Ok, I am really not sure how to feel about this episode. Was it bad by any stretch of the imagination, no, but it definitely wasn’t as necessary as you would have been led to believe. I mean I understand the reasoning behind building to that ending, but it all just felt like a few degrees off of what we would have wanted for a great episode. I mean it felt like the exact opposite of last week where the B and C plots took hold right up to the moment Cicada made his big entrance and everything got slightly better. I mean does anyone care about Caitlin’s father, Cisco’s breakup, or Cecile losing her powers? I am guessing not really, so the fact that we devoted so much time to these seemingly extraneous plot lines comes off as a boring episode to say the least.
I mean really, this episode was a whole lot of who the hell cares except for the first couple of minutes and the last few. Sure it was cute watching Nora fawn over and try to impress Barry with her skills, but it wasn’t necessary in any way shape or form. It simply felt like a retread of the material which we got in the premier, I mean we know Nora is obsessed with proving herself to Barry because he vanished, we don’t need to be reminded of it every episode. It makes for a super lazy character arc which we can already see the end of where Barry recognizes how truly special he daughter is going to become. The next episode needs to do a hard pivot and realize how valuable Nora is outside of her fandom for Barry. Seriously the big redeeming moment of this entire plot was watching Joe explain to Barry that he did the exact same thing when he was a kid. If this season only has one major bright spot it is that Joe will be getting the screen time he richly deserves.
Now comes the hard part, what were the points of the B and C plots of this episode. I get it Cisco and Caitlin were both working through their respective issues and for comedic purposes Ralph had the answer. I totally get that, Ralph being the savior to their respective woes is a solid touch which further integrates him into the team, but there seems to have been a better way that would work more seamlessly with the A plot as a whole. I mean I understand that Caitlin’s parents seemingly were either super distant or now abandoned her and Cisco is really struggling to get over Gypsy, but we have seen this same plot for a couple of years with Caitlin so it doesn’t feel so revolutionary. I want there to be something for Caitlin to actually do and for it to feel substantial, she deserves that much after all this time and the loss of Killer Frost is really showing.
A component of the episode that I was shocked actually worked was Iris being an actual reporter. No joke this material was well done as Iris used the single hint she got from Singh and followed it all the way to the footage of Cicada. I mean Iris has been pretty much useless over the past few seasons, but here she gets to actually be a useful non overbearing component of the team and that is great. I mean she, with the help of Nora, figured out how to find Block. That is actual intellect and not some shitty “we’re the Flash” asspull, up until the moment she said “go team West-Allen”. I will give her effort points for the most part.
Now for the best part of the episode that easily goes to Chris Klein’s Cicada and him summarily wrecking everyone. I mean the opening fight with Gridlock was cool enough and showed how formidable he could be, then he went and kicked the crap out of the entire team. It is cool that he can apparently de-power anyone with his dagger and only he can lift or use those abilities, but the kicker is him going toe to toe with whoever he de-powers. Gridlock at least had some size on him, but Cicada looks like a beast compared to Cisco, Barry, and Ralph. I want to learn more about him, but this was a quality first impression in comparison to past villains.
Overall it was an ok second episode, but there needs to be some fortification in the side plots.
Final Grade B-
+Iris being useful and intelligent
+Barry and Joe’s heart to heart
+Cicada being imposing
-Caitlin and Cisco’s plots
-Nora plot felt like a retread
-Lame villain of the week
-No Harry this week, but it looks like he is coming next week.
-Cecile has lost her powers. Thank you because that would have been super annoying.
-I don’t know why Barry getting hit by Nora’s lightning amused me so much, but it did.