I had hoped that The Flash would go from the worst episode of the season last week to one of the strongest this week. Well, I guess there’s a reason nobody says that Thanksgiving is the season for wishes to come true. This episode wasn’t as nonsensical and clunky as last week, but it was almost aggressively…meh.
This season is about family and legacies. Some weeks, it whispers this theme. Some weeks, it proclaims it loudly. This week, the message had all the subtle touch of a bellow into the audience’s ear with a bullhorn after skywriting the message past a billboard on the Interstate. In other words, it handled the theme of family with all the understatement of a Fast and the Furious movie.
DID YOU GET THAT THIS SEASON IS ABOUT FAMILY YET? BECAUSE IT’S ABOUT FAMILY. DO YOU NEED ME TO REPEAT THAT?
This week introduced a new familial conflict with Weather Wizard and his daughter. He wasn’t a great dad. She’s angry and bitter and wanted to make him pay. There’s really not much more to say about that. In reality, the episode dealt primarily with Cicada’s family. As it turns out, he was a reluctant uncle and guardian who became a dad after his sister was killed by a meta. Grace taught him about love and family and the spirit of Christmas. Thanksgiving. I mean Thanksgiving. And then she was injured during the Enlightenment and Cicada vowed revenge. So not quite the Hallmark movie some hoped for, given the Thanksgiving theme.
We also touched on the team as a family. Including Killer Frost. You know, when I anticipated they were rebooting Frost’s story this year (again), I had hoped that lingering questions would be answered. I suppose some have, but not the question of why the team is welcoming Frost with open arms and totally trusts her. (I also don’t really get why Caitlin was so gung-ho to get Frost back after trying for a whole season to get rid of her, or why the team didn’t sit her down and have a Come to Jesus talk with her when she did. But whatever.)
I really hope The Powers That Be are still planning something in the future for Caitlin and Killer Frost. They certainly raced to the finish line on that plot this season. At present, the two of them talking to each other isn’t really working for me.
As an aside, I’m not sure what they were going for with the “humor” about Thanksgiving’s dark past. I suppose they were trying to set up an opportunity for Frosty Oprah to make an appearance again. However, couldn’t they have just done that by having her convince Sherloque to attend the dinner? (The dinner, incidentally, that Caitlin invited him to without seemingly running it past the hosts. Since this just happened to me over Thanksgiving weekend, I wanted to bounce a drumstick off her head. If she’s going to really shake off this quasi-villainous reputation, she’s going to have to learn some damn manners.)
The fact of the matter is that Thanksgiving does indeed have a rather dark history. Making somewhat light of that history to use it for humor value isn’t a good look. It is particularly troublesome when one remembers the treatment of Native American character Black Bison last season. When you make a swing and a miss that hard, you should be cautious of treating an abhorrent part of this country’s history like a punchline.
Last but not least, we had the West-Allen family. For the first time, Nora had to confront in person the fact that her dad isn’t just the hero of her stories. He’s the hero who puts his life on the line time after time – and will continue to do so. He is the hero who doesn’t always make it home. Some might begrudge Nora her anger, but I get it. She grew up knowing her dad died to save the world, and grief isn’t always rational. Anger at the person who died for leaving isn’t the most admirable of emotions, but it is real.
Still, I think this particular beat would have had more emotional impact if it wasn’t a beat that was raised in minute twenty and resolved in minute fifty. We had episode after episode of Iris’s anger at her mom. I’m certainly not begrudging that we don’t get yet another arc of Nora being angry at a parent. However, it would have been nice if hints of this anger had peeked through in other episodes. It just would have meant more if it didn’t come so completely out of the blue.
Other Points of Interest:
How can an episode last a full hour and yet be so determined to not accomplish a single thing? I really hope we’re back on track for the milestone 100th episode next week.
So. That was an episode that certainly happened. Hey, that turkey looked good, though, right?
(New) Questions for the Hour:
Can we hope that they were focusing so hard on the 100th episode and the crossover that these last two episodes slipped through the cracks? This episode was…an episode, but I’d hate to think this is setting a new standard for the season.
Did that doctor really set off Cicada unintentionally, or are we going to find out that there’s more going on there than meets the eye? I know, I know. I’m desperately looking for depth and subtlety in an episode that lacked either.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.