We’re back with another The Flash roundtable! And what perfect timing with an episode that addressed female friendships and showed us that, yes, there’s some progress being made on that front. But we do have a long way to go.
Our Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, Lyra, Charles, Lacey, Kayla, and Jade and our lovely guest Funmbi, from one of our favorite sites: We So Nerdy, are breaking down the fifth episode of The Flash. Here we go!
Describe your thoughts about “Girls Night Out” using just six words.
Alyssa: Who runs the world? The ladies.
Lizzie: I’m all in with the Flash!
Lyra: Barry is making me reconsider wings.
Sarah: Ladies just want to have fun!
Charles: The Ladies bring the fun.
Lacey: Rose. Jack. The Titanic. The door.
Kayla: Iris and Caitlin, I need that.
Funmbi: The ladies of Team Flash slay!
Jade: Too much fun; I want more.
Describe your thoughts about “Girls Night Out” using a gif.
Girls Night Out” saw the ladies come together and solve their villain problem without the men. In a verse where female friendships are severely lacking, what does this mean for DCTV’s future? Also, how important was it for Iris and Caitlin to bond?
Alyssa: I’d like to hope that this will be the beginning of the female focus we’ve been hoping for. There are so many badass and intelligent female ladies that either interact or should interact and don’t. It’s wasted opportunities especially for a diverse audience that craves that interaction. Supergirl does a great job at focusing on those female dynamics, and it’d be nice for the rest of the DCTV universe to follow suit. It was extremely important for Iris and Caitlin to bond, not only because they’re two main female characters, but they’ve known and have worked together for a couple of years and have said nothing but a passing word to each other. It always felt like The Flash was setting up this illusion where Iris and Caitlin were friends. One of those, “we’re telling you, but we’re not going to show you.” I’m sorry, but as a fan I need to see to believe it. I need it.
Let’s make something clear, this episode — and Iris and Caitlin’s bonding — did not eradicate all of the issues that exist on The Flash or the DCTV universe involving female friendships. But it was certainly a step in the right direction. The Flash even went as far to call themselves out with the whole “we’re work friends.” But I liked that there was an implied “yet” at the end of the statement. The Flash has a chance to really develop Iris and Caitlin’s friendship. It’s not something that’s instantaneous. It’s gradual. And as fans, we want to see those moments. We want to feel that friendship, like the other relationships on the show, is earned. Now, Flash, you have my attention. And you damn bet I’ll be watching and judging every move from here on out.
Lizzie: I hope it means something, I really do. The most disappointing thing about The Flash in its first three seasons has been that they’ve managed to have two female characters in general proximity of each other and yet somehow made it so they never exchanged more than a few words. It was clear that developing female friendships was not very high on the list of priorities for anyone, and that hurt, because there are as many, if not more, females invested on these shows and guess what? We have female friends! It happens. Gasp. Not all women hate each other and are constantly fighting for the hero’s affection.
So, yes, I hope it means something. I hope it’s a step in the right direction, and I hope they’re gonna work on it. I also hope this is part of a renewed commitment to do that across all four shows, cause the others – save Supergirl – are not exactly good at this. At the very least they didn’t try to tell me that Iris and Caitlin had suddenly become best friends, now let’s hope they intend to show me how they bond.
Lyra: Like the rest of the writers on this roundtable, I’m hoping that this means that The Flash is going to invest some more time into female friendships. For the longest time Iris and Caitlin have just existed around each other. They’ve never worked on their relationship or barely looked at each other to acknowledge the other woman. This episode is a chance for a fresh start where they acknowledge the problems they had in the past and are working for something better and bigger. They can set an example for young women and men watching the show.
Sarah: It was an hour that was a long time coming, and something I dearly hope we get to see more of. The Flash has had many wonderful points about its storytelling, but I’d be lying if I wished it taken less time than three seasons to start seeing lady friendships get front seats. Iris, and Caitlin are awesome ladies in their own right, but really this was the first time I saw them genuinely reach out to each other as friends that came from just an honest ‘I care about you’ place. I don’t have any expectations, however if this starts to set a precedent of more lady friendship time going forward I am all for it. So do me a favor writers, set that example not just for this show, but all the DCTV shows because we could use all the female friendships we can get on-screen these days.
