Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Flash 7x08 Review: "The People V. Killer Frost" (A Frosty Farewell) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“The People V. Killer Frost”
Original Airdate: May 4, 2021

Once again, an episode of The Flash finds us in a courtroom awaiting the fate of one of our heroes. It’s Frost’s head on the chopping block this time, and I’ve facetiously decided that her fate depends on two things: either the show’s goal is to clear Frost’s slate so no one questions the logical continuity of her being able to help Team Flash despite being a wanted fugitive, or they need to get rid of her because those shots with her and Caitlin in the same room are super hard to coordinate. I don’t want to give you any spoilers up front, but let’s just say this show has never concerned itself with logical continuity in the past and there’d be no reason for it to start now.


Since “The People V. Killer Frost” is not your typical metahuman of the week The Flash episode, the villain of the episode (at least in my opinion) is Ms. Kramer, who orchestrates everything with the one-step-ahead precision of an evil chessmaster. At the start of the episode she arrives at ARGUS for mysterious reasons, having “proposed” something big that we don’t figure out until much later in the episode. It is, as one would expect, not a good proposal.

The bulk of the episode is spent on Team Flash dealing with Frost’s impending doom. She already pleaded guilty over the hiatus, so the “court case” of the hour is actually a sentencing to determine whether she goes away for something like ten years or a much more reasonable eighteen months. At least, that’s what the team thinks they’re fighting for until Kramer’s machinations have the prosecution (is it a prosecution during a sentencing case? I don’t know) seek forcing the metahuman cure on Frost instead of a simple stay in prison.

There are several issues with this new punishment: first of all, Frost is built differently from other metas since she isn’t a human with powers, but instead powers manifested into a living being. Taking the metahuman cure could have serious side effects for her. You’d think that Cecile, who’s running Frost’s defense, would bring this up and get the metahuman cure taken off the table by reason of unknown consequences, but that’s never brought up. The other issue with using the cure as a punishment for metahuman crimes is that it sets a new precedent that could mean any metahuman could be forced to take the cure as a punishment regardless of what their crimes might have been. This last bit is actually Kramer’s whole plan, and what her “proposal” to ARGUS was.

Team Flash gets it into their heads to sabotage the entire supply of metahuman cure through some heisty hijinks, but while they successfully accomplish their mission (thanks to Allegra’s bluffing, Caitlin’s quick thinking, and Cisco’s coaching), Kramer expected something of this sort and had a spare vial of the cure on standby. It’s especially crushing because, after a character witness testimony from Joe, it seems like the judge was moments from granting Frost some leniency in her jail time. Honestly, Team Flash didn’t think maybe doing something highly suspicious like destroying the whole metahuman cure supply might bite them in the end? You people are supposed to be a bunch of geniuses!

So, yeah, now Kramer has the means to punish Frost with the metahuman cure and the added guiltiness of Frost’s friends breaking the law for her sake (which, of course, Kramer lays entirely on Frost). Things aren’t looking good.

The whole team is freaking out, but none more than Caitlin. Frost talks to her privately and Caitlin begs Frost to just take the cure so she doesn’t have to spend years in jail, but Frost refuses. She says that removing her powers would stop her from being her. I can’t really get behind her argument, since metahuman powers aren’t like... an identity or anything. They’re a flashy bonus to existence, but to argue that Frost would cease being Frost without the ability to freeze things seems pretty silly. I mean, did Cisco stop being Cisco when he gave up his powers? Iris has gained and lost powers twice now, but she’s still Iris.

Anyway, later on Frost requests a one-on-one with Kramer just to ask her what her deal is. Kramer admits she has it out for Frost because she sees Frost as a criminal pretending to be good, thanks to one experience Kramer had with a meta that ended up getting a bunch of people killed. So does Kramer see every meta as just pretending to be good? Or only metas with a criminal past who have turned over a new leaf? There’s a lot wrong with her point of view that no one calls her out on. Frost figures out Kramer’s strategy to game the system and set a precedent with her cure-as-punishment ruling and realizes what she has to do.

As the legal case is winding down, Frost takes the stand. She gives a really nice speech about how people shouldn’t punish differences, and how she found her true path in life by helping others as a hero alongside Team Flash. She says that taking away powers as a punishment isn’t the same as taking away a gun, because powers are a part of a meta’s existence or sense of self. I kinda get where she’s coming from for her specific scenario, since Frost never existed as anything but a meta, but from any other perspective I don’t know if that flies. Most metas have had their powers for less than a decade; removing them would hardly destroy their identities and, like I said, we’ve seen more than a couple metas lose their powers without losing themselves. If the argument is that no one should be forced to get rid of something simply because they possess it, I think that’s a better angle.

Frost requests an alternative punishment to the metahuman cure: life imprisonment. It’ll stop Kramer from using her case to set a precedent, but... does she realize she’s setting a completely different precedent by doing this? Her list of crimes would’ve added up to something like twenty years, max. Isn’t she now setting a precedent that life without parole could be used against literally anyone with her rap sheet or similar? Once that door is opened, any legal team can use it. Did the writers think this through when they decided to write off this character?

So Frost goes to jail for life without parole. We get a sad montage of her saying goodbye set to a Nina Simone song, so kudos to The Flash for the gift of a Nina Simone song at least. I still don’t like how all this went down. Goodbye, Frost. Stay frosty.

Other Things:

  • Meanwhile, the Speed Force killed a lady Barry was trying to help so, y’know. That’s gonna be a thing.
  • “You’d be surprised at what can become legal when you’ve got the full force of the American justice system behind you.” That is a very dark commentary on reality I don’t think this show fully intended to make.
  • Not sure what the show wants me to think about Kramer, but if it’s not bad things it’s not working. After the case, Joe mentions that he respects her and I can’t imagine why that would be. She used her own personal vendetta against metas to ruin the life of someone who only wanted to help her friends keep Central City safe and she was fully hoping to ruin even more lives in the future. She’s not a good person and Joe shouldn’t respect her.
  • Fun fact: I tried getting a cover for this review that was a photo of Frost because it’s an episode about Frost but none of the promotional photos for this episode actually include her. That’s messed up. Extra messed up: I tried just getting a screenshot from a YouTube video and they’re all too low quality to be worthwhile. Sorry, Frost.


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