NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Flash” are present in this review

 

 

Barry’s controversial decision has left Team Flash confused and divided, following Barry deciding to take Nora back to 2049, and threatening her to never return. This dramatic struggle couldn’t have come at a worse time either, since Icicle resurfaces shortly after Barry returns Nora to her own time, targeting Carla before making off with a cryo-atomizer, to some unknown end. “Snow Pack” thus puts The Flash’s ongoing family drama front and center, with Barry, Iris, Caitlin and Sherloque all facing conflicts based around their supposed families. Even so, the return of Icicle should be exciting enough for DC fans in particular, who are no doubt waiting for a truly worthy storyline centering around the icy super-villain.

Frustratingly though, “Snow Pack” once again falls short. This is another highly disappointing episode for The Flash, one that completely squanders its initially promising family conflicts in favour of lazy, unsatisfying resolutions. Icicle is also yet again wasted in this episode, due to an inconsistent, non-sensical plot for his character that merely makes you wonder why the show bothered to bring him back in the first place. The idea behind Icicle targeting Carla is at least good, especially when Caitlin and Carla are both kidnapped together, and forced to work out their differences in order to try and survive Icicle’s plans for them. Even then however, the mending of Caitlin’s and Carla’s relationship feels disappointingly anti-climactic, and merely serves to set up another head-scratching character swap for the Arrowverse down the line.

On the better end of the storytelling, Iris quickly becomes enraged with Barry over returning Nora to the future without her input, driving a wedge between the two of them. The implication that Iris was considering divorcing Barry over this decision is very excessively melodramatic, but thankfully, that’s never outright stated, and the episode quickly moves on from it. Instead, Iris, with some help from Gideon, manages to activate Eobard Thawne’s Time Sphere, taking Ralph to the future alongside her. Ralph using his shape-shifting to get Iris into Thawne’s cell is pretty amusing, and Iris’ confrontation of Thawne, with Nora before him, also makes for a pretty good moment.

It turns out that Barry abandoning his daughter was the final straw of sorts for Nora, though this doesn’t become apparent right away. At first, Nora simply begs Thawne to tell her a way to return to the present, without her father detecting her in the Speed Force. Does Barry seriously have a, “Speed Force Sense”, by the way? I don’t recall there being a lot of emphasis on that particular power of his. Regardless, Thawne claims that Nora can channel anger and hatred to travel through time via a, “Negative Force”, and- Wait, seriously? Even by the standards of The Flash, Thawne inventing a whole other Speed Force is all kinds of ludicrous! The idea of Nora becoming enraged and tainted by Thawne’s Negative Force is at least semi-promising, particularly when Iris fails to talk her future daughter down from Thawne’s ‘solution’, but was there no smarter way to have Nora go over to the dark side, temporary as that probably is?

As much as Nora is now an imminent threat to Team Flash however, the greater concern is Icicle, who apparently wants to freeze Central City… Or make an ice family? The episode weirdly has trouble deciding on a consistent motivation for Icicle here, and it really shouldn’t be that difficult to nail one down. Regardless, Icicle does manage to get Carla into a machine that will apparently give her her very own, “Ice Persona” (yep, that’s a thing now), though with some clever phasing trickery, Barry manages to get her out before any serious harm is done… Supposedly. At the same time, Icicle somehow freezing Caitlin’s metahuman cuffs allows them to shatter (aren’t the cuffs supposed to prevent this very thing from happening?!), leading to Killer Frost coming out, in order to take the fight to Icicle across Central City’s skies.

The big battle between Killer Frost and Icicle isn’t bad, if you try to ignore the very evident budget constraints behind the action choreography and CGI here. Unfortunately though, the battle’s resolution is a real let-down, since Thomas simply returns to his normal form after Icicle tries to kill Caitlin, just like that, making one wonder why it was so hard for Thomas to suppress Icicle in the first place! There’s no time to celebrate when Thomas returns to Carla and Barry either, since Cicada II somehow tracks down the cryo-atomizer, and has a brief scuffle with Killer Frost, quickly overpowering her in the process. Cicada II is about to finish Killer Frost off, but Thomas takes the stab for her, dying in his daughter’s arms as Cicada II flees, having nabbed her younger self from the hospital in the process. Yep, that’s the end of Thomas Snow and Icicle. Needless to say, this is a pretty lame exit for Caitlin’s father and his chilling alter-ego, even with the confirmation that Carla has been successfully turned into a metahuman, which will no doubt be discovered next season.

A red-eyed, evil-filled Nora returning to 2019 is at least something to look forward to, especially since even Thawne doesn’t appear to have wanted this outcome, but it’s tough to get too excited about that at this point. “Snow Pack” is yet more evidence that the current season of The Flash is starting to throw up its hands, and simply limp along to the finish line. The return and subsequent demise of Thomas Snow/Icicle is an extraordinary let-down here, and despite some decent family spats shared between both Barry and Iris, and Caitlin and Carla, there’s just too much contrived, lazy plotting in this episode to truly make it feel satisfying. Sherloque even entertains leaving Team Flash early, only to be quickly talked out of it by Ralph, rendering Sherloque’s entire ‘family drama’ with Team Flash also entirely pointless. The Flash’s alarming tendency of wasting established DC villains continues to be a massive crutch for the series, and the Arrowverse at large, so I can only hope that Carla’s new metahuman status gives us a better storyline in the future, regardless of whether or not she’s destined to become the next Icicle.

The Flash 5.19: "Snow Pack" Review
The Flash wastes yet another high-profile DC villain in, "Snow Pack", a contrived, unsatisfying episode that squanders its initially promising family drama.
THE GOOD STUFF
  • Barry and Iris being divided over Barry depositing Nora in the future
  • Caitlin having to make up with her mother to survive Icicle
  • Thawne indirectly turning Nora into another evil speedster
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
  • Icicle's neutralization and death are incredibly lame
  • The assorted family drama is resolved far too easily
  • When and how did Thawne invent an entire new Speed Force?!
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