The Flash 3×05 Roundtable: ‘Monster’

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A new season of The Flash means a new season of roundtables where Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, and Lyra discuss the hot topics from every Flash episode.

In The Flash‘s fifth episode of season 3, Caitlin Snow took center stage as she sought help with this Killer Frost transformation from the most surprising of people — her mother. Also, Barry and Julian are beginning to see there’s more to each other than initially meets the eye. And Iris starts throwing around the “L” word.

What were your overall thoughts on “Monster?”

Alyssa: Given the state of The Flash this season, “Monster” wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t overtly impressive either. But there were certain elements of the hour that made it enjoyable, including Caitlin’s emotional journey as she’s becoming Killer Frost with each passing moment and remains terrified to even tell her friends. There was also some nice emotional stuff from Julian, which made his character so much more than the character that hates Barry Allen to the same extent we do right now. The Flash has seemed to fall victim to the hype of Flashpoint but doesn’t appear to be executing it as well as I had hoped prior to the start of the season. Still holding out hope that it can be remedied, but we know how far hope gets us in this universe.

Lizzie: It was an okay episode – a little disjointed at times, but not awful. I liked Caitlin’s storyline, but was sorta meh about this whole narrative with Harrison Wells the writer and the monster. I did enjoy Julian Albert today, more than I enjoyed him last episode, at least. The show finally gave him some depth, and I appreciate that.

Lyra: I’m gonna be honest here, ok? I watched the Killer Frost scenes first. I haven’t been over the moon with The Flash since Flashpoint so I decided, what the hell, wing it. I’m glad I didn’t. Despite being a bit disjointed it was a good step forward for a lot of the characters. Each had a tiny little moment where I was like, “Hmmmm. That could lead somewhere interesting.” Also, screw you Tom Cavanaugh! HOW CAN I LOVE EVERY VERSION OF HARRISON WELLS?! Bastard!

This episode was a big one for Caitlin’s Killer Frost arc. What were your thoughts on bringing her mother into the fold and exploring the potential of Killer Frost?

Alyssa: Words cannot express how thankful I am that The Flash is finally exploring Caitlin Snow in a way that has zero relation to her love life. Given what we saw with Killer Frost on Earth-2, there was something lacking with the backstory of how Killer Frost had come to be. I’m really enjoying how Killer Frost is this manifestation of all of these emotional issues that Caitlin has been battling stemming from her mother to the other emotional traumas she’s experienced in her life. Caitlin is a character that we know to be a good soul deep down, but right now she’s really struggling with these emotions that she’s suppressed and they’re surfacing in a unique way as she develops these abilities. I love the potential that this storyline has because it’s giving this Killer Frost arc a purpose. Sure, this is for the comic book fans. But The Flash is choosing to handle it in a way that comic fans get Killer Frost and the general audience gets an emotional journey that feels true to Caitlin’s character. I’m all for it.

Lizzie: I really like the potential of this storyline – and I like that this is 100% about Caitlin, not about Ronnie or about her mother even, it’s about her and her issues and all that she’s been bottling up for years. It makes sense, because what we’ve seen of Caitlin so far is a woman who isn’t really free with her emotions, and there’s a lot of heartache in her past we have yet to explore. So, I’m here for a storyline. Give me Killer Frost. And make it all about Caitlin. It shouldn’t be about anyone else.

Lyra: Please dear Flash Writers, give me more Susan Walters. While you’re at it bring Linden Ashby on as her dad cuz why the hell not! Dead? No problem. Flashbacks!

Now that I’ve gotten that freakout out of the way, let’s talk KF. I love that they’re not rushing KF and her journey. They’re giving it the time it deserves and allowing Caitlin to come to terms with it all. I do feel like it’s reached a point where she needs to reach out to friends, but it’s all up to her. No one’s forcing her hand and the writers aren’t letting the plot guide her journey. SHE is the navigator. Bringing her mother in the fold is her first step in admitting that her powers are getting out of control and that she’s scared. I don’t think it’s going to turn into a shit show unless…HER MOTHER DIES JUST AS THEY’RE GETTING ALONG. But that wouldn’t happen, right?

For the first four episodes the relationship between Barry and Julian was centered around disdain towards each other. But this week we got to see them really hash those feelings out. What did you think?

Alyssa: I love how The Flash is choosing to approach this relationship. While there was that level of disdain toward one another, this episode really showed how they’re not going to hold these two characters back for a sustained period of time. It’s all about growth, whether it’s as individuals or in a relationship. While these two are still far off from seeing completely eye to eye, there was a great level of development in their relationship. They — and we — are beginning to see that there’s more to each other than they initially assumed. They’re looking past the hatred and starting to see the person standing in front of them. They won’t be sharing a beer anytime soon, but this is growth. And I’m all about growth.

