I won’t lie, when Kristen Kramer first appeared last season on The Flash, I did not like her. She spent most of her initial storyline making life difficult for some of my favorite characters. Frost and Caitlin were just getting their lives together, and then Kramer decided to bring Frost to justice for crimes she committed early in the series. This turned things upside down for both Caitlin and Frost, who was almost forced to give up her powers.
Kramer also took a very antagonistic attitude towards Joe West, who is arguably one of the sweetest guys on the planet. I realize this isn’t entirely rational, but I felt like she was pushing him out of the CCPD. As Joe began looking into her past, there was a sense that maybe she was up to something more sinister. This played into my confirmation bias, because life would’ve been so much easier if Kramer was a villain. If she was a villain, then life could go back to normal for Frost and Joe once she was defeated.
The truth was more nuanced than that, as it often is. Life—along with a good number of live-action superhero shows—aren’t always Saturday morning cartoons where people are easily categorized as heroes and villains. Kramer might have been acting in opposition to our heroes, but she wasn’t evil. As much as I hate to admit it, Frost had never answered for her crimes, and that was a legal issue that should’ve been cleared up years ago. Kramer was right to pursue Frost, even if she was a bit aggressive. We later learned that Kramer was a metahuman herself, with the power to mimic the abilities of nearby metas.
Now she’s captain of the Central City Police Department, and during the episode “Lockdown,” the Flash agreed to train her to help her control her metahuman abilities. In addition, the Flash revealed his true identity to her, something that she had already deduced earlier that day. Since Kramer has powers, and is being trained by Barry, it’s not a stretch to wonder if she should officially join Team Flash. The question is, how would she fit in with this group?
The change in dynamic between her and Barry could lead to some awkwardness. While they’re in the walls of the Central City Police Department, she is his boss and he is her subordinate. In STAR Labs, Barry would be calling the shots, especially as he trains Kramer to get a better handle on her powers. Barry and Kristen are both mature adults, but imagine what it would feel like if the power dynamic shifted between you and your employer depending on what building you were in. Things would get awkward fast.
Working with Team Flash would also put Kramer in regular contact with Frost. It would be an understatement to say that the two of them didn’t get off on the right foot. How would Frost and Caitlin deal with Kramer’s continued presence? Would the team be able to function effectively with all the tension brewing?
Let’s not forget the fact that she still doesn’t have full control of her powers. Remember, Kristen could mimic the powers of any metahuman near her, and there are plenty of super-powered beings coming in and out of STAR Labs. What if Kristen accidentally manifested a black hole, or turned someone to ice? Plus, as a former military officer, and longtime member of the police force, Kramer is used to a certain organizational structure. Would she be able to handle the disorganized methods of the STAR Labs crew?
Still, the more I ponder this, the more I think Team Flash might need Kristen Kramer. Her credentials could put her at odds with the way the team operates, but that’s precisely why she would be an asset. Team Flash is currently hunting the mysterious Black Flame, and it’s clear they’re going to need all the help they can get. Kristen’s experience leading military and police operations might be a huge asset. While it’s true that Team Flash thrives under disorganized chaos, perhaps some of Kramer’s leadership skills could improve the crew’s effectiveness. I’m not saying Kristen needs to remake Team Flash into a micromanaged military unit, but they would benefit from trying things in a more structured fashion.
This is a partnership where both parties would stand to gain something from the other. Yes, Team Flash would improve with Kramer’s experience, but Kristen would also benefit from being around so many experienced metahumans. If you watch the episode “Lockdown” again, you’ll notice that that she fears her own powers, and that fear almost allowed Goldface to claim victory. She needs the training and mentorship that could only be found in Team Flash. Look at what it did for Barry.
Throughout the years, we’ve seen many people join and leave Team Flash. My tears from Cisco’s departure still haven’t completely dried, and the scars from Ronnie Raymond’s death have never truly healed. Team Flash is more than a group—they are a family. With that level of closeness, it’s undoubtedly going to be hard for Barry and his team to accept the new CCPD chief as one of them. But with a dangerous new meta terrorizing Central City and Iris West facing a threat of an entirely different nature, maybe it’s time for Team Flash to call in the reinforcements and consider inducting Kristen Kramer.
The Flash airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW. Looking for the latest on the Scarlet Speedster? Visit our official Flash series page!
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.