THE FLASH Season 5 Episode 19 Review: Snow Pack

This episode opened with a bang, effortlessly keeping up the fraught emotional tension from last week’s ending with a surprisingly ferocious West-Allen family argument. Iris was understandably angry at Barry for unceremoniously cutting off their daughter without so much as a goodbye. While the two have been at odds before, the sticks out as the first time we’ve seen Barry and Iris actually screaming at one another in a proper couple fight. It was quite the attention grabber and served as a reminder of how exceptional the cast can be when they're given more to do than recite token lines in front of a STAR Labs monitor. 

Unfortunately, all that energy fizzled out once the show awkwardly tried to switch gears by putting the focus on the Icicle/Killer Frost conflict. Caitlin’s entire time as Killer Frost has amounted to a constant stream of false starts and abandoned plot lines. I'm not sure what it is about the character that the writers have found difficult to pin down, but it's become nearly impossible to stay invested after years of her personality, history, or meta human status all changing from episode to episode. 

The recent attempt to tie her abilities to her family history has been particularly phoned in. Icicle is an absolutely paper-thin villain, even by Flash standards. The only real positive you can spin from his appearances is that having another ice themed super on the scene gives Killer Frost the opportunity to use her powers a bit more creatively than sticking to her usual the endless supply of ice daggers. But as it is, Icicle wasn't even awarded a decent death scene as sendoff. 

What does having Caitlin get her father back from the dead and then watching him immediately die again accomplish? It's almost a perverse echo of her relationship with Ronnie, where he died (again) the same day the two got married. Both times the the writers reacted to a creative dead end by hitting the reset button and throwing out all the prior build up. Now that the prospect of her mother going of through the same process of birthing an icy alter-ego is looming large, I'm seriously questioning what Caitlin’s role in the show is supposed to be moving forward if she's truly doomed to keep reliving the same plotlines. If there's nothing new to do with her character, she may be better relegated to a supporting presence rather than a lead. The team has certainly gotten bloated enough for some trimming. 

It does look like the STAR Labs crew will be a little lighter for the rest of the season though, now Nora’s truly gone rogue. Her infection from the Negative Speed Force is an interesting monkey-wrench to throw in the third act--although the life of me I can't understand where the show will find the time to properly explore that with the dozen other plot threads introduced this season all still very much up in the air. But while the idea has potential, her downfall felt a little too quick. 

After fallout her actions with Thawne had, it should have taken a bit more prodding before Nora went running back to him. Furthermore, this season has spent a fair amount of time showing Nora and Iris repairing their fractured relationship; having Nora now all but ignore Iris’s huge gesture of support and single-mindedly obsess over her dad feels like some distinct character regression. It could very well be that this is intentional backsliding, since Nora's now hit her lowest point ever, but if that's the case I'd hope there would be some serious payoff with Iris and Nora before the finale.

Written by Kaitlin Roberts, THE FLASH Beat Writer

Related Posts:
THE FLASH Season 5 Episode 18 Review: Godspeed

THE FLASH Season 5 Episode 17 Review: Time Bomb