The end is almost here for Team Flash… of the season, that is. Now that they have everyone back together and on the same side, they need to figure out a way to stop Cicada II, or She-Cada as she’s been dubbed (I admit, that name is growing on me). Everyone gets called on to do the best they can, some in unexpected ways, as the season finale looms large. I didn’t see a lot of this coming, and I was impressed by a few things they pulled off. Less so by others in “The Girl with Red Lightning.”
They start off in 2049, where Thawne’s countdown reaches zero, which means… well, nothing apparently. There’s no big event, just the same sadistic guard coming in to taunt and torture Thawne some more. Some other guards bring in a device which is presumably the future’s version of the electric chair for evil speedsters. Thawne seems a lot less troubled by this than he should be, but the egotistical sadistic thug in charge is too busy gloating to notice.
In the present, She-Cada is working on her own little doomsday device, urged on by a fairly interesting companion. They gloat and smirk about their plan, and really, all that’s missing is rubbing their hands together or some moustache-twirling. At STAR, Caitlin briefs the team on the device She-Cada stole from Tannhauser. Once again, it’s a device with a great idea behind it that the villain is perverting to their own ends. The team works out what She-Cada’s plan is, and it’s bad. Their idea is to distribute the meta-human cure, so the targeted weapon can’t hurt the intended victims. That’s great… for people that don’t want their powers. The team seems to be utterly ignoring the idea that there might be people out there who enjoy their powers. Y’know, like a good chunk of the team.
Cisco brings some of the team to the satellite core they recovered some time back. The theory is that, since it’s made of the same things the Cicada dagger is, it’s a good test for the mirror gun they stole last episode. After some tension building, Cisco fires it, and the core disappears. No one seems to know where it went, and, oddly, only Ralph seems to care. Amid the tension and race to save lives, there’s still time for family drama as Barry and Iris ridiculously baby Nora.
Joe and Cecile have gone to meet with Captain Singh, who isn’t thrilled with the plan as it’s explained to him. However, he does have a lot of faith in Joe West, and agrees based on that. Since this is going to be a political nightmare, Singh is going to spend the day at City Hall, soothing ruffled feathers, and he places Joe in charge of the operation. While I’ll grant Joe should know a lot about what’s going on, he’s never been shown as having any rank, so Singh is skipping over various Lieutenants and Sergeants to make this choice, but that’s ok, because we never see any of them. Weird place, CCPD.
Wells has gone to warn his girlfriend Renee Adler. Their awkward talk, hinting at a strained relationship, is interrupted when She-Cada arrives to raid the conveniently located Central City University. Wells, no dummy, presses the panic alarm and runs away with Renee. She-Cada tries to kill Renee, and we finally see what the lady can do, as she manages to counter the damned dagger. She’s about the only person we’ve seen pull that off, really. Flash and XS race to the rescue, but XS starts feeling the mind-link she’s had in the past with Cicada II kick in again. XS’ lightning shifts to a few different colors and she takes off, leaving Flash in the dust. Vibe and Elongated Man breech in just as Cicada feels the link, too, and flees.
Investigating what the villain was up to, the team works out she stole another gizmo, which will majorly amp up her other gizmo so she can kill a lot more metahumans. Apparently, the villain scavenger hunt is lacking one more item. While Wells checks on Renee, there’s more West-Allen family drama over Nora’s powers and the side effects. Barry and Iris, who haven’t actually had their kid yet, technically, seem remarkably comfortable making decisions for their adult daughter, which annoys her (and me). It’s not like Barry had a playbook when he started running around town.
At CCPD, Caitlin is administering the cure… and she’s apparently the only one. I can see needing to be a special scientist to come up with the cure, but to give someone essentially a souped up flu shot? Any first year nursing/medical student should be able to do this. Joe is getting bombarded with questions and details and is clearly overwhelmed. The tv news covers Iris’ story about the cure (when she had time to write and distribute this, I have no idea), and Cecile gets just a slight heads up from her powers before a swarm of metas come in, demanding answers and/or the cure. I’d think announcing all this would have been begging for a supervillian attack, but I guess they all left town or something.
The team brainstorms on who would have the missing piece of She-Cada’s doomsday device, and Ralph comes up with a great way to figure it out. Nora’s answer ticks off Cisco, although not at her, and they have another clue to follow up on. Despite so many lives being on the line, Barry takes time to stop and argue with Nora about her helping. Over-protective parents, party of two, your table’s ready. Flash finally gets to the new lab to try and stop Cicada, but gets there too late and barely gets back out. Between this and Arrow, it seems to be the week for blowing up buildings.
