Monday, August 12, 2019

The Flash Season 5, Episode 22: Legacy

It's the Season 5 finale of The Flash! Usually this is the point where I say, "Wow, it sure doesn't seem like it's been X amount of seasons!" I'm not gonna say that this time, as this season seemed to go on forever, feeling like it lasted two or three years.

Overall this was a very uneven and extremely frustrating season, mainly due to the choice in villain (s). Season 5 gave us a whopping THREE main adversaries Eobard Thawne and not one but TWO Cicadas!

I was excited when Cicada was first introduced as the new Big Bad— mostly because he wasn't another evil speedster (I felt the same way about The Thinker in Season 4). 

That enthusiasm quickly soured though, when Cicada turned out to a lame "sympathetic" villain with vaguely defined powers and cliched motivations. Heck, after twenty two episodes I'm still not entirely sure what his powers actually were. He had a dagger than could absorb meta abilities, and he could fly, I think? Or maybe just jump really high? Who the hell knows?

To make things even worse, Team Flash repeatedly faced off against Cicada and lost, allowing him to get away over and over and over and over and... Seriously, the entire team acted like those ridiculously clumsy people in those "Not Sold In Stores" TV commercials. It made them all look like morons, and was incredibly frustrating to watch them fail so miserably every week.

Ah, but the writers weren't done! Apparently they got tired of hearing the audience complain about the Cicada story arc dragging on for too long. In an effort to seemingly punish us, they wrote Cicada out of the show and then immediately brought in a BRAND NEW Cicada in Failure Is An Orphan! What the hell?

Amazingly this new Cicada II was somehow even worse than the original, and Team Flash failed even harder trying to stop her.

As I said earlier, I'm not a fan of endless speedster villains, as they get old really quickly. So I was less than enthused to see the return of Eobard Thawne as the season's secondary (or is that tertiary?) adversary. That said, I began actively disliking both Cicadas so much I eventually welcomed Thawne's presence.

And to add insult to injury, all this Cicada nonsense took screen time away from Eobard Thawne, who, though he's a speedster, was a much more compelling villain. Feh.

Speaking of Thawne— I've mentioned before that I've always been a sucker for "Villain Works With The Heroes To Stop An Even Bigger Threat" storylines. So I was intrigued by Thawne's fatherly relationship with Nora this season, as it looked like he was attempting to make up for his past. Of course his redemption turned out to be part of a master plan to destroy Barry again. I knew that's how it would turn out of course, but it was nice for a few seconds to think he might have actually changed.

This season was also marred by some very dodgy writing and bizarre character motivation. Yep, I'm lookin' at you, Iris! In the last third of the season she suddenly began sympathizing with Nora for teaming up with Thawne, despite the fact that he's a murdering psychopath who killed Barry's mom. And when Barry pointed this out to her, she actually accused him of making everything about him! Jesus Christ!

Similarly, when Sherloque noticed Nora acting oddly, he began a thorough and professional investigation of her and discovered she was working with an evil supervillain, For absolutely no good reason, Team Flash savagely turned on him because they didn't like the truth he uncovered. What the hell?

Back when I cared about The Walking Dead, I used to rail at the characters' ever-changing and puzzling actions. I joked that the writers of that show had a "Wheel Of Motivation" in their office, and spun it to see how the various characters would act each week.

Lastly, for months now I've been loudly predicting that Carlos Valdes, aka Cisco, would be leaving the show at the end of the season. It wasn't as outlandish an idea as it sounded. Valdez sat out a good third of the episodes this season, and there were rumblings that he wanted to return to his roots in musical theater (?). Add to that Cisco's out-of-left-field hatred of his metahuman powers, and all signs pointed to him leaving the show at the end of the season.

Welp, I'm not too proud to admit I was wrong about that. Valdes didn't leave after all, and is still on the show. I'm not sure if there was never any truth to the rumors at all, or it he planned to leave but then realized there's no money in musical theater and decided he'd better ride The Flash train as long as it's on the tracks. 

Cisco DID end up fundamentally changed in this episode though, as he's now been reset to Season 1 settings. So there's that.

