Look, let’s be clear. I love The Flash. I love it like you love a puppy, unequivocally and completely, even when it’s being an asshole puppy who craps the floor. This show is a brilliant 4-color ode to everything that’s wonderful about the Silver Age of comics.
But guys. I do not get this Killer Frost storyline. It is driving me batshit.
To recap, Barry Allen diddled the timeline and created Flash Point, which was kind of like a soap bubble floating atop the timeline. When Barry realized he’d messed up, he attempted to fix the timeline and put everything like it should be, popping the soap bubble in effect. Except, time being tricky, he didn’t get it quite right. One of the things he changed, apparently, was Caitlin Snow, who is now a meta with ice powers.
Now we’ve met a meta version of Caitlin Snow before, on Earth II, where she was evil. As far as I can tell, though, there’s no reason for Earth I Caitlin Snow to become evil once she gets ice powers. Cisco got the same powers as his Earth II double, and he’s not evil. Ronnie’s version of Firestorm wasn’t evil in the new timeline, like he was in Earth II.
But apparently Caitlin is, except there’s no reason for her to be that way.
Earth II Caitlin lacked Earth I’s support group of friends – Star Labs and the Flash never happened there like it did on Earth I. And Earth II Caitlin seemed to have had a rougher home life than Earth I’s, which is saying something, because Earth I’s wasn’t awesome. So whatever’s making our Caitlin Snow evil, it apparently doesn’t have anything to do with the various dimensions or time diddling or upbringing.
I had a theory that Caitlyn was going insane because Dr. Alchemy and Savitar gave her ice powers, due to Flash Point and all that nonsense. We saw several of the other individuals that got their Flash Point powers in the real timeline went nuts… except Caitlin doesn’t appear to have gotten her powers from Alchemy and even if she had, Wally didn’t go crazy when he got his, so it’s not some kind of side effect from getting powers from Dr. Alchemy.
So why? Is it something that’s built into the power set? We see that the power set causes physical changes, so it’s not crazy to think it could cause mental changes too. Except, if that’s the case, then the show needs to tell us that. And it has not.
Without some kind of – even casual – explanation, the Killer Frost evil persona seems arbitrary, something the writers tossed in slapdash to drive drama. It looks lazy and haphazard and makes no sense, which steals any drama from Caitlin’s plot. It’s hard to take the situation seriously when the writers didn’t (apparently) even take it seriously enough to explain it.
You have to give your audience a reason to invest in your storyline. If you present an item and say, “It works like this,” and the audience goes, “But why?” and your best answer is, “Because,” then the audience loses interest. They’re not being given a reason to do the heavy lifting necessary to care and invest in your character and plot. Which means that your whole plot point falls flat on its face like the arbitrary mess it is.
Which is a damn shame, because there’s a lot of room for character growth in this plot arc. Caitlin hasn’t had a happy life. Her family kind of sucks, and she’s had like the worst luck romantically, and her friends have all had huge fits of buttholery that she keeps having to clean up after, and then she went and got a great new job, only to be sucked back into Star Labs… I mean, the girl’s had a rough time. She has good reasons to have major issues, and a good writer could harness the Killer Frost persona to explore those issues. It could turn into an exploration of mental illness, or depression, or a look at what kinds of stresses make a good person go bad. It could have a huge season-long redemptive arc.
It could be really awesome.
But it’s not. There’s no gravitas, no explanation, no care put into the idea. It’s just… she’s bad because we like Caitlin Snow, but Killer Frost is a bad guy in the comics. But why? Because. Now shut up and watch.
I love The Flash, but I gotta be honest, here. I’m getting a little tired of having to clean this particular turd up off the floor.