Caitlin seeks out her mother to help her control her growing powers
I think it’s safe to say that we all came into this episode believing the titular monster to be the one rampaging through Central City tonight. In a not completely unexpected twist (something I theorized on Instagram last week when the photo gallery for the episode was released)…it was actually our resident geneticist, Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker). Her story also beautifully connected to Julian’s (Tom Felton) this week as he explained to Barry (Grant Gustin) why he disliked meta-humans so much. However, with ‘The Runaway Dinosaur’ writer, Zack Stentz, having penned this episode, I shouldn’t have expected anything less.
Alright, before I start recapping, I think you guys should know that my OTP on this show…is FlashVibe (formerly Barrisco but that changed after their epic team-up in ‘Paradox’). Yes, the mechanical engineer and the forensic scientist themselves. Therefore, I’m going to let you guys imagine how pumped I was when the episode opened revealing that Barry and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) are currently rooming together. (Fun re-use of a set: Cisco’s apartment is actually Wally’s Kid Flash headquarters from ‘Flashpoint’.) Barry’s happily making him and Cisco breakfast when Cisco begins expressing how H.R. (Tom Cavanagh) gives him weird vibes (pun totally intended). Barry tells Cisco to not judge him based on their past experiences with other Wellses. Cisco takes that into consideration.
We then find Caitlin at a lab somewhere asking to see Dr. Carla Tannhauser (Susan Walters). The receptionist doesn’t let Caitlin in but Carla walks out and lets her know that her daughter is always welcome (although she wishes Caitlin had called first). In her mom’s office, Caitlin asks her about her work on cryo-medicine, saying that she has a patient who could use her help. Carla tells Caitlin to get back to her later as she’s very busy but Caitlin isn’t having it. She slams an icy palm on her desk, revealing that she’s the one who needs her help. Carla clears her schedule.
At STAR Labs, H.R. is attempting to make a good first impression by getting bagels and coffee. He buys everyone their preferred order, shares some Earth-19 lingo (and the fact that the coffee crop was wiped out there), and calls Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) “Walter” and Cisco “San Francisco” (much better nickname than “Ramon”). He also suggests that they do some team-building exercises but Cisco shuts it down, saying that he should just observe for now. (So…what was the point of bringing him here, Cisco?) Barry wonders where Caitlin is and H.R. plays a message that she left for the team saying that she’ll be out for a few days.
At the precinct, Barry finds out that Julian has reported him to Captain Singh (Patrick Sabongui)–randomly disappearing throughout the day being one of nine different infractions. Singh tells Barry that just because he does good work doesn’t mean the rules don’t apply to him. Julian gets upset that Barry doesn’t receive any type of punishment just because he’s the CCPD’s “golden boy”. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) talks to Barry who’s having a difficult time dealing with Julian as he’s only known him for two weeks whereas Julian’s known him for a year. All of a sudden, he gets a call from Cisco about a meta-human sighting. It turns out to not be a meta-human…but a giant monster terrorizing the city causing everyone to flee and panic. Suddenly, a taxi crashes into a lamp post which falls on a bus. Iris (Candice Patton) and Barry free the trapped passengers. Barry loses the monster and H.R. gives Cisco the idea to track it using car alarms. Cisco gets a location but by the time Barry gets there, the monster’s disappeared.
Back in the cortex, Barry and Cisco talk about how to stop the monster. Cisco says they don’t have a “magical monster lasso” and H.R. says that on his earth, they have carbon-fiber ropes which the team could use to capture it. Cisco says he can start making one. Barry also notes that before the monster even touched a transformer, it blew up. When H.R. asks if he could look at it, Barry tells him and Cisco that the area’s currently a crime scene and under Julian’s domain. H.R. asks Barry to attempt to get his hands on it.
At Dr. Tannhauser’s lab, Carla’s assistant, Nigel (Thomas Cadrot), is putting electrodes on Caitlin’s arms. When he apologizes for his cold hands, Caitlin says she didn’t even notice. He brings her into a private lab where Carla shows her a shaft of solid tungsten heated to 2000°C that she wants her to freeze. After some hesitation, she does so easily.
