Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Flash Season 7, Episode 8: The People V. Killer Frost

This week on The Flash we get an incredibly uneven episode— one that perfectly illustrates the series' many strengths & weaknesses (Heh... I guess that's what "uneven" means, eh?).

On the good side, the episode featured a stellar performance by series regular Danielle Panabaker, as once again she effortlessly played both Caitlin Snow & Killer Frost. The scenes in which she acts against herself were absolutely amazing, and were the highlight of the show.

Guest star Carmen Moore, who plays Kristen Kramer, was no slouch either. Although Kristen came off as an obvious, over-the-top villain in her first couple of appearances, she made up for it here. Especially in the third act, in which she went head to head with Frost and pointed out some uncomfortable truths about our favorite Ice Queen.

On the down side, The People V. Killer Frost was marred by some of the silliest courtroom antics in the history of TV. All through the episode I could practically feel the lawyers in the audience slapping their foreheads in disbelief at these ridiculous proceedings. 

I get that it's necessary for TV shows to take a few liberties with the law in the name of drama, but Jesus Christ! The writing here was embarrassing enough to make Ed Wood look away in shame. You don't need to be a law professor to realize that convicted criminals don't get to make up their own sentence!

And then there's the REALLY bad news.

According to sources at The CW, Carlos Valdez and Tom Cavanagh are BOTH permanently leaving the series this year. Holy Crap!

The news about Valdez isn't really a shock, as Cisco's appearances have become increasingly sporadic in the past two or three seasons. Valdez has had his foot out the door for some time now, and this just makes it official

His departure apparently didn't come as a surprise to the producers either, as for a year or so now they've been very obviously grooming Chester P. Runk to replace Cisco when he goes.

If I had to guess, I'm betting Cisco will decide to leave Central City, and he & Kamilla will ride off into the sunset after a tearful goodbye in the season finale.

While I've been expecting Valdez to leave any day now, Tom Cavanagh's departure was legitimately unexpected to me. He's been AWOL for several weeks now, but I figured he was just taking a break. I've been confidently telling everyone he'd be returning any day now. To quote Thorin Oakenshield, "I have never been so wrong in all my life."

According to The CW, Cavanagh was actually scheduled to leave at the end of Season 6, but the whole pandemic/end of the world thing shut down production of the show in early 2020. 

Once filming resumed, they shot the remainder of Season 6 and grafted it onto the beginning of Season 7. That means the dismal Mother was officially Cavanagh's final appearance. Wow, what a sour note to go out on!

Supposedly Cavanagh will be making a couple of guest appearances throughout this season, but he's for all intents & purposes gone.

That's not good, folks. If Valdez's departure is a grievous injury, then Cavanagh's is a mortal blow. The Flash might be able to limp along without Cisco, but the Wellseses were the heart and soul of the show. Cavanagh was easily the best actor in the entire cast, and his absence will be keenly felt. I can't see anyone else stepping up to fill his talented shoes.

Honestly I think it's probably time to end the show. It's been a fun ride so far (for the most part), filled with more ups than downs. I'd miss it if it went away, but all good things come to an end and all that. I'd rather it go out on a relatively high note than hobble along for another three or four seasons, until it becomes a sad and pale imitation of itself.

But this is The CW we're talking about, so we know that'll never happen. After all, they're the network that never knows when to call it quits (I'm lookin' at you, Supernatural!). They'll take The Flash and run it right into the ground, down to the center of the Earth.


The Plot:
Kristen Kramer arrives at ARGUS, where she speaks with Agent Cooper (who may or may not be a hologram). She tells him she's impressed with their security, and says they'll need it for what she's planning.

At STAR Labs, Cecile tells Team Flash that Frost has pled guilty and voluntarily skipped her trial. If convicted, she faces fifteen to twenty years in prison. She says if she's lucky she might convince Judge Tanaka to lower the sentence to eighteen months. The others naively object to this, but Frost tells them she's not looking for a loophole, and wants to pay for her crimes.

Just then an alarm sounds, and the Speed Force appears. She warns Barry that one of the other Forces is close. Cisco detects seismic isotopic signatures coming from nearby Keystone City, and Barry figures it's Fuerza. The Speed Force says they need to stop her before she attacks, but Barry's reluctant to skip Frost's trial. The others tell him they've got her back, so Barry & the Speed Force zoom off.

The two arrive at a Wellness Clinic in Keystone, but see no signs of Fuerza.

