This article contains spoilers for The Flash.
The Flash Season 9 Episode 3
The Flash‘s final season isn’t pulling any punches thus far—we’re three episodes in and the show’s already killed off a legacy character, introduced a new one wearing her face, and seen the arrival of a dangerous new speedster sporting some uncomfortable similarities to a certain Bat-based superhero from Gotham City. And the season’s third episode, titled “Rogues of War,” not only reveals the terrifying Red Death to be an evil version of Batwoman’s Ryan Wilder, but one of Team Flash’s own breaks bad, switching sides to join up with her team of C-list criminal henchmen out for some form of still-unspecified personal gain.
The thing is we know exactly what Mark Blaine wants for changing sides: A chance to somehow resurrect his dead girlfriend Frost, who sacrificed her own life to defeat Deathstorm and save her sister last season. Mark has spent every moment since then trying to find a way to bring her back, from building an at-home cryochamber to try and reactivate the meta genes in Caitlin’s DNA, to quietly trying to snuff out newly discovered Snow sister Khione so that Frost can take her place in their shared body. In the annals of great boyfriend history, the self-styled Chillblaine probably isn’t going to be taking home any awards any time soon.
Particularly now that he’s joined up with Captain Boomerang, The Fiddler, and Murmur to help them steal an important—and dangerous—piece of tech that puts not only Team Flash but the entirety of Central City at risk. So much for trusting each other, huh?
“It’s dark. I mean, it’s tremendous fun as an actor, but he will stop at nothing at this point to get Frost back,” Jon Cor, who plays Chillblaine, tells Den of Geek. “So he doesn’t care who he plays or betrays or whether he lies to them or not.”
Given that Chillblaine’s already said he’s willing to let both Caitlin and Khione die to bring Frost back, perhaps his willingness to commit grand larceny in the service of that goal was always going to be a foregone conclusion. But the ease with which he pivots to betraying the people Frost cared the most about is a little surprising. Although, according to Cor, maybe it shouldn’t be.
“One of the things that make him most exciting to play and most interesting to me as an actor is that his love for Frost continues to utterly override and transcend his moral compass,” he says. “There is no good or bad for him or right or wrong, or even what Frost would do or want, there’s just whatever would resurrect her or reunite them. He’s very much in a vulnerable head space and I don’t think he’s thinking straight.”
As the man who plays Chillblaine, Cor sounds more than a bit sympathetic toward the emotional maelstrom his character’s been dealing with. But he is quick to point out that in trying to save the woman he loves, he’s also going against her explicit and obvious wishes in a way that would infuriate her if she were aware of them. After all, Frost’s one goal was to save Caitlin—in what world would she be okay with allowing her sister, or even newcomer Khione, to take her place in death?
“Again, I think sometimes when we think we’re seeing things clearly, we’re really only seeing what we want to see and not what we need to see or what’s actually there,” Cor says. “He thinks [Team Flash] don’t understand. He thinks they’re wrong. And in his mind, the role she plays in his life easily eclipses everything else. He’s thinking, ‘This is my soul mate. How dare you speak for her?’ When, truthfully, the irony is how dare he speak for her? But his self-awareness is something that comes and goes. And we’ll have to see what he does with that.”
After all, Frost herself chose to face off with Deathstorm with full knowledge of what the consequences would most likely be, and by attempting to undo that choice, Mark is quite deliberately undercutting her agency and self-determination in service of his own desires. Even if he probably hasn’t fully realized that yet.
“But I don’t think he’s even considered it—whether Frost would want him to do what he’s doing. The possibility of the light at the end of the tunnel is too blinding, if that makes sense,” Cor continues.” Should he double-cross the people she loved? We think, ‘No dummy, of course not, and she’s not going to like you very much when she gets [back] if you do that.’ But he’s thinking, ‘Well, then how’s she going to get back if I don’t?’ [To him,] it doesn’t matter. He thinks he can explain, that they’ll work it out afterward.”
His decision to betray Team Flash puts him back on the same side as some fairly sketchy people, but—for the moment—that doesn’t seem to bother him too much. (At least, not for the reasons you might think.)
“The ends justify the means—and throughout the episode, he keeps right on thinking that— it’s one thing after the other, but it’s all okay because he thinks he’s still getting really, really close until we see that unmasking [of Red Death] at the end and he has his ‘Oh, shit’ moment. What has he actually done?”
Chillblaine’s introduction to Red Death—and the climatic moment in which our new villain rips off her mask to reveal Batwoman star Javicia Leslie beneath—is, pardon the pun, chilling, but Cor is cagey about how willingly he’ll embrace her goals going forward. But he enthusiastically lauds his time with the various other villains during “Rogues of War” and looks forward to more.
“First of all, it’s tons of fun—all of these characters and the actors [playing them] are so vibrant,” Cor says. “We had so much fun making it—even during the more gymnastic or emotional scenes. And I think that’s going to come across on screen too, even though we are dealing with some pretty dark and difficult themes. The episode’s full of ad-libs.”
Given that Chillblaine seems to have little choice moving forward about working for Red Death, he’ll also have to figure out how to navigate his new relationships with the rest of the evil speedster’s henchmen.
“Although Mark is currently interacting with more people and characters than ever before, he’s also more alone and more isolated than ever before,” Cor says. “And this time it’s not a choice. So, like [the rest of the rogues], he’s feeling victimized. He’s not at that point where he can accept what has happened. So he’s still pushing back, even though Frost’s deceased, and it’s tearing him apart and potentially going to tear apart any of the decent and genuine relationships he has left. Unless, of course, that exists on the dark side, I don’t know. We’ll see where he lands.”
One of the most unfortunate aspects of Chillblaine’s betrayal is the way it will inevitably impact his relationship with Barry, someone who has always been remarkably sympathetic, both when it came to his initial romantic relationship with Frost and his transition from a villain to a hero by her side. Empathetic to a fault, Barry’s obviously more than willing to help Mark process his grief—it’s a heartbreak he shares doubly since, at least for the moment, Caitlin’s gone as well.
“I just love their dynamic and what we’ve gotten to do with their dynamic this season,” Cor says. “I’ve always played it as, even when Mark is being a jerk, and even at the beginning of these arcs in earlier seasons, there’s always a real respect for Barry mixed with a kind of resentment. Because Barry is godly to someone like this. Yes, when they’re in the same room they really butt heads sometimes. They [can be] like oil and water, but they also complement each other in some surprising ways. Because when they do put their heads together, something kind of decent does happen.”
But while Cor has spent most of his time onscreen on The Flash thus far acting opposite Danielle Panabaker, who played both Caitlin and Frost, he says he himself has had to undergo a few emotional adjustments following Frost’s onscreen death.
“I had spent so much time with Danielle in costume, on set in the mornings that I went through a period where…I had this realization at some point last season when Frost was dying, that I had to accept it wasn’t real,” he laughs. “It was funny, but probably good for me—helps the acting, tricking my body into thinking this character is a real person. But I didn’t realize it was happening for a while.”
Cor’s not sure what’s ahead for the dynamic between his character and new Snow sister Khione, a woman he essentially tried to trick into erasing her own existence and who also happens to look just like Frost.
“I mean, the big question of this season, of this arc is—who is Khione?” Cor teases. “What is she capable of? What does it mean that she’s here now? And for Mark, this is someone really familiar, is he actually able to [let go] of the heart and soul and body of the love of his life? Can he finally let this new person be themselves? Or will he keep making an enormous mess?”