Though it seemed like Caitlin Snow was the least affected by the Flashpoint timeline, she really has become a new woman on The Flash.
Upon Barry’s return to the new timeline — the darkest timeline, if you will — viewers discovered that mild-mannered scientist Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) was developing the same powers as her Earth-2 doppelgänger Killer Frost. Fearful of her new evolution, Caitlin will turn to her mother (played by Susan Walters) during this week’s episode in hope of answers. As such, EW turned to Panabaker to get some answers of our own:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How is Caitlin handling these newfound powers?
DANIELLE PANABAKER: It’s definitely been a challenging couple of months. At first, she doesn’t really know what to make of her powers. She’s experimenting a little bit, as we saw in episode 4, and it’s getting to the point where she knows she needs help and she’s not ready to go to Team Flash yet, because I don’t think she knows what she’s going to say. So she goes to her mom as another expert in the medical field, and tries to get some assistance from her mom, but she’s not quite as successful as she’d hoped.
What can you tease of Caitlin’s dynamic with her mother?
I was so excited to see the relationship between Caitlin and her mom. Their interaction, though sort of brief over this one episode, starts to fill in a lot of the blanks as to why we haven’t seen Caitlin’s family, or her mom, for the last couple of years. They don’t have a great relationship, they’re not close like the Wests are. You get a little bit more insight into how that came to be.
As for why she’s not opening up to the team, do you think there’s a part of her that’s scared she’s going to become a villain?
Absolutely. After hearing [about], and briefly meeting, Killer Frost at the end of season 2, I think she’s terrified that could be her future. She said to Cisco at the end of last season, “I’m scared, I don’t want to become her,” as she was suffering from her PTSD after everything with Zoom. It is something that she’s very afraid of and cognizant of and trying to avoid.
While this is tough for Caitlin, how fun is it for you to finally get to explore these powers with this version of Caitlin?
I’m so excited. I’ve been bugging everyone just as long as the fans have been bugging me about my excitement for getting powers. It’s been such a treat. I’m so excited about it, and excited to see what it means for Caitlin this year.
Are you a little bit nervous about potentially wearing a wig more permanently soon?
I’m excited for the changes. I’m a little bit of a girly girl. What starts to look different? If she’s got this darkness inside of her, how does that manifest itself when she gets dressed in the morning and the way she does her makeup and that sort of thing.
Do you think not opening up to Cisco and Barry, who have been there from the beginning, and that subsequent isolation will drive her to go dark?
I do think it will have an affect on her. I understand why she would want to keep this to herself as she started to figure it out, but hopefully she learns how to ask for help from those who we’ve seen in the past are fantastic at helping others.
Eventually, presumably, she’ll need to start figuring out these powers. Will she be trying to master them, or is she — by going to her mom — trying to get rid of them?
She’s scared of these powers at first. It’s not something that she wants and she’s trying to almost prevent [them from] happening, because she’s afraid that it will make her turn evil.
To be clear, in this timeline, did she still interact with Earth-2 Killer Frost?
I believe so. That’s an interesting question. I operated under the assumption that yes, many of the experiences that we’ve seen happen in the past still do exist. I assume, but I don’t know that it’s ever expressly addressed.
Knowing who Killer Frost is, she does have a sense of what’s happening then, but is there even a part of her that has hope that she could use her powers for good?
She does have hope. Caitlin is inherently a very hopeful person, but having seen how evil Earth-2 Killer Frost was, I think she’s afraid she could turn that way and she’s going to do everything she can to prevent that.
Because Barry changed the timeline and now Caitlin has powers, does she blame him at all?
I thought about that. I don’t think that Caitlin Snow is angry at Barry. This is her reality. After learning about Flashpoint and that Barry did run back in time, that’s new information, but that’s not the foundation of who she is and her life experience. This is her life, these are the cards she was dealt. Does she wish it was something different? Probably, but I don’t think she’s angry at Barry for doing this.
Can you tease how Caitlin and the team will feel about the new Harrison Wells?
Personally, it’s been such a fantastic experience to work with Tom [Cavanagh], because he’s such a great actor. The characters he comes up with are so different, unique, and nuanced. It’s really fun to watch him work. The team has been a little bit more proactive about finding this Harrison Wells as opposed to the last one, who just showed up. They have hope that this version of Harrison Wells will be a friend, but I don’t think they know for sure, and they still have a lot to learn about him.
Lastly, Caitlin has always been very unlucky in love, is there any hope for her in the future?
Maybe far down the road. At this point, especially this season, she’s going through — it sounds like I’m about to say she’s going through puberty — so many changes in herself that she just needs to focus on figuring her own stuff out. Her romance and her relationships will take a backseat to that these days.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.