The Plot:
There's wayyyy too much going on in this episode, so strap in!

Picking up right where we left off last week, Cicada II's been knocked out by Team Flash. Cisco tosses Cicada's dagger into the air, and Barry fires the Mirror Gun at it, intending to destroy it once and for all. Ralph yells for them to stop, and stretches his body in front of the dagger to protect it. He saves the dagger, but is hit by the full force of the beam.

Ralph stands still for a moment, looking sick. Suddenly every cell in his body inverts (or something), causing him to look like a low-res videogame character. He mutters "Cicada" and "Thawne," then promptly collapses. Cicada comes to and flies through the roof, getting away for the seventy ninth time this season.

Back at STAR Labs, Caitlin examines Ralph and says she has no clue how to restore him. Team Flash wonders why he saved the dagger, and what his last words meant. Cisco tells Caitlin he still hasn't told Kamilla about his secret identiy. Caitlin says he needs to tell her ASAP, or risk losing her.

At CCPD, Barry & Nora examine the rubble caused by their recent battle with Cicada. Barry finds a splinter of wood  and assumes it came from Cicada. Joe & Cecile tell Captain Singh they cured as many metas as possible last week, but the rest are still in danger from Cicada.

Meanwhile, Cicada's holing up in her cabin in the woods, licking her wounds. She hallucinates her Uncle Orlin again, who tells her that her work's not done. She comes up with a plan to fix the Time Sphere and travel back to the Particle Accelerator explosion, where she'll destroy all metas the moment they're created (?).

Cisco analyzes the wood chip and determines it came from Kolins Woods. Barry says that's where Cicada must be hiding. Sherloque looks at Ralph's grotesquely inverted body, and says a blast from Cisco should cause him to revert to normal. A skeptical Cisco gives him a quick jolt, and sure enough, Ralph snaps back to normal. Sort of. He tells them the reason he saved the dagger— because it's the only thing negating Eobard Thawne's powers in the future.

Cut to Iron Height Prison in 2049, where Thawne's strapped into the portable electric chair, about to be executed. For plot reasons, sadistic guard Shinick holds up Thawne's ring (which contains his Reverse Flash costume) and dangles it before him on a chain. He tells Thawne he got it from the Flash Museum, and wants it to be buried with him. He hangs the ring around Thawne's neck. If you don't think Thawne will end up activating that ring and wearing the costume before the episode's over, you've never seen a TV show before.

At STAR, Nora realizes Barry was right when he told her Thawne couldn't be trusted. Every word he ever said to her was meant to manipulate her into destroying the dagger so he could escape. Sherloque says they can't stop both villains, and wonders whether they should stop Cicada II or Thawne. Barry says he's not about to let thousands of metas die, and intends to stop Cicada somehow.

Cisco meets Kamilla at Jitters, and finally confesses that he's Vibe. He apologizes for not telling her sooner. Amazingly (and unrealistically) she's fine with this, and she says she understands the need for a superhero to keep his public and private lives separate.

Team Flash heads for Kolins Woods to capture Cicada once and for all. They use Cecile's telepathic powers to locate Cicada inside the cabin. They see the damaged Time Sphere parked outside. Inside the cabin, Adult Grace comforts her comatose younger self. Suddenly she sees her dagger glowing red, indicating metas are near.

Cicada rushes out of the cabin and Barry, Nora and Killer Frost confront her. While she's distracted, Joe uses a breacher to open a portal. Frost blasts Cicada through the breach, and she exits inside the souped-up containment unit in STAR Labs. Well, THAT was easy! Why the frak didn't they do this ten episodes ago?

Team Flash enters the cabin, where they find Young Grace. Nora uses her brain device to enter Grace's mind, and talk her into taking the meta cure, because they're all still on this consent kick. Nora finds herself in a hospital inside Young Grace's mind again. She tries to convince her, but a vision of Evil Orlin appears and says Nora's lying.

Meanwhile at STAR, Cicada hurls her dagger, which ricochets back and forth inside the containment field, rapidly draining its power. Cisco tells them to hurry.

