The Flash, Season 5, Episode 14, “Cause and XS”
Call it Groundhog Day or call it Russian Doll (for you whippersnapper streamers). The Flash wasn’t exactly breaking new ground with this episode where Nora is caught in a time loop, and one or more of Team Flash dies by flying Cicada dagger, despite her constant efforts to make things right. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of The Flash:
What’s the scoop: With Barry conveniently off in the Speed Force brewing the metahuman cure for an hour, Nora is the speedster in charge. The setup is as follows: Cicada finds a member of Team Flash and kidnaps them. First, it was Iris, then it was Ralph, and so on down the line. Cicada lays a trap on a rooftop where he chucks his dagger like a boomerang, and it always manages to kill someone — Caitlin, then Ralph and so on down the line. With each failure, Nora hightails it back to the same point in time and grows more frantic.
Meanwhile in B-plot Land: Cisco’s love life is once again used to keep things light during the episode. He too is caught in Nora’s loop, bombing his date with Kamilla over and over again, thanks to terrible dating advice from Ralph. His vibe powers give him a sense of déjà vu, experiencing facets of the other dates as the Nora rescue attempts pile up.
What about the action: There’s no big action set piece in this episode, just slightly different variations of the same scenario. After every failure, Nora returns to STAR Labs increasingly more frantic and frustrated. Eventually, thanks to Wells and Iris’ observations and Cisco’s strange vibes, the rest of the team pieces together what Nora has been up to, and are a little shocked to learn she’s failed fifty-two times. Thanks to the collective brainpower of the team and Nora’s notes on each failed attempt, the team manages to turn the tables on Cicada and make his dagger plunge into him. After fixing the scenario, Barry rolls back into town with the cure in hand. He has a heart to heart with Nora about the dangers of time travel, because every time you go back, the past changes sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small ways. So, the first thing Nora does is race back to the future and ask Thawne if their plan to change the past and bring back is a good idea. Kids — they never listen.
What’s next: It’s Grodd vs. Killer Shark … in like three weeks.
Last impressions: The time loop wasn’t exactly a novel idea, though it was at least more interesting than last week. Maybe it’s my own bias against Nora, but I didn’t buy her frustration after each failure. Jessica Parker Kennedy’s reactions played more like a tantrum or a hissy fit than someone genuinely concerned about their friends and frustrated by a seemingly impossible task. Once again, the CW’s secret-keeping curse returns because had Nora told the group about the first failure; rather than try to fix it on the down-low, she wouldn’t have needed to make so many fruitless runs. Granted this isn’t all Kennedy’s fault, because we’re more than halfway through the season and we still don’t have a handle on Nora as a character. I think she’s getting played by Thawne, but it’s still too muddy to tell. Maybe now that Wells has cracked the secret code, the picture will clear up. Overall, this week’s episode was better than what we’ve been getting of late, but it still feels like The Flash is spinning its wheels.