The Flash: 5.07 O Come All Ye, Thankful
It’s becoming increasingly irritating how lazy the writing is becoming with regards to absent characters. For the past few episodes, Jesse L. Martin has been recovering from an injury preventing him from playing Joe. While this is understandable, the excuses are getting worse: “he’s out walking the baby”, “he and Cecil are having thanksgiving somewhere else”; it doesn’t match the character and it’s thoughtless. What makes things worse is Ralph’s unaddressed absence this episode.
On a more positive note, Cicada’s story is finally delved into, revealing the who, how and why behind his character. The most surprising reveal being the little girl, Grace, is not his daughter but his niece, who he begrudgingly became the guardian of after his sister was killed in a Meta attack. Grace being in hospital, caused by the enlightenment from last season (subsequently giving Cicada his powers), was an excellent way to depict his true distaste for Meta’s, and his desire to kill is purely fuelled by their existence. While there’s still more to tell (what’s his vendetta specifically with the Flash? How did the relationship/protection with the doctor developed?), the current progression is highly enjoyable, even if Chris Kline’s gravelly voice is a bit funny. I hope that the little girl isn’t the catalyst for him stopping and being defeated; that would be too easy, boring and predictable.
Being a thanksgiving episode (even though the title teases Christmas), a great deal of focus is on families, more specifically parent and child relationships. Nora takes issue with her dad for repeatedly risking his life, fearing losing him again, and her mum for making the decisions that could lead to his death. Realising that Nora has lots to learn is hard when she appears so old, but this episode served as a reminder of her adolescence and lack of understanding in the sacrifice necessary to be a hero. Her scene in which she restarts her father’s heart after he dies was highly emotional and a fantastic performance.
Not so perfect was the completely unnecessary villain of the week plot, again focused on parent and child relationships. Introduced to Weather Witch (Reina Hardesty), daughter of Mark Mardon (you remember the iconic villain Weather Wizard surely!?), was not only rushed but had a horrible story. Completely out of the blue she wants her father handed to her or she’ll kill everyone; it was overly clichéd and cartoony, although I did enjoy the nonchalant attempt at crushing him with a truck. The effects were equally as poor; the lightning, given that it’s the show’s bread and butter, looked horrible.
This instalment brought Meta-tech back to the forefront, raising some questions. Getting a name is a rite of passage for heroes and villains on The Flash but surely, if their power comes from tech that can be taken away from them for anybody else to use, should they still be given a name, or is the name attached to the tech? Weather Witch’s powers came from a staff hit by satellite debris during the enlightenment and while she may be the first to learn of its powers, it’s not hers per se.
Providing the much needed comedic relief was Cisco, Caitlin and Sheroque, as the three ponder on their poor year and become anti-thanksgiving; it was silly but it worked really well. Caitlin randomly turning into Killer Frost was too abrupt; the whole sub-plot has become laughable, irrelevant and was clearly a waste of time. Also, was it just me or was the look of Killer Frost not as good as usual?
O Come All Ye, Thankful was another filler episode full of cheesy story and throwaway arcs. Okay, this kind of sentimentality is expected around the holiday season, and while this episode offers a heart-warming look at the Team Flash family, and an in depth look at Cicada, it forced a blatant display of drawing parallels between heroes and villains, which is a done to death concept. But while the villain of the week section didn’t sit well at all, at no stage throughout the episode was I bored. And sometimes just sitting back and enjoying a show for what it is, is enough.