Flash has gotten some important things right. It’s managed to build up a shared universe, with its fellow CW programs and now with the upcoming Supergirl crossover. It’s done a good job at balancing out the concept of a multiverse, as a lot of this season has focused on the relationship of two different Earths. And the CGI for characters like Gorilla Grodd/Killer Shark has been surprisingly high quality. So it seems surprising that one of the show’s weakest links comes from one of its leads. But for whatever reason, Caitlin Snow has just been a terrible character mostly throughout the show’s run.
The main problem is the lack of development of Caitlin. Lots of the other characters have gotten interesting development, but Caitlin has really only two main attributes – she’s a scientist with a dead boyfriend (husband, since Flash Season 2). That’s only two things, and considering how much they’ve built up their other cast members, it’s downright embarrassing. Cisco, her closest counterpart, has much more going for him – he’s the comic relief, weapon-builder, Joe West sidekick who’s now developed future sight powers. Wells was not-Wells-Reverse-Flash in Season 1, until he was killed off. Instead of letting Caitlin fill the void of scientist extraordinaire, they brought in Earth-2 Wells, complete with a bad attitude, a daughter, and ties to Professor Zoom.
And it’s not as if Flash didn’t have an opportunity to fix this. When Barry, Cisco & Wells crossed over into Earth-2, it was revealed that this universe’s Caitlin Snow was more than just a sidekick – she was Killer Frost, a deadly new super villain. Ronnie was her evil partner Deathstorm, and together, they killed Barry’s Earth-2 father-in-law. It seemed like a perfect, new Caitlin that wasn’t just the female Cisco with a dead boyfriend!
Only, within the first of two episodes that had Killer Frost, they revealed that Cisco was also a super villain. And Zoom came in to kill Ronnie. So, again, Caitlin is the female Cisco with the dead boyfriend.
Let’s also not forget that dumb relationship with Jay Garrick. That’s right, I said dumb. It only took a couple of episodes following Earth-1 Ronnie’s death for Caitlin to pair off with Earth-2 Flash. Now the character of Jay was pretty dumb, as he turned out to be a speed addict – not the actual drug, but a speed drug of some sort – don’t worry about it, it was dumb. At the very least, their relationship gave Caitlin a chance to use her brain and get his speed back. But then, with the reveal of Professor Zoom’s identity – which was ALSO dumb, by the way – Jay gets killed by Zoom, right in front of Caitlin. That means that, between three relationships and TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT UNIVERSES, there’s not a single scenario where Caitlin isn’t defined by the men around her, alive or dead.[easy-tweet tweet=”Why @CW_TheFlash can’t get Caitlin right” user=”@JonBarrTweets”]
So what’s the solution to this? How can Caitlin shine on her own? She could pull a Patty Spivot and move away for Science Academy. Iris West isn’t a great character either – she mostly stands in the background, waiting for when Barry needs to be told he’s dumb when it comes to something or other. And unless Wells, Cisco, & Wells’ now-present daughter get killed, she’ll never be Scientist Uno on Team Flash.
But is killing someone on the Flash roster the appropriate cure for this problem? Caitlin’s surrounded by enough death already, so it doesn’t seem like that’s the needed solution. Flash already killed Wells once, and the inclusion of his daughter makes it seem even less likely that they’d kill him again. And while Cisco’s powers are usually only shoehorned in for episodic plots, he’s still the main scientist and comic relief, so his life seems pretty secure.
So what about killing Caitlin? It seems like a shame, that a character would be wasted only to be murdered. However, it’s hard to say what else they could do to make her interesting. They’ve given her superpowers, and made her a sinister figure, only to put her back in her place, and say dumb lines like “I guess I really am as cold as you thought.” Ew. There’s only one time where we got extra insight into her life – at a coffee date with Jay, she revealed that she also has a dead father. Meaning another man in her life, dead. They’ve tried and failed to make her interesting, but based off their actions, the show runners of Flash don’t seem to care for Caitlin enough to make her worthwhile. If Caitlin is going to serve any purpose on the show, and justifiably be present, they need to make up their minds. Either Caitlin is going to have a purpose, or she needs to join her boyfriends in a glorious afterlife orgy.