The following contains The Flash spoilers.
The Flash Season 8 Episode 11
There are many things we all know to be true about The Flash. Barry Allen is the fastest man alive. Eobard Thawne will never really die. The rules of time travel are whatever the show needs them to be in any given episode. And Caitlin Snow will get her heart broken in every possible way imaginable. This poor girl simply cannot catch a break in any season or reality, so it probably shouldn’t surprise us that the hinted return of her dead husband would end in the worst way possible for her.
Over the course of The Flash’s eight seasons to date, Caitlin has watched her husband die, dated not one but two different men who turned out to be murderous supervillains, became evil herself, been forced to share a body with a completely separate alter ego created from her own subconscious, found out her presumed-dead father was alive, learned he was also a supervillain, and then watched him die. The show struggled for years to figure out how Caitlin and Frost’s relationship worked and essentially benched Caitlin as a character for most of a season to allow Frost the chance to explore her own life. Thankfully The Flash finally decided split the woman into two autonomous beings in Season 7, but the show has struggled to give Caitlin a decent story of her own ever since.
In short: This woman has been through it, and at this point, it’s getting pretty hard to imagine that it’s not on purpose. What doesn’t make sense is why anyone thinks it’s still fun to watch Caitlin repeatedly suffer this way. We’re so far past “been there done that” that we’re on a different planet. Can’t The Flash think of any other kind of story to tell about this character?
So, apologies to everyone who thought that “Resurrection” might finally be an hour in which Caitlin, an OG Team Flash member, and a character the show often relegates to spouting medical jargon in a corner for huge swaths of every season might finally experience some lasting joy. We never should have gotten our hopes up.
Look, the prospect of a permanent reunion between Ronnie and Caitlin was always unlikely, given that we all knew coming into this that Robbie Amell was only coming back to the show for a couple of episodes this season. But The Flash also exists in a universe where multiple characters have come back from the dead, crossed over from alternate timelines or some mixture of the two. Heck, Eobard Thawn was just resurrected (again!!) like five episodes ago, so it’s not like this would have been completely out of the realm of possibility.
But I suspect what most Caitlin fans were hoping for was just something small—maybe a few flashbacks or some small moment involving a vision of her dead husband that might help her feel more at ease with her decision to try opening her heart again to Marcus. Or give us more of a reason to care about their connection. Something that honored what came before even as it helped both her and us to move on.
Instead, the show spent forty minutes reestablishing in excruciating detail exactly why Ronnie and Caitlin were one of the show’s best romances, simultaneously reminding us they’ve never managed to give her a relationship that was anywhere near its equal and teasing the possibility that she (and we) might somehow, magically, get it back. But, oh, no, it was really just time to break Caitlin’s heart again during the last five minutes for no clearly discernable reason because unhappiness is apparently her default state. Sigh.
And the thing is, as a whole, “Resurrection” is a really good episode of The Flash. There’s a complex team conflict, fueled by the sort of interesting moral and ethical quandaries I always love to see in my superhero television. There are multiple great character moments, and some freshly minted flashbacks depicting one of my all-time favorite romances. (Caitlin and Ronnie’s double proposal in the snow is one of the best and most swoon-worthy things this show has ever done.) Frost got the chance to choose her sister over Barry, Cecile’s powers were actually useful for once, and the Deathstorm CGI actually looked really cool in that last scene.
To be fair, the idea that this Deathstorm would somehow mine Ronnie’s memories to trick Caitlin into helping him cross over into the real world makes a ton of sense. And goodness knows, it’s an emotional gut-punch, and it’s a move that just feels so comic book-y. Watching how this all unfolds now that this monster is free should make for great television, and that’s a good thing in a season that’s been…relatively unmemorable since Armageddon wrapped.
It’s just so frustrating to see The Flash, yet again, default to a storyline that by its nature leaves Caitlin in misery: she’s not only lost Ronnie for a second time seven years after his death, but she’s also put her friends, their city, and an untold number of innocent lives at risk because she followed her heart to try and save him. Her burgeoning relationship with the, admittedly, very dull but at least not openly evil Marcus is clearly over. And she’ll have to live with the guilt of all of this for the rest of her life. (In addition to the whole Ronnie still being dead thing.) Basically, It all just seems like another variation on something we’ve seen so many times before for this character, and it isn’t any more interesting here than in the previous versions of this story.
Wasn’t there any other way this could have gone down? Couldn’t Caitlin have been the one to figure out that it wasn’t her Ronnie? Or at least questioned things a little more? Would this have all hurt so much if the show hadn’t dangled her joyous reunion with her husband in all our faces only to snatch it away in the final scene? We’ll never know, but it seems pretty likely that most of us will be able to predict exactly where things will go from here for Caitlin. And I’m awfully tired of that.