gave Thawne a comm system that lets him communicate with Nora? Probably the same genius who gave him a super computer that tracks changes to the timeline.

-Seems unfair that everyone's mad at Sherloque. After the opening scene complaints about emotional decision making, you'd think they'd love Sherloque's intellectual, emotionally distant approach.

-Killer Frost is the best character. Instead of zippy lightning doing all the work, we actually get to watch her battle with dual-wielded ice blades, make ice bridges, and kickbox through the bad guys while dropping epic one-liners. Killer Frost is the best.

Final Analysis: Snow Pack winds up the Snow drama and gives us a lot to look forward to. Five out of five groovy ice slides.

Adam D. Jones is a writer, historian, and undefeated cat wrestler. He's also something of a cool guy himself, having recently almost remembered to take his soda out of the freezer before it exploded. Almost.

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