Lizzie: Character development, how I love you. I mean, we knew Julian couldn’t really be all that he seemed, because no one is just one thing – but TV shows sometimes have a way of painting “enemies” of the main character in a less than flattering way, and I’m glad The Flash is not going that one-dimensional route. In a way, we’ve only seen the metahuman thing from the POV of people who love metahumans, and Patty Spivot was taken away from us before we could really explore the opposite mentality. Julian seems to be in this for the long run, and he’s an important bit of perspective in a show that has, for so long, show only one side.

Lyra: At this point I want Julian and Barry to cosplay as Harry Potter characters and go and watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. They are in that stage of their relationship, right? No? Well I think they can be! This episode cracked open that hard shell Julian has himself in and showed us a glimpse at the overachiever who wants to help people. He’s not an evil conniving bastard. He’s just a guy with self-esteem issues that turn into anger at the drop of a dime. Julian and Barry talking is the first time into becoming friends and letting all those assumptions and anger, go.

So Iris told Joe that she’s “falling in love” with Barry. What are your thoughts on how The Flash is choosing to embrace romance this season as opposed to other superhero shows?

Alyssa: While “romance” appears to be a bad word on a show like Arrow, I really admire how The Flash isn’t shying away from it. Romance is a part of any story — superhero or not. But with that said, I feel like we’re being cheated out of WestAllen. Their journey has been up and down this season. There have been times where I really liked how they were telling their story and times, like this episode, where I feel like they’re rushing it. The show has been good at pacing of this romance up until season three. I just want a little more stability in how they’re pacing Barry and Iris. It kind of feels like Flash is unsure of how to handle WestAllen now that they’re together. At least that’s what these first few episodes have shown. I need them to find stability in this storytelling because I can’t bear it if Flash does to Barry and Iris what Arrow did to Oliver and Felicity. You’re better than that, Flash.

Lizzie: It kinda feels like they’re trying to give me something to compensate all the took from me with Flashpoint, and in a way that’s good, but in another way, it feels like a misdirect. I’ve alternatively liked and not liked how they’ve handled WestAllen this year, but what I really, REALLY won’t like is if they get them together only to find some bullshit drama to break them apart later on, because God forbid a superhero can be happy. So, all I’m asking is that you commit to it, The Flash. I will never forgive you if you go the Olicity route with this.

Lyra: I like that Barry and Iris are just being themselves. No over the top dramatics or added plot devices for flare and to make the audience go, “Ohhhhh! Look at that! Pretty angst.” No. They are going slow and steady, keeping true to the kind of people they are, and letting the characters drive the plot. I might not love what Barry has done, but I can appreciate that they’ve slowed their role and are focused on what makes Barry and Iris great. P.S. I don’t even ship Westallen and I can see that they’re doing it right. Unlike other DC TV Shows. Yes, you know who you are! And no, you can’t hide behind the comic book canon or “we know what we’re doing” excuse. We’re intelligent viewers, so treat us like that. Until then, get it Westallen. Yeah I said it!

Team Flash got its first taste of life with the new Harrison Wells, which seemed to be headed towards a big betrayal but ended in a way that wasn’t to be expected. What did you think about his rapport with Team Flash and what the future might hold?

Alyssa: Honestly, I think this whole storyline is rather stupid. It was funny at first, but now that the reality of this new Harrison Wells has set in, I’m not enjoying it. While this isn’t the first Harrison Wells we’ve met, this new Wells just doesn’t endear to me the way the others have. Most specifically Harry. I miss Harry. So much. There was something about him that felt very natural to the storyline and the characters while this new Wells and his narrative feel very contrived. I don’t like it at all. Flash, I beg of you, please find a way to bring Harry back. And Jesse, too, while we’re at it.

Lizzie: I just want Harry back. I miss my grumpy Harry. I don’t really hate this new, optimistic version of Wells, but I don’t really love him either, and at this point, I don’t really see how he could help. I do, however, love the actor enough to give him a chance, so we shall see.

Lyra: Like the great Randy Pausch said, “There is a a skill called ‘leadership.'” It just so happens that HR has it. They were right to be suspicious about him considering how the original Wells ended up being the Reverse Flash and permanently tramatizing them. (Ahhhh, good times when all we had to deal with was the Reverse Flash.) They were even right with going through his things. After the crap that Barry just pulled we’re not keeping any secrets people!

His rapport with Team Flash was shaky because of his doppelgangers past and won’t be smooth sailing anytime soon because of his lie. HR has to prove himself twice as hard as his predecessors. He’s funny, quirky, and has a flare for the dramatic. But he’s also kind, helpful, and generous. That’s bound to make a combination that breaks through San Francisco’s walls in no time. Before you know it they’ll appreciate what he brings to Team Flash!

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.

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