Back in Grace's mind, Nora tells Grace that her Uncle Orlin took the cure, and there's nothing to be afraid of. Good Orlin then appears and eventually convinces Grace. Just then Cicada drains the forcefield and escapes. She immediately heads back to the cabin.

Nora exits Grace's mind, and injects her with the cure. Unfortunately it doesn't work (ARGHH!) because the dark matter shard in her head is countering it. Of course it is. Cicada arrives and attacks, knocking out Joe & Cecile. She pins Nora to the ground and says she's going to kill her to get revenge on Barry.

Just then Cisco breaches the Mirror Gun to Barry, and he fires it at Cicada. It hits her dagger and implodes it. Cicada roars with anger at the loss of her dagger. She then begins disintegrating from Thanos' snap, er, I mean she begins disintegrating as she's erased from the timeline. Not sure why that would happen, but let's just move on or we'll be here forever.

In 2049, the dagger strapped to Thawne's chest winks out of existence. His superspeed returns, and he vibrates out of the chair and kills the guards surrounding him in the wink of an eye. He saves Shinick for last, shoving his vibrating hand into his chest. He then activates his ring, causing his costume to fly out of it.

Suddenly time stops and then reverses (???), back to the point just after the dagger disappeared. I guess Nora used her time-reversing power again? Flash and XS appear and whisk the guards to safety. Thawne begins monologuing, saying they both helped him escape. When they appeared in the Time Vault in the past in What's Past Is Prologue, Nora blurted out Cicada's name. Thawne then realized he had to get Nora to trust him in order to ensure he would eventually be freed at some point in the future.

Thawne then zips into his costume and speeds off. Barry & Nora follow behind, but Thawne uses his powers to split in two (?) and run in opposite directions. He maneuvers his selves so that Barry and Nora run into one another. Thawne recombines and taunts Nora, saying no matter what she does, the Flash will always vanish in the upcoming Crisis. He says that's his legacy.

Thawne then speeds toward the two, but suddenly the Time Sphere appears and plows into him. The rest of Team Flash appears, ready to stop Thawne. They combine their powers and work together to punch Thawne into submission.

Nora grabs Thawne, rips off his mask and prepares to vibrate her hand into his chest. Barry and Iris yell for her to stop, and she regains control of herself. Suddenly Nora says something's wrong. Bits of her body begin glowing and flaking off.

Thawne smiles sadly, and says that Team Flash has altered the timeline, and Nora's being erased from existence. Barry grabs him by the lapels, ready to kill him. Thawne says he can save Nora by taking her into the Negative Speed Force, which for some reason is immune to timeline change. Thawne says he has to make a choice though, as he can't save Nora and defeat him. Actually he can, since he's the Flash and has superspeed, but apparently Barry forgets this.

Barry makes his decision and grabs Nora, and the two take off running. Apparently Nora opens a portal into the Negative Speed Force, but after a few seconds she says she can't do it and returns to the real world. She explains to her parents that if she stays in the Negative Speed Force, it'll become part of her and she'll turn into another Thawne.

She hugs her parents as she disintegrates.

Later at STAR Labs, Team Flash mourns their loss. Sherloque says now that Cicada's been defeated, his work on Earth-1 is done. He uses a breacher to open a portal and returns to his world (whichever one that is).

At CCPD, Singh tells Joe & Cecile he'll make sure Grace Gibbons is placed with a good foster family. He then promotes Joe to Captain, and says he's been made Chief Of Police by the Mayor. He looks at Barry and says he knows the Flash will help Joe all he can. Barry's flabbergasted that Singh figured out his secret. Honestly at this point he was the last person on the show who didn't know.

At STAR, Cisco tells Caitlin some claptrap about not wanting his powers to be the most extraordinary part of his life, and says he wants to take the meta cure. Caitlin asks if he's sure, and he says yes. She injects him with the cure, and he becomes a normal person again. He thanks Caitlin and smiles like a dope as he saunters out of STAR Labs.

Barry and Iris sit in the Time Vault for plot convenience. They look through Nora's journal, which survived because it has "time language" written in it, and is immune from change. Sure, why not. Barry finds a futuristic flash drive in the journal and plays it. They see a message from Nora, thanking them for being such cool parents. She says she wouldn't change a thing (groan!).

