Hoo, boy, there’s a lot going on in this week’s episode of The Flash – Savitar is on the scene, Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) is in a cocoon, and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) is fighting her inner demons. Barry (Grant Gustin) is going to be racing around from crisis to crisis even more than usual, I think. This is my Top 5 for episode 3.07, “Killer Frost,” guest-directed by indie movie hero Kevin Smith. But first…
So, I goofed last week, and ended up making myself look pretty foolish. I looked away from my TV at the crucial moment when Savitar showed up on the scene, and assumed that Dr. Alchemy had been revealed to be Savitar. Which, of course, led to some ridiculous conclusions on my part. Did I use the handy-dandy rewind feature on my DVR to go back and watch the scene again? Of course not, that would be too easy! (Note: there is a good reason for my confusion, which we’ll get to below.)
Since I’m not a speedster, and can’t go back in time and erase that review, let’s just all pretend that didn’t happen, shall we? OK, good. So, on to my Top 5…
So, we got a little longer look at our big bad for the season – Savitar, named for the Hindu god of motion, as so helpfully explained by H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanagh). While the CGI for the character looks pretty cool, it’s a little difficult to believe there’s actually a person inside all that armor. And yet, I’m sure we’re going to get a peek under that helmet at some point. Savitar is ridiculously, insanely, fast – so fast the other characters can’t even perceive him. In fact, it’s a little difficult to believe Barry can see him.
But what does our villain want – with Barry, or with the metas that he’s tasked Dr. Alchemy with awakening? That much has not yet been revealed. We also get no indication why Wally was on their list, since presumably Kid Flash would be an adversary to them, not an ally.
I’m a little worried that the Savitar storyline is just going to end up being the Zoom story from Season 2 all over again; super-fast villain shows up, beats up Barry, Barry has to get faster to beat him, yadda yadda yadda. We’ll have to see.
#4: Kid Flash Born (Resurrected?)
Well, Wally finally has his wish – to be a speedster. Getting there was a little weird, though. We see Joe (Jesse L. Martin) go through all sorts of mental contortions, and muse about needing to “follow his gut,” before cutting the cocoon open early, and nearly killing Wally (and everyone else in the lab, when the thing explodes – good save, Barry!) in the process.
The threat to Wally’s health is the only thing that manages to bring Caitlin back to her senses (for now, at least), and now Wally can don the Gold and Red and become Barry’s partner. Good thing, too – it looks like he’s going to need the help!
#3: Caitlin’s Walk to the Brink
Caitlin’s journey to the dark side looks to be interrupted for the moment, but she’s following a path we haven’t seen from any other villain on the show. Our other meta-human villains were all bad people before they got powers, and Barry’s gift of the Speed Force didn’t make him evil. Yet for some reason, Caitlin’s powers are making her evil when she uses them. That’s a little strange, and I hope the show does something to explain why. In the comics, Killer Frost was evil because her heart was frozen, but that’s a little too metaphorical for the show. It’s also a little paradoxical that she keeps using her powers to try to force people to help her find Dr. Alchemy, so that he can take her powers away. One would think that part of the psychosis would be that she falls in love with the powers the more she uses them. I’m starting to wonder if this a Flashpoint-related side-effect.
It’s interesting that the “frosty” part of her nature isn’t just the power of cold. She also deliberately “freezes” Barry’s friendship with Cisco (Carlos Valdes).
How long is she going to be able to keep the genie in the bottle? And is the team going to be foolish enough to ask her to use her powers again?
Oh, if only Caitlin hadn’t happened to come across Julian Albert (Tom Felton) as she left that interrogation room, because that led to…
#2: Barry’s Sacrifice
In exchange for his silence on who it was that kidnapped him, Julian forced Barry to quit his job at CCPD. Long before he became The Flash, Barry’s thirst for justice led him into his career as a CSI. What will he do without that part of his life?
Well, now Julian has the lab all to himself, which is interesting because…
#1: The Famous Mr. Dr. Alchemy Revealed
It seems Barry isn’t the only one in that lab hiding a secret identity. While he recuperates in the hospital, Julian hears a voice, one that seems to be Dr. Alchemy. At first we’re thinking that he’s going to get his wish to have meta-human powers, but no, it isn’t Alchemy waiting for him outside, it’s Savitar! In voiceover as Julian returns to his lab, Savitar tells him he must become Alchemy again, as Julian opens the drawer to his cabinet and takes out the mask.
Confused? So was I, but here’s what I think is going on. Alchemy is a puppet; he has no powers of his own. The Philosopher’s Stone that he carries has powers, for sure, but Savitar is the one pulling all the strings. He’s the one that scratches “alchemy” into the glass, he’s the one that speaks to the recruited metas, and he’s the one who, somehow, is showing them the visions of their Flashpoint lives. (The acolyte that Caitlin corners claims that Savitar has shown him the future.) That’s why The Rival thinks it’s Alchemy that’s there right before he is killed by an invisible assailant in Iron Heights (in episode 3.02). It’s also why I got confused when I looked away briefly during last week’s episode – the voice of “Alchemy” is the voice of Savitar. That’s the reason that, when Savitar has Barry pinned against the ceiling, Julian scrambled to grab the stone and run away – his master and protector was too busy to guard him.
It would also explain why Julian has given no indication so far that he knows Barry’s secret identity, outwardly or when we’ve seen him alone, even though Alchemy’s words to some of the other recruits indicate that he knows exactly who The Flash is. Why the subterfuge? My best guess right now is that only speedsters (and for some reason, Julian) can perceive Savitar, so he needs an avatar. (Hah, Savitar’s avatar! Oh, I’m so clever sometimes!)
It seems the answers to a lot of the questions raised in this episode are going on the back burner for at least a week, as The Flash teams up with the heroes of the other three DC shows next week for the 4-night Heroes vs. Aliens crossover event. I’ll check in as usual with my review of The Flash‘s part of the event.
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