"Growing Pains" is a little cookie cutter, but it's fun enough.
- ⚡️Accountability eventually becomes front and center in the story.
- ⚡️Familiar and fun
- ⚡️A very cookie cutter story.
- ⚡️Barry's story with the Speed Force feels like angst for angst's sake.
This post contains spoilers for The Flash "Growing Pains"
Check out our last review here.
We’ve got the ol’ superhero on the run story in this week’s episode of The Flash. Governor appointed strong-arm Kristen Kramer is on the war path attempting to bring (Killer) Frost to justice. A new ice-killer in town pushes her even farther, resulting in her immediate call for the hero’s arrest. Barry and Chester do their best to get her off the hook when the first scene appears, but The Flash’s powers are on the fritz thanks to the Speed Force, and Chester’s a little intimidated by this new face.
Obviously, Frost (Danielle Panabaker) doesn’t lay low as promised during all of this. It’s hard to be too mad at the bad decision, given the fact that it leads into a pretty solid bar fight between Frost and the patrons who mean to bring her in. When used sparingly and in the right way, the frost effects look really solid. Besides, she even meets a cute boy. Said cute boy is the one trying to frame her and Caity but, hey, small details!
Chillblaine/Mark Blaine (Jon Cor) is a geneticist, and he wants what’s his back. He created the microchip that he stole from the Ivo Labs driver that was murdered in the beginning. There’s some additional science mumbo jumbo behind it, but the gist is this: he almost died by falling through ice when he was a kiddo, and now he’s using it to take his power back. It’s a tale as old as time kind of jam, and the fun of watching Frost trying to clear her name only curries so much favor.
While Caitlin and Frost deal with the whole framing situation, Barry (Grant Gustin) is facing his own set of issues. Having the Speed Force (Michelle Harrison) around is putting his powers on the fritz, but it doesn’t seem to be anything scientific. Instead, it’s mostly a case of “you’re not my real mom!” Snark aside, it’s a reasonable character direction. But it also feels like the introduction of angst for angst sake when there’s a whole host of other problems to deal with.
“It’s not fair” plays a reccurring role in “Growing Pains.” Thankfully, though, by the time the episode comes to a close, Frost realizes that it really is fair. Frost grew into a hero — my favorite member of Team Flash, in fact — but she still committed every single crime that Kramer’s accusing her of. To honor that, Frost gives herself up after the team manages to apprehend Chillblaine.
Ultimately "Growing Pains" is a pretty cookie cutter episode. But, with that in mind, it opens up a lot of potential for The Flash to have a conversation around the fact that what is legal isn't always right. Frost's old crimes might have been entirely wrong, but Kramer's characterization is that of someone who sees nothing outside of law books as true. The hope and love conversations are important, but they mean a lot less if they're not applied to meaningful stories.
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