In this week’s episode of The Flash, Nora goes a little bad, plans go a little awry, Joe and Iris kick a little ass, and Cisco gets a little bit to do.
Let the Hate Flow Through You
We picked up where we left off last week, with Nora giving in to her rage and using it to access the Negative Speed Force. She runs into her past – our present – to build a device. Unable to do it alone, she gathers some Rogues of her own – creepy bone-popping Ragdoll, suddenly unreformed Weather Witch, and I-don’t-even-remember-her-name-Bee-Lady.
Of course, the absolutely predictable happens, and they turn on her before the end. If you can’t trust known criminals at the behest of a known murderer, who can you trust?
Ultimately, it turns out that Nora isn’t really evil. She’s been stealing tech to build a deus ex machina that will somehow save them in the end. But since she got the idea to do so from Thawne, she knew she couldn’t tell Iris and Barry because they wouldn’t understand.
Well…Barry wouldn’t understand, at least. There seems to be very little that Nora can do that Iris wouldn’t understand. Iris is even willing to believe Thawne can be reformed because Nora believes it possible. (And although Barry expressed that very belief a handful of episodes episodes ago, he is now utterly astonished by this suggestion.
Once again, I find it necessary to reiterate that I would totally understand Barry’s rage towards Thawne – his blind rage and inability to believe he could ever be reformed. If they hadn’t written him to act otherwise earlier this season, just to justify Nora continuing to put faith in the Reverse Flash until it was time for her secret to be revealed.
As a final matter, it occurs to me. If Nora wasn’t really evil – and it seems like she wasn’t – then that makes the moment she put her hand through Cisco’s chest as Reverse Flash once did all the worse. So she wasn’t really evil – just giving into a little rage to access the Negative Speed Force – but she decided to make Cisco relive his most traumatizing moment from the entire show? Not cool, writers. Not cool.
Speaking of Predictable
It has long been a joke among Flash fans that S.T.A.R. Labs has the worst security on the planet. The team can build a gun that shoots gold or a semi-sentient AI program, but they’ve never quite managed “locks.” Well, they branch out this week. Earlier this season, they started using the Tannhauser Facility for…reasons. It is apparently where they work on the cure. And it is apparently where they leave cure prototypes. In a random freezer.
I can’t even get coworkers to stop stealing my leftovers out of the fridge, and they’re just leaving a metahuman cure lying around. But anyway. In a totally unforeseeable series of events, Shecada steals the prototypes from the high-security random freezer. It’s okay. I’m sure that’ll end well.
Still not interested in either of these nonsensical storylines at this point. So I’m going to move on.
The Family That Slays Together
Iris continues her trend of standing beside Nora through thick or thin. Her faith in her daughter remains unwavering (though that trust has been a little too one-sided this season. However, I’ve written about the show’s failings regarding mother/daughter relationships before).
This week, she and Joe team up to try to take down the Rogues. Together, they face off against Ragdoll – and Iris once again proves why you don’t mess with Iris West-Allen. Everyone in this show gets knocked down at some point or other, but Iris not only gets back up, she knocks Ragdoll’s ass out. You. Don’t. Mess. With. Iris. Ann. West-Allen.
In the end, the Flash, Iris, and Joe utilize holographic face-changing technology to go undercover and rescue Nora from the team of her own making. Barry apologizes for having dumped his daughter in the future without regret and then putting conditions on her return. Iris vows that they will never give up on her again.
I mean, Iris never did give up on her. Even when I wished she would give up a little on Nora, she never gave up on her. Even when it meant going to the future by herself to get her back, she never gave up on her. But, sure, “they’ll” never give up on her again.
Human Puppy Ralph Dibny
I’ve made no secret that I utterly loathed the character of Ralph Dibny last year. He’s improved quite a bit this year. In fact, he was at his most endearing this week, eager to help his friends find the love he thinks he cannot find for himself. Ralph’s certainty that he will not find love is touching (and likely foreshadows the future appearance of Sue Dearborn Dibny). However, the subsequent exchange with Caitlin was hilarious.
Both Panabaker and Sawyer have admitted that the writers once contemplated putting their characters together romantically. However, both expressed their lack of interest in the storyline. So when Ralph misinterpreted Caitlin’s sympathetic concern for romantic interest and tried to let her down, his misunderstanding (and her resulting disgust) was a highlight of the episode.
Leading Up to a Goodbye?
Cisco didn’t have a great deal to do this episode. His relationship with Kamilla is going well enough that the team wonders why he hasn’t told her his secret identity. I would say that’s a bit premature, but Barry practically sends his secret identity out on his Christmas cards. (Following tradition, Nora reveals her secret identity to her Rogues this week. Like father, like daughter.) With that precedent, it’s perhaps unsurprising that everyone thinks Cisco should reveal his secret identity after a good twenty seconds of dating offscreen.
Cisco, however, is reluctant to reveal his abilities. He is increasingly reluctant to have them, in fact. It all seems to be leading to Cisco either losing his powers or leaving the show. Or both. Though there is of course a chance he remains but lowers his episode count.
I want more for Cisco. I want more for Carlos. He has been criminally underutilized for years. He can act circles around lesser actors, and yet they use him for little more than the occasional comic relief. I would be sad to see him go, but I can’t say I could blame him if he decided to leave.
Other Points of Interest
- Sherloque hasn’t told Renee that he’s from another Earth and he’s married six of her clones. Yet he’s upset she hasn’t told him she has abilities. Kay.
Hardly my favorite episode of the show, but it’s better that a good chunk of the season. So I’ll take my wins where I can. However, it just reminded me how little I care about any of the major threats any more this year. It looks like the Shecada/cure story might end next week. All I have to say to that is…thank god.
(New) Questions of the Hour
The show keeps torturing Cisco with reminders of probably one of his most traumatizing memories. In doing so, they keep calling back to the scene that showed that Carlos Valdes could play much more than comic relief. Yet they keep not giving him more to do. What the hell, show?