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The Flash spent a lot of time over the first two seasons emphasizing the importance of family and what the characters will do for their families. Most of the major characters had relatives introduced at some point in Seasons 1 and 2, but Caitlin Snow has been overlooked on the family front. Luckily, Season 3 of The Flash will finally give a closer look at the family that turned Caitlin into the person she is today. Now we know who will be playing her mom, and the casting couldn't be more perfect. Susan Walters of The Vampire Diaries fame will tackle the role, and Caitlin actress Danielle Panabaker so closely resembles Walters that we won't have to suspend much disbelief that the two ladies are related.
Susan Walters will play a world class biomedical engineer named Carla Tanhauser who also happens to be Caitlin's mom, according to EW. Tanhauser works as the CEO of a research company with a long reach, and her dedication to her work led to a strained relationship with her daughter. Caitlin inherited Carla's scientific brilliance, but Caitlin considers her mother frosty and distant. For her part, Carla believes Caitlin doesn't properly appreciate the advantages brought by Carla's work. Walters will recur throughout Season 3, so there's no telling how much of her we'll see.
Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg had already hinted that Caitlin's mom was likely to turn up in Season 3. We didn't really have much to go on about what the new character would bring to the show, since the only mention of Caitlin's mother in the first two seasons came when Caitlin and Killer Frost bonded over similarly narcissistic matriarchs. Caitlin clearly wasn't her mom's biggest fan, so it should be interesting to see how the women play off of one another when they reunite. Killer Frost revealed that it had been the death of her brother Charlie that transformed her mom into such a cold figure; Caitlin responded that she never had a brother. We'll have to wait and see if a different tragedy changed Earth 1 Carla or if there really was an Earth 1 version of Charlie.
Susan Walters may be a familiar face to Flash fans who frequent The CW. She was a key player in the first four seasons of The Vampire Diaries as Mayor Carol Lockwood, who came to an untimely end courtesy of a vengeful Klaus. Walters then had a recurring role in the short-lived series Star-Crossed in its first and only season in 2014. Outside of The CW, Walters has appeared throughout the years on MTV's Teen Wolf as Natalie Martin and had a role in the single season of CBS legal drama Reckless. More recently, she turned up in a 2015 episode of How to Get Away with Murder.
On the whole, I'm optimistic about Susan Walters as Caitlin's mother. She has experience in multiple genre shows that should make her a fit for the fantastical Flash, and it's about time that Caitlin got some family backstory on screen. The resemblance between Walters and Danielle Panabaker should make it easy to believe that the women are related.