Cut to the hearing, where Cecile makes an impassioned speech about Frost. She says she admits her guilt, but she's changed her ways and become in hero in the past few years. She says Frost only wants to make amends and is seeking a fair punishment.

Prosecutor Strong accuses Cecile of romanticizing Frost's motives. She says Kristen and the State want to make sure Frost no longer poses a threat to the public, and demands she take the meta-cure. GASP!

During a recess, Cisco points out that STAR created the meta-cure, which was supposed to be voluntary. He says forcing it on Frost can't be legal, but Cecile assures him it is. She says Kristen isn't even seeking jail time for Frost anymore, and is insisting on the cure.

Caitlin contacts her mother, who says that since Frost was created whole cloth from metahuman DNA, the cure could kill her. Caitlin says they have to do whatever it takes to stop Kristen, but Frost says she wants to go by the book, so as not to make things worse. Smart girl!

Joe wonders what's up Kristen's ass, and why she seems so determined to take Frost down. Cecile has no idea, but says they need to convince the Judge to give Frost prison time rather than the cure. Once Cecile & Joe leave, Caitlin, Cisco & Allegra meet and form a plan.

Meanwhile, Barry & the Speed Force wander around the clinic, looking for Fuerza. She warns him that the Strength Force can siphon off his speed if he uses it too early. Iris, who's monitoring the situation for some reason, says she's detecting isotopic energy from the tent directly in front of them. They enter the tent and find a normal looking woman named Alexa Rivera hard at work. She asks if they're volunteers.

Caitlin, Cisco & Allegra show up at CCPD, where they stage an elaborate scheme. Cisco disables the security cameras while Caitlin distracts an officer, allowing Allegra to sneak into the armory— where the meta-cure's stored. Unfortunately she's confronted by Kristen.

Thinking quickly, Allegra says she's there to interview her for the Citizen. After some convincing, Kristen agrees to give her five minutes. As they head for Kristen's office, Allegra uses her powers to short out the lights, giving Caitlin a chance to sneak in, attach a technobabble device to the armory door and fry the meta-cure inside.

In Keystone, Alexa sees Barry's CSI jacket and thinks he's there to arrest her. She confesses she used to be an addict, but got clean and began volunteering to help people. Barry assures her she's not in any trouble, but he has reason to believe she may be a meta. She gets all defensive and denies it.

Barry asks her to come with him to STAR for testing. Alexa balks, and the Speed Force snaps at her, saying they know she's Fuerza and that she killed at least one person. Outraged, Alexa orders them out of her tent.

Barry & the Speed Force return to STAR, where he scolds her for scaring Alexa and causing her to refuse their help. The Speed Force seriously suggest they abduct Alexa, bring her in for testing and return her in a split second, before she even knows what's happening. Iris is aghast at this suggestion, but tells Barry it's his decision.

Back at the trail, Joe testifies on Frost's behalf, saying she's worked with Team Flash to save countless lives in Central City. He tells the Judge he doesn't understand how the court can force her to take the cure, as that isn't justice. His words move Judge Tanaka, and she says she's ready to make her ruling.

Just then Strong pipes up and says she has new evidence. She claims someone hacked into the CCPD security system at the same time their supply of meta-cure was destroyed, and accuses Frost of this new crime. Cecile objects, as she was with Frost the entire time. Caitlin then stupidly stands and confesses she did it. Strong says it doesn't matter, as Kristen obtained a sample of the cure earlier from ARGUS. The Judge retires to her chambers to make her decision.

Cecile tells Frost and the others that already lost. Caitlin vows to protect her "sister" no matter what it takes. Frost asks to speak with Caitlin alone. After the others leave, Frost asks why she's making things worse, and won't let her do things her way. Caitlin admits she can't bear the thought of living without her. Frost accuses her of protecting herself instead of her, and storms out.

Meanwhile, Barry returns to Alexa's tent as the Flash. She's impressed, and he tells her she can trust Barry and his testing. Alexa says she was helping build low-income housing, when Abra Kadabra destroyed their work. She became so angry she blacked out, and fears she may have transformed into Fuerza. Flash asks her to come with him to STAR, so they can find out for sure. Eventually she agrees.

