Well, that was a bummer.
In a way, maybe it makes sense. The Flash is, if not quite yet winding down, at least on the downward slope, with one more season to follow this one. Lately the show has been peeling away some of the core elements that made it a fun ride―the multiverse, the various Wellses, the traditional Rogues and supporting superheroes (though Elongated Man’s departure wasn’t really part of a master plan). Word came down just today that two original cast members will be gone by season’s end (but more on that later). So life in prison for the no-longer-Killer Frost? That fits with the general trend, even if it doesn’t end up making a lot of sense.
Frost has admitted her guilt and waived her trial, so all that remains is the judge’s sentencing. Cecile is convinced that Frost’s heroic deeds will outweigh her earlier crimes, and that she’ll get off with a relatively light sentence. Kristen Kramer has other ideas, however. Acting on her behalf, the prosecutor urges the judge to order Frost to take the metahuman cure, stripping her of her powers forever. She equates this with taking the right to bear arms away from a felon, arguing that the metahuman’s powers are a weapon just the same.
As Frost argues, it’s more complicated than that, as being a metahuman is part of her DNA, and her very identity will be lost if she’s forced to take the cure. There’s a free-floating metaphor here about the morality of prosecuting someone for who they were born as, and you can apply it to any number of current social issues, but it’s pretty clear this would be a ghastly turn of events, as well as a bad precedent for all the other metas. And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that this is something Cisco should have anticipated back when he was inventing the cure, although somehow he never thinks to blame himself in the episode. (After all, who could possibly foresee the American justice system overstepping its bounds in such a manner?)
Kudos to Danielle Panabaker for giving a strong emotional performance with herself, but this whole plot is a bit of a drag, livened up briefly with the almost-botched attempt at neutralizing the meta cure at CCPD. (In the end, that doesn’t turn out to matter, as ARGUS has already duplicated the formula.) The resolution, with Frost requesting and receiving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, just feels unnecessarily grim. After all, the judge still could have used her own...well, judgment to give Frost a lesser sentence given her world-saving efforts, regardless of whether Kramer felt it was sufficient. Perhaps there’s another shoe to drop later in the season, but if this is Frost’s sendoff, it’s an unfortunate turn of events.
You’d think Frost’s buddy the Flash might at least drop by to offer his support and help sway the judge, but nah, he’s too busy dealing with the Forces situation. When Fuerza’s isotype signature pops back up, Barry and Nora go to investigate, finding only a volunteer health worker named Alexa on the scene. Barry suggests that she come in to STAR Labs for a scan, but the Speed Force is a little too demanding about it for Alexa’s liking. Barry returns later as the Flash and manages to convince her to come in for testing, which reveals that she is indeed the human host for Fuerza.
That’s all Nora needs to see, as she blasts Alexa with her lightning and tricks Barry into doubling up her lightning power to deliver the killing blow. Nora’s odd behavior over the past few episodes has certainly suggested this path, and now it appears to be the case: the Big Bad is not the other Forces, but the Speed Force. That could definitely create some interesting complications for Barry going forward, but hopefully he’ll at least take a minute to notice his team has gotten a little smaller.
As alluded to above, Tom Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes are both departing The Flash by season’s end. That’s certainly not a surprise in the case of Cavanagh, who is basically already gone, although he will apparently have a few guest turns later in the season. As for Valdes, it feels like he’s had one foot out the door for a few seasons now, so it’s not a huge shock in his case either. Now the introduction of the STAR Labs B-team over the past year or so becomes a little clearer, but it’s still something of a disappointment. Team Flash isn’t quite the same without Cisco and Wells bantering and trading barbs.
So Alexa got angry at Abra Kadabra, and blacked out, and Fuerza appeared and wreaked havoc? That sounds a little familiar. At least she didn’t say “FUERZA SMASH!”
Did I mishear, or was Kramer talking to an Agent Cooper in the first scene? Blasphemy!