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“Cause and XS” Makes the Best of Often Used Plot

Rule number one, don’t mess with the timeline, rule number two, don’t mess with the goddamn timeline. Seriously as fun as this episode was shouldn’t Barry just have a damn check list of all the things you shouldn’t do as a speedster. I mean he should have a ton of them by now just piled up and waiting for people. However, I digress, like I said “Cause and XS” is a good episode. Nora learning about how the timeline works, all of Cisco’s failed dates, everyone dying over and over again until Nora came clean. Just really solid elements that made for an enjoyable Barry-lite episode. I am beginning to really question Cicada at this point as a villain. I mean Zoom, Savitar, DeVoe, and Thawne all had made some moves by this point in time. There has to be some reasoning or real motivation for him because we are getting to the point where he is becoming a joke.

Like I said, the Nora material was definitely fun and having her be limited in the scope of time travel was definitely a good payoff for this overall. Sure there are better time travel or groundhog’s day-esque episodes in the Arrowverse, but the basic principle and execution are sound. I mean everything would be simpler if Nora finally stopped acting like a child if anything despite how well Jessica Parker Kennedy has been doing this season I am beginning to wish that Nora was played by someone younger. That is not anything against Kennedy, it is just the way they are writing her; not listening to the team, being super angry at her mom, trusting Thawne. Those are all a child’s mistakes, not someone who is in there mid to late twenties. I mean I have done some dumb shit at my age, but I don’t act like that much of a child.

Similarly having Cisco actually be in the episode, even if it was mostly for laughs was a great bit. Cisco has been sorely missing for chunks of the season, but an episode like this reminds of how great a character he can be even if he is not given super heavy lifting. It was also perfect for him to talk to Nora about how he remembers different timelines and how time can be super fragile and mess with you. Carlos Valdes got mostly heavy comedy work this week, but when he does actually get to flex the dramatic side it manages to work out great. Plus all the little-failed date bits were pretty funny, especially the social media influencer persona, god that sounded super pretentious.

The only thing that has finally gotten to me as I said earlier is Cicada. I mean he should be a better villain. At this point last year DeVoe had murdered like seven people by body swapping and had effectively put Barry out of commission. Cicada pops up, gets his ass kicked, and then quickly disappears. Even worse we are so isolated from what he is doing that we have no idea how it is effecting the citizens of Central City. Do they even care there is a meta human serial killer on the loose or is everyone just cool with it. I mean the only mark he has made on Central City is that he has a drink named after him, which everyone does.

At this point I really don’t know who the big bad is. Is it Cicada, Thawne, some outside force. There should really be more clarification about what is happening and how all of this is effecting the city. Still a pretty good episode though.

Final Grade B+

+Nora’s time loop

+The team beating the time loop

+Cisco’s date

-Nora becoming more of a child

-Cicada is officially lame

-lack of stakes for the city

Extra Thoughts

-The “ahead of schedule” joke really played well, I like that they are self-aware.

-Seriously, what is Thawne’s deal? What does beating Cicada have to do with saving Barry? This has “big evil plot” written all over it.

About the author

Scott Swartz