Back at CCPD, Kristen returns to her office, where Frost is waiting for her. She tells Kristen that Joe arranged their meeting, and asks why she hates her so much. Kristen confesses when she was in the military she served with a meta, who messed up and got her entire platoon killed— leaving her the sole survivor. She vowed to never let something like that happen again. Frost accuses her of wanting to eliminate ALL metas, not just her. Kristen admits she's right, as this case will set a legal precedent, requiring all villainous metas to take the cure.

Cut to STAR, where Frost is visiting for no good reason. Caitlin enters and admits she was thinking only about herself. Frost tells her that Kristin's making an example of her to eliminate all evil metas. Somehow this sparks an idea in Caitlin, and she says she knows how they can win.

In court, Frost takes the stand to make a final statement. She says removing a meta's powers isn't like taking away a gun, as it erases their identity. She says people fear her because she's different, not because of how she acts. She says "different" can't be cured, and metas are here to stay. She then makes an insane, er, I mean bold request— in lieu of taking the met-cure, she asks for life in prison without possibility of parole. GASP!

Of course Kristen jumps to her feet and objects, even though she's not an attorney. Cecile points out that Kristen said, in her own words, that she only wanted to protect the citizens. She says incarcerating Frost would indeed protect everyone from her. Judge Tanaka agrees, and sentences Frost to life in prison (????).

Later that night, Kristen visits Joe in his office and says she's leaving. Rather than tell her not to let the door hit her in the ass on the way out, he says he respects her "commitment to justice" (???) and wishes her good luck. He does warn her to check which side of the line she's on though.

We then get a "touching" montage of Frost saying goodbye to everyone before she's hauled off. 
Caitlin tearfully watches as her sister's led away.

Sometime later, Caitlin sits in her apartment, holding Frost's terrible piece of artwork.

Back at STAR, Barry arrives with Alexa. He hooks her up to a machine and says he'll give her a small dose of isotopic energy to see if she reacts. Iris and the Speed Force watch from the sidelines. The Speed Force says she's impressed with Iris, as she really is Barry's "lightning rod."

Barry activates the machine, and Alexa instantly begins reacting. Her eyes glow with energy as she grabs the table she's lying on and crushes it. Realizing she really is the Strength Force, Barry shuts off the energy and tells Alexa they'll figure out a way to help her.

Out of nowhere, the Speed Force shouts that Fuerza will stop at nothing to kill her, and blasts her. Barry jumps in front of Alexa and fires off a ball of lightning at the Speed Force. She easily catches the energy and thanks him for it. She says that Iris may be Barry's lightning rod, but SHE'S the lightning. She then shoots a superpowerful blast at Alexa, killing her. The Speed Force then tells Barry it's time for him to pick a side.

• At the beginning of the episode, Kristen makes a stop at ARGUS and chats with Agent Cooper. So what's the deal with him, anyway? Is he really some sort of hologram as was implied back in Central City Strong? I tried to find some info on him online, but came up with bupkis.

• Also back in Central City Strong, Abra Kadabra mentioned Barry would soon be facing the wrath of the Chronarch, whoever that is. So far that's been the only mention of him on the show. I assume he'll be the Big Bad in the last half of the season?

• Cecile informs Team Flash that if Frost is convicted, she faces ten to twenty years in the slammer. They're all outraged and strenuously object to this news.

I know I've beaten this poor dead horse into the ground for the past few weeks now, but the characters STILL don't seem to understand the basic concept of the law and how it works.

For example, Caitlin— who's a doctor, mind you, and presumably pretty intelligent— pipes up and says, "(Frost) already pled guilty and skipped her trial. What more does the court want?" Um... well, Caitlin, it wants her to pay for the crimes she committed for one thing, you silly sausage.

Even worse, Allegra says the charges against Frost are a load of crap, because Jitters named a drink after her. Well, that settles it then! I'm sure once Judge Tanaka hears that she'll summarily drop any and all charges against Frost & set her free.

Amazingly, Frost— the former criminal— is the sole voice of reason here:

Frost: "Guys, we’re not looking for a loophole. I did these crimes. And Caity, I know you want to help, but ever since becoming my own person, I’ve realized that if I don’t own up for my choices, I’ll never be able to move on."
Caitlin: "What about all the good things you’ve done?"
Frost: "Like the life we’re building together?I’ll miss you, too. But… until I pay for what I did, the rest of the city won’t look at me the way you all do."

• Cisco detects isotopic signatures from Fuerza in Keystone City, so Barry & the Speed Force go there to investigate.

