“O Come All Ye Thankful” starts off with a near miss, as Barry follows up on a lead from last episode and damn near comes face to face with Cicada himself. Barry is distracted by Dr. Ambres, Cicada/Orlin Dwyer’s ally in his war on metas. Barry leaves and Cicada and the doctor exchange glares, which is an odd look between allies. Throughout the episode, there are a series of flashbacks (I guess someone had to do it since Arrow seems to have finally lightened up on the concept) showing the relationship between Orlin and young Grace, and it isn’t quite what I had thought.
Back at STAR, we see that Barry, while a very skilled hero and CSI tech, isn’t perfect. There’s talk of Thanksgiving plans, with this week’s excuse why Joe isn’t around as actor Jesse Martin deals with health issues, and we see how things have been progressing with Caitlin and Killer Frost. Iris and Nora are clearly getting along better, which makes everyone involved a lot happier. As the West-Allen women discuss Barry’s heroic career, Nora is sobered by learning about how many close calls Barry has had as the Flash. Cicada gets some unwanted, but probably good, advice from Dr. Ambres.
Wells is very confused about the idea of Thanksgiving, and Cisco’s attempts to explain it don’t go over well. Holiday hijinks are interrupted when alarms go off indicating the newest danger: some kind of strange power buildup at a power station. Flash and XS arrive to witness some very strange weather. Iris makes a call, Barry has another close call, closer than usual, and XS really doesn’t handle it well.
Returning to STAR, Barry spends a lot of time reassuring everyone that he’s ok. Nora is highly emotional, and back to not listening to Iris. Unusual weather in Central City generally brings to mind Mark Mardon, the Weather Wizard, so they go to check on him. Cisco and Caitlin try and bring Wells around on Thanksgiving, but he manages to screw up everyone’s mood, recounting the disasters and misfortunes of the last year. Cicada throws a temper tantrum at home, which proves hard on his appliances.
At Iron Heights, with the power issues from earlier, we learn there’s a new warden who wants to make up for the corruption of Wolfe, who was cutting deals with Amunet Black on the side. Iris is there under cover of writing a story (because bloggers get access to maximum security prisons?) and Barry and Nora are tagging along… because. Weather Wizard is still in his cell. Nora is still making comments about Barry nearly dying earlier, but her attitude gets interrupted when Mardon’s daughter shows up, eventually getting the name Weather Witch from Caitlin with Cisco’s grudging approval. Jocelyn, preferring Joce, makes her demands known before leaving with a dramatic exit. Mardon himself is surprised she has powers.
There’s still tension between Iris and Nora, but Nora claims she’s good. Barry returns, keeping Mardon’s troubling comments about mothers and daughters to himself. Apparently Joce’s staff is another example of the meta-tech popping up after the satellite crash, like the blogger’s phone a while back. They do some research on Joce’s background, getting hints of her origin. Team Flash reluctantly agrees to Joce’s demands, which is basically having her father delivered to her. The exchange goes down, but there are surprises on both sides. I sure didn’t see it coming. Flash and XS get blasted again to cover Weather Witch’s escape, and XS goes off on Barry about the risks he takes. She speeds off in a huff.
Later, they talk about what he does. Nora makes a very selfish and surprising demand of Barry. Nora is still convinced her future is going to come to pass, although Barry is optimistic about avoiding that fate. Cicada drives by the hospital, clearly upset. Barry and Iris talk about Joce being willing to destroy the entire city to get what she wants, which is clearly on the extreme side. Iris reassures Barry he’ll be able to find the right words to reach Nora, which is a reversal on the relationships so far this season.
A new series of alarms sends Flash to the airport, where Weather Witch is going after everyone in sight to make her point. Barry pleads with her, but she shows she is both very determined and has a good grasp of hero psychology. Cisco is impressed at Joce’s powers, and they send XS to grab Mardon’s old weather wand from storage to get to Flash. XS sees the scared civilians and withdraws her earlier demand of her father. Flash pulls off a pretty impressive trick and manages to defeat the Weather Witch.
With the major threat dealt with, Thanksgiving plans go ahead. Wells is leading a drinking party with the now anti-Thanksgiving Cisco and Caitlin. They get a talking to from a very unexpected party, and go to join Barry, Iris, and Nora at the loft. There’s a lot of family talk and friendship, and it’s a nice scene. At least until Wells starts ranting again and Cisco drags him away. How Cisco got appointed Wells’ babysitter I’m not sure, but it seems to be happening a lot. Barry has a heartfelt talk with Nora about heroism and sacrifice. It’s a nice family gathering, although I’m not sure why Wells of all people ends up at the head of the table.
Cicada and Dr. Ambres have a talk at the hospital, and we see she’s every bit as rabidly anti-meta as he is, and his helping with his crimes, which we knew. Later on at STAR, Wells and Cisco have a surprise for everyone. Wells is earning his keep as a master detective, and has gotten clever about their one good lead—Gracie. The team ends the episode with a new clue about Cicada.
What I liked: Weather Witch was an interesting addition to the Rogues Gallery. The hostage exchange was a lot of clever surprises in a short period of time. I thought that was really well done. Wells, Caitlin, and Cisco getting set straight about Thanksgiving was a great scene. The way they defeated Weather Witch was clever and a nice callback to the show’s history.
What I didn’t: This version of Wells is just getting annoying. Nora’s emotional roller coaster is getting tiring. For all the talk about family at STAR, where the heck was Ralph? Not even a mention? Mardon’s comments about mothers and daughters were a bit too on the nose given what’s going on with Iris and Nora.
It wasn’t one of their best episodes, but it was decent and had some good scenes, especially that hostage exchange. I’ll give it a solid 3.5 out of 5.