The Flash: 5.19 The Snow Pack
From one family feud to another, The Flash continues its pattern of not capitalising on great storylines when it has the chance. While I wasn’t a fan of the previous instalment, it at the very least focused purely on the issues and mysteries between Barry, Nora and the Reverse Flash. The Snow Pack, although poorly continuing that arc, also decided to develop the painfully dull Killer Frost/Icicle storyline briefly depicted earlier this season. Oh and it also has some Cicada thrown in for good measure, in case you forgot who the main villain is supposed to be this season.
Last week’s episode ended with Barry returning Nora to her time without telling anybody, threatening her not to come back. This episode relied on the conflict between Barry and Iris, which started off well but dissolved away too quickly. The dialogue throughout this episode was frustrating, ignoring the emotional turmoil caused by Nora’s actions. Iris’ complete disregard for Barry’s feelings and Nora’s lack of understanding of why she’s been sent back. None of this was powerful enough and it was borderline forgettable, which is a real shame.
Redemption arcs can offer something new in terms of characterisation, shaking up a story, changing the pace for the better…but first this requires subtlety and an interesting character to begin with. This episode attempted two; Eobard and Caitlin’s father, Dr. Tannhauser, both of which failed. Eobard’s didn’t work because his intentions have yet to be explored. Is he trying to be good just to be manipulative? Usually this would be mystery enough but it’s been dragged out for too long. Dr. Tannhauser/Icicle didn’t work because his story was lifeless and had no impact, I just didn’t care if the mother developed an ice punned personality.
Speaking of, the entire arc of bringing back Icicle came out of nowhere; it added nothing to the overall plot and simply failed to impress. At a time when story is plentiful, with so much material to pull from countless unfinished arcs, a throwaway story seems unnecessary and a waste of time. Why, at a time when the Nora/Eobard arc has the audience on the edge of their seats, would you bring back a limp villain, who brings no tension and serves only to provide a final battle sequence that’s decent at best, especially when we have villains like Cicada becoming forgotten?
On that subject, Cicada continues to be the worst mistake this season has made, not knowing how best to utilise the character and building upon convoluted characterisation. Here she was horribly shoehorned in and used as a convenient plot device that, without her, would’ve made zero difference to the overall feel and progression. At this stage, her actions, like stealing the doohickey from Icicle, and kidnapping her younger self from the hospital, generates no intrigue, tension or drama. I’ve simply lost hope and enjoyment for this character.
This instalment being so close to the finale was frustrating more than anything. I wanted to see more in depth character work and it simply wasn’t delivered. But still it wasn’t all bad; at the very least the performances poured in some raw, genuine emotion which was nice to see. While again not a fan of the lack of involvement Eobard has in this season, his feelings towards Nora are heart-warming. Subsequently, Nora’s rage propels off the screen and it’s the one thing that leaves you fascinated to see next week’s instalment; is she the new villain? Is she being controlled by Thawne?
The Snow Pack perfectly depicts how troubled this season of The Flash has been; too many antagonists and not enough well timed emphasis on stories have made for a disjointed watch. Although not greatly expanded on, the Barry and Iris arc was watchable, and the surrounding Nora scenario, a decent follow on. If this was a more focused episode that provided better information it would’ve been more entertaining but, once again, juggling countless different stories doesn’t work…when will they learn?