Keystone's been popping up a lot in the series lately. In the comics, Keystone City was the home of Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash. 

Here in the Arrowverse Keystone's located in Kansas, just across the river from Central City, which is in Missouri. Apparently the Crisis somehow caused the two to become twin cities, which explains all the sudden Keystone namedropping.

• Frost's trial takes place in the Central City Court House (natch!).

Oddly enough the building looks suspiciously like the New York County Supreme Court building in downtown NYC!

• A thought occurred to me while watching this episode— what name did the court use for Frost on the official docket? Did they list her name as just "Frost?" Or did they actually write it out as, "Last Name: Frost, First Name: Killer?"

• Ever since movies and television began, courtroom dramas have taken huge liberties with actual legal procedure. This is unfortunate, but understandable. Real courtroom trials are dry, dull and drag on for days. TV trials need to be quick, fast paced and exciting.

That said, the courtroom antics in this episode are so blatantly contrived and ridiculous, they make things like speedsters and Mirrorverse clones seem real by comparison.

Bear in mind that I'm not a legal expert, but even a layman can tell that most of the proceedings in this episode are utter nonsense.

— First up we have the State demanding that Frost take the meta-cure. That in itself isn't completely unbelievable, as courts will often order violent sex offenders to undergo chemical castration to render them harmless. The problem is how the State's Prosecuting Attorney springs it on Cecile by surprise. 

In real courts there's a procedure called disclosure, in which both sides must share basic info with one another, such as the witnesses they intend to call, documents being used as evidence, etc. This prevents either side from trotting out any unexpected, last minute revelations.

In this case, the State would have had to notify Cecile about the meta-cure plan several days prior to the hearing, in order to give her time to prepare a defense. As filmed, Cecile could have probably objected and had the plan thrown out of court.

— Later in the episode the State Prosecutor does this again, bringing out surprise evidence that CCPD's supply of meta-cure was rendered inert. Again, disclosure.

Then to make things even worse, the Prosecutor blatantly accuses Frost of sabotaging the cure! There's no way in hell a judge would allow such an inflammatory indictment.

As if all that wasn't enough, Caitlin then stands up and admits in full view of the court that SHE'S the one who destroyed the cure! This would surely be a Federal crime, yet the Judge does absolutely nothing about it. In fact she acts like she didn't even hear her.

— Cisco & Caitlin invented the meta-cure a couple seasons back. If they or STAR Labs patented it, they could probably threaten to sue if the State attempted to use on a subject against their will.

— After the meta-cure revelation, Joe asks, "What if we forget the deal, just take the 10 to 20 years?" Cecile replies, "Prosecution’s not even seeking jail time anymore. Kramer is all about the cure. She wants Frost neutralized forever."

Again, I'm not a legal expert, but is that really a thing? Can the prosecution change its mind about the punishment it's seeking in the middle of an ongoing hearing? I'm gonna bet no.

— At one point Caitlin tells Frost, "I just talked to Mom. She’s gonna run some more tests to be sure, but we think that because you are uniquely born from meta DNA, if you take the cure…it could harm you, maybe even kill you."

Wow, that sounds pretty serious. Knowledge like that could definitely sway the Judge's decision. So of course at no time does Cecile ever bring up the point that the cure could kill Frost. Brilliant!

Turns out it didn't matter though, because in the third act Caitlin says the tests show Frost will survive. So why did they bring it up in the first place then?

— Judge Tanaka has to be the dumbest courtroom official ever. She could have easily tossed out Kristen's meta-cure recommendation and come up with her own sentence for Frost.

 At the end of the hearing, Frost refuses to take the cure, and demands life in prison without possibility of parole instead. Even though her crimes carry a MAXIMUM penalty of twenty years. If that wasn't crazy enough, freakin' Judge Tanaka goes along with it and sentences her!

Jesus Jetskiing Motherfraking Christ On A Cracker. I can't begin to explain just how monumentally stupid this is, on every conceivable level. 

Yes, judges do have leeway when it comes to incarceration, and will often give an offender less jail time than suggested. But they can't give them a LONGER sentence than the law allows! I can't imagine that'd be legal.

— Lastly, the Prosecution was acting like it was ready to inject Frost with the cure the second the Judge gave the OK, right there in the courtroom. Yeah, it doesn't work that way. Criminals who are sentenced to death aren't immediately killed the second the judge bangs their gavel.