While most of the team tries to figure out Cicada’s next move, Ralph is trying to make sense of Thawne’s machinations. This is actually what has happened to Ralph in the comics a lot. Ralph is a highly skilled detective, but in the Justice League, he’s competing with Batman and Martian Manhunter. On Team Flash, he’s overshadowed by Sherloque and undercut by his own antics. The others essentially agree to ignore Ralph’s concerns, at least for now. Barry and Iris do more domineering parenting, agreeing they know best. Anyone else remember that Iris doesn’t even have powers and risks herself all the time? After the parents leave, Nora blurs in with what I guess is some weird use of her powers we haven’t seen yet, and grabs a gadget to try her own way to help.
Joe is really not enjoying his time in charge, and looks utterly overwhelmed. Wells and Renee show up, and brilliantly start talking about Cicada coming to kill everyone in the midst of the crowd. Panic ensues. Joe yells at everyone and walks off, while Renee slips away on her own. Barry and Iris debate what to do next, and get interrupted by alarms from Cisco’s workshop. Nora’s gambit is wreaking havoc with her red lightning issues, and Barry finally steps in at speed to deal with it. Barry and Iris lecture their daughter, who very maturely counters a lot of their arguments. I think Nora’s right on this one, and I’m really not exactly her biggest fan.
Cecile gives Joe a peptalk which is full of heart and not exactly accurate. There’s a difference between confidence and ability, and she seems to be conflating the two. Wells catches up with Renee, and she finally calls him out on some assumptions he’s been making. To his credit, he rolls with it, and comes up with a new plan to keep her safe. I think it’s a bit drastic, and she’s accepting it amazingly well, but, as she said, she was a gorilla and a shark fighting on the news recently, so it’s a strange world.
Barry and Iris finally realize they’ve been acting like idiots, and make things up with Nora, treating her like the adult she actually is. The team goes to the room they tried to trap Thawne in a long time ago, and it brings up a lot of memories. Things are just about to get wholly out of hand at the CCPD when Joe does the big speech you knew was coming and calms everyone down. Cisco makes a Jurassic Park reference as he fires up the gadget to help Nora keep control of things. The young speedster makes contact with Cicada II, and they debate, but Nora handles herself very well. She manages to figure out where Cicada is heading, and warns everyone as she nearly collapses. Once again, she’s left behind, but this time seems ok with it.
Cicada makes a very dramatic entrance at CCPD, and leeches everyone’s powers. The team has played into the hands of two different villains tonight, and this is part one: Cicada needed a lot of metahuman energy to make her bad plan worse, and Team Flash just collected a bunch of them together for her. As often happens on these shows, the villain arrives and poses dramatically while the cops do absolutely nothing. Joe waits until he’s alone to start shooting, but Cicada has her own version of “bullets and bracelets.” As the team is scrambling to respond, there’s a great line from Ralph about her “Supergirl-ing away.” It’s funny, but makes no sense when you think about it. Ralph wasn’t part of the last two crossovers, he’s never met Supergirl that we’ve seen, and recently didn’t even know what Krpytonite was. That line would have worked from Cisco. There’s a lot of fighting, Cisco using brain over brawn, and Elongated Man actually being an effective combatant for one of the first times. Ralph figures out what’s going on just a bit too late, and we end on the team apparently doing their second round of helping out a dangerous villain.
What I liked: I think Wells’ scenes with Renee are one of the first times I’ve actually liked the character. Ralph finally got to be more than comic relief, and was actually effective on several fronts. Killer Frost is a bad-ass, even if she didn’t have one of her better outings here. It says a lot about Joe that Singh was willing to take his word for a pretty big deal. Wells must have a similar respect for Cisco’s technical skills from what he said near the end. Nora handled herself really well, especially towards the end.
What I didn’t: The big reveal at the end didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Barry and Iris were pretty annoying through most of the episode. Joe being put in charge made no sense at all. Cicada being nearly unstoppable all the time no matter what is getting annoying. Everyone seems to be assuming the city’s metas who aren’t on Team Flash are just fine giving up their powers. I don’t get why no other villains showed up at CCPD, aside from plot convenience and lack of time in the episode. As I said above, Ralph’s Supergirl line didn’t really make a lot of sense. Renee just walked away from her entire life without looking back, or even packing.
It was a very eventful episode. I’m hoping some of my questions get answered in the finale next time. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5.