We then get a montage of the various characters. Cisco & Kamilla go on a date. Joe takes his place at his new post. Sherloque meets Renee Adler on his Earth. Caitlin finds a Killer Frost costume that Cisco made for her before he left. Ralph returns to his detective agency.

Cut to the Time Vault, which inexplicably begins displaying the infamous Crisis newspaper. The date of Barry's disappearance begins changing, from 2024 to 2019.

• This episode marks the final appearance of Jessica Parker Kennedy as Nora (for now). It's a comic book series after all, so "nobody's ever really gone." I fully expect to see Nora return at some point in the future— most likely in the upcoming Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover event.

Chris Klein also makes his last-ever appearance as Orlin Dwyer in this episode as well.

• What happened to The Flash's visual effects this season? In the past the show's had some amazingly impressive effects, especially for TV. For proof, take a look at the train wreck sequence back in Going Rogue, or any episode featuring Gorilla Grodd or King Shark.

All that went out the window this season though, as demonstrated by the scene in which Ralph's cells are inverted by the Mirror Gun.

Granted, there's likely no way to realistically portray a man who's turned inside out or whatever's supposed to be happening here. Still, the end result looks unacceptably subpar.

Even worse was the third act, in which Nora's wiped out of existence after the timeline's altered. What should have been a tragic and gut-wrenching ending for the character was marred by the inclusion of the best VFX the 1990s had to offer. Woof!

So what the hell happened? For the first four seasons, The Flash's visuals were created by Encore VFX, and supervised by Armen Kevorkian. Did that change? Did The CW dump Encore and go with a subpar FX house? Or did they slash the visual budget, and Kevorkian's doing the best he can with the money he has to work with?

Either way, there's been a noticeable change this season, and not for the better.

• When Team Flash is trying to figure out how to restore Ralph, Cisco says, Can't we just play some Gaga and hope he wakes up?" Sherloque replies, "Gaga is not the solution to everything. You have to blast him."

This is a running gag that's popped up a couple times in the series. In Pilot, Caitlin played Poker Face to wake Barry after he was struck by lightning. The song was also used to revive someone in The Flash Reborn and Godspeed.
• Cisco finally tells Kamilla he's a meta in this episode. She takes this shocking news incredibly well, as if Cisco just told her he's a Lutheran or a notary public. 

She even quotes comic book tropes, saying she understands that superheroes have to hide their secret identities in order to protect their loved ones. 

There's nothing inherently wrong with Kamilla reacting this way, I suppose. I just feel like the writers forgot about this subplot till this week, and resolved it as quickly as possible to get it out of the way.

• Speaking of Cisco & Kamilla's Jitters rendezvous, I have to say it was by far the most unrealistic moment of the entire episode. The two of them sit in a quiet corner of the place, softly discussing Cisco's secret in hushed, muted tones. HAW!

I rarely if ever step inside coffee shops, as I'm not a drinker of the stuff. Recently I was dragged into a Starbucks for a work meeting, and I was shocked at how noisy it was inside! Jesus Christ, it was as loud as any bar on Saturday night! Hissing steamers, growling cappuccino machines, clanging metal cups there was so much noise around me that I literally could not hear a word any of my coworkers were saying. I had to just sit there watching everyone's mouths move.

There's no way in hell Cisco and Kamilla would have been able to hold their quiet, clandestine little conversation inside Jitters. No wonder Kamilla took Cisco's "I'm Vibe" revelation so well— she couldn't hear what the hell he actually said!

• Team Flash tracks Cicada II's cabin to Kolins Woods. As we all know, this show loves giving streets, buildings and forests the names of prominent comic book writers and artists. This instance is no exception. Scott Kolins has drawn numerous issues of The Flash comic in recent years.

• Kinda tough to see here, but... Supervillain Landing! This is likely the last ever time we'll see Cicada II pose like this.

• During the second act, the members of Team Flash join forces and use their powers to capture Cicada, breaching her into a powerful containment unit inside STAR Labs. It's a well-done and very satisfying scene, and it was great to see the characters acting in unison and using their powers to their fullest. 

