CW-verse Flash: Monster
|Jeez Caitlin, why you gotta be so...nah, I can't do it.|
This week's Flash sees the plotline about Dr. Alchemy continue to take a backseat, instead choosing to focus on Team Flash, with Caitlin visiting her mother to learn more about her powers, the team discovering the "truth" about Harrison Wells, and Barry finally figuring out a way to make peace with his new CSI partner Julian.
Despite this week's revelations about the character, Julian still feels like a waste to me. We learn this episode that he was a man who pushed his family away in order to become the top in his field as a criminal science investigator, only for metahumans to turn most of what he thought he knew completely on its head. The backstory they give him manages to make him a more sympathetic character at least--he's a guy who seemingly wishes he were a metahuman in order to make a difference, and watching so many metahumans only cause harm has made him bitter and angrier than he already was. It's all understandable, but since he's getting this much screentime I can only imagine he's either going to be used as a pawn by Alchemy or Savitar later on or he IS Dr. Alchemy and we're in for another Not So Random Flash Betrayal. Because he's certainly NOT joining Team Flash, which is already crowded enough as it is.
Speaking of which, I certainly wouldn't have guessed that this version of Dr. Wells would be entirely useless. We learn that Earth-19's Wells isn't just eccentric, he's not a scientist at all--on his version of STAR Labs he was just an "Idea Man" and the face of the company. I'm going to leave it to the Flash writers to prove how this could come in handy, because right now he feels kind of...useless. It's neat to have a version of Wells that isn't a dick or a villain in disguise, but I think it would've been enough to make him quirky rather than just someone who just spouts off ideas without knowing if they'd even be useful or not. Still, gotta hand it to Tom Cavanagh--every season they ask him to play a completely different character and he manages to pull them off with a remarkable level of believability.
As far as Caitlin goes, it's good that the effects of Flashpoint aren't going away anytime soon--five years later and all us DC fans are certainly still feeling the effects of the one that happened in the comics. This version of Caitlin seems much, no pun intended, "colder" and willing to give in to the darker impulses brought on by her powers. This episode goes into detail about her family life--revealing that her mother Carla was the head of a medical research company who started pushing Caitlin away once her husband passed. There's all the subtlety of being hit with a bag of rocks with Caitlin developing cryokinetic powers while we learn that her family life was "cold", but none of the CW series (or superheroes in general) have ever won awards for being subtle.
As usual, the villain isn't terribly well-developed and in this episode is more of a plot device to develop Julian's character further than anything else. But in all fairness it's not a "bad" thing. A bullied teen who somehow has the metahuman ability to generate holograms, this episode could've easily ventured into After-School Special-level material, so I'm glad they cut down as much of the kid's personal pathos as possible. Plus to be honest, it's hard to muster that much pity for someone with his powers--he's got a permanent career as a special effects artist if he wants it. What's more believable than an actual hologram?
The episode ends with Caitlin learning that her powers won't ever cut off if she keeps using them, but she ignores the warning for...whatever reason. I'd understand her more if she were afraid of her powers, but it seems like she's becoming more into using them by the end of the episode. I'm assuming she'll either have her powers permanently removed somehow or she'll become a "hero" since that's what they're angling Killer Frost to be in the comics in January, but we'll have to wait two weeks for the "Killer Frost" episode to find out.