This episode was all about family. Not “happy family”…no, this was about families that were strained to the point of breaking. When we left the last episode, Barry had stranded Nora in the future without telling anyone, even Iris. But, that’s not the only family situation in an episode titled “Snow Pack”. Things are going off the rails quickly, and whether things can be righted back is the question here. Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!
SPOILER ALERT! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
NOTE: This review is posting prior to THE FLASH being aired in the Pacific Time Zone USA. If you haven’t seen tonight’s episode yet, STOP HERE and come back after watching the show. You’ll be glad you did!
Let’s break this down in terms of the different family situations:
- Iris and Barry have it out over Barry’s unilateral decision to return Nora to the future. They spend much of the episode apart. What brings them back together is more than a bit surprising. But before that…
- Iris and Ralph go to the future to track Nora down without telling Barry. Don’t worry, we’ll talk a bit more about that trip in a bit…
- Caitlin and her mother continue to be at odds, complicated by Thomas/Icicle’s return. He kidnaps them both with the intention of turning Caitlin and her mother into his “Snow Pack” permanently, erasing any trace of humanity in them both.
- Cicada has kidnapped…herself, or rather he younger self from the hospital. We don’t get a lot of Cicada in this episode, but the part that does include her is still important.
- Finally, Nora is in the future, distraught over being stranded there. She is asking Eobard Thawne for a way to return to 2019 without being detected. We’ll come back to that in a moment…
Much of the episode is divided between the Barry/Iris situation, Iris’ trip to the future, and the Caitlin/Mom/Icicle story. Let’s go “cold” first.
Icicle has stolen a cryo-atomizer, something that could freeze all of Central City…but he really wants it to turn his whole family into his “Snow Pack” of ice-based baddies. He is stopped, but not without a fight. Icicle is about to win and is ready to kill Caitlin, when Thomas finally finds the strength to take back over and to banish (at least temporarily) the Icicle persona. When Cicada appears to steal the cryo-atomizer for herself, Killer Frost fights back. But, Thomas saves his daughter a second time, this time taking the blade that was meant for Caitlin. He dies…but not without a heartfelt goodbye to his family that makes Barry realize he needs to go back to make things right with Iris.
Nora begs Thawne for a way to return to the past without being detected. This marks the first time that he tells Nora about his own Negative Speed Force. Her attempts to harness that force fails, in part because, “You’re just like your father, you’re light”. But, when Iris arrives alone in the future without Barry, Nora snaps. Every negative thing that has happened to her floods her mind and she accesses the Negative Speed Force! She uses it to race to 2019, her eyes now glowing just as Thawne’s did as the Reverse Flash.
So, here’s where we stand:
- Barry and Iris are back together (they were only apart for part of this episode)
- Caitlin and her mother have become close and are finally building bridges together
- Cicada has the cryo-atomizer and has some unknown plan for it that may or may not involve her younger self
- …and Nora is now wielding the Negative Speed Force! From the preview of next episode, that’s NOT good news.
- Sherloque went through a bit of “family” issues as well, mainly with his Earth 1 Team Flash family. He was ready to leave, then stayed to help Barry when the Icicle blasted him. How long he stays now is up for grabs, but this is likely a one-season thing for Sherloque (though who knows what version of Harrison Wells we will get next season – and that’s half the fun of this character).
- The CG for the Killer Frost/Icicle battle was a bit mixed. The ice pathways each created were great, with roller-coaster type motion that seemed very smooth. But, every time they focused too close to just one of the combatants you were suddenly aware of this being a green screen effect. Overall it was okay – especially for TV instead of movies – but it was a bit uneven.
- If this had been the first time the show centered on somewhat broken family dynamics, it would have been a top-notch episode. But, we have visited this theme a lot. Maybe it really is what the show is about at heart, but we are visiting the well of “Barry-goes-off-on-his-own-and-his-relationship-with-Iris-is-in-danger” a lot.
In spite of that last note, this was a good episode overall. I’m hoping we don’t spend too much time with the “XS goes bad” story thread, but one or two episodes in the coming weeks should be interesting. As for this week, I’ll give it an 8/10. But, that’s just my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!