This The Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 5 Episode 17
Whatever your thoughts on the protracted Cicada storyline, The Flash just pushed the villain in a powerful, and menacing new direction with Cicada 2.0. But tonight’s action-packed adventure, “Time Bomb,” also blew Nora’s mystery wide open, and even took a comedic turn close to the spider-verse, what with Ralph’s determination to bring Cisco’s girlfriend into Team Flash.
As we learned last week, the new Cicada is the future version of Grace, Orlin’s niece. Played by Sarah Carter, she is not only vicious, but also far more powerful than her uncle ever was. And as much as Chris Klein’s Cicada was growly and permanently pissed off, Grace conveys some major sanity issues – as well as interesting future tech, in addition to being able to fully manipulate dark matter.
Cicada’s “kill all metas” mission is a flipside of the hero origin story. Instead of having her family killed by a criminal, and waging a war on crime, her parents are killed (mistakenly) by a meta who just happened to have her power activate at an ATM at the wrong place, wrong time. I know Orlin had similar motives, but it connects a little better with Grace. Plus, she can hate metas, and Team Flash, for essentially taking away the Uncle Orlin she knew and love (even though he chose the cure, and to give up his homicidal ways).
What I found particularly thrilling about Cicada-Grace is how darn good she is at wiping the floor with our heroes. As she notes, there was not much enjoyment to be had by defeating Team Flash because it was too easy. As her dark matter blade travels as fast as XS, who barely escapes with the civilian meta mom, Ralph and Cisco are unable to vibe to help the downed Barry. If Orlin hadn’t shown up to talk Grace down, Barry would be Flash fried.
Orlin’s death was not especially surprising since he was pretty much there throughout the episode to convince his niece to re-examine her murderous ways, and that her parents died accidently (and the police case file about it covered up). Still, it was a worthy end to Orlin. As a villain, he overstayed his welcome, but had an interesting death.
Now I am looking forward to this time traveling Cicada’s meta-murder rampage – especially since she is psychically bonded with Nora, and has access to Team Flash intel, such as the location of the “Starchives,” which contains Thawne’s Time Sphere, and other important goodies.
Speaking of Thawne, his presence cast quite the shadow over the episode, even though he only appeared in two scenes.
Continued credit to Tom Cavanagh for his broken down Eobard in 2049, facing death, and facing the potentially worse realization that he was wrong about the timeline, and Cicada. Eobard admitting he can’t help Nora, and instead encouraging her to go to his nemesis The Flash for help was tasty.
Meanwhile, it was exciting watching Sherloque finally crack the mystery of Nora, and her journal, and dissect the Harrison Wells mystery. As humorous as it was to see Sherloque watch the video of Wells-Thawne (and Cavanaugh interjecting with amused little noises, as the actor watches himself), it was almost painful to see how determined and unrelenting he was in the episode’s final moments. Sherloque verbally eviscerates Nora by laying evidence at her feet, and in front of the entire team. She is not only a liar, but a pawn and partner to Thawne.
After all, how long has Nora endangered the team, and continued the ruse? She missed her chance to come clean. She even tried to justify keeping her worlds separate by disagreeing when her dad scolded the meta mom that her family has a right to know about her powers.
(Although Barry is particularly annoying, and often wrong, in his constant meddling in other people’s lives. Dude needs to mind his own damn business on occasion, and stop preaching when he doesn’t have a stellar track record of, you know, breaking time and hurting others.)
But I digress, even with all the Cicada action, the final scene was the best of the episode. Sherloque’s revelation is cruel, but not unwarranted. He is correct in accusing her of making puppets of all of them. And the scene sticks the landing – even though I am left wondering how much Sherloque cares about this team versus only caring about being right, and solving the mystery.
Barry’s final moment of speeding Nora away into a cell. That’s Captain Cold level of chilly. And heartbreaking to see the younger West-Allen crumple in grief.
But hey, there were some laughs this week as well with Ralph trying to convince Cisco to get Facebook-official girlfriend Kamilla onto the team. In a blatant multiverse callout of the Spider-Verse, Ralph “Peter Parkered” her to take photos for Iris’s Central City Citizen. And, he hopes, that will lead to some radiation accident that will power her as a “Spider-Person” (complete with Thwipping movements).
Ralph is an idiot with this scheme (as great as the Spider-Man call out is), and Cisco is having none of it. He is also trying to keep his lives separate, and doesn’t want Kamilla in on this meta world. To borrow from another Spidey moment, perhaps this is the beginning Cisco’s own “Vibe No More” arc.
(I do appreciate that Cisco define their relationship status by a Lost reference of “Not Penny’s Boat Big Deal.”)
Stray thoughts: I respect the need for consent in giving the comatose Grace the meta-cure, but c’mon. Stop the kid now to prevent the meta-killer in the future. Sure, it might muck up the timeline more, but it’s worth a shot.
Stray thought #2: Well played that the time test between Thawne’s Spheres was named “Operation Shazam.” I wonder if that name has some significance in this universe.
Well kids, the Cicada threat ain’t over just yet, but it did get a lot more interesting in this nonstop ep. And with Nora locked up, we will see what happens with Thawne in 2049.