The Flash (5×16)- “Failure is An Orphan”
Written by: Zack Stentz
Directed by: Viet Nguyen
After back to back weeks of filler episodes I guess we all should have expected for them to throw everything into disarray with a big change episode. But is it good change or bad change? Let’s see if we can unpack this.
In 2049, Thawne has about twenty minutes left before he’s put to death and it seems that he and Nora are on the brink of something with their plan to stop Cicada as the Timeline is in flux around Barry’s last confrontation with Cicada. So the pair have to make the confrontation happen before whatever is changing the timeline happens.
In the present, Nora has gone from starry eyed time traveling daughter to graduate of the George S Patton School of Motivation as she tries to track down Cicada.
Meanwhile, Barry and Iris want to spend some time with Nora because with the potential of stopping Cicada on the horizon they probably assume their daughter will soon return to her time.
No need to worry, Joe is back at work and in typical Joe fashion he’s found something everyone else has missed. Namely, Cicada’s Doctor friend. After Joe shows this to Cecile she wants to go all Benson and Stabler. (I hate law and order but I used them because Meloni was in Man of Steel and it give me a thin excuse to put in this scene of Faora…)
There’s a silly little Jitters scene that leads into the introduction of our meta of the week and he’s a bit… caustic. Literally, the guy is drinking hydrochloric acid. (I could make a joke about my drinking habits in my early twenties but this will do.) This is a good thing because Nora realized that our new friend was at the scene of the final confrontation between Barry and Cicada in the newspaper Thawne was studying at the start of the episode.
Since all this happens in the first ten minutes, it’s time to split everybody up and get our plots going. Barry, Nora and Iris’ plot centers mostly on what Barry can say to convince Cicada to give up his powers with Nora putting undue pressure on Barry to find the right words. While Iris is pretty set on trying to do more with her daughter as their time together is seemingly coming to a close.
Joe and Cecile get off to a rocky start with their new partnership dynamic of Cecile’s telepathy but they right their ship and convince Dr. Ambres to help them bring in Cicada.
Which is a good thing because Barry’s first attempt to talk down Cicada flops pretty hard. It’s also lucky for Barry that Joe’s back in the mix because he reminds Barry that he’s at his best when he’s speaking from the heart of Barry Allen and not the heart of The Flash. This help Barry to connect to Cicada father to father so he returns the favor by convincing Joe to embrace Cecile’s powers.
The episode brings everything together at STAR Labs after Barry’s convinced Dwyer to give up his powers for Grace’s sake. Now I know what you were thinking watching this episode, cause I was thinking the same thing: Something will go horribly wrong, the cure won’t work and Cicada will be stronger and angrier than ever.
Yes and no.
Dwyer takes the cure and it does work but things still go horribly wrong thanks to a time traveling adult Grace! She returns from the future stronger and angrier than Uncle Orlin ever was and looking to finish what he’s started.
Speaking of fantastic, Zack Stentz really does write a mean episode of The Flash. But we should know to expect this from the writer of Thor, X-Men First Class and The Runaway Dinosaur by now. He has this way of bringing out what’s most likable about characters and shining great big spotlights on them. This week he used that ability to up the stakes for the remaining episodes this season.
Changing the villain in the final sprint is a ballsy move on the producers’ part. If Cicada is the villain, that is. If it turns out that someone…
Is(Are) the actual villain(s) and the Cicadas were just pawns… That’s really ballsy.
I excited to see this all shake out.
Things We Learned:
- Orlin Dwyer has taken the cure and his powers are gone.
- Grace Dwyer has traveled back in time to rescue her uncle and finish his work.
- Thawne has less than twenty minutes before his execution.
- Can Orlin regain his powers?
- Did Thawne knows this would happen?
- What is Thawne’s plan? Is he saving Barry or himself?
- Is it possible that Nora is in on his plan?
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- FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 7×17- “Heart of the Matter, Part 1” - July 18, 2021
- FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 7×16- “POW” - July 12, 2021