If Frost was sentenced to take the cure in a real court, Cecile would immediately begin a series of appeals, which would likely take years and possibly even involve the Supreme Court. Frost could very well die of old age before the matter was definitively decided.

An actual lawyer could probably point out even more courtroom stupidity in this episode's hearing, but I think I've covered most of the most overt examples.

• For some reason there's an ASL Interpreter in the courtroom signing away during Frost's hearing.

While such interpreters are definitely a thing in certain trials, they're generally only requested if the defendant or plaintiff are hearing impaired. Since there's nothing wrong with Frost's ears, I'm not sure what this lady's doing there.

• A socially-distanced courtroom is a safe courtroom!

• As they've done since she first appeared, the producers do everything in their power to make Kristen Kramer as unlikeable and unappealing as possible. 

• What the holy frak is Norvok doing at the hearing?

It's been a while since we've seen him, so to refresh your memory. Norvok worked as a henchman for Amunet Black, helping her round up metas for reasons. He had a weird three-fingered tentacle that extended from his right eye socket.

When Amunet disappeared, he took over her criminal operation. He then augmented his tentacle with a deadly venom, intending to kill his former boss if she ever returned. Eventually she popped up again and cut off his tentacle. He now wears a glass eye in his empty eye socket.

Now that the history lessson's out of the way, there are numerous reasons why his presence here makes no damn sense.

First of all, it's a given that Norvok committed numerous crimes over the years— not the least of which was attempted murder when he poisoned Barry with his tentacle. As far as I know he was never prosecuted for any of them (murder doesn't seem to be a crime in the Arrowverse), so I'm puzzled as to why Joe didn't just grab him and haul him off the moment he saw him sitting in the gallery. Heck, for that matter why doesn't Kristen go after him? Let her make and example out of HIM rather than Frost!

He also had a very contentious relationship with Caitlin/Frost when they were both working for Amunet. He physically assaulted her/them on many occasions, and she/they nearly killed him by freezing his head solid! So why the hell are they apparently good buddies now? Why's he consistently have a ridiculous "I Am Concerned" look on his face all through the hearing?

At the end of the hearing, he approaches Frost and solemnly vows, "Every meta in town will know what you did for us." Yes, I get that he's grateful that she sacrificed herself to prevent the forced erasure of meta criminals' powers, but... I'm not buying his sudden, out-of-nowhere change of heart.

Lastly, in the Season 5 episode Seeing Red, Team Flash discovered that Cicada was systematically killing everyone on CCPD's list of known meta criminals. Reasoning that they deserved a fair trail rather than death, Barry approached Norvok to help find them. For some reason Norvok agreed, and helped save the other metas. At the end of the episode, he and all the others were put into the Witness Protection Program to keep them safe from Cicada.

So Norvok, who supposedly has a brand new identity now, shows up at a public court hearing for a former associate— looking EXACTLY as he did last time we saw him, complete with milky glass eye and flowhawk. Wow, he blends right in, doesn't he? No one would ever recognize him as the former henchman of a crime lord. Jesus wept.

I suppose we could be generous here and say that since Cicada's gone, Norvok and the other metas are no longer in danger, so they left Witness Protection and returned to their own lives. I suppose we could say that, but I don't see why we should.

 When Barry and the Speed Force first at the free clinic in Keystone City, he's decked out in his full Flash costume.

The action then cuts to the courtroom, and when we rejoin them, Barry's now wearing his CSI togs. So... did he run back to Central City & change clothes while we weren't looking? Or does he somehow carry a spare set of clothing inside his skintight Flash costume?

Also, Barry's not being very smart here. First the Flash is seen walking around with an attractive redheaded woman, and later a similarly-built civilian is strolling with her. It wouldn't take much for even a casual observer to figure out he & the Flash are the same person.

 Determined to protect their friend Frost, Cisco, Caitlin and Allegra hatch a plan to sneak into CCPD to destroy their supply of meta-cure (and commit several felonies themselves in the process!).

Note that Caitlin and Alexa do the actual legwork, while Cisco hacks the cameras and monitors the situation from the STAR Labs van.

I dunno... Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the van's interior looks wayyy bigger than its exterior. Maybe it uses Time Lord technology?

 Barry & the Speed Force meet Alexa Rivera, who's secretly Fuerza. A couple things here:

First of all, Barry makes two attempts to talk Alexa into undergoing tests to see if she's really Fuerza. He does so the first time as himself, and the second as the Flash. 