Charles: It was sorely needed. One thing The Flash (and let’s be honest Arrow too) has never done a good job on is building female friendships. Sometimes they have barely tried to. So seeing them start to grow not only Iris’s with Felicity but also hers with Caitlin is a beautiful sight to see. This season and this episode has helped start show us those friendships. Like Alyssa said, this doesn’t erase any of the problems that has befuddled the show regarding their female characters and how to write for them. However, I am seeing improvement and growth and hope for more of that in the future.
Lacey: Caitlin and Iris’ friendship felt more genuine than other friendships I’ve seen in the DCTV. It didn’t feel forced or fake. Since Iris spent the first couple of seasons in the dark on Barry’s true identity, she and Caitlin weren’t as close as say Felicity and Caitlin and I thought this episode did a great job of acknowledging that and creating the base work for that relationship to grow.
Kayla: Having an actual female friendship portrayed on The Flash has been sorely lacking. I had hoped these two would be better friends ages ago. It’s incredibly important that these two characters bond. They are both important parts of Team Flash and they need more than a work relationship to make this team function at it’s highest capacity. The rest of the DCTV shows are trying to show more female friendship too, and I think it’s fantastic. I hope they keep it up, not only with Iris & Caitlin, but all the strong female friendships in the DCTV universe.
Funmbi: I thought it was awesome that while Barry and his crew were at the Golden Booty getting involved in all sorts of foolishness (I still can’t believe Dibny took then to that establishment), Iris and her girls were saving Central City! Even before things went down, the ladies were able to share dinner and drinks and celebrate the future Mrs. West-Allen. But when Iris realized that Caitlin/Killer Frost needed help (then that Weeper and other metas needed help), she was ready to put aside her party to make things happen. She’s such a great leader! I liked that Iris and Caitlin were able to deepen their relationship (though Caitlin as the MOH seemed like a lot). In any event, I hope “Girls Night Out” is a sign that even more female-centered friendships and storylines are on the way in the Arrowverse. I’d also really like to see Iris have non-Team Flash friends.
Jade: There’s what I hope it would mean and what I expect it will mean for DCTV’s future. I think it’s appalling that it’s taken four years for them to have the only two series regular women interact to the extent that they decide to be friends. I think it’s shameful that the only people at Iris’s bachelorette party were people that she’s interacted with one-on-one few enough times for me to count on one hand. And the fact that would be true if it were Cecile’s party or Caitlin’s party doesn’t make it any better. I would love to celebrate the development of female friendships, but I do worry that it’s only happening now because they wanted to set up the maid of honor role for the upcoming wedding – and it will cease to be a priority once that moment has passed. Ultimately, I’m all for more development for the women on the show, but I’m sitting in cynical skepticism until it proves to be more than a temporary fluke.
Caitlin started changing and all the ladies turned around in shock. What would Caitlin have to have on her chest for you to turn around in shock? What does this tell you about The Flash writers room?
Alyssa: Um, probably a Green Bay Packers jersey. No, but seriously, these writers don’t know how to deal with female dynamics, and this scene proved that. Most women aren’t too gun shy about changing in front of other women — the women that are comfortable with it, because not everyone is. But that just shows how The Flash doesn’t understand its female dynamics, and how the writers probably did it “just for the laughs.” I felt like it was done for the laughs more than anything.
Lizzie: THAT THERE ARE NO WOMEN AROUND CAUSE SINCE WHEN ARE BOOBS SUCH A MYSTERY? ALL WOMEN HAVE THEM!
Even if Caitlin/Iris/Felicity had all been the type to be shy and worry about this, come on, did they have to make such a big deal out of it? Just turn around. No need for dramatics. Was it just for the laughs? Cause I didn’t find it funny.
