The Flash season 5, episode 11 review: Seeing Red


“You’re never going to hurt my daughter again!” Mild spoilers for The Flash season 5, episode 11 follow.

On The Flash, Cicada has popped back onto the scene, now murdering metahumans at a rate exponentially higher than he previously was able to, severely hurting a member of Team Flash in the process.

This injury causes Team Flash to save the rest of the metahumans in Central City and put them in a witness protection program.

Cicada returns to his murderous ways

The best part of this season has easily been Cicada. He’s somehow become the most compelling character and someone that it’s hard not to root for. His motivations are completely understandable and many can sympathize with them, but his actual actions are what makes him the villain he is. He’s pretty much The Flash’s Punisher in many respects. With him back in the picture, there’s immediately a threat that makes the episode actually feel like it has stakes, especially when Cicada brutally injures Nora.

Cicada is no longer a villain that Team Flash needs to stop, he’s made everything even more personal. First attacking Cisco and now paralyzing Nora. Seeing the reactions to the damage that Cicada caused are genuinely heartbreaking, especially with Nora’s fear and Barry acting strong despite his anger. Now that Cicada has made everything personal though, it makes his menace feel all the more urgent in this episode. There’s a list of people that the team has to save, anger about Nora, and a mole in the CCPD which creates a ticking time bomb in this episode for everyone involved, on both a plot and emotional level.

The fact that Cicada strikes fear into metahumans that have been shown as villains in the past is key in demonstrating his menace. His scenes are some of the best parts of this episode, especially a quick one on one fight with The Flash.

Nora, the broken speedster

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The best character moments in this episode though easily come from Nora’s fear after her injury. The fear that she won’t heal fast enough, or even at all. This isn’t fear about not being able to use her speed again, it’s fear about not being able to even walk again. For a speedster, this would seemingly be one of the most terrifying things to ever happen. And yet, Nora’s still able to make jokes through her tears regarding the situation.

Jessica Parker Kennedy does an excellent job in this episode in embodying Nora’s mindset regarding her situation and grounds everything in a reality that The Flash has lost in recent seasons. These characters react to the world around, but they almost always seem above it and separate from it. Jessica Parker Kennedy has done a great job in keeping Nora feel like a real person and this episode is probably the best example of that.

Caitlin continues to look for a cure

Apart of the Cicada A-plot in this episode, there are a couple moments that focus on Caitlin and Cisco’s attempts at making a metahuman cure. This almost seems like an afterthought in this episode given that it’s given maybe 4 minutes of screen time during the duration of the episode.

Then there’s Sherloque’s translation of Nora’s notebook. It doesn’t play much into the episode, but it seems like there’s so much more to it than there is right now. It actually feels like a subplot that means something rather than a subplot that gives a main character internal conflict.

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The Flash finds its footing again with the return of Cicada and the immensely personal conflict of the episode.