I just have one problem with their take-down of Cicada: WHY THE HELL DIDN'T THEY DO THIS MONTHS AGO?!!??!

• Chris Klein gets to snarl his lines one last time as Evil Orlin in this episode. He's always been over the top in the role, but he went above and beyond here, growling, "Theyyyy alll deserve to diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!"

I can't help but wonder if the other actors had a hard time keeping a straight face during his outlandish performance.

• It's probably silly to point out how little or nothing in this episode makes any damn sense

Like the way Cisco tosses Cicada's dagger through the air, but then stops dead in its tracks as the Mirror Gun's beam hits and disintegrates it. Why the hell would it stop? Shouldn't it keep sailing though the air as it implodes?

Or how when Cicada II's wiped out of existence, her feet begin disintegrating first while the rest of her body just hangs there in mid-air. Shouldn't she fall backward on her rapidly disappearing ass? Or would that not be a fitting and dignified end to the character?

This episode's entire approach to time travel makes absolutely zero sense as well. If destroying the dagger somehow prevents Adult Grace from ever becoming Cicada II, then she wouldn't disappear NOW. The change would have happened in her present (which is our future) and she'd have never come back in time to 2019 (oh, if only). 

Even worse is the way that destroying the dagger affects Thawne in 2049. As shown, Team Flash disintegrates Cicada's dagger in 2019. Cut to 2049, where Shinick's about to throw the switch on the electric chair and execute Thawne. At the absolute last second, the dagger fades out of existence, and Thawne's powers return. But... why? How?

It's as if 2019 and 2049 are parallel tracks, happening at the exact same time. Any change made in 2019 instantly affects 2049, without altering any of the thirty years in between. That's not how time works!

Even if it DID work that way, why would the dagger arbitrarily disappear at the last possible second before Thawne's execution? Why wouldn't it vanish an hour ago? Or a month? A year ago? The only reason it happens when it does is for dramatic purposes.

If the dagger was destroyed in 2019, then it ceased to exist from that point forward. It never would have been strapped to Thawne's chest in the first place, because it wasn't there. 

See what I mean? The temporal mechanics in this episode are complete and utter nonsense!

And yes, I realize they tried to hand-wave this away by saying it takes the timeline a while to cement (an excuse they use a lot on Legends Of Tomorrow), but it's a pretty lame explanation.

• Inside Iron Heights, Thawne says, "This is the second time that I've been stuck somewhere for fifteen years." That's a reference to Season 1, when he traveled from the future to the 21st Century, and became trapped here for fifteen years.

Depending on Thawne age when he first became trapped here, he could be in his fifties or even his sixties!

• When Thawne's battling Barry & Nora, he somehow uses his superspeed to make two of himself. In the comics, that was Godspeed's signature move. 

• Apparently speedsters are indestructible! During their battle with Reverse-Flash, Barry and Nora chase him up the side of a Central City skyscraper at superspeed. Thawne then plows into the two, knocking them off the building before he zooms away.

Barry and Nora then fall what appears to be several hundred feet, landing on the hard street far below (!) The both get up, dust themselves off and are go on as if nothing happened.

• When Barry and Nora confront Thawne in 2049, he begins monologuing and explaining his master plan to them (which they already know). The three then have the following conversation: 

Thawne: "You're leaving out the most delightful part— how you both helped me escape."

Barry: "We helped you?"
Thawne: "That's right. When you traveled to the Time Vault, remember that? 'Oh, we need help trying to figure out how to drain dark energy from the one who got away.'"
Nora: "Cicada."
Thawne: "Remember that? When you blurted that out in the middle of the Time Vault, so that years later, when I ended up with Cicada's dagger strapped to my chest, I knew exactly what I had to do— get Nora Allen to trust me. Easy."

So Thawne's plan was to manipulate Nora into destroying Cicada's dagger in the past, to free him in the future. Makes perfect sense, right? Wrong! 
There's a fatal flaw in his plan that torpedoes the entire thing. 