Back in the crime lab, Julian isn’t surprised that Barry disappeared again. Barry says that he wants to start over with him but Julian remembers him asking for the same thing before he double-crossed him with the Clariss (Todd Lasance) case. Barry realizes that he’s right and asks Julian if he can shadow him to learn from him. He says that he can even have the lab to himself. Julian agrees to the deal.
In the private lab, Carla asks Caitlin how long she’s had these powers. Caitlin tells her that they manifested a few months ago but she must have gotten them from the particle accelerator explosion. (This explanation seriously makes me wonder how that scene from last season with Harry outing Cisco went in this post-Flashpoint timeline. Remember his watch didn’t detect her?!?!?) Carla blames Caitlin for taking the job at STAR Labs, saying that she should’ve worked with her instead. Caitlin says she left because she didn’t want to be in the shadow of her mother. Carla points out that the first time she’s seeing Caitlin after three years is when she’s in trouble. Nigel then calls Carla over to the computer to show her that Caitlin’s been absorbing inordinate amounts of energy. He says that Caitlin could be the key to their work.
FANGIRL BREAK/DC EASTER EGG: In the comics, Killer Frost is known as a ‘heat vampire’–sucking the heat out of every living thing around her so that her powers don’t kill her. That’s precisely why she has such an iconic relationship with Firestorm: as revealed in ‘Welcome to Earth-2’, he’s the one person who can’t be killed by Caitlin’s powers. Giving her character this problem makes her a hundred times more dangerous and actually gives her cause for concern. Cisco was worried last season that his powers were going to turn him evil. After a talk with Barry, he realized that, just because his doppelgänger did, it doesn’t mean he’s going to. Caitlin, however, may not have too much of a choice.
In Cisco’s workshop, he’s working on the rope while H.R. recounts the story of World War M and how him and The Flash of Earth-19 worked together. Cisco, not being able to take his incessant babbling, leaves. H.R. pulls out a pen with a recorder and begins talking about his hidden agenda. In the crime lab, Iris brings Barry Big Belly Burger and tells him that Joe blew off Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) once again. Barry tells Iris that Julian hates meta-humans and him equally. Iris tells him to try to see things from his perspective. Suddenly, Barry gets a text from him asking him to meet him at the crime scene.
Back at the lab, Carla’s continuing to run tests on Caitlin. She tells her mom she’s already run all these tests on herself and that she came to her because she’s terrified of what she’s becoming…but Caitlin realizes that she shouldn’t have expected her to be any different than she was when her dad died. Carla dove into her work and stopped being a mother, so Caitlin left. Carla tells her she doesn’t know how it feels to lose someone like that. Caitlin tells her about Ronnie (Robbie Amell).
Barry meets Julian at the transformer. He informs Barry that a power outage blew it up. Barry thinks it’s a coincidence but Julian thinks otherwise. He says that he’ll figure it out because the police aren’t doing anything to stop meta-humans from terrorizing Central City…as The Flash has taken that position from them. Julian then realizes that the monster only terrorized a couple of blocks and deduced that whoever was controlling it had to keep it in range of sight. The monster suddenly appears and, as Julian’s about to shoot it, Barry saves him from another electrical explosion.
At her mother’s lab, Caitlin’s about to leave when Nigel stops her, locking her in a room. He tells her that she can lead him to a major scientific breakthrough. Not wanting to be held hostage as a lab rat…Caitlin’s eyes turn icy blue and she begins to freeze his hand. Carla comes in just in time to stop her, telling her daughter that “she didn’t raise a killer”. She promises she’ll deal with Nigel, apologizes to Caitlin, and lets her go.
At the crime lab, Barry and Julian are trying to find out where the monster’s going to attack next. Julian begins lamenting about how annoyed he is that everyone who was given powers has used them for evil. He says that if he had powers, he would use them to help people. Barry tries to tell Julian that suddenly acquiring superpowers probably isn’t the easiest thing to deal with. Seeing Barry defending meta-humans, Julian calls off their temporary partnership.
FANGIRL BREAK Part 2: This was a conversation I have been waiting for this show to have. Barry’s always considered a speedster but very rarely a meta-human. This week on Supergirl, Roulette (Dichen Lachman) talked with Kara (Melissa Benoist) about how other aliens see her as a threat. The Flash desperately needs to continue exploring the idea that Barry’s not so different from the people he fights and defeats every week.
