Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Flash Season 3, Episode 7: Killer Frost

Well that was a disappointing forty two minutes and twenty seven seconds.

First of all, after weeks of slow and well-paced buildup, Caitlin Snow's transformation into the Earth-1 Killer Frost is finally complete. Well, for a few minutes anyway. After a couple of lackluster attacks, Barry confronts her, tries to force her to kill him, she realizes she can't and just like that, she reverts back to normal. Yawn!

Secondly, all season long Wally's been whining and pouting because he didn't become a speedster like Jesse Quick when they were both exposed to dark matter energy. And in this episode he's sealed in a cocoon and when he's busted out-- you guessed it-- he's now a speedster. Double yawn!! 

Of course we all knew this was eventually going to happen, since Wally West is Kid Flash in the comics, but Jesus, did it have to happen in the most straightforward and pedestrian manner possible?

The worst part of the episode though was the final few seconds, in which Doctor Alchemy turns out to be the most obvious person possible. While in the hospital, Julian Albert hears Savitar's voice in his head. Uh-oh! Is Savitar coming to turn Julian into a meta, the thing he hates most in the world? Nope, in a completely shocking twist that absolutely no one could ever possibly see coming, it turns out JULIAN is really Alchemy. Triple yawn!!! 

Are you freaking kidding me? For seven episodes now the writers have been practically spraining a hamstring, dropping car-sized hints that Julian and Alchemy are one in the same. This of course course immediately convinced me that he wasn't. It's Writing 101— the most likely suspect is never the true culprit. 

Apparently The Flash producers skipped that class, because I'll be damned if they didn't go with the most blatantly obvious choice possible. "Hey, we're making it look like Julian's secretly the villain. And he IS! Hooray! Aren't we clever?"

You know, all season long the Julian hints were so blatant I was convinced he was a big red herring. I'm starting to wonder if this reveal isn't another red herring, and maybe he's somehow not THE Alchemy, but rather AN Alchemy. Like Alchemy isn't a single person, but rather a group of people, any of whom can assume his form or something.

But that would actually be clever, and the writers just demonstrated they don't know what that word means, so… never mind.

Last week many fans suspected that Wally was somehow secretly Savitar, the God Of Speed. I poo-pooed that notion, since Wally was encased in a big cocoon during Savitar's big reveal. Welp, based on the other "shocking" revelations in this episode, it wouldn't surprise me at all now if this also somehow turned out to be true.

Damn you, Kevin Smith! I know you just directed this episode and had nothing to do with the script, but I'm still holding your muumuu-wearing ass responsible for its disappointing content!


The Plot:
Picking up right where we left off last week, Barry's being choked by Savitar, the self-proclaimed God Of Speed. Barry yells for Joe to shoot Savitar. Unfortunately Joe can't see him, as Savitar is apparently invisible to non-speedsters (?). Savitar says, "Let's go for a run!" and drags Barry into the Speed Force (I think?).

At STAR Labs, the Gang spots Barry appearing all over the city at once. Apparently Savitar's faster than any speedster ever encountered, and is dragging Barry so quickly he's appearing in multiple spots at once. HR suggests that Cisco and Caitlin combine their powers against Savitar. Caitlin's reluctant to do so, since the more she uses her powers, the stronger her Killer Frost persona becomes. She's finally talked into it.

Cisco uses his power to open a breach near Barry, and he and Caitlin step through. Caitlin blasts Savitar and encases him in ice, allowing Barry to escape his grasp. Savitar breaks out of the ice and zooms away.

Back at STAR, the Gang realizes that Doctor Alchemy is actually just a pawn of Savitar. Joe worries about Wally, who's still chilling inside Alchemy's cocoon. He demands the Gang help him, but Caitlin says they know nothing about the cocoon, and releasing Wally prematurely could kill him.

Joe returns to the Central City PD and interrogates one of Alchemy's captured acolytes. He borderline tortures the guy, which I'm pretty sure is illegal. Caitlin inexplicably shows up at the CCPD (?) and tells Joe that Wally's out of the cocoon. Even more inexplicably, Joe rushes back to STAR, leaving the acolyte unguarded in the interrogation room (???).

Caitlin then slips into full Killer Frost mode, freezing the security camera and interrogating the prisoner herself, threatening to kill him unless he tells her where to find Alchemy. The acolyte tells her the only one he fears is his Dark Lord Savitar. Several cops begin beating on the door, and she fills the room with icy fog and escapes. She sees Julian Albert in the hall and captures him.

Joe returns to STAR Labs, sees Wally's still in his cocoon, and realizes Caitlin's a big fat liar. He receives a call saying the CCPD was attacked, and Julian was taken hostage. Meanwhile, inside a cold storage warehouse (natch), Killer Frost forces Julian to figure out how to track down Alchemy, hoping he can take her icy powers from her. He finds two people in Central City who recently googled the name "Savitar." While Killer Frost is monologuing, Julian sends out a distress call on his computer.

The STAR Labs Gang picks up his signal and Barry races to the warehouse, where he confronts Killer Frost. When Julian sees the Flash, he yells for him to capture her. Barry lands a superspeed punch on his chin, knocking him out. I gotta say, that was pretty satisfying. Barry pleads with Killer Frost to come back to STAR with him. This enrages her, and she accuses Barry of ruining everyone's lives with his time travel shenanigans. She even reveals that Barry's the reason Cisco's brother Dante is dead in this timeline. She may be crazy, but she ain't wrong. She then stabs Barry in the leg with an icicle and leaves.

Barry limps back to STAR Labs. Cisco, who was listening in to Killer Frost's accusations (damn Barry's radio ear wings!) asks him if she was lying about Dante. Barry says it's true, which devastates Cisco. They figure out the addresses of two of Alchemy's acolytes. Joe and HR stake out one of the homes, while Cisco takes the other.

