The Flash: 5.22 Legacy
As a whole, season five has been very sporadic in terms of entertainment value. Cicada has been a very poorly written and executed antagonist, and the surrounding stories have lacked consistency and follow-through. The penultimate episode failed to build tension, which left a bitter taste; no matter how good the finale was, it could never undo the bad that’s already been done. Regardless, Legacy has me at a crossroads. On one hand it was badly timed and dull, yet in some ways it redeemed itself with a heartfelt and out of the box ending that payed homage to everyone.
Splitting the episode in two sections, the first on wrapping things up with Cicada, and the other addressing the Reverse Flash, made this instalment feel rushed. The obvious weak link was Cicada, who since shifting from Orlin to Grace, has become a cartoonish cliché. Due to Ralph’s revelation that Thawne is being kept prisoner by future Cicada’s dagger, it became obvious that she would have to vanish quickly, making it clear that this segment wouldn’t last too long. This left me frustrated and urging its completion. Nora, again entering young Grace’s mind and convincing her to take the cure, was a decent end for the character of Grace, though hardly unique, and a little too easy.
Moving to the latter half of the episode and we finally got to see a rematch between Team Flash and the Reverse Flash, which has been building up for some time. It’s astounding how spectacular this segment was, not only is Thawne’s character captured perfectly, but the balance of story and action was excellent. He is such a layered villain, clearly capable of defeating Nora and Barry with ease, yet his twisted and manipulative nature stops him as his genuine affection for the pair shines through. This conflict is a joy to watch, as was the prison escape and final battle sequence, that both had superb effects and great performances.
The difficult task the team faced in choosing whether to stop Cicada once and for all, knowing the end result was letting the Reverse Flash free, generated some nice conflict. The major problem was that it served as a reminder of what could’ve been had this situation arose around the mid-season mark. Instead of splitting the finale into two villain portions, the same could’ve been achieved with the entire season.
It’s never easy to say goodbye, especially when you don’t see it coming. It was always on the cards that Nora wouldn’t last longer than this season, yet the way she departed was heartfelt and warming. After the team destroyed Cicada’s dagger, it started a new timeline in which Nora didn’t exist, so after the superb fight sequence, with Team Flash practically triumphant, Nora began to fade away, eventually for good after refusing to go through the negative speed force. This was a great scene, unexpected and symbolic in how once again Thawne has crushed Barry emotionally. The situation however became overplayed and dragged out, with scenes like her 'if-you’re-watching-this video' that all supers seem to have, forcing further emotional impact that simply didn’t work.
Nora wasn’t the only one to say goodbye. As expected, Sherloque too made his exit, which was short, sweet and surprisingly heartfelt. My hope is that next season won’t have a Wells, instead focus on Thawne and whatever follows with Cisco. Speaking of, Cisco's storyline hampened the finale. The dialogue was rushed, had zero logic and addressed nothing. While I love the idea that he has taken the cure, shaking up the status quo of the team, his reasoning makes no sense. The sequence in which he tells his girlfriend and portrays his powers, in the middle of Jitters might I add, became moot. He stated that he wants validation as Cisco but he already had that prior to gaining his powers, not to mention the countless lives that would be lost if not for Vibe. His character progression is confusing, and I don’t like it.
Legacy was a pretty decent finale; it was just a shame that it had to follow the rest of the season before it. The ending, as previously mentioned was surprisingly different. It added a sense of finality, not incorporating the typical cliff-hanger, opting instead to acknowledging individuals like Joe (congrats…Captain) and Ralph, which was a refreshing change. While there’s little to speculate in terms of story for season six, this episode has managed to install hope of a positive return.