That was an interesting way to open the second half of the season.
The Flash Season 5 Episode 10 took a unique approach to the 5B opener, choosing not only to migrate away from its typical high level of action sequences but also to sideline a good chunk of its main characters.
Cicada was nowhere to be found this episode, although Team Flash did inform viewers he was successfully hiding off the grid somewhere. Ralph was also absent due to visiting his mother, while Joe West was off traveling in another country.
However, those particular absences weren’t the only ones who made this episode feel somewhat empty. It was the lack of actual Flash that had me questioning the writers' choices.
“The Flash and The Furious” focused primarily around Nora and her quest to understanding the concept of forgiveness. Ironic, considering the episode title.
After Barry got conveniently sidelined over an issue that feels like something Cisco should have caught beforehand, Nora was put in the driver's seat and forced to save the day.
It was a catalyst for Nora to figure out a way to put her trust back in Thawne. She just discovered all the atrocities he committed against her family, after all. Still, it felt like extreme measures to get Nora to “come around to old Eobard again.”
Nora learning how to become a superhero in her own right is never monotonous, and The Flash being so dedicated to her growth as a character is admirable.
However, in this case, it felt like the episode showcased her evolving smarts as a heroic Speedster only to have her naively step back into Thawne's manipulative game plan in the last two minutes of screen time.
It also felt very out of character for Barry Allen, who just a few episodes prior almost killed Thawne when faced with him again, to admit that Thawne could “become a better man.”
Yes, The Flash is the “soft” superhero of The CW bunch, but Barry Allen is still meant to be a human being, and a human being has complex emotions. It doesn’t matter who you are, the person who killed your mother is never going to be redeemable in your eyes.
Especially not someone like Thawne. Too much has happened between the two of them. That was very clearly exhibited during Thawne’s extremely resentment-charged monologue to Nora about their continuing rivalry.
So why was Barry so quick to admit Thawne might be capable of change? What exactly has he done, in Barry’s presence, to allow him that faith? What has he done even in Nora’s presence, except foam at the mouth when it comes to The Flash?
Absolutely nothing. That’s what.
It’s clear the plan for the second half of the season is to have Thawne’s storyline come into narrower focus, but altering the characters essential traits and motives to manipulate the narrative doesn’t ever play naturally.
Sorry Flash writers, but that doesn’t work for me. I know what you’re capable of and I expect each episode to live up to those standards, especially when it’s a midseason premiere!
Audiences are too smart for those tropes, and they want to see things unfold organically above anything else, and this was a clear force of storyline to get Nora and Thawne back on the same team. And they sidelined their main character to do it!
Viewers also want to see their hero (and his wife) as active players in the game.
Again, the idea of Nora growing into her superhero status is both an understandable and needed plot point, especially considering Barry’s impending disappearance. But while we still have the West-Allen family intact, shouldn’t they be used as much as possible?
Which leads me too — what about Iris?
With the action at a low point and her husband literally locked away (for no reason, but anyway), it would have been an excellent time to indulge viewers with an exciting B plot for her character, specifically one that delves into her reconnecting to journalism.
Why couldn’t Iris have been covering the case against the Weather Witch? Give her something to do other than acting as everyone else’s cheerleader especially when you’ve purposely shelved your hero.
Writers hear my cry. I’m begging you. Let Iris West be the leading lady she was born to be. Let her shine when there’s room for her to do so (like in this episode). You’ve created something so incredible with WestAllen, but she is more than just half of a whole.
Luckily, the shining light was the Cisco/Caitlin story. The Flash has dabbled with the idea of cures before, but it seems like it will finally be committing itself to creating one.
It was very rewarding to separate Cisco from the group's main issues. It allowed him the opportunity to open up about his wants and driving forces. He’s always been a sucker for love, but hearing his dream of a wife and a family one day added layers to his already outstanding characterization.
This season we’ve seen every facet of his character, and his subtle complexities (mixed with Carlos Valdes’ performance) are what make him one of the best characters on the show.
Caitlin’s opposing views only enriched the storyline further, considering how juxtaposed her opinions are from when the series began. She is finally making strides with her Killer Frost identity. She’s not only dealing with her powers but thriving with them.
It’s a new look for Caitlin, who truthfully has been a broken shell of a character since Ronnie’s death. The writers seem to have finally gotten a firm grip on what they want for her, and it shows more with each passing installment.
Regardless of their individual views, bringing a true cure into the mix could open things up to a multitude of opportunities. It can take both characters and their arcs to places The Flash yet to go.
In a show where the formula tends to be somewhat repetitive, it’s a clever and potentially refreshing move.
I actually missed Ralph!
Cecile’s powers are excellent and should get utilized against opposing metahumans much more than they are.
Angst-ridden Cisco and Caitlin is something I never knew I needed until I had it.
Killer Frost looked absolutely gorgeous.
- Although I’m thrilled with Cisco’s “finding a cure” storyline, I can’t help but worry that his negative outlook on being a metahuman is foreshadowing his departure from the show. It’s a fear I think I will have until the entire series ends — that I will lose my Cisco Ramon.
- Although there was so little of him, everything Gustin delivered was spot on hilarious. And yes, Barry, you DID make that green suit look good.
Alright, TV Fanatics, it’s your turn!
Were you as confused by this episode as I was? What do you think about finding a cure for meta powers? And do you trust Thawne’s word as Nora does?
Let me know in the comments below, and remember you can catch up on anything you missed if you watch The Flash online, right here at TV Fanatic!
Kat Pettibone is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.