“You took our daughter back to the future!” exclaims Iris (Candice Patton) to Barry (Grant Gustin) as season five episode 19 of The CW’s The Flash begins. Iris is furious with Barry that he alone decided to put Nora back in her own time: 2049. Iris isn’t in the mood to listen to his reasons because it’s not what she wanted, and she tells Barry he makes decisions based on his feelings – just like “Flashpoint.”
In an extremely well-written, honest, heated, and long overdue fight, Iris reveals that Barry’s feelings of betrayal over Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) working with Thawne (Tom Cavanagh) and lying about it aren’t important to her because she only wants her daughter back with her in present time. Fed up and disgusted with Iris’ selfishness and her inability to understanding his feelings, Barry chides Iris that she might feel different if she had seen Thawne kill her mother in front of her. If she’s talking about letting feelings direct actions, she should look in a mirror. Not having any appropriate comeback, Iris stalks off.
In 2049, Nora goes to see Thawne, sulking and whiny about being banished to her own time. She asks how he time-traveled without Barry or any other speedster sensing him. Thawne reveals his secret that since he’s the Reverse Flash – the opposite of everything Barry is – he created his own Speed Force which he nicknamed Negative Speed Force. Nora pleads for him to show her how to use it so she can travel back to see her father again. (Seriously, when is this kid going to learn?!)
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry reveals to Team Flash that he put Nora back in her own time and that he and Iris aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on the matter. Sherloque (Tom Cavanagh) agrees with Barry’s move, saying they couldn’t trust her. That doesn’t make Barry feel any better.
Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) suggests Sherloque give them some space since it’s a family thing, and Barry tells Sherloque he has done enough. Sherloque leaves the room agreeing he has done more than he was called upon for. Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) asks Barry if he’s okay and he admits he doesn’t know. Barry’s saved from thinking about Nora for the moment by Joe (Jesse L. Martin) who received an alert that the CCPD needs them at a crime scene.
Barry, Joe, and Caitlin head to the hospital where young Grace was being treated and discover she’s missing. A quick study of the clues and they realize that Cicada II (a.k.a. older Grace from the future) took her.
Over at the Tannhauser Lab, Icicle (Kyle Secor) attacks and steals a glowing orb. Carla (Susan Walters) sees him as he’s leaving and realizes who it is…the alter-ego of her husband, Thomas Snow.
Later that day, Barry, Joe, and Caitlin are investigating the break-in, or rather Barry and Joe are investigating and Caitlin is arguing with her mother about lying to her about her father being dead. After a few heated words, Carla leaves to cool off and Caitlin tells Barry and Joe that Icicle stole a prototype cryo-atomizer.
Over at the West house, Ralph and Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) are trying to find Cicada II when Ralph sees Iris writing a letter to Barry saying she doesn’t think she can forgive him for what he’s done. Ralph and Cecile both talk to Iris about needing to talk it through with Barry, and Cecile suggests she won’t find her answers here. Iris has an idea that Cecile senses and dreads. Iris leaves in a hurry and Cecile tells Ralph to follow her.
Iris visits Gideon and asks for instructions on how to use the time sphere to travel to 2049 and get Nora back. As she’s about to leave, Iris notices Ralph’s in the room and has been listening. She warns him he can’t stop her and he offers to help her do it, much to her surprise.
In 2049, Thawne tries training Nora to use the Negative Speed Force. She speeds around the city and he coaches her in her ear. It doesn’t work.
Over at the Tannhauser crime scene, Caitlin explains to Joe and Barry that Icicle could use the cryo-atomizer along with his powers to put Central City in a new Ice Age. In a very funny scene Caitlin asks Barry to run down to get a piece of equipment she can use which should help in the case. Carla tells her she’s talking about outdated equipment and tells Barry to grab a different piece of tech. Caitlin again asks Barry to get her the tech she mentioned and Carla counters. Barry, feeling like he’s between a rock and a hard place, says he’ll get both. Joe, wanting to leave the room because of the tension, asks Barry if he needs help. Barry, who’s happy to be exiting, nods no as he walks out.