Gosh, remember when the Flash would vibrate his face and alter his voice whenever he came into close contact with someone, in order to hide his secret identity? Looks like those days are lonnnnnnnnng gone. Amazingly Alexa doesn't recognize the Flash, even though she heard and saw Barry just moments before. In fact she eve looks at him and says, "That CSI sent you, didn't he?" I know, I know, this is a convention of the comic book genre and I need to just accept it and move on.

Secondly, Alexa infodumps her backstory in this scene. She was part of a team building low income housing, when Abra Kadabra destroyed their work site (as referenced back in Central City Strong). At one point she was apparently hit with one of the multi-colored energy beams seen at the end of Mother, and now transforms into Fuerza whenever she gets angry. In essence, she's the She-Hulk!

This is quite different from the comic, where Alexa Antigone was an anarchist from the South American nation of Corto Maltese. She became a conduit of the Strength Force, which gave her the power to fight against her corrupt government. She initially clashed with the Flash, but later on they became pals and teamed up occasionally.

I get why the writers went with a different origin for Alexa here on the show, but what was the point of changing half her name?

Also, I wonder how many viewers' Alexas were set off by this episode?

 It happened again! Back in the third act of Central City Strong, Barry encountered Fuerza, aka the Strength Force, for the first time.

One episode later in Fear Me, he somehow watched video footage of the battle from the previous episode. Footage that was identical in every measurable sense! It's like Barry used The CW app to download an episode of his life and watch it.

Welp, this week we see that Alexa apparently used the app as well, because she watches the exact same scenes of Fuerza that Barry did!

 Ever since Cecile began specializing as a Metahuman Attorney, she's been overly confident of her legal skills. Cocky, even.

Of course the second the State springs a couple of courtroom surprises on her, she folds like a cheap card table and tells Frost they've lost the case before it's even over! She's clearly in wayyyyyy over her head here— to the point where it seems like she has no trial experience at all. If I was Frost I'd be firing her and hiring Vinny Gambini, pronto!

I'm sure the writers meant to make it seem like Cecile had met her intellectual match in the shrewd, cold and calculating Kristen. Unfortunately they committed character assassination on poor Cecile as they made her look grossly incompetent and unqualified. 

Apparently the writers must have forgotten that Cecile has telepathic powers. For several seasons now she's been "accidentally" picking up the thoughts of Team Flash and meta-criminals alike. So why was she so totally blindsided by Kristen's courtroom antics? Shouldn't she have realized she was planning some sort of surprise and prepared accordingly? Or would using her powers not be fair or legal in a court of law?

• A week or two ago I said that Frost must have inadvertently wronged Kristen somehow, which would explain why she's so dead-set on putting her away.

Well, turns out I was mostly wrong about that. Frost did nothing to her, but Kristen was hurt by A meta. Apparently when Kristen was in the military, a commanding officer who was a meta somehow betrayed her company, causing twenty of her fellow soldiers to be killed. 

I'm assuming the meta officer must be dead as well (since she's not going after them), so Kristen now has a vendetta against Frost & all her kind.

• Although this is by no means a great episode, it isn't entirely bad. There are actually some pretty good parts in it. In particular I liked the exchange between Frost & Kristen, in which she asked why she hates metas so much:

Frost: "Then why do you want to take my powers away? How is that justice?
Kristen: "You’ve got a lot of gall lecturing me about justice. You only turned yourself in after years of evading the law, when you were surrounded by my officers.  That’s not doing the right thing, that’s called getting caught."
(That is an awesome line, as well as an amazingly accurate point!)

Frost: "Look, I’ll go to prison, do my time, fine. But forcing the cure on me? I don’t deserve that."
Kristen: "And the court will decide what you deserve. This isn’t just about what you’ve done. This is about what people like you do."
Frost: "Right. So you hate all metas. Very original. Cicada with a badge."
Kristen: "I don’t hate all meta humans, just the ones who pretend to be heroes. I lost an entire platoon because I made that mistake. On my orders, they followed a meta I thought was a hero into a hot zone. He fooled me. By the time I realized his betrayal, 20 soldiers lost their lives, lives I was responsible to protect. Never again."
Frost: "This isn’t just about me. You want to go after all meta humans."
Kristen: "Only the criminals. But your sentence will set the legal precedent. First you take the cure, then any meta who endangers the good of the people will have to follow suit."
Frost: "You cannot be serious."
Kristen: "I admire your fight. But there is nothing you can do to stop this. Cause in the end, justice always wins."

