Monday, 28 November 2016

Review - 'The Flash', S03E07 - 'Killer Frost'

The previous season of The Flash had brought things to a close with a pretty entertaining cliff-hanger. The new villain, Savitar, had just been introduced – and, he already clearly had the upper-hand over Barry. Wally had, in the end, been unable to resist the power promised to him by Doctor Alchemy – and, as a result, he found himself trapped in a strange cocoon. Unable to even see Savitar, let alone help stop him, Joe had been left with little other choice but to watch, entirely helpless, as the SWAT team he had brought into this dangerous situation were murdered right in front of him.

So, with all of that in mind, it makes sense that the season's seventh episode would pick things up right where the episode left off – as Savitar took the opportunity to show off the extent of his own powers. As effective as it was to see Barry so hopelessly outmatched by this 'God of Speed', though, I do have to admit that glimpses we had of Savitar dragging Barry around the city would have to count as some of the most disappointing CGI work we have seen on the series, so far. There was just something a bit off about the whole sequence – with both Barry's and Savitar's movement feeling stilted and unnatural, while the environment around them felt oddly flat, and underdeveloped.

It did, at least, lead to an entertaining moment in which Cisco and Caitlin are forced to come to Barry's rescue, though – travelling through a Rift opened by Cisco, so that Caitlin could use her own powers against Savitar.This level of super-powered team-work would have to be the true high-light of the episode, for me – if only due to the fact that it gave both Cisco and Caitlin an opportunity to be the true heroes, for a moment. Unfortunately, though, it soon becomes clear that Caitlin's use of her powers, in this moment, is going to be the catalyst which drags us right back into the one sub-plot, of the season, that I have no real interest in – as, we once more find Caitlin struggling to control her villainous urges. Determined to find a cure, before she loses control entirely, Caitlin sets her sights on tracking down Doctor Alchemy – convinced that, if the mysterious figure is able to give powers, then he must also be able to take them away.

There's a reasonably interesting idea at the heart of this whole sub-plot, of course – that being the possibility that it might actually be Caitlin's own fear of becoming 'Killer Frost', and her desperation for a cure, which will set her own the path to becoming a villain. And, I have to admit, this does sound like a genuinely interesting arc for the character, on paper – but, despite this, the whole thing still feels a little muddled, in execution. The fact that Caitlin seems so willing to 'play the part' of the villain, once her ice-based abilities manifest themselves, leaves us with a very over change in both behaviour and personality – and, there still hasn't been any sort of satisfying explanation as to why this would be the case.

As I've already mentioned, I think that my main problem with this whole plot-line stems from the simple fact that I just don't understand why Caitlin's powers would effect her in such a way. It just doesn't make sense to me – and, because I seem to be having a hard time accepting the basic premise, none of the drama that the series is trying to milk out of the whole situation is really working for me. Honestly, if this is truly the direction that the series intends on taking the character, this season, then I really hope that the writer's spent some more time explaining, and justifying, what is actually happening to Caitlin – because, as things stand at the moment, it doesn't make any sense.

I will admit, though, that Danielle Panabaker does play a villainous role very well. There were moments, throughout this episode, in which she managed to come across as genuinely intimidating. Also, I especially enjoyed the way in which she prove to be both willing, and able, to go on the offensive against Barry – calling him out on his mistakes, and his past selfishness. So, I suppose, it is good to be able to admit that there was, at least, some positive elements to this whole sub-plot.

Of course, while Caitlin was the primary focus of this episode, some significant progress was also made on Wally's own development – as the team are left entirely out of their depth, with regard to Wally's current position trapped inside that strange cocoon. While it might only feel like a small sub-plot, it does lead to some great moments of character drama, for the cast – particularly Joe, who once more finds himself struggling with a situation that is well beyond his understanding. More importantly, though, it's a sub-plot that comes to an end with Wally finally possessing the powers that he has wanted, since the season began – and, with the clear implication that Wally West might, finally, becoming important the the central plot.

Of course, what role he actually intends on playing (given the source of his new-found powers) remains to be seen. But, much as with the previous episode, this would have to be the first point at which I have ever been genuinely interested in anything related to Wally West, in his time on The Flash – so, regardless of where things go from here, it does feel like some progress has been made.

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