OK, stay with me here. Back in Godspeed, a new speedster was threatening Central City in 2049. Nora tried stopping him with her newfound speedster powers, but failed miserably. Taking a page from Silence Of The Lambs, she went to Thawne for help, figuring an evil speedster would know how to stop another one.

There's just one problem with that planThere's no way Thawne could have possibly known Nora would come to him for advice! 

Nora only sought out Thawne to help defeat Godspeed. If he hadn't appeared, then Nora wouldn't have had any reason to visit Thawne. So unless he had something to do with Godspeed's creation and appearance in Central City, Nora asking his advice was nothing more than random chance, and not part of any plan! Whoops!

• When Team Flash appears, Thawne spots Ralph in the lineup and seems surprised he's not dead.

See, way back in the Season 1 episode Power Outage, Blackout confronts Eobard Thawne, who was still impersonating Harrison Wells at the time. Blackout holds Thawne/Wells responsible for the Particle Accelerator explosion, which killed many of his friends.

Blackout: "Well, I wasn't exactly eager to be killed. Neither were my friends."
Thawne/Wells: "I know. I hurt a lot of people that night."
Blackout: "People? You don't even know their names!"
Thawne/Wells: "Jake Davenport. Daria Kim. Ralph Dibny, Al Rothstein, Grant Emerson, Will Everett, Bea Da Costa, Ronnie Raymond. I know the names of every person who died that night."

Note that according to the Arrowverse wiki, fourteen people died in the explosion, but Thawne only mentions eight.

So what's Ralph's name doing on a list of the dead when he's been on the show for the past two seasons? According to the show's producers, Ralph was originally killed in the Particle Accelerator explosion. But when Barry created Flashpoint, the timeline was altered and Ralph survived in the new reality.

So do I really believe that's what happened here? Do I really think that Ralph was dead until the Season 3 premiere, when Barry's meddling altered the timeline and magically restored him to life?

No. No I do not. I believe that Ralph's name was part of a throwaway line uttered by Thawne as a bit of obvious and eye-rolling fan service. Then in Season 4 the producers decided to add Elongated Man to the show. When someone on the writing staff pointed out that Ralph had been killed offscreen in Season 1, they hoped fans wouldn't remember that particular bit of trivia. When they found out that people did indeed remember, they hand-waved the problem away by saying, "The Particle Accelerator explosion did it!"

By the way, if you're curious about the names in Thawne's list of the dead, the majority of them are superheroes in DC Comics. For some reason they're all just normal Central City citizens here. Were the producers planning on turning them all into superhero guest stars at a later date, and then changed their minds? I'm betting yes. Anyway, here's a rundown of the names (sans Raph, who we already know): 

Jake Davenport & Daria Kim: Friends of Farooq Gibran, aka Blackout. They were all drunk and decided to watch the activation of the Particle Accelerator from what they assumed was a safe distance.

Al Rothstein: In the comics he's the superhero known as Atom Smasher. Here in the Arrowverse, Rothstein is a welder on Earth-1, and a villainous metahuman on Earth-2. 

Grant Emerson: aka Damage in the comics. In the Arrowverse he's just a normal citizen.

Will Everett: aka Amazing Man in the comics. In the Arrowverse he's just a normal citizen.

Bea Da Costa: aka Fire in the comics. In the Arrowverse she's just a normal citizen. Also, my entire life I've been pronouncing the name "Bea" as "Bee." Thawne pronounces her name as "Bay-uh," which is apparently correct. Mind. Blown.

Ronnie Raymond: Fiance of Caitlin Snow, and Firestorm in the comics and Arrowverse. Well, until actor Robbie Amell decided to leave the show to pursue a movie career in fine films such as The Duff, Max and The Babysitter.

• "Mr. Stark, I don't feel so good..."

• If nothing else, this episode marks the last time we'll have to see Jessica Parker Kennedy awkwardly trying to run in place in a futile attempt to convince us she's zooming through Central City at superspeed.

• I won't lie— I was not a fan of Sherloque when he first appeared this season. Harry was my favorite version of Wells, and I had a hard time accepting the fact that they'd replaced him with this new caricature. 