Moments after Barry leaves Joe asks if anyone else feels cold. He then realizes Icicle is coming but it’s too late. Icicle blasts both Caitlin and Carla, knocking them out. Joe goes to shoot Icicle but Icicle sends out a blast toward Joe. The Flash returns and gets ahead of the blast to save Joe. In doing so, he’s hit and knocked out, allowing Icicle time to kidnap Caitlin and Carla.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Sherloque has packed up and is ready to leave when an alarm goes off. He checks the computers and sees Barry’s Flash suit is showing him in distress. Sherloque uses the breach gun and opens a portal to where Joe is hovering over an unconscious Flash. Sherloque uses some high voltage power lines to jolt Barry’s suit, delivering a power surge to warm up his body. It’s enough to allow him to recover from freezing to death courtesy of Icicle’s blast. Barry bolts up, awake and yelling Caitlin’s name, aware Icicle has her.
Icicle has imprisoned Carla and Caitlin, who’s wearing power-reducing cuffs, at another off-the-grid Tannhauser site. The mother-daughter duo start arguing about how they should try to get out when Icicle comes in and takes a blood sample from Carla. He calls them his little Snow pack and leaves, locking them in. Carla remembers Thomas used to call her and Caitlin that affectionately years ago when Caitlin was little. Caitlin realizes Icicle’s plan is to give Carla a cold alter-ego, too, and to suppress their human side. Caitlin says to her mother, “He wants an ice family and he’s willing to erase us to get it.”
Iris and Ralph successfully travel to 2049 and sneak into Iron Heights to see Thawne, hoping to get an idea of where to find Nora. Ralph shapeshifts into the guard and knocks him out. He poses as the guard while Iris finds Thawne’s cell. When Iris enters, she finds Nora asking Thawne how she can access his Speed Force. Iris tells Nora to get away from Thawne and that she traveled through time to find her and bring her back to 2019.
Nora asks about her dad and Iris tells her that it’s just her. Iris believes the last thing Barry needs is to see Nora talking to Thawne, who agrees with Iris. Nora gets upset that Barry didn’t come to get her. Her anger and frustration increase as Nora decides this means her father has rejected her and doesn’t love her. She begins to crackle with purple and yellow lightning.
“Stop, stop!” yells Thawne. “How could he stop loving me?” yells Nora as her whole body surges with yellow and purple lightning. She speeds off, now having access and the ability to use the Negative Speed Force. As she runs in it, Nora relives all the terrible, painful, angry, and tragic moments in her life. Thawne tells Iris that Nora is back in 2019 and that she needs her and Barry united together to help her. Iris tries to tell Thawne to stay out of it, but she seems to think Thawne actually cares for Nora.
Still prisoners, Carla asks Caitlin about Killer Frost and what it’s like to have her living inside her. Caitlin tells her that at first she wanted to get rid of her but when she thought Killer Frost was gone, she felt she had lost part of herself and did everything she could to get her back. Icicle comes in and takes a struggling Carla out. Caitlin tries to stop him but he blasts her hands with cold.
Meanwhile at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry’s at his wits end. He can’t find Caitlin and is beginning to panic, saying none of the satellites are picking up on anything. Sherloque suggests they check in areas that are already cold since it’s likely Icicle is hiding like a needle in a stack of needles. It works and they trace where Icicle’s location.
Icicle begins to freeze a pleading Carla but is interrupted by Killer Frost. He asks how she got out and she points out that he froze her power cuffs which made it easy. Icicle turns up the freezing machine and the cryo-atomizer to kill Carla and gives Killer Frost a choice: “Save her or chase me.” He speeds off as The Flash speeds in. Frost turns to him and says in Caitlin’s voice, “Save her.”
