This The Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 5 Episode 6
Well, it was bound to happen. The Flash season 5 finally stumbled. We all knew it was coming, and considering how strong this season has been so far, this really isn’t anything to worry about.
What bums me out about “The Icicle Cometh” is how it stumbled, though. Even though I’ve had my suspicions about the quest for Caitlin’s father all season so far, but I was happy to see how it made the all-important Caitlin/Cisco relationship a priority for the show again. But ultimately, I feel my suspicions were correct. The “origin of Killer Frost” is far less interesting than the ongoing struggles of Caitlin Snow. I would have greatly preferred that they just stuck with Caitlin as a meta resulting from the initial particle accelerator explosion. Killer Frost herself doesn’t need any greater explanation for that, and what has always made that dichotomy so compelling was the idea that Caitlin might finally lose control and give in to this other side and submerge herself in a villainous personality. Once she started talking about Killer Frost like a long lost sister, alarm bells went off.
“The Icicle Cometh” had an opportunity to stick with the road the show has been going down for the last two seasons, as they’ve obviously been committed to this concept, but actually clear away some of the sillier elements that have been popping up as this has dragged on. It failed.
It wasn’t Kyle Secor’s fault. In fact, with a few tweaks, I think I could have bought Dr. Thomas Snow as a potential season long baddie if handled correctly. Instead, he’ll be a secondary antagonist, as his and Caitlin’s story is far from over. But I think he could have been a primary villain, and certainly wouldn’t have been any less compelling than the Thinker last year. But none of that works if you’re going to saddle him with lines like “More superheroes to freeze!”
As is expected for an episode that leans on plot remnants and actual devices from season four, “The Icicle Cometh” often feels like a season four episode. And as we have already discussed endlessly in my previous reviews this season, that is…not great. If all this involved was my least favorite elements of the Killer Frost story, that would be one thing, but something else was really off this week, and that was the pacing.
This episode rambles aimlessly. It doesn’t truly resolve anything in Caitlin’s world, it just moves a few things into position. But nothing whatsoever gets done in terms of Barry, Iris, or Nora. That’s fine, it’s a long season, and we were bound to spin our wheels eventually. But I really could have done without the Cecile and Ralph diversion.
In fact, let’s talk about that for a minute. Remember when Iris was perpetually the most mistreated character by the writers? That thankfully feels like a long ass time ago, right? Is that where we’re headed with Cecile now? Because this was some painful stuff. Cecile is a great character who has unfortunately been stuck with some of the most ridiculous nonsense over the last year. Her quest to get her “mojo” back was exactly the kind of rambling, barely funny stuff that season four often tried to pass off on us. Those FEMA scenes were painful. This character deserves better.
To be fair, though, I will cop to having a good laugh at Ralph shrinking from Cecile when she stood up on the couch to get in his face. Danielle Nicolet is great (despite what the writers pulled this week), and she and Hartley Sawyer can certainly own a scene together. This was a great piece of old school physical comedy, and it’s a nice reminder that Sawyer can do physical comedy without the aid of a single special effect. I also got a chuckle out of Cecile dismissing Ralph’s trademark “nose-wiggle” stuff from the comics. See? It wasn’t all bad!
I guess this episode boils down to whether or not you’ve found Caitlin’s quest for her father and/or the true nature of Killer Frost compelling. I can’t say that I have, and that, along with the weird diversionary stuff the rest of the episode kept getting into, rubbed me the wrong way. Honestly, the score for this episode may have been a half a star higher were it not for two impossibly stupid moments in the last five minutes.
The first was Icicle using his ice powers to blast off and fly away like Iron Man. That was…absurd.
What was far worse was Caitlin talking to herself/Killer Frost at the end. This has been a major sticking point with me since at least last season, and seeing it really driven home here, with all the subtlety of a bus accident may not have been quite as absurd as Icicle literally flying away, but it was certainly as dumb.
This is also the last of a stretch of Cicada-lite episodes that I think this show can reasonably get away with. Based on the preview for next week’s episode, it looks like that is coming to an end, so that’s good. Cicada came on strong in the early episodes, but we’re getting into put up or shut up territory. I’m still looking forward to learning more about him.
– Well, we got a pretty massive Batman villain name drop right in the first act of the episode. Caitlin’s dad mentions other folks who have used cryogenic therapy as disease treatments, and one of them is none other than Victor Fries. Yes, that’s Mr. Freeze. Aside from the fact that it’s always a big deal when a Batman villain gets namedropped on one of these shows, there are some more immediate implications for this, too.
There’s a chance we’re going to meet some version of Mr. Freeze during the upcoming Elseworlds crossover. It’s not clear yet whether that will be an alternate universe version of the character, or if they’re sneaking him in as a possible foe for Batwoman, but in any case, there is some kind of Mr. Freeze stuff brewing for this show.
Did I hear the name “Louise Lincoln” as well? That is one of the other characters who was known as Killer Frost during the character’s early days in DC Comics, back in her days as a Firestorm villain.
– Towards the end of the episode, the elder Dr. Snow started to look ever so slightly like the Icicle, a cold villain (and Justice Society baddie) who predates Mr. Freeze by almost a decade, and whose name popped up earlier this season (as Dr. Cameron Mahkent).