The Flash season 5, episode 16 review: Failure is an Orphan


“The cure is finished and it works.” Spoilers for The Flash season 5, episode 16 follow.

On The Flash, Team Flash now has the metahuman cure that they need to finally stop Cicada. First though, they need to find out where he is.

Because Team Flash is so close to catching Cicada, Nora’s secrets seemingly are about to be released.

The end of Cicada

Now that the metahuman cure is working and available, it’s time to bring down Cicada. The whole bringing down Cicada part though all comes down to if he actually wants to willingly take the cure. But before they can cure him, Team Flash discovers that his niece is also a meta, which hopefully will lead to Cicada agreeing to the cure.

Given his anger and hatred, this is more than likely not going to happen so, when it doesn’t, this brings back the ethical concerns that were brought up previously on the show. Do the ends justify the means when it comes to defeating Cicada? It’s a question filled with grey areas that many would probably see as black-and-white, which is different than what this show has done before. The show has had empathetic villains, but never really had a situation where Team Flash might have to do something considered villainous.

It’s a pretty genius move about how Barry doesn’t give into that villainous move and force the cure onto Cicada. By appealing to Cicada’s fatherly tendencies, Barry finally breaks through the murderous mask that Dwyer has created and hits a piece of Dwyer that he probably didn’t know that he still had. It’s great to see the show take a different path to defeat a villain rather than just having a big punch-out and throwing them into the Pipeline.

Finally, when Cicada is being injected with cure though, the scene is incredibly intense. It almost feels like a cat-and-mouse game where you don’t know if everything is going to go correctly and if everyone is in serious trouble. When it turns out that there’s another Cicada though, the tension ramps up even higher than it already was. It’s an excellent add-on to an already really good episode.

Nora’s façade begins to crack

With Cicada so close to being caught, Nora’s purely innocent façade that she’s had for much of the season, Post-Thawne reveal, begins to completely shatter in this episode. She loses that wide-eyed excitement and/or the frustration with her parents that the character has had since she was introduced and becomes almost military-like in this episode. Somehow though, this is played for both comedic and serious tones and, in fact, works with both tones. This is so rare to see, especially on The Flash, but it’s definitely good to see.

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Even though the façade is cracking, the Nora that was present during the early shows up when talking to Barry. The conversation between the two attempting to figure out what to say to Cicada is great because it yet again showcases how great the chemistry is between the two. Plus, it’s heartfelt.

There’s also Nora and Iris’s relationship in this episode. These two have grown so much together this season and this episode makes that very evident. It’s a bit cheesy at times, but the interactions definitely feel from the heart so it doesn’t really matter in the end.

Joe and Cecile work together

Now that Joe is back, he has to be given something to do, so that means he and Cecile are going to be working on the Cicada case together. This is easily the least interesting part of the episode because Cecile and Joe aren’t the most interesting couple on the show and they’re argument felt a bit contrived.

What is great about Joe being is that he can give his trademark advice to Barry, which he hasn’t really been able to do for most of the season. Barry has been acting as the parent figure for the majority of this season, so it feels really good to see him still getting the advice that he needs. He exemplifies the hero that isn’t perfect and can always learn in this episode, which is who The Flash is, and that’s all thanks to Joe.

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The Flash has its best episode in weeks with the end of the second act of the Cicada storyline as the season moves into its endgame.