The Flash Season 1 Character Review: Caitlin Snow


Now that the first season of The Flash is in the books, we’ll be spending our long, speedster-less summer taking a look at how each character developed over the course of the first 23 episodes. Unlike our Agents of SHIELD character reviews, there’s no real starting point for all of these characters, so we’ll mostly be talking about the journey they took and where they ended up. Ready? Let’s do this!

Miss a post? Get caught up: Barry Allen | Cisco Ramon

I should probably start this particular review out by admitting that I have a huge celebrity crush on Danielle Panabaker. There’s something about her that’s just endearing, so much so that I’ve even watched a Hallmark Channel movie she was in when my wife had it on. Don’t judge.

Despite that, I think I can be objective when it comes to Panabaker’s character on The Flash, Caitlin Snow. Originally more of a mother hen type to Barry Allen after he first received his powers, Caitlin showed some growth as Season 1 progressed. The problem was that nearly every other supporting character got more of the spotlight than she did, something that will hopefully change going forward. Let’s see what worked and what didn’t.

The Positive: It’s fair to say that Barry’s time as a rookie super hero would have been a disaster without Caitlin’s assistance. Her biological and medical knowledge was essential to the early understanding of Barry’s physiology, most notably his accelerated metabolism. With Harrison Wells constantly pushing the Flash to go faster and Cisco Ramon mostly caught up in the cool factor of his super-speed, Caitlin was usually the voice of caution.

Speaking of Cisco, Caitlin managed to form a pretty nice brother-sister type bond with him. With Barry, things were a little more complicated. While her tragic loss of fiancee Ronnie Raymond and her quest to find out the truth about his supposed return was Caitlin’s primary Season 1 storyline, you could tell she had some chemistry with the Fastest Man Alive — something that was used to humorous effect when a shape-changing villain used it to steal a kiss from her in one episode. Still, the writers did nice work keeping the duo strictly friends instead of wandering into the usual love triangle zone most shows on The CW return to so often (Arrow, I’m looking at you!).

Obviously, Caitlin’s determination to get to the bottom of Ronnie’s fate was a big deal, and it paid off nicely with the couple getting married at the end of the season. It would have been easy for the creators to really twist the angst knife there and have Ronnie taken away from her again, but they managed to resist and give them a happy ending, at least for the time being.

The Negative: Though it’s not fair to say that Caitlin was ever really a damsel in distress type, but she also didn’t really get to have many heroic moments. Pretty much everyone else did: Cisco, Eddie Thawne, Joe West, heck, even Iris West. Our brilliant bio-scientist was relegated to the sidelines more often than not.

Her personal storyline also fizzled out once the Firestorm mystery was resolved. The second half of Season 1 was much more Cisco-focused, and it almost felt like the writers weren’t sure what to do with Caitlin once Ronnie headed off to Pittsburgh with Professor Stein. Because she was written as a skeptic when it came to the true intentions of Wells, she didn’t participate in the investigation into what really happened the night of Nora Allen’s death, and whole episodes would go by with nothing other than Caitlin giving Barry a pep talk or throwing in a few lines of advice during his super villain battle.

And while it’s great that we saw her as Killer Frost in the Flash’s Speed Force-related glimpses of the future, that really came with no set-up. Are we supposed to think that even though they were supposed to be safe in the particle accelerator’s control room, both she and Cisco have secretly had super powers the whole time? It wasn’t at all clear.

RELATED: Panabaker Says We Will See Killer Frost “Very Soon”

Next Season: What I fear most is that something bad will happen to Ronnie, triggering Caitlin’s latent powers and turning her bad. I really, really hope that isn’t what’s in the cards.

Instead, I’d like to see Killer Frost as someone Barry encounters in an alternate timeline, an example of what could happen with Caitlin under the wrong circumstances. Undoubtedly, that would lead to lessons she could learn in the real timeline.

Alternatively, she could simply obtain her ice powers and use them for good, though I’m not sure The Flash needs to be a super hero team show — especially if Cisco has meta-human abilities as well. As long as Caitlin keeps her good qualities and has more to do in Season 2, that’d be pretty satisfying.

Overall Grade: C+. A promising start for Caitlin lost its momentum in the second half of the season. She’s an important part of Team Flash, but one whose potential is still largely untapped at this point.

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