The first season of "The Flash" could make an argument for being the textbook case of how to handle your Freshman year -- and now, sadly, it's almost over. Tonight's episode, "Who Is Harrison Wells?", brings the over-arching mystery of the year to a head as the gang investigates their mentor -- and secret super-villain.
Stuck in the middle? Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, who is trying to wrap her head around the idea that the man she admires may have killed Barry Allen's (Grant Gustin) mom. To preview the final episodes, and tease some of her KILLER future, MTV News hopped on the phone with Panabaker:
MTV News: A lot of people have commented on -- no pun intended -- how fast this season has moved through plot and character... What's the ride been like for you guys, heading into these final few episodes?
Danielle Panabaker: The last couple of episodes are absolutely incredible. Sort of a sprint to the finish line. It’s been challenging at times because the audience, and myself as an audience member, knows more about what’s going on with Harrison Wells than the characters do... So it’s really exciting over the next couple of episodes to see Caitlin start to be confronted with the truth and see how she deals with it.
MTV: She's clearly having a harder time with the revelation than Cisco or Barry... Why is that?
Panabaker: Her reaction is different than Barry’s because she has such a stronger history with Doctor Wells. She’s been around him for years, and she believes in him so wholeheartedly. I made the comparison in the past that he’s sort of like a Bill Gates, he’s out to change the world and having Barry provides a ton of potential so she’s really put him on a pedestal.
I think her reaction is a little bit different than Cisco’s because obviously Cisco has this really traumatic experience, almost a dream or otherwise, that is still fresh in his mind. That makes it a little bit more possible to him that Doctor Wells might not be all they think he is.
MTV: Is she going to be able to fall back on her friends, her family? Or is this going to send her in a spiral of some sort?
Panabaker: The rest of this season is more about her bonding, and sort of standing with her friends, and learning how to defeat the Reverse Flash. I think that’s going to be the focus for now. I'm anxious to see what happens in season two after the rest of these next few episodes.
The rest of the season is really going to rock their world. Season one is not going to end and tie everything up in a pretty little bow. It’s a roller coaster ride through the rest of the season, for sure.
MTV: We know Ronnie is coming back, is Caitlin’s story still tied to his?
Panabaker: I think what was really beautiful was at the end of, I think it was episode 14, Caitlin has this nice moment with Cisco where she says, 'You know what, I’m going to be okay.' She’s learned so much in her experiences working with Barry and working with Doctor Wells that she’s really grown as a person.
So whereas Ronnie was a really important part to her world, it’s shifting a little bit, she’s growing and it’s shifting but obviously she still loves him deeply and is excited when he comes back to town.
MTV: Okay, in the WonderCon footage, there was a little bit of a kiss between Caitlin and Barry... Can you tease at all what’s going on there
Panabaker: [Laughs] It’s in the episode. Barry kisses Caitlin. And she’s definitely shocked by it.
MTV: Well let's talk about SnowBarry for a bit... Last time you and I talked I went on the record as a SnowBarry shipper, and proceeded to get torn apart for months by WestAllen shippers online. If that happened to me, I can't even begin to imagine what happens to you -- how do you deal with it?
Panabaker: I do get it and I love the mute button on Twitter. Damian Holbrook from TV Guide recently tweeted, wrote some tweet about, 'I enjoy when fans of fictional characters tweet disgusting, cruel things to real people,' and it’s so true! I love that people are so invested in the show and in these storylines but... what’s that Taylor Swift song? You... 'Shake it off?'
MTV: I think I've heard of that song. Do you guys ever ship things? Do you ever talk about it on the set, or is that something that exists for the online sphere?
Panabaker: I mean we’ve definitely joked about it. One of our writers a couple months ago tweeted a couple photos jokingly about a couple different ships, and I think multiple cast members mentioned their Twitters were affected by it. We try not to take it too seriously, and at the end of the day it’s not like we are dictating these storylines. The writers write the stuff, we just show up and act it.
MTV: Do you give any feedback on Caitlin in particular though? Is there give and take?
Panabaker: I feel very lucky. I think we have wonderful writers and they’re very approachable and accessible so I feel like we have a pretty good dialogue with them just about what to expect, what’s coming next. Also, if we’re on set and we’re struggling with something we’re not afraid to try and track them down and say, 'Hey guys, how about this line?'
I’m sure they’ve gotten many late night phone calls from us as we’re trying to work something out on the day. I had to text Andrew about one thing, about something at one point and he said, 'I trust you. Whatever you want to make it, I trust you.'
MTV: Do you remember what that moment was?
Panabaker: I don’t remember specifically what episode it was, but it was in regards -- I want to say it was probably episode 13 or 14 -- the way Caitlin was speaking about Doctor Wells and my feeling on that relationship. For as long as I’ve lived with Caitlin, something that Andrew and I had discussed and I just wanted to tweak the line a little just to make sure it was clear that Caitlin stuck around because she believed in Doctor Wells, not because she didn’t have any other options.
MTV: I've talked about this a lot with the cast and crew before, but one thing that always strikes me about this show is the relentless positivity. It's about helping people, rather than beating them down, and that's pretty unique on TV, let alone a superhero show. How does that come through on the set? I have to imagine that makes a very positive atmosphere for you guys as well.
Panabaker: It’s certainly something that I’m aware of. I feel very grateful that our set is a very positive atmosphere. So many talented musicians on our show, myself not being one of them, but someone is always singing or dancing their way through the day which makes a huge difference when you’re spending 14-16 hours together.
I feel it for sure, especially in comparison to other sets I’ve worked on. I’m very grateful for it. It’s not necessarily something that’s discussed; I think there’s a lot of teasing that happens and a generally jovial attitude.
MTV: That said, Caitlin is heading for some dark times, right? Are we going to see her super-villain persona any time soon?
Panabaker: I can confirm you will see Killer Frost before the end of season one and I’m really excited about it.
MTV: What about the 'Flash/Arrow' spin-off? Have you had any discussions about taking Caitlin there?
Panabaker: It hasn’t been discussed specifically, but I would love to. Most of the people who are attached to that spin-off, I have worked with in some capacity or another, whether its Wentworth Miller, or Brandon [Routh], whose character has guest-starred on 'The Flash.'
I think they’re all such wonderful people and I’m really excited to see what they do with it, and thrilled that it’s going to be in Vancouver as well -- so I would love it. I also think it would be really fun, I’ve mentioned this to Andrew, I don’t know if he’ll ever listen to me but I think there’s some fun to be had with the frosty nature of potentially Caitlin’s future and Captain Cold.
MTV: Before I let you go, Grodd is coming up. He's a giant gorilla, and it looks insane and terrifying, but what was it actually like on set?
Panabaker: It varies, it depends on what the scene required. I do have some interaction with Grodd and that was interaction with an actor in a suit, I can tell you that. You could continue to talk about how ambitious these creators have been, and taking on one of the most iconic Flash villains in season one.
They didn’t wait, he’s there. It’s really impressive that our special effects crew was able to do that. I mean, I have to imagine that not very long ago doing something like that on television with the schedule that we have to adhere to would be pretty impossible, so a huge kudos to them for being able to do that.
MTV: When are you guys back on set for season two?
Panabaker: Around the first of July. July first is Canada Day so... So a little over two months!