The Flash has had a spotty history when it comes to its female characters, a problem that seems to have been exacerbated by developments in Season 3. Iris's role on the show essentially boiled down to becoming the love interest who's going to die purely to drive the emotional plotline of the male characters closest to her. And while Caitlin's ice powers finally came to the fore — and she leaned hard into the Killer Frost persona from the comics — we had little explanation given as to why her powers caused that change in her.
Candice Patton, who plays the role of Iris, has indicated that she will be taking up a surprising new role in fourth season, potentially serving as de facto leader of the team in Barry's absence. That's a promising turn for a character who's been too easily defined by her romantic relationships. But it's in Killer Frost where things could really get interesting.
At the end of Season 3, Killer Frost hadn't reverted back to Caitlin Snow — refusing the cure offered to her by Julian, and stating that she was now neither Caitlin nor the Killer Frost villain. Because of this, she has the potential to become one of the most interesting characters the show has had.
Season 3 Didn't Do Enough For Killer Frost
Having Killer Frost emerge due to Flashpoint was clever, but there was no reason given as to why Caitlin's dark side manifested beyond her control, especially since this hadn’t occurred for any other meta-human that’s been on the show. It's as if the writers struggled with how to turn Caitlin — one of the kindest, most decent characters on the show — into a villain.
There were a lot of avenues for opportunity here. Killer Frost could’ve been explained as a manifestation of something inside of Caitlin, perhaps an expression of all the anger and grief she’s felt at the people she’s lost in the first couple of seasons. Or perhaps the powers offer a change to her personality, giving her a freedom that she’s never felt before, Killer Frost could’ve had motives for becoming a villain like in the comics. (And then for turning back to being a hero in turn.)
Season 4 could prove the perfect opportunity to make up for that. And one of the wisest decisions made in the third season finale was not having Killer Frost revert back to Caitlin or lose her powers. Now she’s something in between — neither hero or villain. Seeing her navigate her new identity, and try to figure out what she wants to be, could make for incredible material for her character.
Killer Frost Could Make A Great Anti-Hero
This could also just enable great storytelling on the series as a whole. Outside of Captain Cold, The Flash hasn’t had much in the way of anti-heroes. Harrison Wells (both the Eobard Thawn version and the Earth-2 counterpart) has proven among the show’s best characters because of his fluid morality and complex relationships with the team. Oftentimes the most interesting character on a show is the most unpredictable — the one whose morality shifts between the good and the bad.
This anti-hero approach lets Caitlin veer closer to the villain that she is in the comics, while still maintaining her link to the team. It keeps a thread of emotional ties between who she was and her friends. If this new Caitlin now exists between those two moralities, her unpredictability could make for great storytelling. Perhaps she has her own goals — sometimes aligning with the team’s goals, sometimes not. Given where she came from and where she started on the show, this could make for a fantastic development.
As we've already seen in past episodes, being the wild card makes her fun, while at the same time it brings a new level of emotional dynamics, adding an undercurrent of tragedy to a morally complex character.
Either way, it’s important make certain the story belongs to Caitlin more than anyone else. We saw Cisco and Barry's angst having to fight against Killer Frost — but at the same time, we need to know Caitlin’s perspective on all this, understanding the war between the two personas, what each of them mean to her, and why one might have allure over the other. It could make for a great twist on the classic superhero identity.
To its credit, the show has left Caitlin off in a great space, and there’s lots of potential in the material that we’ve gotten so far. If they play it right going into fourth season, Caitlin/Killer Frost might not just become one of the best characters the show has ever had, but one of the greatest in all of Arrowverse.
What do you want to see from Killer Frost in The Flash Season 4? Sound off in the comments below!