The Flash: 5.12 Memorabilia
Last week’s episode focused on two main elements; team Flash thinking they’ve found the key to beating Cicada by waking up his niece from her coma, and the mystery surrounding Nora. Memorabilia continued these threads in a episode that played with a very different type of villain; the distortion of our own miss-remembered memories threatening us. While the previous emphasis on Eobard Thawne's Reverse Flash was notably absent, the episode played well with horror themes and thought-provoking drama that planted the seeds for future storylines.
Sherloque’s memory machine was an interesting storytelling device, allowing characters to explore the past and/or future without actually affecting the timeline. With the eerie atmosphere presented in the characters' pasts, it was gripping drama from the start. This was amplified thanks to an excellent performance from Jessica Parker Kennedy's Nora, whose face at the thought of her parents seeing her memories was priceless. It would’ve been nice to see more conflict between Barry and Nora, had he discovered her dark secret, but I suppose that’s another story for another installment.
The scenes within Nora’s memories were superb; how many parents can say they truly know how their children perceive them? They served to give Barry and Iris an insight into why Nora held a grudge against her mother for so long. Iris not only had to tackle her daughter’s misconceptions of her, but also heal the scars that technically she hasn’t even made yet. The character and story development here was full to the brim, further cementing the West-Allen’s emotional connection. The build-up that’s currently occurring with Nora’s secrecy is at bursting point, but at least now we have a better understanding as to why.
There was a perfect balance with Grace’s unconscious mind, depicting both the adolescence and innocence of a child, while also showing her emotional instability. The idea that she is listening while lying in her hospital bed was another intriguing move, playing very well into why she believes her uncle is the hero, as opposed to the villain. Her defence mechanism manifesting as Cicada makes sense, but it’s still unclear why it was a woman and not Orlin. With the other storylines and mysteries to be solved, I fear that this could be a step to far, but at least it’s not boring.
The tease at the end of this episode suggested that Grace herself is infected with dark matter; mix that with the female Cicada in her subconscious, and perhaps she will take over the mantle from her uncle. This sadly emphasises that not only is Orlin's presence not missed in this episode but the thought of his daughter as the villain is more compelling. I love the potential that she could take over as the antagonist, especially if she remains a child. This could shift tone of the season into a horror-movie vibe, The Flash meets Omen or Village of the Damned.
Elsewhere we saw Ralph manipulating Cisco into going to a bar so they can be like real buddies. The sequence was charming and created a stronger bond between the two, but overall it felt a bit forced and unnecessary. Originally the idea of Cisco’s Meta cure was intriguing, with the possibilities to explore everyone’s psyche endless, but now it seems like they’ll use it as a convenient plot device. Hopefully I am wrong but time will tell.
Overall Memorabilia was a well-rounded, cleverly written episode that showed flare and creativity. It brought the fun factor with Barry’s child-like behaviour in the future Flash museum, and delivered on plot with a superb continuation of Nora and Grace/Cicada’s arc. It highlighted the need to amplify the villain more, while the empty Reverse Flash suit made you feel way more on edge than any recent Cicada scenes. No doubt this isn’t the last time we’ll see the memory machine used, which would be most welcome if the same pace and tone can be delivered.