The Flash: Season 3 Episode 5 ‘Monster’ review

Can Caitlin’s mother help her with her manifesting powers in The Flash?

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again, The Flash is at its best when it is concentrating on its characters rather than the monster of the week (which we still like). In the limelight this week was Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), who they have been painfully guilty of ignoring over the years in terms of her character development. They’ve often landed her with a storyline based around her love life and excluded everything else.

So when they started having her Killer Frost powers appear earlier this season we were excited. Seeing Caitlin make the trip to visit her mother (played by the wonderful Susan Walters), where she undergoes a series of tests and her powers gain strength. As they gain momentum it is obvious that Killer Frost comes out of her powers, they make her, excuse the pun, icy. We always wondered how Caitlin, one of the genuinely loveliest characters on our screens, could ever become ‘evil’, and here is our answer. Part in what her powers do to her when they manifest is take over her personality. This might seem like a cop out to some, and we can understand it, but it’s a better excuse than her being an embittered woman who is angry over losing loved ones (which she has every right to be, but we don’t accept this as a reason why somebody with such a good heart would turn into the bad guy on its own).

Showcasing her powers runs at the heart of the story, seeing Caitlin deal with them, dealing with her mother and showing us minor elements of her backstory that we have never been given before. Every other character in the show has been given this information, so why has it taken them until Season Three to cover one of the core members of the team? We’re not angry, just disappointed – which we all know is worse. We see her kill a man, which Caitlin would never knowingly hurt anyone, and even threaten her own mother. Whatever tests they have done on her, we want to know what they found.

Continuing on with the good storylines this episode, we get to see what ‘HR’ (Harrison Wells from Earth-19) (Tom Cavanagh) is like. You see him speaking into a dictaphone and the immediate thought is “He’s evil. That’s a bit dull.” and it wouldn’t be the first time that The Flash has been guilty of reusing storylines/bad guys. When the twist comes, it’s brilliant. Cavanagh is ridiculously talented, its not just in the words he is given, but the ticks that he gives these characters, they want that they all speak differently despite being the same genetically. HR is a writer (HG Wells anyone?!). He likes to repeat back the science that Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin give him for them to come up with the solutions. He fleetingly mentions a partner he works with back home that allowed him to solve the puzzle they sent out, and we want to know more. Who is this partner? Is it somebody we know?

Elsewhere and Drac- Julian (Tom Felton) is back in action this week, as the CSI battle a monster, not a metahuman, a straight out monster of the week, in an episode called ‘Monster’. We love it, it’s a little meta in itself. Though it turns out to just been some lonely nerd who wanted to get noticed, it revealed an awful lot about Felton’s character. What we will say, the more we know about him, the more we are convinced that Draco up and left the UK for America, disguised as a muggle and making a life of his own. There is a lot of talking, and a lot of telling, not showing when it comes down to it, but in the heartfelt moment between Julian and Barry (Grant Gustin) in which they agree that they definitely got off on the wrong foot and went for a drink.

We admit, we would rather Julian remained a more antagonistic force, we want him to call Barry out when he is doing things he shouldn’t. Maybe he can become like Earth-2’s Harrison Wells, antagonistic but also a good guy. Calling them out on everything while still being a part of the gang. We want people to not like Barry. He might be the winner of the CCPD’s Most Likeable superlative, but come on, be realistic. Not everybody is going to like him.

While the monster was forgettable, and we can’t help but think “If you’re lonely, why didn’t you make yourself some less destructive friends?” for the most part this was a strong and highly-likeable outing for The Flash, if it keeps this up, we’ll be most impressed.