As a whole slew of superhero, comic book and genre related shows are going through a sort of revival/rehabilitation period where they are bringing new life after some down seasons, it’s mostly business as usual for The Flash. While that would normally seem like a good thing, it’s, unfortunately, anything but that. Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) brought some energy to the series in the first episode of the season, but even her bubbly personality cannot mask the fact that in some ways The Flash is beginning to feel its age.
Once seen as the lighter but still important The CW series, a role that was not only taken but improved by DC’s Legends of Tomorrow when it reinvented itself for season two, The Flash found itself trapped in this darker big bad villain arc surrounded by a slew of mostly one-off and kind of pathetic villains of the weeks in the third and fourth seasons. While the new villain Cicaida (Chris Klein), the little of him we’ve seen, appears to have more grounded and better motives than the previous cackling world destroying types like Thinker, that’s not enough to keep this show chugging forward. It’s the characters moments, like Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) trying to help Cisco (Carlos Valdes) through his recent breakup, that really save the episode. Honestly, if they axed out the villains of the week stuff most weeks and just focused on the characters (like some of the best episodes last year like the bachelor/bachelorette party) the season might go a whole lot better than last.
Block, the new metahuman that can create globby looking blocks that she uses to mostly crush people, is just the latest in a string of metahumans that follow too predictable of a pattern. They show up, hurt or kill someone or destroy/take something, Flash and company find them later only to be easily distracted or defeated, they get away, team tracks them down, ultimately can defeat them. This time the only difference is that Cicada shows up to kill Block and confronts Team Flash, making his evil presence known. Because many of the well-known Rogues are either dead, with the Legends or the actors have left the universe/have jobs elsewhere the show is relying a lot on the standard villain of the week formula (some of them known DC villains others are really pulling from the depth of the archives). Cicada at least saves things in the sense that his power set and abilities actually make him a threat for the team. Hopefully not a threat that drags on way too long and becomes increasingly less and less effective like The Thinker last season.
It makes sense why they are somewhat okay with it, but I have to say the blase nature to just altering time from Team Flash despite the issues they’ve seen it cause in the past is a bit off-putting. They know that Nora remaining here will tell them a lot and they are now going to be likely changing a lot of things (unless of course, they discover she was always meant to be here and therefore this is time as it’s meant to happen or something) that should not be changed. The Legends are somewhat blase about time and changes but they at least mostly know what they are doing and have some results. Team Flash just keeps letting it happen cause they are understandably selfish. That being said, I am curious to see where Nora’s story goes and find out what the reasons are that she’s somewhat colder to Iris. Likely it’s just some typical story parent and child drama but there is always the chance that it is far more.
This is shorter than most of my reviews because honestly there isn’t a lot that I have to say. This is one of those episodes that isn’t great and isn’t bad, it’s just sort of there. Great character work happens between these characters because at this point, five seasons in, the bonds are strong between most and are growing in the case of others (Ralph, Cecile, Nora). The action scenes are not bad, but the cliche and patterned villain encounters sort of take away from any cool visuals that happen as it becomes so formulaic. In the past, the series was better at mixing up the types of episodes it presented but as of late it focuses way too much on the villain of the week formula, and hopefully, that changes quickly. In the end, this episode moves the story forward for the season and presents a few interesting tidbits of info for other storylines but doesn’t really add much else to the lore of The Flash. The type of episode that you could even skip over in the future during a season five binge.
Score: 7 out of 10