The Flash: 3.07 Killer Frost
After directing one of the better installments of last season, The Runaway Dinosaur, Kevin Smith is back to direct the ominously titled Killer Frost. This was certainly Danielle Panabaker's best episode yet, as her desperation to rid herself of her ice powers put her closer to becoming a villain than ever before.
But first we had the dramatic opening as Barry found himself dragged across Central City by the metallic, demonic speedster Savitar. It reminded me in many ways of the brutal climax of Enter Zoom as the season two villain dragged the Flash across the city, parading his broken body of all to see. This wasn't quite as shocking as that episode but it certainly made for a thrilling opening. Savitar seems so very different to the speedsters that preceded it that I am still intrigued to see what happens next.
Sadly the brilliant set-up of Dr Alchemy seems to have been damped by the revelation that it is a) the obvious newcomer to the series Julian Albert and b) he and the other acolytes are working in service of Savitar. It makes the central villain a speedster once again for the third season in a row. It also undermines the development of Julian's character in recent weeks; his antagonistic nature towards Barry Allen is now all driven by the fact that he is a villain, not because he is a good guy with personal issues as The Flash had been suggesting up to this point. I have little sympathy for him at this point.
But the magic of the episode was - like Kevin Smith's previous entry - the emotional drama affecting the core characters. The impacts of Flashpoint were keenly felt again as Cisco learned that his brother's death didn't exist in the other timeline. An increasingly bitter Caitlin decided to take matters into her own hands, interrogating the cultist in the police department, kidnapping Julian in her search of Alchemy and then turning against Barry and Cisco when they tried to get in her way. This descent into villainy was well played as she struck out at those closest to her; the showdown in the street as she gave Barry a freezing kiss and Cisco struck her down with his powers was both exciting and heartbreaking to watch.
But at this stage, her humanity is still intact, Barry convincing her to help save Wally after Joe foolishly broke him out of his cocoon. I suspect the inevitable will happen and will we see her in full Killer Frost mode before the season's end but at least for now she has stepped back from the abyss, using the bracelets to damp her abilities once more. And Wally is finally Kid-Flash in waiting, now that he has his own speedster abilities.
It felt as if The Flash was bringing to a head a number of storylines, Caitlin's exploration of her abilities, Cisco learning the truth about what Flashpoint meant and Wally gaining his abilities. The main villain has now been revealed and the stage is set for the rest of the season. Next week is the big four-episode crossover event Invasion! so I am expecting the on-going plot to be put on hold in favour of Supergirl, Dominators and a epic, global battle.
Then we have the mid-season finale and after last season I am wary too what the reveal of Savitar means for the show; Zoom had a fantastic introduction in season two, only for the story to peter out before the end. I hope this new story arc doesn't meet the same fate.