For a speedster, The Flash is curiously slow to deliver a Thanksgiving-themed episode this year. The result has about three full seasons worth of crying and daddy issues packed into it.
All About Cicada
You want to know what the deal is with the season’s big supervillain. This is the episode to lay it all out for you via a series of flashbacks. First, we learn that the little girl named Grace is not actually his daughter, but his niece. As her only living relative, Orlin (his real name) got stuck taking care of the child when her parents were killed in a meta-human attack. An irresponsible mess in his own life, Orlin was resentful of this at first and made a terrible parent. (He’s the sort of guy whose refrigerator contents solely consist of a three-day-old carton of leftover lo mein.)
When Grace started acting out in school, however, Orlin realized that he needed to straighten up and change his ways. He made a concerted effort to be a better father figure and, over time, repaired their relationship.
Sadly, just as they got to be on great terms with each other, Orlin took Grace to the carnival in the middle of Central City on the night of the Enlightenment and the satellite crash. Grace wound up in a coma due to head trauma, and Orlin was infected by dark matter from the satellite core. He rushed the girl to the hospital, where he met Dr. Ambres, who was already bigoted towards meta-humans and would become his accomplice.
In the present day, Barry very nearly runs into Orlin at the hospital when checking on Grace, but is deterred by Ambres, who then tells Orlin to stay away. By episode’s end, Orlin defies Ambres and visits the girl with flowers on Thanksgiving.
During a final flashback, we see Orlin discover his new powers and become Cicada. He vows to the comatose Grace that, “Every meta will die.”
“How Do We Fight Weather?”
Team Flash doesn’t directly interact with Cicada this week. Instead, they’re distracted by a freak lightning storm that threatens to destroy a power station housing an experimental fusion core reactor from Mercury Labs. Barry risks his own life by taking a direct lightning strike to shield the core and prevent a meltdown. The lightning kills him! Barry flatlines and Nora panics. Iris instructs her to rub her hands together to create friction and defibrillate his heart. Nora has to shock him a whole bunch of times before Barry finally comes to.
Barry recovers quickly from this by way of his speed-healing, but Nora is upset. Reminded of how he vanished from her life when she was a child, she blames her father for continually putting himself in harm’s way.
The team suspects that Season 1 villain Weather Wizard (real name: Mark Mardon) may be to blame for the storm. The thing is, he’s still locked up in Iron Heights Prison, and the new, less corrupt warden confirms no shenanigans. However, when Barry and Nora interview him, a tornado strikes the building and a girl busts in through the ceiling. Mardon identifies her as his daughter, Joss. She’s come to break him out. Before that can happen, Barry grabs Mardon and speeds him directly into a Pipeline cell at S.T.A.R. Labs. Joss delivers an ultimatum – turn over her father in one hour or she’ll wreck the city with weather.
Mardon himself claims ignorance. He didn’t know his daughter had powers or that she wanted to break him out. By researching her, the team learns that Joss is a weather fanatic and a storm chaser notorious for conducting dangerous experiments. She named herself “Weather Witch,” and Cisco says he’ll allow it. Her powers come from meta-tech that she obtained after the Enlightenment.
Barry’s plan is to give Joss what she wants. He brings her father to the designated location like she demanded. When he goes to embrace her, she drops a truck on his head. It seems that Weather Witch isn’t actually much a fan of her father. Luckily for the real Mardon, the one at the scene was just a hologram. Joss is pissed that the Flash would try to trick her. She flies off in a huff.
Nora is also pissy that her father would put himself in danger again. She begs him to give up being the Flash and let other heroes save the world for a change. Barry isn’t into that.
Weather Witch inflicts nasty weather all over the city. Barry confronts her at an airport with Mardon’s original weather wand. When Joss creates a dangerous lightning tornado, Barry races around her in a circle with the wand, turning himself into a lightning rod. He attracts and absorbs all the electricity and causes a big explosion. Terrified that her father may have died again, and this time more permanently, Nora breathes a sigh of relief when Barry steps out of the darkness with Joss in cuffs. In no time flat, she joins her father in Iron Heights.
“A Toast to the Thankless”
With Thanksgiving coming up, Sherloque is perplexed by this strange Earth-1 tradition. Having no family of his own, he feels that he doesn’t have much to be thankful for. Unfortunately, his foul mood rubs off on Cisco and Caitlin. Eventually, Killer Frost takes over and sets them straight. By episode’s end, the entire Team Flash family gathers for a Thanksgiving meal.
Nora tells Barry that, after watching him at the airport, she better understands the choices he makes, and she’s okay with him putting his life in danger if that’s what it takes to save people.
Sherloque closes the episode with something else to be thankful for. He found security camera footage of Cicada visiting Grace at the hospital and has identified him as Orlin Dwyer.
This episode is a little heavy-handed with its theme, but it’s better plotted and more entertaining than the last three episodes combined.
Next week is the show’s landmark 100th episode, followed a week later by the season’s big crossover event, called Elseworlds. Considering how uneven this season has already been, let’s hope the writers are able to put something decent together for both.