Back at STAR Labs, H.R. is still being incredibly unhelpful. He’s just repeating what Barry and Cisco say and making it sound like he came up with their ideas. When he leaves the room, Barry tells Cisco to do what Joe asked him to do with Harry a year ago–vibe him. This time, Cisco’s more than glad to. At the precinct, Iris tells Joe to go out with Cecile. With her being in love, she wants her father to be just as happy. Singh interrupts and Julian tells them that he knows where the monster’s next attack is going to be.
Barry and Cisco walk into his workshop and Cisco starts going through H.R.’s things. He finds the recorder pen and it starts playing the audio file. Cisco and Barry hear him say that he’s won everyone’s trust except “Francisco’s”. H.R. then comes walking into the room. He tells them that he knows they’ve been hurt by Welles before and asks Cisco to play the rest of the message. They hear him talking about how he wants to build a friendship with Cisco because it would be a fantastic story to weave into “the narrative”. He reveals that not only is he a scientist, but a novelist writing The Tales of H.R. Wells. (Well, now we know why he goes by “H.R.” Does the name H. G. Wells ring a bell?) All of a sudden, Caitlin arrives and the meta-human alert app goes off. The monster is back.
Barry arrives at the promenade with the carbon-fiber rope but with no plan as to how to use it. Cisco suggests he pull an Empire Strikes Back and wrap it around the monster’s legs. (Cue the line from Barry that will no doubt make TVLine’s Quotes of the Week list: “Always wanted to be a Jedi.”) When the monster passes through it, Barry realizes that it’s a hologram. The CCPD gets one shot at the monster (almost injuring a civilian in the process) before Barry tells them to hold their fire. Cisco then finds where all the power is being directed to and Barry runs there to find Julian. He’s about to shoot the operator when Barry turns him around and shows Julian that he’s only a kid. Julian’s horrified at himself but thanks The Flash. Joe then questions the kid who says that, as he’s bullied at school, he wanted to feel powerful for once in his life and make other people scared. Joe tells him that it does get better…but that he will be facing severe consequences for what he did.
Back in the cortex, H.R. shows Team Flash his surprisingly impressive resume. Cisco asks him if it’s fake. H.R. confesses that he’s the “idea man” and that his partner at the STAR Labs on his earth is the one who solved the cryptogram. He says that he’s “the face of the company” and was exposed as a fraud…but answered Team Flash’s message because he wanted to redeem himself as a novelist. He asks the team if they’ve ever kept a secret because they thought it was for the best. (Cue individual shots of Caitlin, Cisco, and Barry.) Wally calls him a con man and the team agrees. H.R. asks them to let him be their muse. He may not have been the one to stop the meta-humans on Earth-19 but he remembers how The Flash there did it. Him and Barry make a deal that if he can’t prove himself, he goes home.
Later that night, Cisco finds Caitlin in the Speed Lab. He asks her where she was and she tells him that she was trying to patch things up with her mother. He tells her that it’s best to do that sooner rather than later because you never know when you might lose that chance. They’re both glad that she’s back home.
At the crime lab, Barry begins packing up his stuff when Julian starts talking about the awful thing he almost did…until The Flash stopped him. He sympathizes with the kid because he knows what it’s like to be scared. He tells Barry about how he comes from a wealthy family in England and was supposed to be the heir to the fortune, but moved to the United States because he wanted to be a scientist. Things were going well until meta-humans started showing up and, all of a sudden, he felt like he didn’t know anything. Barry tells him that both of his parents were murdered but change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Julian tells Barry to stop packing. Barry asks Julian if he wants to go out for drinks.
In the post-credits scene, Caitlin pulls up a video message from her mother. She tells her that the more she uses her powers, the harder it will be to reverse them. She begins to explain why her powers are so dangerous when Killer Frost takes over and freezes the computer.
Sadly, we’ve reached our first hiatus but there’s a big ‘ol treat waiting for us in two weeks. Taking a break from Caitlin and focusing on Wally, ‘Shade’ will see the former Kid Flash start having visions of Flashpoint. It’ll be up to Joe and Barry to stop Dr. Alchemy (Tobin Bell) and Iris to stop Wally before the former can help the latter fulfill his comic book destiny. Tune in to episode 3×06 on November 15th at 8/7c on The CW.