Flash’s season-long hunt for Cicada lurches along with “Seeing Red.” They never come out and say it, but I wonder if part of what happens here is a sort of emotional hangover from the Elseworlds crossover. There’s also some attempt to give a minor villain some depth, which I would have been perfectly fine without, but I get the impulse.
Things start off with a minor heist attempt, as Norvak, Ahmnet’s former sidekick, leads the metahuman Bork on a break-in. In the comics, Bork is a minor villain turned probational hero with the superhuman mercenaries, the Power Company. Here, he’s dumb muscle who ends up making a sacrifice to help Norvak get away from Cicada. This is just a warm up, as Cicada goes on a massive killing spree, dispatching several metas.
Team Flash figures out Cicada is getting specialized information from a restricted source, and eventually narrow it down to someone working for CCPD. Captain Singh, disappointingly but understandably, doesn’t want to believe this at first. Flash, XS, Elongated Man, and Killer Frost go into action to try and prevent more deaths. Why they think they’re going to manage to win this time, I’m not sure, but they nobly leap into battle. They not only lose again, this time XS gets badly injured, and Cicada’s power damping screws with her healing power.
Debating what to do next, the heroes decide that, if you can’t stop the killer, you can remove the victims. Since most of them are criminals, they aren’t likely to listen to Flash and company. Using Killer Frost’s knowledge of the shady side of Central City, they trace down Norvak and persuade him to help save his fellow meta-criminals. This also gives us his origin story and his whole “Why I’m a bad guy” speech. I really didn’t need this much information on an annoying villain, and don’t feel it improved the episode.
Cisco is absent, off working on his metahuman cure, another subplot I’m really not enjoying. It seems very out of character. Caitlin has agreed to help out, but Killer Frost isn’t on board with this, and the two of them are arguing in a variety of ways. I’m more or less with Killer Frost on this one.
Rounding up metas, Flash gets to Peek-A-Boo, a felonious teleporter we’ve seen before. She’s not inclined to listen to Flash, but their brawl gets interrupted when Cicada shows up. Eventually, they get away via one of Cisco’s gadgets, but only after we see Barry fighting in a rage. Clearly, this is probably because of Nora’s injuries, but it also seems a lot more in character for Oliver than Barry. That’s what I wondered about as far as the emotional hangover I mentioned above. Also going on behind the scenes, Sherloque Wells continues his investigation of the inconsistencies about Nora’s story of how and why she’s in the present, and gets Iris mad at him.
After a few emotional scenes with Nora recovering, albeit very slowly, they have the expected big showdown with Cicada. Elongated Man helps save the metas, Flash goes berserk on the killer, Frost makes a timely save, and Norvak shows some glimmer of redemption. XS heals up and arrives just in time to stop her father from going too far on Cicada, which of course lets the meta serial killer get away. Again.
The episode wraps up with a few interesting developments. The police source is revealed, and captured with the help of the inconsistently telepathic and/or empathic Cecile Horton. The source actually makes a lot of sense, and is a nice callback to earlier in the season.
After an emotional conversation/confrontation, Caitlin and Killer Frost come to an understanding about the cure. Killer Frost makes up for her earlier obstructions, leaving a few presents for Caitlin, one somewhat symbolic, the other a major step towards the “cure.” I just don’t see any way in the world that’s going to go well.
The team meets up, again still minus Cisco (and Joe, who is now supposedly in Nepal visiting with Wally). Barry’s little trip down nearly-homicidal-rage lane gave them some ideas about how to approach Cicada’s motivations. Their new approach makes a lot of sense, but considering how good-hearted they are all supposed to be, it seems like it took them a long time to get there.
What I liked: The choice of Cicada’s inside man with the police made sense and was a good choice on the writers’ part. I get Singh not wanting to believe it, and I’m glad they had him come around. Cecile was great in her scenes running down the leak. Peek-A-Boo was disappointing in her choices, but it was consistent with her character. Wells is determined to get to the bottom of what’s up with Nora, despite Iris’ objections, and I’m with him.
What I didn’t: I really don’t like this whole “cure” subplot. Until this story, Cisco has been one of my favorite characters, and I don’t see that he needed to sit this one out. Cicada had several chances to kill some of the main characters, and just… didn’t. I just don’t care about Norvak, and it felt like his back story bits just kind of padded out the episode. The decision they reach at the end made some sense, but like I said, took them a long time to get to.
This wasn’t one of my favorite episodes. I’m really getting sick of Cicada being unbeatable, whether it makes sense or not. We still haven’t learned how a former thug and drunk learned to fight better than several experienced heroes, one of whom was trained by the Green Arrow and another who’s a former cop. I’ll give this one a low 3 out of 5. Could we just get Team Flash to lure Cicada out, have Killer Frost freeze his feet in place, and Green Arrow just snipe him from a distance?