The Flash: 5.11 Seeing Red
Perhaps it just took a week to get back onto their feet. Seeing Red was a perfect blend of drama, mystery, emotion and cheese. After the previous instalment’s average and borderline dull episode, that took out key cast members and had an overly forgettable story, this not only brings most everyone back (excluding Jesse L Martin as Joe, get well soon), but Cicada also makes his welcome return. Okay, it doesn’t look likely that he will continue as a villain much longer but he certainly left his mark in this episode.
Aside from the action and pulling of parental emotional strings, what stuck with me most was the final sequence. Leading up to it we saw Cicada obtain a list of Meta criminals from a corrupt CCPD officer, who was caught and questioned by the Chief and Cecile. He voices his hatred for Meta’s, saying they should all be irradiated, this because he was under the control of one previously. The thought that this could be the start of a revolution by the public to rid the city of Meta’s, especially now that Cisco is working on a cure, is really interesting and offers something different in terms of story for the show.
While Nora got to have her own adventure last episode (we all know how that turned out), Seeing Red focuses more on the rest of Team Flash as they try to take down Cicada. Nora is psychically taken out of the equation after her back gets broken by the ominous antagonist. Although not put to the side-lines, she now acts as the emotional crutch for both Barry and Iris as the two deliver superb performances, emulating parents who believe their daughter may never walk again or, in her case, run. The top performances helped to elevate the believability of the situation, giving the episode more weight behind the impactful nature of the story.
Once again, The Flash has missed an opportunity to capitalise and be different. While it was obvious that Nora would walk again, given her accelerated healing, it could’ve been compelling to force her, and her parents, to face the idea that perhaps she’ll be like this indefinitely (at least play it out for a couple of episodes). Ultimately, if Barry then killed Cicada in his angered super powered state, it would’ve been both understandable and opened new routes to go down, in terms of Barry’s characterisation and personal journey.
The save-the-Metas story arc is where the cheesiness takes full force and is worth every second. The plot holes are glaring. For example, why use a helicopter to transport the Meta’s when you have a breach device that can transport you to presumably anywhere, instantly? This and more are redeemed by superb action sequences, which were plentiful this episode, an unnecessary but satisfying redemption arc for Norvock (Amunet’s henchman), and heavy, well executed focus on Ralph and Caitlin/Killer Frost.
Speaking of, the two had a lot of screen time together this week and they played off of each other beautifully. If you can look past the previous stupidity that was Killer Frost’s rediscovery, her current journey is becoming quite interesting and her interactions with the team are blossoming nicely. Being away for a while hasn’t appeared to have affected the likeability of Ralph; if anything, his comedic delivery mixed with heartfelt speeches blended more eloquently, specifically with regards to his discussion with Caitlin about the potential Meta-human cure Cisco is working on.
Seeing Red is a perfect example that having lots of different elements can work, without the feeling of being disjointed and muddled. While the focus remained on Team Flash taking down Cicada and saving the Meta’s, it didn’t forget about other, smaller, teased arcs like Sherloque’s investigation into Nora, and the communication between Caitlin and Killer Frost. This is the level of expectancy I had for last week’s episode, and thankfully it delivered beautifully here. Keep up the good work!