And the minute Sherloque opened his mouth and his faux French accent emerged, I thought, "Oh, no. Are we really gonna have to listen to this for an entire season?"

It took a lonnnnnng time, but eventually Sherloque began growing on me, to the point where I actually liked him. I was especially pissed with Team Flash's treatment of him during Snow Pack, when they condemned him for simply doing his job.

Annnnnnd now he's gone. Damn. Right as he finally became a fully fleshed-out and endearing character. Figures.

• The moment the meta cure was first mentioned in The Flash & The Furious, I predicted that it would be used to permanently remove the powers of one of the main cast members. 

Back then I said it would most likely be Caitlin, since she and Killer Frost finally worked out a truce. I said Cisco would be the number two choice, since as of that episode he began resenting his powers— an attitude that came completely out of left field. So I'm giving myself half a point for that prediction.

I have to admit I'm completely puzzled by Cisco's decision here. Where did this hatred of his powers come from? We can't even blame his attitude on Kamilla, because he didn't meet her and decide he wanted a normal life until Memorabilia which aired two episodes after he first announced he hated his powers.

This paradigm shift in his character happened WAYYYYY too fast, in my opinion. It was jarring, and needed a much more gradual buildup. As is, it feels like the 180 degree motivation turns seen by the characters over on The Walking Dead.

I was also infuriated by Cisco's smug, self-satisfied little smirk after he takes the cure. Did he forget he's a member of TEAM Flash? This is a major decision on his part, one that directly affects the other members. Shouldn't he have at least consulted the rest of them before making a major decision like this? He just significantly lowered the power level and effectiveness of the entire team, all because his abilities gave him icky bad feelings.

I really wanted to punch him in his selfish little face here.

• As Sherloque prepares to leave, he and Ralph have the following conversation:

Ralph: "We never could've solved this mystery without you."
Sherloque: "Well, don't be too sure. You already have a master detective in your midst. Congratulations, Adult Giraffe."

Of course this is a reference to the fact that all season long, Sherloque's jokingly called Ralph a "Baby Giraffe," due to his lanky frame.

• During the end montage, Ralph returns to his detective office and stares at a file labeled "Dearbon." In the comics, Ralph Dibny had a wife named Sue. Her maiden name was Dearbon.

I take this as a sure sign Sue's gonna show up in Season 6, and end up marrying Ralph. Right before he's killed by the new Big Bad.

• After Nora disappears, Barry and Iris leaf through her journal, which somehow still exists even though she no longer does. They then find a futuristic flash drive inside the journal, which contains a message to them from Nora despite the fact that she no longer exists and never did.

If you're wondering how the hell any of that's possible, it's due to the time language Nora learned from Thawne. Apparently the language has magical properties, because anything written in it is immune to changes from the timeline. It somehow even protects the actual journal and the flash drive tucked inside it from being wiped from existence as well!

Like I said, pure magic!

• At the very end of the episode we get a shot inside the Time Vault. For absolutely no good reason, the "Crisis" newspaper appears on the holographic screen. Apparently all the meddling Team Flash does in this episode has altered the timeline more than we thought, as the newspaper's date begins changing. It starts at its usual "April 25, 2024," but then begins slowly rolling back to 2019. Meaning Flash will vanish in the Crisis five years early. Gulp!

My problem with this scene though is the way the headline changes. Instead of just doing as slow fade from 2024 to 2019, the date begins rolling back (with audible sound effects, yet!) like a dashboard odometer (!). Why the holy hell would it change like that? 

This Week's Best Lines:

Meh. Once again, there wasn't much to choose from. 

(Sherloque suggests Cisco blast Ralph in order to reset his cells and return him to normal. Amazingly, it works)

Sherloque: "Voilà ! Good as new."
Ralph: (having trouble speaking after his ordeal) "Blasted why you happen what?"
Cisco: "Hmm?"
Ralph: "B-b-blasted why you happen what?"
Sherloque: "Except for the language skills. Those will return. Probably."

(Barry and Nora appear behind Thawne in 2049)

Thawne: "Well, well. It appears as if someone has figured out how to reverse time. Clever girl."
(Was that a Jurassic Park reference?)

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