Team Flash tries to figure out how to deal with the metahuman serial killer Cicada and end up facing “The Death of Vibe,” which sounds ominous for my favorite character on the show. There will be a few spoilers here, so be warned. The show opens in the future with Nora as a kid, touring the Flash Museum we’ve heard so much about. She gives the team some more information about the mysterious Cicada. Barry isn’t happy with what he learns, and Nora delivers more bad news about their allies. Vibe calls Cicada a metahuman Jack the Ripper. XS isn’t done with the bad news, and mentions some things that are different from her history. Joe calls for help from Central City PD, and Ralph goes to lend a hand, letting the team focus on XS’s new plan.
Ralph’s side adventure is more humorous than dangerous, and wraps up quickly. Nora’s plan involves bringing in yet another Wells, because the writers can’t seem to get away from that concept (not that I don’t enjoy Tom Cavanaugh’s performances, I do). The Wells du jour turns out to be a weird mashup, a French Sherlock Holmes, who shows up after an entertaining exchange with Herr Wells and us learning that Cisco is still having problems with his powers following his injuries last time. We also see someone, who seems to be Cicada, doing some troubling research in the library on one of our heroes.
This Wells proves to be just as annoying and idiosyncratic as the others have been. He does a series of various Sherlockian observations about the team, unnerving Cisco and making Iris defensive. Wells also makes a surprising demand of the team, and then is very harsh to Ralph when he turns up. The others go off to deal with Cicada, leaving Ralph and Caitlin to dig into her own mystery.
The former Killer Frost and Ralph go see Caitlin’s mother, which has never gone well in the past. She’s just as unhelpful and impolite as usual. After she dismisses Ralph and Caitlin, Ralph tells her partner that Mom is a good liar, and he knows what to do next.
Sherlock guides Flash and XS to a rural farm. They do find some impressive booby traps which XS manages to screw up before Flash saves her and gets the bad guy. While Joe gets an unwelcome guest at home, Barry begins to doubt they have the right guy after all. Nora is brimming with (over)confidence, and pushes ahead down this path.
Cicada is holding Joe hostage and is demanding Joe summon Vibe. Joe denies even knowing the hero, but Cicada has built a decent case and isn’t convinced. Ralph and Caitlin take a walk on the shady side of the law to go after some answers. After dealing with some very elaborate security, they find a file full of old papers pertaining to Caitlin’s father, who finally gets a name: Thomas. She’s struck by a game they used to play that included making up elements on the periodic table. They also find a troubling letter from him to Caitlin.
At STAR, Nora is determinedly, almost manically, holding her victory party. Barry comes in with the bad news that, while their suspect David Hirsch is undeniably a criminal, he’s not Cicada. Nora doesn’t want to believe this, but Barry has done his homework and has facts on his side. Wells makes a surprising confession which throws everything into confusion. They bicker with Wells over their earlier agreement, and they realize Nora’s trip back in time may have had a lot more repercussions than they first thought. This is where things get really unlikely as far as I can tell. They seem to think that Nora’s coming back changed who Cicada is, which means that the time ripple went backwards through time, which I don’t think we’ve seen before.
Joe continues to have a very bad day while and Iris and Barry have a talk about why Nora is pressing on this issue so hard. Nora has actually made some very shocking suggestions, and Barry is appalled. The team discovers yet another mystery down in the Pipeline, but Cisco unravels it quickly. In the wake of that, Barry gives Nora a pep talk about mistakes and thinking things through.
Ralph and Caitlin have a nice scene on their ride back to STAR. Cecile wakes up at home to share Joe’s bad day, and we see that she still has at least some of her powers. Joe keeps trying to protect Vibe, but circumstances conspire against him and the alarm goes out anyway. In a bit that makes little sense, Cisco and Iris get the alert, but somehow Barry doesn’t. I can see Nora not getting it, maybe she’s not looped in yet, but the Flash himself not receiving the alert makes no sense. Vibe shows up to save the day, having done an amazing quick change, but plays into Cicada’s hands.
Iris manages to raise Cisco on their coms, and he’s in a lot of trouble. New Wells proves to be not quite useless, and helps figure out where Cisco actually is. Cicada is hunting him and shows how deadly he is with his weapon, which is a nasty piece of work. Flash arrives to try and save the day, and gets his speed drained as soon as he shows up. He once again shows he has no idea how to fight without his powers. XS finally uses her powers in a really clever way and comes up with a new plan. It fools Cicada, who shows a new power as he leaves. The West-Allen family discusses a victory dinner and new living arrangements, which Nora seems very hesitant about.
Completing the illusion, the local paper runs a story about Vibe being dead, which, in a way, is true. I suspect Cisco is going to lay low until some big confrontation down the road, so “Vibe” will likely be out of action with the possible exception of the big crossover, if Cicada is still around by then. Sherlock Wells will be sticking around, intrigued by the complexities of this case. Caitlin makes a discovery about the stuff left over from her dad, leading to a new thing for her to pursue.
Joe offers Iris some insights on Cicada. We see a bit about the mystery man himself, which I think is a big reason he’s doing what he’s doing. The show ends with a very interesting scene between “Sherloque” (an annoying spelling I won’t be using) and Nora, that hints that there’s a lot more she hasn’t told her parents.
What I liked: it was nice seeing Vibe in action again, although annoying he needed saving again. I’m glad they are showing Ralph has some actual skill as a detective. I’m curious to see what develops with Caitlin’s subplot, and if this brings Killer Frost back. Cicada is certainly a dangerous enemy. Joe’s loyalty and fortitude is admirable. Nora’s use of her powers near the end, and her plan, was brilliant.
What I didn’t: Barry really needs some coaching in unarmed combat, and don’t tell me the Fastest Man Alive doesn’t have time. I don’t know that we needed yet another Wells. I’m going to be annoyed if Vibe is out of action for the rest of the season. I’m hoping Nora doesn’t have some big dark secret she’s keeping, but her timeline hasn’t made sense to me so far. Nor does the apparent changes in the timeline that predate her arrival, but she still caused?
I’ll give this a 3 out of 5. Some interesting ideas here, but a few flaws as well.