In the revolving cast of The Flash this season, Ralph is back, with no explanation for where he’s been. Meanwhile, Cisco takes some time off and Joe hasn’t been seen in weeks.
The villain Cicada (Chris Klein) also returns, and he’s on a big-time kill spree, murdering meta-humans left and right. When Barry, Nora, Ralph, and Killer Frost confront him, Cicada breaks Nora’s back, leaving her paralyzed. Normally, her speed-healing ought to get her back on her feet quickly, but the dark matter from Cicada’s dagger slows down that process and Nora worries that she’ll be paralyzed forever.
The team eventually deduce a connection between Cicada’s recent victims. They’re all criminals recently released from prison, and their names appear on a list downloaded from a CCPD database. Since Cicada doesn’t appear to be much of a hacker, that suggests that he has help from someone inside the police force.
When Cecile approaches Capt. Singh with a plan to round up all the remaining metas on the list and put them in the Witness Protection program, her psychic powers detect something off with a patrolman named Officer Jones. No surprise, it turns out that he has a grudge against meta-humans and gave the list to Cicada’s friend, Dr. Ambres. He later tips Cicada off to the Wit-Sec plan, so that Cicada can attack when all the meta-humans are gathered together in a warehouse awaiting a helicopter.
Cicada immediately strikes by blowing the landing skids off the chopper, preventing it from landing. Ralph has to use his stretchy powers to lift everyone on board, one-by-one. While that’s happening, Cicada uses his dagger to take away Barry’s powers and then beats him up. Killer Frost (who isn’t affected by the dagger) freezes the blade, allowing Barry to get his speed back. Barry pummels the hell out of Cicada and nearly kills him until Nora, finally healed up and able to walk again, stops him. Cicada gets his dagger back and escapes again.
Cecile and Capt. Singh bust Jones. Believing that the best way to get to Cicada is through his niece, Grace, Barry wants the team to focus on finding a way to wake the girl up from her coma. Cicada, meanwhile, has a similar idea, and targets Nora (or “XS,” as he knows her) when he senses that she’s important to The Flash.
A handful of meta-humans from previous episodes are brought back around again, including Norvock, Amunet’s snake-eyed henchman. Barry and Killer Frost approach him about helping them talk the other metas into getting on board with the Wit-Sec plan (because the metas inherently distrust the do-gooder heroes who sent them to prison in the first place). Unfortunately, Norvock’s kind of a dick only interested in helping himself. However, he has a change of heart and learns the importance of self-sacrifice when Ralph saves his life from Cicada.
Although Caitlin has decided to help Cisco develop a cure for meta-humanism, her alternate identity Killer Frost isn’t down with that plan, and routinely sabotages Caitlin’s efforts, fearing a day when Caitlin will grow tired of being a meta and flush her away. Eventually, Caitlin convinces her that they’re inseparable and that will never happen. The two of them reconcile, and Killer Frost helps Caitlin out by giving her a sample of Cicada’s blood that she collected on an ice dagger when they fought.
Sherloque remains obsessed with decrypting Nora’s journal. He determines that the book contains two different handwriting samples, implying that she had help writing it.
This is a serviceable episode in most respects. The plotting is mostly adequate, and I like the return appearances of metas like Norvock and Peekaboo. However, there’s really no excuse for Barry to once again allow Cicada to slip away at the end when he has the villain in his clutches. Without his dagger, Cicada doesn’t even have any powers. How easy would it have been for Barry to speed him straight into the Pipeline while Killer Frost kept the dagger at bay?
Issues like this have been a problem with the show for a long time, of course, but some weeks they drag it down more than others.
I also had a hard time picking out a quotable line of dialogue for the headline to this recap. Nothing anybody said was particularly memorable. Nor is the episode as a whole, unfortunately.