Lyra: Caitlin would have to have a tattoo that says, “Turn around!” for me to look away from her changing. Or maybe she would have to have a tattoo of Gorilla Grodd on her chest. But even then I would stare in awe and ask where she got it from and if that’s why she wears such high button-ups. The sheer ridiculousness of this scene tells me that whoever wrote this had a lack of understanding on how friendships and breast work. If this scene more true that would be way more screaming at Victoria’s Secret.
Sarah: An elephant taped to her chest, because I refuse to let anything else become that instantly awkward when it’s just ladies in the room, good Lord. It literally tells me a man found this kind of “awkwardness/shock” funny because I can promise not a single woman would have written like that because we know how unrealistic that is here in the actual world.
Charles: Part 1 of this question I will answer by saying I would turn around because I’m a gentleman. Part 2 ,it tells me that the writers room has watched too much TV and not interacted in the real world.
Lacey: Maybe it’s the military in me and the fact that on the first night of basic training, you have to shower with 39 other females that you have known for less than 5 minutes, but it would take a lot. Female friends change in front of each other all the time. I think this says that we need more female writers to shine the light on the true ins and outs of a female dynamics. It’s not all about boy talk or damsel in distress. It’s empowering each other but also not being afraid to call you on your bullshit.
Kayla: First off, I’ve changed in front my female friends more times than I can count. There’s nothing wrong with it. We’re all the same. It tells me they need more women in there. They don’t understand female friendships in the slightest, which shows by their lack of representation throughout the DCTV universe.
Funmbi: Perhaps I read this scene a little differently. Iris and the other ladies were dealing with the shock of learning that Caitlin was still very much in Killer Frost mode. On top of that, Killer Frost is definitely more brazen, while Caitlin is modest. Speaking for myself, I don’t change in front of my female friends and I probably would have turned away when Killer Frost whipped her shirt off her head. This is more indicative of my own shyness and reservation. So, Iris and the other ladies turning away set off any alarm bells in the moment. But I understand what the other contributors are saying about the need for women in the writers’ room to tell authentic stories
Jade: I’ve seen almost all of my friends change. Heck, during one summer abroad, we had to shower together because the shower was impossible to handle alone. It’s been so long since it’s been a big deal, I can’t even remember the last time we thought about it before we just started to do it. I think Caitlin would have to have an alien head protruding from her chest like something out of Total Recall for me to be as shocked as they were. As for what it tells me about the writer’s room? I don’t think there are enough women involved, but I also think that it indicates a perception that only certain kinds of women (the Killer Frost kind of aggressively confident) would do that kind of thing. I suspect Caitlin would have turned around in shock, too – which is even more ridiculous, given that she’s a doctor and should be pretty immune to that sort of thing.
Use a gif to describe how you felt seeing Katee Sackhoff from Battlestar Galactica and Longmire as Amunet?
What will it take for Caitlin to conquer her Killer Frost problem? Speculate a little.
Alyssa: I’ve never understood why having these metahuman powers all of a sudden made this Killer Frost side evil, aside from the name and the comic canon. But, back to the question. I think it has a lot to do with balance. Given how they’ve chosen to present Killer Frost as “evil” and given Caitlin’s “good” side, I believe it’s about finding middle ground between the two sides. Killer Frost is afraid to embrace “Caitlin,” and there’s the fact that Caitlin is also afraid to embrace “Killer Frost.” So it’s led to this inner dissonance. I feel like “Girls Night Out” was a step in the right direction for Caitlin learning that she needs to accept all sides to herself — the good and the bad. I don’t think it’ll be anything fancy, but it’ll just take some time and more experience for Caitlin to learn this.
Lizzie: COMMON SENSE from the writers? I mean, why is she the only meta who turns evil with her powers? Has someone even attempted to explain this? No? Then I can’t even begin to speculate on something that has never made a lick of sense. They could literally come up with ANY reason or no reason whatsoever.
Lyra: I think it’s going to be something cheesy like accepting that she has a darker side and that they can work together. It’s always stuff like that when you have someone battling a darker version of themselves. Caitlin’s reason for being evil when she’s Killer Frost makes about much sense as Hulk admitting he’s always angry in the first Avengers when he went to save the day. Both are people dealing with a wilder side of themselves with no real explanation on how they did or will fix it.
