With her combination of brains and courage, “The Flash’s” Caitlin Snow is hardly a damsel in distress. The S.T.A.R. Labs’ scientist has used her unique skills to save the day on numerous occasions — but her smarts weren’t enough to keep her out of the clutches of the evil speedster known as Zoom.
In an effort to convince her to switch sides, the man once thought to be Jay Garrick kidnapped Caitlin, hiding her away on Earth-2. Zoom failed, of course, and the ever resourceful Caitlin escaped and regrouped with Team Flash. Now, in the season finale, Caitlin will push herself to the limit to help Barry rid Earth-1 of Zoom — once and for all.
Ahead of the season’s final chapter, actor Danielle Panabaker spoke with CBR News about Caitlin’s heartache and her subsequent personal vendetta against Zoom. She also opened up about how much she enjoyed letting her bad side run wild as Killer Frost, her own surprise at learning the identity of the man in the iron mask, and how much she expects fans will enjoy the finale’s set-up for Season 3.
CBR News: Since last season, both you and viewers have been anticipating Caitlin transforming into Killer Frost. How cool was it embodying that character, and did it live up to your expectations?
Danielle Panabaker: It was really cool. It was a little scary at first. I was a little intimidated to take on the character just because I’ve been playing Caitlin for so long and it was such a different role. I feel very lucky that I got the opportunity to do that.
I did a little bit of research. Our executive producer, Andrew Kreisberg, tried to point me in the direction of looking at the older, original Batman movies and Michelle Pfeiffer and Catwoman and Uma Thurman. It was fun to go back and watch those to get inspiration.
Why was it so important that she had that connection with Earth-2’s Ronnie Raymond, that he kind of melted her heart?
That’s what is so cool about their relationship and the Firestorm/Killer Frost dynamic. It was fun to see that and keep saying, “The only man I can kiss is the only one I want to.” And to see a Caitlin Snow/Ronnie Raymond romance that’s so different than the one we saw on Earth-1 felt great.
Caitlin also formed a strong bond with Jay Garrick over the course of this season. What was your reaction when he turned out to be Zoom?
Honestly, I had known since before they had even introduced the Jay Garrick character. It was really fun to play over the season. I just have to say how impressed I was with Teddy Sears’ performance, to really see him do two completely different characters. Jay Garrick is so sweet, and when we meet Hunter Zolomon or Zoom, I think Teddy does an incredible job of portraying him.
There wasn’t even a single indication to fans that there could be something more to Jay.
It had to be a little bit different than last year with Tom Cavanagh’s Harrison Wells, where pretty early on you were having questions about him. This year, Jay just seemed so sweet. You never would have thought anything was wrong.
Zoom definitely came in with a game plan, but he unexpectedly developed these emotions for Caitlin. Do you feel that derailed his plans?
I think it did cause him problems. It has slowed him down a bit. He did fall in love with Caitlin — he took her back to Earth-2 with him. He’s trying to convince her to be on Team Zoom instead of Team Flash. I think it’s distracted him a little bit from his ulterior motive, which may be to the benefit of Team Flash.
Caitlin was totally blindsided by Jay’s true identity. Is there any part of her that still cares for him?
I don’t think she does. It’s hard to even know who he is. He’s almost legitimately leading a double life. I think there’s a piece of her that can probably have empathy for everything he went through, but I’m not sure she would still care for him.
What is Caitlin’s role in helping Barry defeat Zoom?
Caitlin actually does play a pretty big role in terms of trying to defeat Zoom. She has a very personal attachment to it, and a little bit of a vendetta. She wants to get Zoom, so she’s willing to push herself to new extremes to try and get back at him for what he’s done to her.
What’s at stake in the finale?
What is pretty incredible about our show is, not only is this our season finale, but I feel the last two episodes were pretty gigantic. Obviously, “Invincible” set up some crazy stuff. I’m interested to see the fans’ response to the finale. It’s definitely going to shock them. We’ll see what it means for Season 3 and going forward.
One of the ongoing mysteries has been the identity of the man behind the iron mask. There’s been a lot of speculation who it could be. How surprised do you think audiences are going to be by the revelation?
It was really fun at the beginning of the season – where we didn’t know anything about Earth-2 and what everyone’s doppelgangers looked like — to start guessing way back then. I was recently with Robbie Amell and sort of laughing about what fun it would have been if it was him. Obviously, it couldn’t be, because we met Deathstorm. As we met more and more characters, it eliminated the options of who it is. It’s a great reveal. I was so surprised. Being on set and seeing it was really special.
How does the Season 2 finale lay the groundwork for next year?
To be honest, I don’t know much about Season 3. They’ve just started writing it. They have some new amazing writers on board. That’s going to bring some fresh voices to Season 3. But even I was pretty shocked by how they end Season 2. I’m anxious to see what that means.
Cisco was initially concerned that Ronnie’s death would lead to Caitlin embracing her dark side. Now, she’s lost someone else. In your mind, does Earth-1’s Caitlin have the potential to transform into Killer Frost?
I think she does have the potential to become Killer Frost. She’s been through a lot. It would be nice if she had a break and we got to see a happier side of Caitlin for a minute, but she does have the potential at some point. You never know what life could throw at her.
The episode, “The Runaway Dinosaur,” received quite a bit of praise from fans. What was it like being directed by Kevin Smith?
It was incredible. Unfortunately, I’m disappointed I wasn’t in the episode more. Teddy wasn’t available because he was shooting his pilot, which just got picked up, so I’m thrilled for him. It was such a bummer for me not to be around that episode more, because [Smith] brought so much to the show, so much heart and warmth. He inspired our crew, sort of at the end of the season when everyone is getting really worn down. Kevin brought a new energy and new life to the set. I’m very grateful to him for that.
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