Spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of The Flash Season 5, called "The Death of Vibe." If you haven't caught the episode yet, you may want to check out some of our spoiler-free articles until you can tune in.
Caitlin Snow hasn't had the easiest time on The Flash in 2018. After finally coming to terms with and embracing her Killer Frost alter ego, she had that side of her stolen in the fight against The Thinker. Now, Caitlin is attempting to figure out what happened to her father, Thomas Snow, who she believed to have died many years ago. Her search for her dad was never going to be straightforward, and "The Death of Vibe" just made that search even more complicated. Here's how.
With Ralph by her side, Caitlin paid a visit to her mom, claiming that it was to tell her mother the news about Thomas' forged death certificate. Carla Tannhauser was about as welcoming and forthcoming to her daughter as ever, and Caitlin was discouraged by her mom's cold reaction. Fortunately, Ralph was on hand and being helpful, telling Caitlin that her mom is a really bad liar. They come to the conclusion that Carla is probably the one who facilitated the forging. Cisco's Vibe vision wasn't faulty.
Of course, it wasn't too difficult to tell that Carla was probably lying. Nobody needs the detective skills of Batman (or even Sherloque) to be suspicious when Carla Tannhauser starts objecting to a conversation because it's too emotionally overwhelming for her. She's definitely somebody who believes in controlling her emotions, and even a restrained outburst seemed out of character. So, Caitlin and Ralph had more investigating to do.
With Ralph on the case, that meant breaking and entering. The two teamed up to sneak into Carla's office to search for clues about Thomas. There was a slight mishap with a laser when Ralph's stretched-out arm triggered an alarm, but Caitlin figured out her mom's password quickly enough to shut the alarm (and laser) off. The code? Caitlin's birthday. Carla does have a heart!
Not so much of a heart that she would share her husband's suicide note with her daughter, however. It's possible that Carla considered it kinder to let Caitlin believe Thomas had indeed died of multiple sclerosis all these years rather than reveal that her dad killed himself. At first, the story seemed settled: Thomas Snow killed himself.
Well, given that we already knew Thomas Snow had been cast for Season 5, the odds were pretty good that the story was more complex than Thomas' suicide decades ago. Caitlin was enjoying a blast from the past by going through some of her dad's old papers, some of which were copies of a game they used to play together.
Caitlin left those papers behind when she left her mom's office, but Ralph snagged them and returned them to her. By the end of the episode, she managed to connect some dots that nobody other than Caitlin could have possibly connected. She realized that what appeared to be nonsense and nothing based in science was actually hiding a message for her. Here is what the message said:
The good news is that Caitlin has renewed hope that her father is still alive and waiting for her to locate him, which is a sign that perhaps he wasn't staying away all these years just because he didn't want to be a part of her life. The bad news is that Caitlin's dad apparently likes to be enigmatic when leaving messages for his daughter. Would it have killed him to add a couple of specifics into the message?
Caitlin seemed encouraged by her discovery of the message, so her hunt for her father will undoubtedly continue. Considering her flash back to her childhood (courtesy of Cisco's Vibe powers) revealed her dad knew that she had her icy Killer Frost powers as a child, she'll have a lot of questions for him. We can only hope that she'll have time to focus on her own journey despite all the danger with Nora and Cicada.
Ralph could be the right person to help her on that journey. His detective skills already proved to be an asset to her, and he's not quite as connected to the Cicada plot as other characters. Sherloque is around as a detective, but he'll undoubtedly focus his energies on the A plot with figuring out what all those big Cicada reveals really mean. He has mysteries to solve!
Minor spoilers ahead for the rest of The Flash Season 5. Thanks to casting news over the summer, we know that Kyle Secor of Veronica Mars fame will play Thomas Snow, and not just via flashback. He'll be alive and around in Central City, hiding some secrets from Caitlin even as he attempts to reconnect with her. He'll also have a part to play in Caitlin getting back in touch with her Killer Frost side. End spoilers.
Only time will tell how much focus Caitlin will get in Season 5 of The Flash. Cicada is going to occupy a lot of Team Flash's attention, and Caitlin may be called out into the field more often now that Vibe is officially "dead," despite her current lack of powers. Throw in the gigantic Arrow-verse crossover that will take the characters in some distinctly batty directions and the potential "Crisis On Infinite Earths" arc, and Thomas Snow could fall by the wayside until the second half of the season.
We'll have to wait and see. Tune in to The CW on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of The Flash. The whole Arrow-verse is in various states of upheaval, so Team Flash probably can't count on help from other heroes. Although Nora claimed that the other heroes would try to stop Cicada and all fail, Barry and Co. would probably at least want to try. Oliver Queen would at least be worth consulting if he wasn't in the clink on Arrow.
The Legends of Legends of Tomorrow will be busy fighting magical beings they accidentally unleashed, and the cliffhanger points toward Constantine being pretty busy with his own problems. Supergirl is over on Earth-38 facing her own issues. Team Flash will likely need to focus on Cicada and their other problems themselves. For more viewing options, swing by our fall TV guide.