The Flash, Season 5, Episode 16, “Failure Is an Orphan”
After the ape and shark CGI blowout last week, The Flash predictably gets personal in the “final” showdown with Cicada. Barry struggles with how he’s going to get through to Cicada and convince him to accept the cure. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of The Flash:
What’s the scoop: We know off the bat this episode is going to go sideways at some point when it opens with Nora talking to Thawne, and he’s all worried about a new timeline trying to bubble to the surface. The hour centers around finding Cicada, and what everyone is going to do once the threat is neutralized. For lack of anything else to do (a common issue lately), Iris is going through her bucket list of family activities she wants to do with Nora before Nora returns to her own time. Nora is so hyper-focused on this encounter being successful that she’s creating word clouds to develop the peak Barry pep talk. Wells is also wistful about the end of the road, but has the gut feeling this is far from over.
Meanwhile in B-plot Land: Joe and Cecile team up to approach the Cicada issue by applying pressure to the doctor who has been treating him on the down low during his rampage. At first, it doesn’t go well as Joe is freaked out by and doesn’t know what to do with Cecile’s new powers. After Joe and Barry have a mutually beneficial pep talk, Joe decides to go with the flow. Working together, Joe and Cecile get the doctor to spill her guts (figuratively; literally comes later)
What about the action: There was more action than I expected in this episode. We meet an acid-shooting meta who Cicada is chasing, and there are three showdowns with two versions of Cicada. After a false start, Barry makes a “from one dad to another” appeal to Cicada, and when he learns that Grace is demonstrating meta abilities, Cicada agrees to take the cure on a couple of conditions. First, he takes the cure, then Grace; second, his doctor is the one to close the wound. Everything goes great until Future Grace shows up all adult and decked out like Cicada. She goes after Team Flash like they owe her money. She kayos the lot of them, wheels her uncle out, and kills the doctor for good measure.
What’s next: Nora learns the hard lesson that the truth hurts less than secrets.
Last impressions: If anyone thought this would be the end of the Cicada Saga, they clearly don’t understand math. The show introduced Future Grace Cicada a couple of weeks ago and there are still about six episodes left in the season. There’s been no real setup of any other villains, so we are riding that stabby bug to the end. Hopefully, the new version of Cicada will inject some life into things, because this storyline is starting to slog. Next week, it looks like we’ll get the extent of Nora’s betrayal coming to the surface, which might add some horsepower to a season that feels like it is running out of steam.