The Flash: 5.03 The Death of Vibe
The previous two episodes of The Flash have been fantastic at establishing an interesting story, creating conflict, and introducing the antagonist Cicada beautifully. The biggest critique thus far has been surrounding the supporting cast and their lack of presence, having little to do outside of the main plot with Barry’s time-jumping daughter. Although the Death of Vibe may not have broken new ground or been the best episode, it at least attempted to turn the attention more to side characters like Ralph, Cisco and Caitlin, and that alone deserves praise.
Perhaps the biggest development this week is the return of Tom Cavanagh as another iteration of Harrison Wells. While Cavanagh has done a great job of creating memorable, lovable and interchangeable versions of the character, since the introduction last season of the council of Wells, he has become more of a caricature, playing stereotypes and putting on silly accents. The introduction of Sherloque Wells, a French detective, simply leaves you yearning for the more traditional versions of him. Although the comedy, performance and dynamic with Nora is excellent, I can’t help but feel he is a replacement for Ralph; perhaps one of these characters has been outlived.
The storyline surrounding Nora continues to be the main focus, I really like how the effects of her time-jumping is becoming more severe as the season moves forward. The opening sequence in which Nora explains who, and how dangerous, Cicada is in her timeline set the tone nicely and gave some excellent nods to potential future episodes. The reveal that Green Arrow, Supergirl and even the league have tried to defeat Cicada, and failed, leaves me wondering if this could be the premise of the crossover event later this year…it’s exciting stuff.
Speaking of Cicada, now that he is coming more out of the shadows his persona is changing and not for the best. The action scenes with Team Flash remain faultless; the issue comes when he takes a step closer to the camera. The scene in which Cicada tortures Joe for information lacked any kind of chilling atmosphere; maybe that’s how it was intended given the reveal that he too is a father, or maybe it was because of the awful synthesised voice. Regardless of what is was, it put a dampener on his ominous presence.
Paying more attention to the supporting cast brought further developments, with Caitlin’s search for her not so deceased father. Her chemistry with Ralph is growing nicely and the Killer Frost card isn’t being used as much. Instead it’s adding character depth and story, which is refreshing. I hope that the father reveal pays off as a lot of this storyline relies on it.
The episode title suggests the worst and the scene in question hit hard and made you wonder what the series would be like if they really did decide to kill Cisco off. With Cisco being very mopey recently, I doubt his death would have a huge impact as it might have a year or two ago; maybe now that his powers are unusable they can concentrate on bringing back the old engineer, smart-guy, loveably hilarious Cisco. The Death of Vibe concentrates efforts on Cicada’s clear distaste for Cisco; this is fine but more context was essential to understand the villain’s motivations.
Episode three has shown the first kinks in season five’s armour. Although the supporting cast were given more attention this time around, the pay off just wasn’t satisfying enough to stand out. The family dynamic with Barry, Iris and Nora continues to be entertaining and full of the right kind of mystery, but the inclusion of another Wells, not so much. It would’ve been nice to see the death of Cisco scenario played out a little more, capitalising further on the potential rather than rushing into things. Either way, the future still looks bright and the anticipation for the rest of the season couldn’t be higher.