Flash: Growing Pains

Look! There are gaps and holes in this story everywhere!

Life probably hasn’t been normal for Barry since he was a kid, and less so since he got his powers. Lately, it’s been even stranger, as the team clashed with Mirror Monarch and dealt with the aftermath. Now, there are new forces (literally) at work in Central City, and Team Flash is having all sorts of new problems. There’s a lot of oddness going on as they deal with some “Growing Pains.”

Morning finds Barry coming home after dealing with a car fire (small scale heroism that so many shows end up forgetting about) to find a huge breakfast. Since we know Iris is culinarily challenged, he shouldn’t be surprised to find out it’s Speed Nora, who seems to be channeling some of the original Nora. Barry is clearly uncomfortable with her, but Nora isn’t attuned enough to human behavior yet to really notice. He has a glitch with his powers, and then they end up sitting down to eat. There’s a lot of shop talk about the various scans and forces, and Iris makes a comment that has Barry flinching. How she hasn’t picked up on his discomfort in this area, I have no idea. After some talk and a possible explanation for Barry’s power issues, he takes off to respond to an alert from CCPD. He has to take some time first to explain to Nora that her coming along isn’t a good idea.

At STAR, Cecile is meeting with Frost about her charges and the troubling appearance of Kramer, the governor’s special anti-meta envoy. I do wonder how Cecile is paying her bills if she keeps taking on non-paying clients. I mean, as far as we know, Frost doesn’t have any money. Frost has some understandable, if not helpful, ideas about how to deal with Kramer, which Cecile explains won’t work. After hearing Cecile’s advice, Chester is worried about what Frost is going to do. Frost is not at all happy about what’s being asked of her, but reluctantly agrees. Chester gets called to the same case Barry was summoned for, and we hear Cisco is apparently out of town on vacation. With so many new threats to the team and the city, this seems an unlikely time for a trip, but they keep finding excuses for Cisco to not be around.

The crime scene is at Ivo labs, where the Amazo robot several of our heroes fought in the Elseworlds crossover a few years ago came from. It isn’t pretty, and Chester has some issues with what he sees. Kramer shows up and immediately blames Killer Frost. While that is her current obsession, I’d like to point out that, to the general public, Captain Cold is still around and worked a lot in Central City. They also discuss the dark matter energy in the ice left behind, which should clear Frost. We’ve never gotten a great origin for her, but she pre-dates the particle accelerator incident. Somehow, this seems to slip everyone’s mind. Barry also points out that some of the things here are things Frost has never done, but Kramer isn’t impressed. She marches off to go hunting, and Chester starts to get an idea of how complicated some parts of the hero life can be.

STAR Labs evidently has a gym, which I don’t recall seeing before. Allegra and Frost are working out here when Chester finds them and updates them on the crime scene and Kramer assuming Frost did it. Allegra sends Chester off to do his tech thing and then gets Frost to tell her what she’s planning. Frost does share, but Allegra doesn’t like the restrictions Frost puts on her. Kramer watches Barry work and seems almost friendly and complimentary, which is a bit strange coming from her. Nora pops up, giving Barry a heart attack and more power glitches, and offers some insights before he can convince her to go.

Revisiting some of her old haunts, Frost goes to a dive bar and meets a bartender she can’t help drooling over. Her timing is bad, and, after she and Mark flirt a bit, Kramer pops up on tv offering a huge bounty for Frost’s arrest. This has the effect you might expect in a thug bar, and we get to see Frost beat up some bad guys before getting an unexpected hand and more awkward flirting. For all her being a bad-ass, in many ways Frost is very inexperienced, which is a fun plot point to play with. She gets a tip on the way out. Back in the CCPD lab, Barry and Chester are trying to find a way to prove Frost is innocent. They’re getting some odd results which are going to take a while to sort out, which is when Nora shows up again. Barry has some issues with her presence, again, and his power flare this time does some damage to the lab. Frustrated past caring, Barry yells at Nora, and ignores Chester’s attempts to calm things down. Continuing to have a bad day, Barry finds out that Kramer is going after Frost, but neither he nor Chester can reach her, since she’s out running around despite what she promised. Misguided somewhat, Allegra keeps covering for her.

Frost goes to the place she was steered towards, and finds a lot of not much. There is one odd machine whirring away, and she does something I wouldn’t have as it makes its little light show. While all this goes on, there’s a nice little misdirect as we find out that Kramer is closing in on… Caitlin. Caitlin gets arrested, but she’s smart enough not to fight back, not that she really can. Joe is along to play peacemaker, and keeps things under control. Later, Cecile comes in to check on Caitlin, acting as her lawyer. Frost calls in and almost does something dumb, but Caitlin and Cecile talk her out of it. Then, Frost gets an idea and takes off to check it out. Joe has an angry talk with Kramer, and I suspect these two aren’t going to be friends.

At the loft, Barry is doing the stereotypical staring out moodily at the rain thing. Iris comes to have a talk with him about how he’s acting with Nora. She offers some good insights, which to me has always made more sense than her suddenly being a leader or tactician like they did a while back. Chester texts from STAR, and Barry zips off to see what’s going on. Chester gives him some good intel, and they finally notice Frost is gone. Allegra comes clean, and they decide they’d better find their missing friend. Frost herself has retraced her earlier steps and is confronting the new bad guy. There’s some talk and a convoluted origin story before we get a really big and well-done fight. Eventually, the rest of the team figures out where Frost is and comes charging in to the rescue, although she has that handled.

Most of them are reunited, the bad guy vanquished, so all should be well, right? Well, no, obsessive Kramer shows up, surrounding the place, demanding Frost’s surrender. Why this is a problem, I have no idea. Allegra has Nash’s teleporting gizmos, and Flash is, well, Flash. But for some reason, it’s a big dramatic thing. After some reflection, Frost makes a startling decision and takes things in a new direction. The episode ends with the team dealing with the ramifications of Frost’s decisions, and Barry patching things up with Nora. I’m glad that subplot isn’t going to drag on.

What I liked: Most of Frost’s scenes were really good. Her two fights were great. The villain was an interesting spin on a minor DC character. Kramer would be easy to dismiss as just some crazy government official, but her scene with Barry makes me think there’s more to her. I really appreciated Joe standing up to Kramer.

What I didn’t: There were a lot of logic holes in this episode. I mentioned the issues with them being “surrounded” near the end of the episode. I can’t believe this is a time Cisco would go on vacation. Why does Barry have trouble finding Frost, considering how quickly he could literally search the entire city?

This wasn’t a great episode. I’m giving it a low 3 out of 5, some of the bad parts being balanced by Frost’s scenes.