After a season that seemed to plod along in terms of catching the big bad Cicada (Chris Klein), this week’s The Flash 5.16 episode, entitled Failure is An Orphan, felt unevenly rushed as the big event approached.
The episode starts with a conversation between Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) and Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanagh.) We learn that they’ve reached the day that Barry will have his final encounter with Cicada. Only this time, Thawne points out, there’s a catch.
Something’s coming to mess up the timeline and it’s big. Thawne shows Nora the newspaper that tells of the fight between The Flash and Cicada, but there’s a glitch – the paper is changing. Nora asks if she did something wrong and Thawne assures her in a creepily affectionate way, calling Nora ‘little runner.’ For some reason this little nickname bothers me – as if there is more to the Nora/Thawne relationship than we have been led to believe. In thinking about it further, it also could just be a Wells-ian thing: Sherloque also has cute little nicknames for members of Team Flash. Could there be a connection between Sherloque and Thawne?
Nora goes back to the present with Team Flash, desperate to find a way to get to Cicada before whatever is happening to the timeline fully manifests itself. She is annoyingly manic in trying to find a way to draw Cicada out and Barry and Iris try to distract her, thinking they have time. They go to Jitters where they show Nora that she has a new drink made in honor of her: an XS-spresso. Cute. Iris has a list of things she wants to do with Nora before they catch Cicada and Nora goes back to her own timeline. But Nora is too focused to notice.
They receive an alert about a new meta that has broken into a chem lab at CCU. Barry and Nora speed off and find this new meta who can shoot acid. Flash neutralizes him with bicarbonate soda (way to use your science skills Barry!) but acid man makes an escape through the floor, leaving an acid mark similar to the floor markings in the newspaper article Thawne had shown Nora. Although the meta gets away, she now knows that he is the clue to drawing Cicada out.
The team concocts a plan – they finally catch the Acid Master, as Cisco has aptly named him, and put him in the pipeline. Frost disguises herself as Acid Master to attract the attention of Cicada, and Barry offers Cicada a chance to take the meta cure. Barry says it is a way for Cicada to change his legacy, echoing sentiments that Thawne presented to Nora when she asked why Thawne is so willing to help her family now, despite the fact that he had murdered her grandmother. Barry explains that Cicada can become a hero instead of a monster, but as predicted last week, Cicada wants none of that. He knocks Barry out of the building. Frost breaches back into the scene to run Cicada off before he gets a chance to kill Barry.
In the meantime, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) is back at work. He and Cecile go together to meet with Dr. Ambres (Lossen Chambers) regarding some missing hospital drugs, which she may be using to treat both Orlin and his niece Grace. With her meta powers, Cecile learns that Ambres is lying to them with her denials, but Joe does not pursue it. He is still put off by Cecile’s mind reading abilities.
Barry is disappointed in himself for not talking Cicada into taking the cure and of course goes to Joe for the weekly heart-to-heart. Joe advises Barry to try to reach Cicada not as the Flash, but as Barry – man to man. To make this moment even more touching, Barry offers Joe advice as well: to look at Cecile’s powers as complimentary to his own skills as a detective and to work with her to get to the truth that Ambres is trying to hide.
Joe and Cecile bring Ambres in for questioning again, and Cecile reads her mind. They know that she has been stealing the drugs to treat Orlin and know that Ambres can get in touch with him. Cecile senses that she is still hiding something and we learn that Grace is now a meta. The wound on her head that Dr. Ambres has been treating is now glowing.
Barry and the Team once again draw Cicada out, and Barry tells Cicada that Grace is now a meta. He unmasks himself, speaking to Cicada parent to parent, telling him that if Orlin were to take the cure and it works, they can then give the cure to Grace as well. Orlin agrees and goes to S.T.A.R. Labs. Caitlin explains the process and tells Orlin that once the cure is administered, she will work on his chest wound that will start to bleed out. Orlin insists that Dr. Ambres is the one who will treat him.
The cure begins to work almost immediately once administered but as Dr. Ambres is tending to the wound, the power goes out. The ‘something’s coming’ that Thawne warned Nora about has arrived, and it’s none other than the all grown up Grace (Sarah Carter) as Orlin’s living legacy – a bigger, badder Cicada. She not only knocks out the entire team, breaking up the lab in the process, she also brutally murders Dr. Ambres with one of her two daggers, before taking Orlin with her to a remote cabin to care for him.
Whew! I did not see that coming and the twist raises quite a few questions. How is Grace/Cicada able to time travel? What did/does Thawne know about this new Cicada? For the record, what does Sherloque know about a female Cicada? He has helped defeat other Cicada’s on other Earths after all. And where does Nora go from here? Was Grace the Cicada that was the cause of Barry’s disappearance, not Orlin?
It looks like The Flash fans have a lot to look forward to. Let us know if you have any theories in the comments below. Here is the promo for the next episode!