Sarah: First that I wish they hadn’t made it into a problem in the first place. They have written Killer Frost to be this distinct personality from Caitlin that automatically needs to have evil attached to it, which is so…cliche to me. I wish they had written it so her abilities were an extension of herself that was scary for sure, but not something that literally turns her evil anytime she becomes Killer Frost. I’m hoping now that the others know she’ll begin the admittedly slow process of embracing her powers, but I’ll be honest I’m not holding my breath here.
Charles: I’m not sure but I will say I want Killer Frost to stay and Caitlin too. Co-existence.
Lacey: Probably an unpopular opinion but I don’t think it’s a problem. If Caitlin can learn to control it and her and Killer Frost work hand in hand, I think it’d make her an even bigger badass than she already is. Plus, Danielle SA-LAYS as Killer Frost!
Kayla: I have no clue what it’s going to take for Caitlin to conquer this.
Funmbi: I’m not sure what Caitlin can do to conquer her Killer Frost side. Perhaps this is a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde situation that she’ll just have to learn to live with. The silver lining is that Killer Frost doesn’t seem as villainous as she used to be. She risks a lot to protect the other ladies from Amunet. Plus, maybe I’m making this up, but Caitlin seems to have a little more control over shifting to Killer Frost. Actually, I would be surprised if The Thinker has the solution to Caitlin’s predicament.
Jade: I think the problem with Killer Frost’s arc last season was that the writers wanted to have their cake and eat it too. They didn’t want to commit to whether it was part of her or not. If it’s part of her, then friendship could pull her out and she could say things Caitlin thinks but would never say. If it was completely separate, she could do things Caitlin would never even think to do, and it wouldn’t tarnish Caitlin’s goodness. Straddling the fence was a disservice to the story. Now that they seem (at least) to have decided Caitlin and Killer Frost are two different personas, they can come up with a clear way for the two to reconcile. I think they’ll probably reconcile it in the same way Marvel seems inclined to reconcile Bruce Banner and Hulk. The fact that they’ve established that Killer Frost is as scared of Caitlin as Caitlin is of her tells me they’ll reconcile the two by have each accept the other part of their persona. Caitlin will accept that Killer Frost has confidence she doesn’t, and Killer Frost will accept that Caitlin is caring and can relate to other people in a way she can’t.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being Mariah’s Carey’s gif of “I don’t know her” and 10 being Kris Jenner taking a pic and saying, “You’re doing amazing sweetie,” how do you feel about drunk Barry? Could you relate?
Yep, I’m at an Eleven on this one. One of my main problems with The Flash over the past couple of seasons has been that Barry had become unrecognizable, both in the hero aspect and just his general personality. We’d kind of lost that silly side to Barry that made him lovable, while he was also our hero — not the villain of his story as he had been. It’s weird, but I love Barry again. It’s hard to imagine that there was a time where I had been all, “F— you, Barry.” With that said, Drunk Barry is just pure entertainment. Like I could’ve watched an entire mini episode of Drunk Barry just being Drunk Barry. Barry confessing his love for chicken wings (that one was as personal as it can get), and Barry asking the question that will never go out of style: “Why didn’t Rose make room for Jack on the door?” Drunk Barry is like truth serum. An entertaining, hilarious truth serum. Not gonna lie, I want more drunk Barry and more drunken questions.
Lizzie: I love drunk Barry more than I’ve ever loved sober Barry. Or maybe at S1 sober Barry levels. Never leave me, drunk Barry. NEVER LEAVE ME.
Lyra: I’ve been so mad at Barry since Flashpoint that this was the first time I could relate to him and possibly forgive him for his past actions. It was big for me! I think on a scale of 1 to 10, I’m definitely a 10. We’ve come a long way from the days of “fuck you” Barry and his admiration of chicken wings and tears over Titanic made it easier to relate to him and to understand that Flashpoint was in the past and I need to move past it. Barry is a goober. Always has been and always will be. And I feel like the show has forgotten that until this very episode.
