In a very busy episode of The Flash, the team is introduced to a second major supervillain for the season, Ralph and Cecile try to make themselves useful, and Cisco embarrasses himself with the lamest meta-human nickname he’s conceived yet.
We even spend some time with Cicada. He opens the episode stalking and attacking a meta-human victim named Raelene. She proves more of a challenge than he expected when her arms turn into swords. She hurts Cicada pretty badly, but his lightning bolt dagger thing has crazy boomerang powers and circles around to stab her in the back.
Cicada’s only ally, Dr. Ambres, finds him in pretty bad shape, rooting around in a supply closet in her hospital. She tries to help him, but Cicada acts indignant and refuses to let her stitch him up. He prefers having open untreated wounds for some reason.
Later, Dr. Ambres visits Cicada’s house and finds him passed out. She brings him around, but he remains stubborn and once again refuses her help, declaring that his injuries are making him stronger.
Believing that Cicada got his powers from debris that fell from the dark matter core of the S.T.A.R. Labs satellite that Barry and Nora destroyed last season, Cisco uses the new satellites that he stole from DeVoe to track the original shrapnel pattern. This points them to a FEMA center that cared for bystanders who were injured during the incident. Ralph volunteers to go investigate that with Joe. However, Joe is busy taking care of his new daughter. Cecile, on the other hand, is desperate to get out of the house and interact with another adult, even Ralph.
The two of them visit the FEMA building, which is strangely deserted except for one man who introduces himself as the Assistant Director. Flashing her D.A. credentials, Cecile demands that he show her the complete list of people who were treated during the satellite fallout, but the man isn’t intimidated at all and tells her to go away unless she can get a warrant. Cecile bemoans that she’s lost her mojo.
Eventually, Cecile pulls herself back together and returns to the FEMA site with Ralph. She accuses the man of being a con artist committing insurance fraud. This time the guy quakes in his boots and gives Cecile the list he wanted.
Iris, Nora and Sherloque follow a separate trail in search of the satellite core. Their relationship newly mended, Nora is a little too clingy with her mom.
Sherloque discovers that there was a carnival on the night of the satellite crash. He also hypothesizes that the core fell into the water.
While the others are all busy, Barry and Cisco devote themselves to helping Caitlin find her dad. They follow his trail to a black ops research facility at the North Pole. Cisco opens a breach to take them there, and Barry phases the three of them through the door. The building appears to be abandoned at first, but eventually Caitlin’s father, Thomas Snow (Kyle Secor from Homicide: Life on the Street and Veronica Mars), reveals himself. Caitlin is overjoyed to see her dad.
Thomas explains that he has ALS, and came to this building 20 years ago to partake in an experimental treatment that halted the progression of the disease, but left him unable to leave. He says that Caitlin’s mother thought it would be easier if she just told their daughter that he was dead. Cisco doesn’t entirely buy his story. Nevertheless, he breaches them all back to S.T.A.R. Labs. (Why it’s OK for Thomas to leave now isn’t clear to me.)
In Central City, Thomas has some sort of attack in which his arm freezes and becomes covered with icy scales. He claims this “cryogenic malignancy” is a side effect of his treatment. He also admits that Caitlin tested positive for ALS markers when she was a child, and he gave her the same treatment that saved him, which resulted in her developing the Killer Frost personality. However, Thomas insists that he never developed a dual personality himself.
The only way to cure Thomas is to freeze him to absolute zero, and the only way to do that is to break into a Department of Defense lab and use a new multi-billion-dollar freeze-o-matic device. Cisco thinks this is a bad idea, but grudgingly begins work on hacking the D.O.D.’s mainframe.
During a break from that, Cisco returns to the arctic alone and searches the base. Upon finding something in an incubator, he returns and announces to everyone that the man calling himself Thomas Snow is not actually Caitlin’s father. He’s an alternate personality masquerading as Thomas. Cisco’s evidence for this are some skin graft samples he found. Thomas of course has a story to explain this away, and Caitlin is upset with Cisco.
Cisco urges Caitlin to look at the situation as a scientist, not as a daughter. Doing so, she realizes that he may be right. She posits that the serum Thomas is developing will totally suppress his human side, allowing the alter ego permanent control. When they confront him about this, Thomas indeed goes completely frosty and blasts them with freeze breath that knocks them unconscious.
By the time they wake up, Thomas is gone. Cisco detects a temperature anomaly at the D.O.D. base. The entire building is freezing toward absolute zero. At this point, Cisco dubs the villain “Icicle.” Yes, that’s the best he can come up with, and he thinks it’s clever. It never occurs to anyone that this personality might already have its own name, the way Killer Frost did.
Barry and Nora both race to the D.O.D., only to immediately slide out of control across the icy floor. The extreme cold prevents their powers from working. They wind up shivering and immobile on the floor while Icicle gloats about outwitting them. The same happens to Cisco and Iris when they and Caitlin breach over. Only Caitlin is unaffected. She appeals unsuccessfully to her father’s human side, but it’s already too late. He won’t listen.
When all else fails, Killer Frost finally re-emerges from Caitlin, blasts Icicle and punches him around, and smashes the only vial of serum. Icicle tricks her and flies away. Killer Frost turns off the freezer, which allows Barry and Nora to instantaneously thaw enough that they can create vibration friction and warm everyone else up.
Cisco determines that Killer Frost never actually left Caitlin. DeVoe had just used his Brainstorm powers to give Caitlin a mental block that suppressed her other personality. Cisco then tweaks the mental dampener device from last season to allow Caitlin to speak directly to Killer Frost whenever she wants.
Sherloque, Iris and Nora return to the lab with the satellite core they salvaged. Ralph and Cecile also deliver the FEMA list. On it is the name of a 10-year-old girl named Grace Gibbons, whom they suspect must be Cicada’s daughter.
This is a cluttered mess of an episode with too many storylines and very sloppy plotting. It should be a given with this show that the science won’t make a lick of sense (nothing new there), but even so it seems particularly unconvincing this time. The characters also all jump to wild conclusions that never seem supported by the information presented to them. While it may not be one of the show’s worst episodes by any means, I found myself not caring about much that happens in it.