Last week on the Season 9 premiere of The Flash, fans finally met who came out of the cryo-pod, properly known as the CRC, that Caitlin Snow entered at the end of Season 8 in her effort to bring back Frost and, as showrunner Eric Wallace had teased previously, it was in fact someone completely new. This week’s episode gave us a genuine introduction to this new character — as well as revealed what happened to Caitlin in the process. It was a big surprise for Team Flash as well as for fans and it turns out, it was a little bit of a surprise for Daniella Panabaker as well. Panabaker recently spoke with ComicBook.com about her new character and what it means to be saying goodbye after nine seasons.
Warning: spoilers for this week’s episode of The Flash, “Hear No Evil” beyond this point.
This week’s episode of The Flash reveals that the person who emerged from the CRC is neither Caitlin nor Frost but is instead a third person we first meet as Snow. Snow is quite truly a brand-new person who knows very little about herself and has none of Caitlin or Frost’s memories but is initially on board with Mark’s (Jon Cor) plan to try to bring back Frost. Mark brings Snow to Team Flash under the guise of getting their help to bring back Caitlin, but his real plan is soon revealed, and, after that, it’s discovered that the only way to bring anyone back means that the others have to die. The process that Caitlin’s father used to create Frost in the first place cannot be easily reversed. In the end, Snow has to make the choice of what to do and ends up choosing herself. After all, Frost made her choice to save everyone when she became Hellfrost and Caitlin made her choice to save Frost knowing what would happen. It felt fitting for Snow to have her chance, too. Snow also chooses her own identity, opting to call herself Khione — which was Frost’s original name given to her by Thomas Snow.
With Khione now here to stay, it means that Caitlin is really and truly dead and for Panabaker, while the idea that someone else would be coming out of the CRC is something she knew, the idea that it was the end of the line for Caitlin wasn’t exactly that simple — though she told us that she welcomes the challenge of creating and playing this brand-new character.
“The idea that someone else would be coming out of the CRC was something that Eric had pitched sort of at the end of season eight when it became finalized that we were going to do a season nine,” Panabaker said. “The end of season eight was always meant to be Caitlin doing whatever it took to get Frost back. And then with the idea of taking it another season, Eric’s idea was to have a different character come out of the CRC. At the time, I did not know that that also would mean that that was the death of Caitlin. But as always, I’m excited for the challenge of creating a new character on this show.”
She continued, “I think the intention, or the hope was that there would be seasons nine and ten of The Flash. So, the idea of playing Khione, I didn’t know that that was only after Caitlin had died, and I wasn’t sure how many episodes that would be, and I didn’t know that would be that this would be the end of the series. These revelations are sort of coming one after another and I think all I could do was process them one at a time. Obviously really excited to get to play another character and get to explore another character, that’s a real gift on a show that’s been running for nine years, that I’ve gotten to do so much and try and play so much on this show. Obviously sad to say goodbye to Caitlin because that was how everything on The Flash started for me was with her. Not only on The Flash, but in this Berlanti-verse, this Arrowverse.”
Khione’s arrival is a little bittersweet because of Caitlin’s loss, but Panabaker said that there is a lot to enjoy about Khione — a character that in a sense embodies all of the good in both of her “sisters” before her. For Panabaker, playing her has been a lot of fun.
“One of my favorite things about Khione is her innocence and just this optimism and positivity that she brings to the team,” Panabaker said. “She hasn’t seen Barry save the city a hundred plus times, so it’s nice to have a new fresh perspective, and one that is so positive. I think Caitlin at times, particularly in earlier seasons, was always wary of the negative consequences of things. And to have someone like Khione, who’s constantly looking for a more positive perspective and truly is a glass half full kind of gal, has been a lot of fun.”
The Flash airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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