With The Flash, I suppose it’s ask and you shall receive?
I demanded more Iris West Allen, and The Flash Season 5 Episode 12, gave me exactly that.
Finally, the leading lady of the series got her time to shine. Not only were Nora’s negative memories of her skewed, Iris also officially started The Central City Citizen—something I’ve been waiting around for all season.
Even better, the audience was given an introspective look on why it took so long. We were able to jump into Iris’ perspective and experience her anxiety about the future. Looking back, it's understandable Iris wouldn’t want to create the newspaper she writes about her own husband's disappearance in.
I can empathize with that hesitation.
It was frustrating, to have Iris--this bold, yet unbelievably loving woman portrayed as someone who is hardened by the loss of her husband. So much so, she takes it out on her daughter. It felt like a disservice to the character we’ve grown to love over the past five years. Seeing Candice Patton play her with such a cold-hearted ferocity in “Memorabilia” was almost a slap in the face.
However, I’m both thrilled it was revealed as a façade and impressed by how they worked in that reveal.
It's completely realistic Nora’s memories would be altered. She not only went through the trauma of losing her dad but did it at such a young age. We tend to talk about romanticizing our pasts as humans, but the truth is we can demonize them just as easily.
Nora being a sad, angry kid who blamed her mother for the loss of her father makes perfect sense.
Speaking of anger (and surprising twists), I was not expecting sweet little coma-stricken Gracie to be such a terrible monster. The Flash has a difficult time with unpredicted reveals, but “Memorabilia” delivered in two for one shock factor.
I give kudos to the little girl playing Grace (whose name I can’t find anywhere—why is she not credited?). She was genuinely more frightening in her 20 minutes on screen than Cicada has been all season.
The scene where she controls Cicada (being used as her defense mechanism) within her memories felt like a “Children of the Corn” reboot, and I am highly anticipating her waking up and taking control of this entire situation.
A man in a cloak killing mass amounts of metas? Scary. A 10-year-old girl being the brains behind that serial killer meta? Totally and completely horrifying.
I was once again pleased to see the show slow down and opt for a focus on bigger story arcs as opposed to cramming in a meta of the week. I don’t know if you noticed, but Flash didn’t suit up even once this episode—he was in full on Dad!Barry mode. It was a nice change of pace.
A pace that probably could benefit from moving faster in other aspects. No meta of the week is useful in the greater narrative, but the show is still taking its time actually expanding on that narrative.
We’ve met Cicada. We’ve learned his backstory, his motives, and his weaknesses. We have a plan for his demise. We’re officially scared of him. His niece is terrifying. We’ve checked all those boxes. Some of them more than once.
But what about Thawne?
The Thawne/Nora plot stands to be the most intriguing of the season. Although we’ve seen they’re clearly working together, it doesn’t quite seem like we’re moving forward in finding any answers as to why.
Does Sherloque have answers he hasn’t shared with Team Flash? If so, perhaps a little more dramatic irony could be implemented. If he's not going to share with the Team, at least let him share all he knows with the audience.
It would be a waste to save the reemergence of Thawne for the finale, however, it looks like that's where things are headed. The writers seem to be biding their time with Reverse Flash in order to end the season with a bang.
But to do that, other parts of the narrative suffer. For instance, why didn't Barry question Thawne’s suit as Nora's defense mechanism? A fathers love can be blind, but Barry is an extremely intelligent guy. There’s nothing worse than characters being “dumbed down” to manipulate the story in an un-organic way (one of my biggest pet peeves).
It just feels lazy.
Cisco figuring out how to find a cure was a nice plot advancement, but definitely surprising he figured things out so quickly.
It's important for Cisco to find love because the character has clearly stated his desires to do so. But it's more imperative that he has a story which highlights his intelligence, as well as his struggles regarding his powers. So why is that journey being taken off screen?
Going forward, one can only hope these topics are at the forefront of Cisco’s arc—not tossed aside for a budding romance.
It's the same for Iris. She needs to have her own piece of the story which allows her to develop, to grow, and to do it on her own.
Not to say there's anything better than WestAllen when they are working together.
There isn’t a single episode where their chemistry doesn't flow like clockwork. Gustin and Patton are able to flawlessly pull off any scene they're given. Whether it be rooted in drama, sentiment, or comicality; those two nail it together, every single time.
So come on, Flash writers, give us what we want! You are so close to delivering one fantastic back half of a season. Please don’t let us down. You’ve heard my cry before, here it again now.
- Barry acting giddy like a child over The Flash Museum? Ultimate cuteness overload.
- I officially like Ralph now. He has no individual arc this season, but he’s showing major growth through his dynamics with other characters.
- I can’t stand Sherloque’s accent anymore. I’m over it. I'm done with this Wells. Thank you, next.
- Caitlin and Sherloque "calling" Barry, Nora and Iris while they in Nora's mind was a pretty far stretch for a show that bases itself in scientific explanation. I'm no scientist, but even I rolled my eyes at that one. They couldn't come up with something better than that?
- The phone Iris and Barry picked up having The Flash theme song as its ringtone was such a brilliant detail.
- The REAL future Iris/Nora scene had me crying in my coffee.
Okay Flash Fanatics, you know the drill! Your turn to sound off in the comments. Let me know if you were terrified of Grace like I was, what your hope is for characters like Cisco and Iris going forward, and if you're anxiously awaiting the climax of the Reverse Flash's return!
If you missed the episode, don't worry, you can catch up and watch The Flash online, right here at TV Fanatic.
Kat Pettibone is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.