An invaluable member of Team Flash, and a very good friend to Barry Allen, Caitlin Snow is perhaps the most well-developed female character in the CW’s The Flash. We take a look at her character and how much she’s grown.
WARNING: Spoilers for The Flash
There’s always an extra layer of complexity when it comes to analyzing characters based on comic books. If the many different versions and reinterpretations of Caitlin Snow weren’t enough, The Flash also adds different timelines and Earts into the mix. On top of that, the time-travelling factor has also become quite relevant recently with the addition of Flashpoint in Season 3, and how much it has changed everyone around Barry Allen. In this analysis, we will be focusing on the Caitlin Snow from Earth One, her emotional growth throughout the seasons, and her struggle with her Killer Frost identity.
All work, no play
Starting from the very beginning of the show, Caitlin Snow comes off as a simple, linear, and perhaps even boring person. Barry makes a few failed attempts to try to figure her out and cheer her up, but it seems to be a lost cause. We then learn that Caitlin was actually shutting down her emotions as well as everyone else around her after the death of Ronnie Raymonds. The particle acceleration accident that caused the death of the love of her life left Caitlin in a state of depression for a very long time. Because of this, everyone around her saw her as cold and “uptight.”
Being a very intelligent person, Caitlin had always been extremely passionate about her work. She practiced the Hippocratic Oath as a kid, and even carries a blood collection kit in her purse. However, after Ronnie’s death, she only seemed to care about her job as a bio-engineer at S.T.A.R. Labs and nothing else.
Coincidentally, it’s Barry’s addition to S.T.A.R. Labs that helps her liven up and feel joy and excitement about life again. It could be said that it’s a mix between the addition of a new, highly energetic person such as Barry, and all the adventures that come from having to track and hunter other meta-humans with Team Flash.
It should also be mentioned that most of that effort to get better comes from herself. In fact, Caitlin’s ability to trust and love again are quite remarkable: she doesn’t hesitate to actively flirt with Jay, and she even went for Barry while being drunk. These are some of the instances that show that underneath it all, Caitlin has a tremendous capacity for giving love. She’s very strong emotionally, and even though she can still feel depressed and guilty, she has not lost the good in her, or her faith in other people.
Unfortunately, Caitlin has very poor luck in the love department. Being a widow is already tragic enough, but Caitlin actually loses Ronnie a second time. Even though she was able to marry him, talk everything out with him, and get rid of her guilt, losing him again was probably as devastating as the first time. On top of that, Caitlin is also betrayed by Jay Garrick, who was actually Hunter Zolomon/Zoom.
Despite all of that pain and disappointment, it becomes apparent that Caitlin has grown stronger than what she used to be. She also knows that she’s now a group of loving and supportive friends who will always be there for her. That’s not to say Caitlin has been completely unaffected by all these events at all. She clearly struggles with everything that’s happened to her recently, and that’s understandable. In fact, it’s possible that this unstable emotional state is playing a big role in her inability to control her powers as Killer Frost.
Killer Frost and Dissociative Personality
It had previously been hinted at with Caitlin’s evil version from Earth 2, but our Caitlin Snow has finally been confirmed to be Killer Frost in Season 3. Kinda. Barry’s time-travelling has had some unexpected consequences for everyone around him, and even though it’s implied Caitlin was already starting to develop those powers in the main timeline, it’s not been 100% confirmed.
Either way, Caitlin is now a meta-human, and she doesn’t like it one bit. Unlike Barry and Cisco, who are in control of their powers and emotions, Killer Frost’s powers are more reminiscent of Magenta’s, in the sense that they’re really hard to control. This is because Caitlin’s powers come with a series of biological and psychological changes that turn her into a cruel person with little regard for human life. This obviously scares Caitlin, as it makes her feel like she’s not in control of herself.
Because of this, this time her friends might not be able to help her as much as before. For one, despite also being meta-humans, Barry and Cisco cannot understand how it feels like to not be able to control a part of yourself that could potentially hurt others. Secondly, Caitlin has slightly separated herself from the others in an attempt to protect them in case she ever loses control. Instead of asking them for help, she gets in contact with other people like her mother Carla, and even Julian.
Caitlin resisting her Killer Frost identity are also causing her to develop some type of dissociative disorder. To keep it in check, Team Flash have built a series of gadgets to restrain her powers. However, she consistently struggles with them, and it’s been recently implied that her path to evil is ultimately inevitable. Caitlin has grown a lot throughout the course of the series, but her mental condition is far from stable, no matter how many band-aids Team Flash try to put on it. At the end of the day, it seems like it’s a battle against her own self. With so much talk on time and the dangers of altering events, only time will tell if Caitlin Snow is able to overcome this one.