Sarah: Ten out of ten with Kris Jenner on Drunk Barry. I literally feel like it’s been forever since we’ve seen him this loose, and happy it’s a side of him I have missed. Grant knocked it out of the park with his scenes here, as I literally couldn’t stop laughing at his love of chicken wings and his rant about Jack/Rose on the Titanic. I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH DRUNK BARRY ON THIS ONE. I’m praying we get to see Drunk Barry again, and if not I’m just hoping he gets to have more fun regardless in the future.
Charles: Drunk Barry was funny and enjoyable. This season move to bring back the fun has helped make the show fun again. Moody Barry sucks. CAREFREE FUN BARRY IS AWESOME.
Lacey: Alllll the Kris Jenner gifs! OMG! I was laughing so damn hard! He went from overly excited to starving to emotional in the blink of an eye and I was so there for it! I can most definitely relate. There are many nights from my 20s where I was elbows deep in a bowl of chicken wings crying over the most random memories. Grant was fantastic and just thinking about his performance has me laughing all over again!
Kayla: I loved drunk Barry. I found him adorable. Definitely Kris Jenner. Although, if I were Cisco, I would’ve probably made sure Barry stopped yelling he was The Flash everywhere. I, however, can’t relate cause I don’t drink. I don’t like it. So, for that I can’t actually relate to what Barry was going through drunk, cause I’ve never been drunk.
Funmbi: Cisco really came through for Barry for his Bachelor Party by making that concoction. Drunk Barry is my spirit animal! His love of chicken is MY love of chicken. His question about why Rose couldn’t share that door with Jack is a question I’ve been asking since I saw Titanic in theaters back in February 1998. Drunk Barry is sweet, hilarious, and so adorable. Yah, he can be a little messy and he spills all his secrets in the street, but that’s why it’s good to have friends and family to hold you down, even when you end up in prison. So, yes Drunk Barry, “you’re doing amazing, sweetie!”
Jade: On the off chance my mother ever reads this article, I will claim vehemently that I could not possibly relate to inebriated Barry. I have certainly never sobbed into my chicken wings about the ending of the Titanic, and if any of my friends ever claim otherwise, they are dirty liars. And any video proof to the otherwise has been falsified. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. (Poor Barry.)
This week we had a meta whose tears were like a drug. Amunet thought it was best to beat up this meta to get her precious tears. What would Amunet have to do to get you to cry?
Alyssa: Make me rewatch the 2010 NFC Championship game where the Green Bay Packers defeated my Chicago Bears in the most gut wrenching fashion. The darkest point in my 16 years of being a Bears fan. There’s a lot of anger there. But anger usually leads to tears with me. (Now, excuse me while I go punch a wall.)
Lizzie: I cry easily, but I’m gonna go with sports too, in honor of Alyssa. 96 World Series. Game 3. The Yankees beat the Braves in gut wrenching fashion. I still haven’t recovered. I cry just thinking about it.
Lyra: Make me watch the first 10 minutes of Up or Toy Story 3. Amulet would get all the tears after that!
Sarah: She’d have to steal my stuffed dog Charlie that I’ve had since I was six as a Christmas gift from a lady who was like my grandma and rip him to pieces. I fully admit that would devastate me and I’d be drowning in a puddle of tears.
Charles: Make me think of one of my pets dying.
Lacey: Make me watch The Notebook or Titanic or really any sappy movie or scene. I’m a big softy when it comes to love and romance LOL
Kayla: I’m a pretty sensitive person. She could diss on something that means a lot to me and I’d probably cry.
Funmbi: Oh my goodness, Amunet would just have to have me watch Hidden Figures, and I’d be a sobbing mess. That movie has me sobbing for a solid half-hour after I finish watching, every, single time. Or onions. I’m highly sensitive to onions.
Jade: Cancel the Westallen wedding. I’d definitely cry…after screaming for a good, long while. I don’t cry as easily as I used to, but every so often, an emotional moment will hit me just right. My husband often makes me laugh so hard I cry, so if she called on him to help, I’d be done for.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.