Frost races after Icicle as Barry attempts to free Carla from the machine. Unfortunately, he’s badly frostbitten just from touching the door. He asks for ideas from S.T.A.R. Labs. Joe and Sherloque are joined by Ralph and Iris and they quickly bounce ideas around. It’s Sherloque who tells Barry to use a lightning strike as he phases into and out of the machine to save Carla. It works.
Icicle’s speeding across a frozen ice bridge he’s creating for an escape as Killer Frost does the same to chase after him. They throw a few ice blasts at each other and Icicle hits Frost with an icicle in her shoulder, knocking her down. Frost lets Caitlin come out and Icicle makes another deadly icicle to kill her with. As he’s about to stab her he discovers he can’t and begins to thrash around. Cold clouds form as he collapses and when he gets up again, he’s no longer Icicle but Thomas Snow, Caitlin’ s father. They hug and she says he saved her as he tells her she saved him from his alter ego.
Thomas, Carla, and Caitlin embrace in a group hug back where Icicle was keeping them. Of course that’s when Cicada II shows up and blasts The Flash with dark matter energy from her dagger. Caitlin tells Thomas and Carla to go, that she’ll handle it. Killer Frost appears and creates two icicle daggers, taking on Cicada II in an extremely well-choreographed fight. Cicada II gets the upper hand and just as she’s about to kill Frost with her dagger, Thomas comes running back and takes the deadly blow for his daughter.
Cicada grabs the cryo-atomizer and flies off while Thomas lies dying in Caitlin’s arms. “I told you to go,” says a crying Caitlin. Thomas replies, “Family doesn’t leave family.” He tells her he loves her and dies with Barry, now awake, watching too late to help.
At S.T.A.R Labs Iris tells #TeamFlash about her time travel. She also informs Barry they should talk back at their place. Caitlin tests Carla and she didn’t get turned into a meta because the color stayed green. If she’d received cold powers, it would have turned white. Carla prepares to leave but Caitlin suggests she stay and they can get a drink and talk. Carla agrees. Mother and daughter walk out together and neither one notice the test vile turn from green to white.
Ralph checks in on Sherloque who’s packing again to leave and reminds him he stayed and helped save both Barry and Caitlin’s mom. Maybe he should stick around and help “his family,” meaning that Team Flash is now his family as well. Sherloque stays.
At the loft, Iris explains she just wanted her family back together but that he’s right about Thawne manipulating Nora. She also believes Nora is back in 2019. Barry admits he shouldn’t have left Nora or made the decision without Iris’s input. He tells her they need to find their daughter and quotes Thomas Snow’s line, “Family doesn’t leave family.” Iris reveals that the way Thawne looked at Nora is similar to how Barry looks at Nora. “I think he has real feelings for her,” says Iris.
Nora exits the Negative Speed Force somewhere in Central City and has red glowing eyes…just like the Reverse Flash.
In the final scene of the episode, Cicada II looks at a sleeping Grace and says, “Soon Grace, soon.” She then turns her focus on the cryo-atomizer.
The Flash Season 5 Episode 19 Review:
Dramatic, heartbreaking, and full of action, episode 19 titled “Snow Pack” is one of the best of season five! It’s all about family with the fight over banishing Nora and the return of Icicle and Thomas Snow – sadly for the last time. No character on The Flash has suffered more loss than Caitlin Snow and she was finally able to get her loving father back only to lose him minutes later for good. Danielle Panabaker plays the scene where she’s holding her father in her arms as he dies telling her he loves her with such deep sadness and loss it’s hard to watch.
Two other strong performances in the episode are delivered by Grant Gustin and Candice Patton as Barry and Iris refusing to listen to each other and only focusing on their own feelings and fears. It’s a powerful and uncomfortable scene masterfully played with raw emotion.
With Nora now becoming an evil speedster and Cicada II getting more powerful with the cryo-atomizer, Team Flash is going to need all the help they can get to emerge victorious.
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