Imagine your best married couple friends. You’re at their home and then suddenly you’re there in the middle of the worst fight you’ve ever seen them have. You can’t take sides because they’re both right. But you’re just stuck watching them yell at each other, awkwardly, almost voyeuristically watching their most intimate argument. That’s what watching the first scene of this week’s episode of CW‘s The Flash “Snow Pack” feels like.
As Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West-Allen (Candice Owens) argue about Barry banishing their daughter to the future and forbidding her from ever coming back, it is hard to watch. But it’s also some of the best and most heart-wrenching acting outside of paid cable.
Barry isn’t wrong, but he is completely triggered and emotionally reactive. Anything related to Thawne, he can’t help but freak out. And Iris is right that this was a decision they needed to make together – that all of Barry huge, life-altering/reality-bending decisions he makes, he does them without his partner. And that’s not how marriage is supposed to work.
So, what’s an Iris West-Allen to do except hijack a time ship and fly to the future to at least say goodbye to her daughter? Makes total sense, especially when you bring along an elongated co-conspirator Ralph Dibny (Hartley Sawyer) to help you out. And of course, Barry’s emotional outburst has had the completely opposite effect and ended up pushing his daughter straight into Thawne’s hands (Barry never parented a teenager, obviously) and he’s only teaching her how to tap into the negative speed force and stuff. No big deal. Definitely not trying to turn her into a villain or against her father. Definitely not.
And wow, with all of that stuff technically in the secondary storyline, it’s easy to forget that this episode actually focuses on the return of Icicle (Kyle Secor) and his attempts to kidnap Caitlyn Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and her mom Dr. Tannhauser (Susan Walters).
And because the theme of the week is family drama, their actual mother-daughter fights about normal mother-daughter things are actually far more interesting and intense than any of the weird ice-drama happening with Icicle.
But this does mean we get some great appearances by Caitlyn’s alter ego Killer Frost, which are always fun. Minor spoiler alert: the end of the episode also features a cool showdown between Killer Frost and Cicada, which is also always fun.
But I just can’t get invested in the wacky ice super science bits when the real drama is all about the pressures on these relationships and their families.
And I think you could turn it into a drinking game how often I bring up “family” and Team Flash as a family throughout Season 5, but it’s because it is not subtle – and at the heart of that family is Barry and Iris.
It would be criminal to also go any further without talking about how amazing Owens is. She owns every second she is on screen. While Barry seems to worry that his wife doesn’t understand how dangerous and manipulative Thawne is, when she comes face to face with him, Iris is a mother lion protecting her cub against a predator. You do not mess with her.
Snow Pack’s main storyline with the Frost family is sort of ho-hum, but its last few minutes really take it into overdrive. No spoilers, but there’s some major stakes that are set up for the coming weeks. Despite some resolution with Barry and Iris’s fight, the major issues of what to do with Nora are still unresolved.
Next week, we get “Gone Rogue” on Tuesday, April 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW. We’re not going to want to miss this one.
The Flash season 5, episode 20 “Gone Rogue”: WEATHER WITCH, QUEEN BEE AND RAG DOLL RETURN TO CENTRAL CITY – Barry (Grant Gustin) continues to struggle with how he feels about Nora’s (Jessica Parker Kennedy) betrayal. Brie Larvan (guest star Emily Kinney), Joss Jackam (guest star Reina Hardesty) and Peter Merkel (guest star Troy James) return to Central City. Meanwhile, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) makes a bold decision. Kristin Windell directed the episode written by Sam Chalsen & Joshua V. Gilbert.