Killer Frost appears at the home Cisco's watching. She threatens the acolyte, who tells her that Alchemy can't take away her powers, and that Savitar has great plans for her. She rushes outside, where she's confronted by Cisco. She fires deadly icicles at him as he ducks behind a tree. Barry shows up and she kisses him, nearly freezing him solid. Cisco uses his vibe powers to knock out Killer Frost. Barry begins rapidly vibrating to warm himself up.

Killer Frost wakes up in the Secret Super Jail inside STAR Labs. Barry asks if there's any way to save her, and Cisco says, "Sometimes when things get broken, they can't be fixed." Burrrrrrrn! Meanwhile, Joe loses his mind and forces HR to help him free Wally from his cocoon. They crack it open, causing a huge explosion that frees Wally. He stands in the middle of the lab, vibrating so rapidly it's hard to see him. He zips away into the night. Joe asks Cisco if he can save Wally. He says since Wally's metamorphosis wasn't complete, his bio-chemistry is likely out of whack. The only person who can save him is Caitlin Snow.

Barry releases Killer Frost from her cell, and says he needs her help. He tells her she'll have to kill him to leave the lab. She forms an icicle and starts to stab him, but can't do it. And just like that, she reverts back to Caitlin. That was easy!

Caitlin says Wally's mind and body are vibrating at different speeds (?), causing him to be disoriented. She whips up a serum to synchronize all his parts. Joe says Wally's likely at his childhood home in Keystone City, and somehow arrives there in minutes (maybe Barry ran him there?). He distracts the rapidly-vibrating Wally, while Barry sneaks up and injects him with the serum. Hooray, Wally's cured. That was easy too!

Back at STAR Labs, Wally's running around in the Speed Lab or whatever it's called. He's excited and exhilarated by his new powers. Barry gets a call from the hospital, informing him that Julian is awake. Barry rushes over and pleads with Julian not to tell the police that Caitlin was the one who abducted him (does Julian even know who she is?). Julian agrees to keep his mouth shut— in exchange for Barry quitting his job as a CSI. Barry reluctantly agrees.

Later in the hospital, Julian hears Savitar's voice in his head. He runs out of the hospital and sees Savitar before him. Apparently Julian can see him, even though he's not a speedster. Savitar says, "You can't get away. There's nowhere I won't find you. Only together can we bring about my return. Become Alchemy!" Julian goes to the CSI lab, opens a drawer and pulls out his Doctor Alchemy mask, as nationwide, the audience performs a huge, collective facepalm.

• At the beginning of the episode, Savitar has his massive hand around Barry's throat as he lifts him above his head. Unfortunately Savitar's invisible to Joe, who only sees Barry seemingly floating in mid-air.

Last week Joe and the SWAT Team couldn't see Savitar as he zipped around the room, but I assumed that was because he was moving to fast for a non-speedster to see. In this episode Savitar's stands still for several seconds as he hold Barry off the floor, and Joe still can't see him.

Unless Savitar's somehow standing still really fast, his invisibility must be caused by something besides superspeed.

• Cisco uses his power to open an intra-dimensional breach, which apparently takes a lot out of him. Caitlin examines him back at STAR Labs. Here's their exact conversation:

Caitlin: "Um, Cisco, the MRI I did of your brain shows changes in the capillary morphology similar to that of a mini-stroke. I wouldn't try an intra-dimensional breach like that anytime soon"

Cisco: "Okay, okay. Mini-stroke? You can't just gloss over that like that, okay? What does that... what does that mean? Am I gonna have this migraine for the rest of my life?"

Caitlin: " It means you should take a few aspirin and you'll be fine."

Wow. He has a mini stroke and she prescribes a goddamned aspirin? That can't possibly be right, can it?

Well, I looked it up, and it turns out Caitlin's right! A transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini stroke, occurs when part of the brain experiences a temporary blood flow. It's technically not a stroke, but causes stroke-like symptoms that usually disappear within twenty four hours. TIA can be treated by a variety of drugs, including… aspirin!

• The STAR Labs Gang is puzzled when they hear the name "Savitar." HR nonchalantly says it's the Hindu God Of Motion. When they wonder how the hell he could possibly know that, he says he remembers if from a crossword puzzle.

Well, HR must have had trouble finishing that particular puzzle, because the name is actually spelled "Savitr." Additionally, there's more to him than HR knows. Savitr is a benevolent god who guards "that which is in motion or stationary." So it sounds like he's a good deity, not a violent and avenging monster.

By the way, at the risk of offending any Hindus out there, if your religion contains a god of motion, that's probably a sign it has more deities than absolutely necessary. Some sources say there are a whopping 33 MILLION gods in the Hindu pantheon (!).

Did you catch the Frozen Easter Egg in this episode?

When Killer Frost abducts Julian, she takes him to a cold storage warehouse. There's a semi trailer parked in the loading bay that reads, "Ledded Goh Frozen Foods." Eh? Get it? "Ledded Goh?"

• Killer Frost visits one of Alchemy's acolytes and threatens to kill him unless he tells her what she wants to know. Oddly enough, this "acolyte" lives in a nice suburban home, and even has a wife and children!

I guess he gets up in the morning, kisses his wife and kids goodbye, takes the train into the city, enters his secret temple, clocks in, dons his robe and puts in a solid eight hours of worshiping his false god.

Somehow when I hear the word "acolyte," I think more of a monk or someone who denies themselves Earthly pleasures. Not a guy with a 54" TV in his den.

• I already covered by disappointment with the "Julian is Alchemy" thing above, so I won't beat that dead horse again. I will say though that this shot of Iris perfectly matches the expression I had when I learned the "shocking" reveal.

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