This review contains spoilers.
5.10 The Flash & The Furious
Can bad people change? Should metas be “cured”? Does everyone deserve a second chance? Should Barry maybe let one little car theft go so Cecile’s first day back on the job as District Attorney after maternity leave can go smoothly?
OK, aside from the last bit, those are the big questions asked in this week’s The Flash, The Flash & The Furious. Serving as something of a superhero ethics course, the rather tame “meta of the week” episode is the first back after last month’s “Elseworlds” crossover, and it is Nora-centric, and Barry-lite (presumably because Grant Gustin was occupied filming the big event).
The story also brings back Joslyn Jackam/Weather Witch and introduces new baddie Raya/Silver Ghost (Gabrielle Walsh), who proposes starting the Young Rogues supervillain team.
The instalment begins by setting up an emotional struggle for Nora, who confronts the imprisoned Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash in 2049 about murdering her grandmother, picking up from his surprise return in the 100th episode (still looking like Harrison Wells following Crisis on Earth-X). Nora had been working with Thawne in the form of relays in another language, but she now feels betrayed. But Thawne is seemingly regretful for his evil ways.
Returning to the present, Barry heads to court with Nora to testify as Central City CSI against Weather Witch – which coincides with Cecile’s first day back after giving birth. In another part of the city, Silver Ghost makes her debut with a meta-tech key fob that allows her to control vehicles, which she uses to steal a Lamborghini. Both speedsters leave the trial to stop the theft, and The Flash’s powers are thrown out of whack when he touches the meta-tech-infected vehicle, leaving him filled with unstable dark energy and unable to control his phasing.
As an aside, how foolish is it of Barry to leave a trial where his testimony could convict a meta-criminal simply to address motor vehicle theft, especially before he knew it was perpetrated by a villain? Couldn’t XS have handled it on her own? And what kind of a city throws a District Attorney into court on her first day back without giving her time to prepare her case? So many questions!
Anyway, with Barry held in a power dampening cell in the pipeline for twenty-four hours as his powers re-stabilise, Nora testifies as CSI in his stead, and she unloads her pent-up Thawne anger on Weather Witch – despite Cecile wanting to go easy on Joss after sensing remorse via her super-empathy. Joss actually steps up in court and admits guilt.
But it’s not straight off to prison for Weather Witch because Silver Ghost intervenes in a prison transport, breaks Joss loose, and reveals she’s getting a band together of Young Rogues because “there’s been enough old men running this town.” She also wants Joss’s help on a job to break into A.R.G.U.S. to steal some bleeding edge tech (which turns out to be a $24 million Wayne Tech-designed car, or “mobile,” if you’d prefer). Joss turns down the offer and instead gives herself up to XS in the hopes the hero will vouch for her to the police.
But bad guys and gals never change in Nora’s mind, so she dumps Joss back at CCPD without speaking up for her and she is once again imprisoned – and once again sprung by a determined Silver Ghost, who says she’s the only one around offering the young woman a second chance… at crime. With her meta-tech-infused weather staff back in hand, Joss becomes Weather Witch once more and agrees to help Silver Ghost.
As this is taking place, Iris acquires Raya/Silver Ghost’s military file, revealing she was a scapegoat for a failed operation and dishonorably discharged. More importantly, Iris reveals to Nora that Joss has no connection to the new villain, and thus, likely is not in cahoots with her. Instead, Joss may be telling the truth.
Nora has a heart-to-heart with Barry, still in his dampening cell (and reading the romance novel “Uncaged Desire,” written by one Mick Rory under the pseudonym Rebecca Silver). Barry tells his daughter that all people have good in them and possess a potential to change for the better. He said it’s how Leonard Snart became a Legend and a hero. Much to her surprise, Barry believes even Eobard Thawne could rehabilitate given enough time.
Sure enough, Silver Ghost and Weather Witch bust into A.R.G.U.S. and make off with the Wayne Tech supercar for a joyride – of villainy! But Killer Frost and XS are in pursuit. Silver Ghost – using a pretty amusing emoji-controlled weapons system which launches missiles, cloaks, and phases – incapacitates XS. Raya targets the cloaked car straight at XS as the speedster apologizes to Weather Witch, and offers her another shot at redemption. Weather Witch seems to accept and creates a slate of ice that causes the car to slide past XS. But instead of giving herself up, Weather Witch escapes with Silver Ghost. As the re-powered Barry later notes, Nora now has her own Leonard Snart.
But, unlike Snart, Joss’ slight turn to the light side seems to come a little too fast and feels unearned. After all, she just tried to kill her dad, all while threatening the life of anyone who got in her way. Her sudden remorse comes out of nowhere, but it does work in terms of bolstering Nora’s development.
Speaking of Nora, she returns to 2049 to once again visit with Thawne. As an ominous clock counts down, he explains he doesn’t have much time and asks for her trust. She denies him trust, but agrees to help him. Meanwhile, Sherloque Wells’ secret investigation of Nora continues, and by episode’s end, he learns records of Ms. West-Allen have been wiped from Gideon’s databank.
While the main plot serves to give Nora the lead on her own adventure and expands the character’s emotional depth, the subplot revolves around Cisco and Caitlin/Killer Frost arguing about whether a “cure” for metahumans should be explored. Discovering the now-removed micro-shards in his hands were removing his Vibe powers, Cisco realises they could point the way to a cure – which he wants, because he hopes to have a normal life, and would be happy to leave the superhero life behind him. Killer Frost reacts poorly to this by destroying his research. By the end of the episode, Caitlin agrees to help Cisco and brings him to her father’s old laboratory.
The superpowers cure trope is a familiar one to comic book fans, most notably X-Men readers, and it doesn’t tend to end well. It seems likely Cisco will succeed and the cure will become the bane of Team Flash. That said, a return to Cisco minus Vibe powers would be an interesting, and welcome, turn.
Without much Barry Allen, and with the absence of Ralph and Joe West (who is in Tibet as actor Jesse L. Martin heals from an injury), Central City feels a little empty in this episode. As for the new villain, Raya’s powers aren’t terribly exciting. Still, Walsh seems to be enjoying her turn as a bad kid in the role. If given more to do, Silver Ghost could develop into an interesting antagonist.
Meanwhile, Tom Cavanagh continues to delight as yet another Wells, but his return as Thawne – now beaten and broken down – is an exciting development. Is he truly a changed man or, as is more likely, is he still the same villain, this time playing Nora to get to Barry? Hopefully, the show will quickly dispatch Cicada as the big bad and move on to focus on Thawne for the second half of season five.
Now, let’s get back to more superheroics and less grand theft auto.