Third season, seventh episode , titled ‘Killer Frost”- what an intense emotional rollercoaster bundled up in fabulous performances and direction of 42 minutes.
I had read a post a few days prior to watching the episode about how it wouldn’t be so catastrophic if Caitlin turns evil (temporarily) because then the team (aka Barry) would realise how much they need her. Let’s face it- Caitlin is ridiculously under-appreciated; not only does she save Barry every single time he needs patching up, she also offers him a depth of emotional understanding that only she can because they both have not only suffered but have been forced to move past the grief brought about by the loss of a loved one.
The writers play fast and loose with the amount of attention they focus on Barry’s interactions with Caitlin- for some reason their scenes are usually cut out, much to my chagrin not only as a Snowbarry shipper but as a person of reasonable faculties. You don’t cut out scenes of Barry comforting Caitlin right after a speedster tricked her and ripped her heart out in the process because why wouldn’t Barry comfort one of the people he cares most about? You don’t cut out the scene where Barry asks the woman who was willing to die at the hands of Captain Cold and Heatwave for you, if she’s okay because why wouldn’t Barry be overly concerned about her well-being after such an ordeal?!
One of the reasons why I enjoyed this episode so much is because we finally get more glimpses into what Caitlin truly means to Barry. We get bits and pieces scattered throughout a season but this episode was a huge blessing in that it perfectly summed up the gist of Barry’s feelings for Caitlin Snow- she is the woman he has grown to respect and admire but he can only do so from afar hence his fierceness to protect her as much as she will allow him to. He loves her but he doesn’t know it yet because he won’t allow himself to look at her in that light. Somehow he feels that if he does love her, it’ll shift things too far out of focus and she will possibly never again allow him close to her emotionally because as this episode proves, Barry can always break the frosty walls she literally and emotionally puts up. She’s only allowed a select few men into her well-guarded world and they have either died or trampled all over her heart- except for Cisco and Barry. She trusts that they’re here to stay and Barry doesn’t change his perception because of it.
This episode reveals that to Barry, Caitlin is one of his best friends, one of his inner circle of loved ones, his Cait and Dr Caitlin Snow, M.D. Let me elaborate:
• Before Henry Allen was released from jail, being a CSI was the only chance that Barry had to prove his father’s innocence. Once that purpose fell away however, the question had to be asked: besides needing to pay the bills, why remain a CSI? Because it became a fundamental part of Barry’s identity. By day forensic scientist, by night the speedster of Central City. As much as Barry loves running at superhuman speed, even he knows there are times when Barry simply needs to be Barry. He needs a chance to kick off the red boots and mask and just be dorky Barry Allen who stumbles over his feet when he talks to a pretty girl. One of the key elements of Barry having some sort of normalcy in his otherwise crazy life is being a CSI- it helps him keep the day-to-day menaces locked up and provides a balance to his existence. He would go crazy all day, agonising about the deaths he thinks he caused and the dangerous metas he has yet to catch if he didn’t have normal people worries to worry about which is what being plain, ol’ Barry entails.
But he gives all of that up. He gives up a job that is not merely a job to him but a passion and another way of helping people (which loveable Barry wants to do above all else) - all to protect Caitlin. Sure, one aspect of the reason why he does so is because he feels guilty for putting Caitlin in this awful position in the first place and he must do everything he can to fix it for her. The main reason however is because Caitlin means more to him than a job title. He wants to assure her that she can count on him, like she’s done before, like he always counts on her. He needs her as a pillar of support and she needs to know that Barry wants to be that for her too. So he promises to take care of her, to make sure the backlash of the mess he caused doesn’t damage their relationship any further. And she is worth it- worth all the sacrifices and he knows it.
• Throughout the episode, Barry never once falters in his belief in Caitlin’s innate goodness as a person. He knows he messed up the timeline and that is why Killer Frost is acting out but never once does he stop and become frustrated or blames Caitlin for not fighting her transformation into Killer Frost hard enough. Julian was the picture of frustration because the generalisation of all metas being bad has hardened like cataracts in his eyes. Joe was agitated because of his fear that what was happening to Caitlin could be foreshadowing what Wally’s future held and his parental fear was totally understandable.
I would have given Cisco and Barry the benefit of the doubt if they had gotten a little frustrated with or had even given up on Caitlin at one point. We’re all fallible and a stumble in faith happens to the best of us- as long as they got back on the Caitlin-bandwagon, I would have forgiven them. But they are worth much more than the credit given to them. Team Flash began with the three of them (not counting the original Wells cos he was a traitor and in some other timeline, he still is) and their friendship took a beating in this episode (understatement). If the foundations of their friendship were not strong, all three of them could have merely given up on the other and scattered away to live normal, drama-free lives away from each other. Kudos to the original Team Flash for being so amazingly loyal. As Barry said, they are his best friends and best friends help each other out, especially in the stickiest of situations- and what could be stickier than one of your best friends screwing up the other best friends’ lives?
Barry consistently wants to help Caitlin, constantly reassuring her that she is not alone and doesn’t need to be- he’s telling her that she is not sitting on the side lines of his life but as one of his best friends, she is right there in the centre of his life. He never gave up on her and he doesn’t intend to- she was his first priority in the middle of the Savitar/Dr Alchemy mayhem and my Snowbarry heart melted at the thought…and so did Caitlin’s!
• Every single time Barry called her ‘Cait’ or Caitlin uttered ‘Barry’, I squealed because somehow in those mere syllables, these two managed to entwine a depth of unspoken sentiment and belief. They were saying two words in total, one word respectively and yet an entire meaningful conversation passed in that heartbeat. She’s his Cait- this means much more than a nickname to him now. He knows her on a level far deeper than most because she let him- she allowed him in because she trusts him too. He knows that no matter what Earth they may be on, he can count on her to be by his side, helping him and protecting him. She’ll call him out on his bullshit and worry and fuss about his limitations but she will always do so because she cares about him- Barry Allen and not the Flash. This is why he can melt and break through her walls- he has experience in doing so and more importantly, he wants to. She would the same for him and she puts her faith in him and Barry rewards that faith by protecting her from her demons, believing in the best parts of her when everything goes dark and promising her that he’ll make it all okay when everything seems dismal.
Caitlin will always need Barry as much as he needs her- the way she fell into his arms after dropping the icicle and overcoming the Killer Frost transformation is significant- he was there for her, he didn’t break her once more or abandon her . Barry stayed to fix her- fix what she thought was irreparably broken and because of him she can go on; because of his faith, support and presence she can overcome Killer Frost- “I got you”
This is one of my favourite facets of their relationship- how they can rely on each other, how they’re both stubborn as hell and head butt over issues all the time but when one needs the other, there’s no wavering, no hesitation and no doubt. It’s not only heart-warming but inspiring because the very best of relationships need such belief and trust to endure.
• Of course, Barry needs his Dr Snow to help him save the day because she is the heart of the team and he wouldn’t be able to do half the things he does as The Flash without her expertise and intelligence. This reaffirms everything I’ve said above- simply, just as much as Barry needs Caitlin, The Flash needs Dr Snow M.D.
It’s okay if Snowbarry remains in the place where it is now because it’s a darn good place even if the writers sometimes don’t do justice to their relationship. However, this doesn’t mean that Caitlin doesn’t have the potential to be or their relationship doesn’t have the elements to be OTP. It simply means that on Earth 1, the circumstances didn’t permit it so.
I shall comfort myself with the thought that somewhere out in the multiverse, Barry is running amok with little Snowbarry babies in the Snow-Allen household while Caitlin sings “Summer Lovin’” (off-key, of course).