Awesome stuff! And a powerful scene between Danielle Panabaker and guest star Carmen Moore. If only the entire episode was this good.

 Speaking of performances, as I said in the intro, Danielle Panabaker is definitely the MVP of this episode. She turned in a stellar performance here, as she acted primarily with herself! She sold it so well that I really believed I was watching two different people. Well done!

By the way... the scene above takes place at STAR Labs, during a recess in the hearing. If Frost is allegedly such a dangerous criminal, would the court really allow her out on bail?

And kudos to the FX Team for the twinning effects here. They even remembered to give both Caitlin and Frost their own reflections in the windows!

 In the third act, Frost takes the stand and makes a final, impassioned statement:

Frost: "Here’s the deal. Taking away a meta-human’s powers isn’t the same thing as taking away a gun from a criminal. Erasing our powers is erasing our identity. It’s saying, 'Hey, you were made bad, change that.' But shouldn’t justice be about changing the way a person acts, not the way they were born? I get it. You fear us because we’re different. You’d feel safer if we were the same. But different can’t be cured. It’s here to stay. We’re here to stay."

Gosh, do you think it's possible that her little speech about fearing those who are different from the "norm" could be seen as a metaphor for racism, immigration or homophobia? Subtle! Like a load of bricks falling on the audience's head.

 After the ruling, Caitlin returns to her apartment, where she solemnly stares at the collage Frost made a couple episodes back. Are... are we supposed to be impressed by this "art?" Because it's clearly assembled from trash, and looks like something a child made.

 So what do we think here— is Frost gone for good? Is her preposterous life sentence the producers' way of writing her out of the series?

Eh, it's honestly tough to say. It could be their way of streamlining the seriously overflowing cast. Or at least to get her off the table for a while.

Personally I don't think we've seen the last of Frost. I'm betting at some point this season we'll get a storyline where we'll check in and see how she's doing in Iron Heights. She might even encounter fellow ice-meta Chillblaine while she's there. Who knows, he may instigate a riot that somehow threatens Kristen. Then Frost will save her, and Kristen will realize she's not so bad after all and get her sentence commuted.

 Once the hearing's over, Kristen pays a visit to Joe in his office:

Kristen: "Captain, uh, I’m all packed up, just thought I’d say goodbye."
Joe: (after a super long pause) "Good luck."
Kristen: "Listen, I know we’ve had our differences and maybe that’s an understatement, especially after today, but… I just wanted to tell you, despite our personal frictions, you have my respect. I admire your commitment to justice."
Joe: "The feeling’s mutual. Truth is, I may not always like your methods. Sometimes, I downright despise them. But I know a good cop when I see one."
Kristen: "Only that’s not all, is it?"
Joe: "No. Make sure you’re always checking which side of the line you’re on."

Did... did Joe just compliment Kristen? Why the hell would he do that? Yes, she was right that Frost needs to pay her debt to society, but she also just tried to legally wipe out a sub-section of humanity. 

He's definitely a better man than I am, as I'd have told her to f*ck right off!

 So is Alexa/Fuerza really dead? It certainly seems that way. If she is, then that was certainly easy! Not to mention a bit of a letdown. I thought sure we'd get an episode in which the other three Forces joined together and attacked Barry all at once. 

Doesn't look like that's gonna happen now, unless Alexa somehow gets better after being killed. I wonder if the show just couldn't afford a lengthy battle with a CGI creation like Fuerza?

 At the end of the episode, Barry runs some tests on Alexa and discovers she really is Fuerza. The Speed Force then turns on him, steals his power, adds it to her own and savagely kills Alexa. When Barry asks what the hell, she hisses that she had to do it.

Wow, what a difference an episode makes! Last week the Speed Force was acting like a petulant child who lacked the emotional maturity to handle its feelings.

Suddenly in this episode she's all "We gotta wipe out all the other Forces before they kill us!" Oddly enough, this dramatic change come out of nowhere, with absolutely zero buildup. So what's going on with the Speed Force here?

Welp, it's beginning to look like the fan theories are true, and the Speed Force isn't actually the Speed Force, but Eobard Thawne in disguise. How or why he's taken on the form of Barry's late mother and is powering him is unclear at this time, but it's clear that's what's happening. Stay tuned!

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