The STAR Labs crew has to face a new threat from the pages of DC Comics when things go awry as “The Icicle Cometh.” Icicle, originally, was a Golden Age villain who clashed often with the Justice Society of America, and an updated version did the same in later years. Now, well… there’s a new version in town. There will be some minor spoilers in this review, so be warned going in.
The show opens at Jitters (where else?), where a woman gets company and we see one of the ways Cicada is finding his metahuman victims. He goes after her in the parking lot, and she proves to be a version of Razorsharp, a minor character who was one of the “New Blood” group of supers, a sometime ally/sometime antagonist of Robin III, Tim Drake. Cicada kills her, but she does wound him badly, which means this one woman with unknown training and experience fared better against the killer than most of Team Flash did.
Cisco and the team are using their newly acquired satellites to work the Cicada case, ending up with a fair number of sites to search for where debris struck the night of Thinker’s failed Enlightenment. The team goes over Cisco’s new leads and splits up to cover different angles of the search. Nora, Iris, and Wells go to check impact sites, while Ralph leaves to find Joe to get some official help with his inquiries at FEMA for who reported injuries.
This leaves Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin behind, and she knows something is up right away. Barry and Cisco are worried about their friend, and have been doing some hunting for her father without her. They think they have narrowed down where he is. Caitlin is clearly having some mixed feelings about this.
Joe turns out not to be home, most likely more of the writers covering for actor Jesse Martin’s health issues. Cecile is there, and bored, and desperate to get out of the house. She makes a decent pitch for Ralph to take her along, although I will say police have more investigative powers than District Attorneys do. Barry, Caitlin, and Cisco use one of the breeching devices to teleport up north and find Thomas Snow. After poking through a mostly closed down research facility, they find him. They talk about what he’s been up to and his attempts to cure his ALS. In the course of the conversation, he name drops Victor Fries (Mr. Freeze) and Louise Lincoln (the original Killer Frost in the comics). It seems like a very happy reunion for Caitlin.
Cecile and Ralph go to the FEMA building, and find it oddly deserted. The employee they do find isn’t really helpful. Cecile starts off strong but loses her momentum in mid-bluster, and the FEMA man shoos them off. Team Arctic gets back to STAR, where Thomas rhapsodizes about seeing sunsets again. Cisco alone isn’t thrilled with things, growing more and more suspicious of Thomas’ story. Barry doesn’t seem interested in listening to Cisco’s concerns.
Iris, Nora, and Wells start their own search, and Nora and Iris trip over each other trying to work together. Wells is exasperated, as he didn’t want to bring Nora in the first place. Nora speed-searches their first site, finding nothing, and growing discouraged. Wells tells her to stay and has an idea for how they can proceed. Caitlin and Thomas go for a walk, talking about things he’s missed and the unlikely relationship between Thomas and Caitlin’s mother. When he starts getting emotional, we see another issue relating to his condition.
Back at STAR, Thomas reveals more about what happened in the past with both him and Caitlin. Cisco gets even more suspicious, and I don’t blame him. We learn what is essentially Caitlin’s secret origin, although I don’t really get how it works in either her or Thomas’ story. They come up with an elaborate plan to try and cure Thomas, and Cisco lets himself be persuaded to go along with it. At the hospital, we find out more about one of Cicada’s allies, and her dubious motives for helping him.
At the West house, Ralph and Cecile go over their visit to FEMA. Cecile seems to have her groove back, and they work out the theory that her powers kicked in and got her confused by picking up on the FEMA man’s fear. That would be empathy, not telepathy, but close enough I guess. They do conclude that if he’s that nervous he has something to hide, which I’ll go along with. We also see one of Ralph’s trademark bits from the comics that Cecile doesn’t like.
Wells annoys the others with an elaborate tea ritual. Iris and Nora come up with their own theory about what happened to the elusive satellite core. They talk over Iris’ brief time as a speedster, and come up with a way for Nora to possibly get the piece they need back. Wells looks on, amused, and I guess he’s been stalling this whole time to make them work together? Cisco tries to help his friends out, goes back to Thomas’ research base/hideout, and makes a startling discovery via his not working except for plot point powers.
Barry is planning how to get in someplace where the Department of Defense has some of the equipment they need when Cisco gets back and shares his latest discoveries. Neither Caitlin nor Barry wants to listen. Thomas comes up with a story to explain away Cisco’s concerns, and the frustrated young scientist stalks off. Barry goes after him, and Cisco encourages Barry to rethink how he’s looking at things. Ralph and Cecile return to FEMA after having done a bit of digging. They confront the man with their discoveries, get the information they need, and turn him in anyway. A very wounded Cicada makes his way home and passes out from his wounds.
Barry goes to have a talk with Caitlin, who still doesn’t want to listen. They argue a bit, and Barry points a few things out. Thomas overhears this and reveals the truth. In a very sloppily done scene, Thomas drops all three heroes, even though that basically means Barry’s reacting even slower than I do, and I don’t have powers. He takes what he wants and makes a supervillain exit. The team recovers later and comes up with a new plan for their changed circumstances. The team charges in when they find the villain, and things go badly immediately.
Somehow, the intense cold saps the speed from Flash and XS, and when Caitlin, Elongated Man, and Vibe port in, most of them just fall over. As Iris and Wells monitor from STAR, the team’s body temperatures plunge alarmingly. As Thomas gloats and everyone else freezes, they all realize Caitlin is fine. Thomas taunts her, and something finally snaps. Thomas’ Icicle meets Killer Frost, and it goes badly for him. The unexpected return saves the day, although he manages to escape with a really odd use of his powers. The team has a group moment and Caitlin is happy at the return of her frosty alter ego.
Back at STAR, there’s a lot of detective work. Cisco, after briefly dubbing Thomas “Snow Country for Old Men,” figures out what happened between Caitlin/Killer Frost and DeVoe. Cisco even has an idea to help Caitlin and Killer Frost reconnect, after a fashion. In the lab, Iris, Nora, and Wells not only found the satellite core, which makes sense, but they have brought it back, which doesn’t quite. They get to work and, with all of them pooling what they found, think they’ve found out who Cicada is. The villain himself gets some help from his ally and makes an odd pronouncement.
What I liked: I’m glad Ralph is getting some credit again for being a detective, and his comic book trick was fun to see. I admire Cisco for sticking to his guns in the face of everyone disagreeing with him. I like that it’s an ensemble show enough that, even though it’s called “The Flash,” Barry had a relatively minor role this episode and wasn’t the one to save the day. I’m very glad Killer Frost is back. Now if they’d just heal poor Cisco.
What I didn’t: Telepathy and empathy aren’t quite the same thing, which the writers don’t seem to quite have a handle on. Thomas’ escape near the end was just weird. I get what they said happened between DeVoe and Killer Frost, but the why of it utterly eludes me. I know they weren’t planning on Jesse Martin needing to take a break, but his excuse for not being part of the show was a bit weak. And the obscure Razorsharp managed to make a better showing against Cicada than all of Team Flash.
It was a decent episode. I’ll give it a high 3 out of 5.