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The Flash - Failure is an Orphan - Reviews

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"Failure is an Orphan"- well, not so much; it succeeded in the way that Zack Stentz penned episodes tend to. It brought what makes The Flash a great show back to the forefront- family. Not family drama. Family.

The West-Allens

If you don't notice that there is something off about the West-Allens, then you may not be paying close attention. The "gold standard" isn't so golden at the moment. Try bronze. Barry and Iris, who always find a moment to cheer one another on or give a much needed hug, has somehow been reduced to pats on the shoulder or even more bizarre no touching at all. No, they don't need to make-out in every episode. That is what's so great about their relationship- it doesn't take all of that to convey their closeness. Just a look, a hand squeeze or a kiss on the forehead can tell the audience all it needs to know about the deepness of their bond.

The Barry and Iris of season five are of course very harried with the addition of an adult Nora and all the implications of her being in the current timeline. With all of that pressure, they should be leaning on one another a bit more, and it should be documented on screen. This story arc presents the perfect opportunity for their heart to hearts. The hunches Iris has about Nora- she has them. She's an investigative reporter. Barry's suspicion of Nora after Reverse Flash was her protector in her memories. Look at Iris' face every time Sherloque looks at Nora. Why isn't she sharing her unease with Barry? Is it that she doesn't want to take his joy from him knowing he won't have much time with her in the future? Why not talk about it a little? The story has to unfold over several episodes of course, but the lack of West-Allen working through this together sans team isn't interesting or compelling tv.

"Failure is an Orphan" tried to resuscitate West-Allen some. Barry wooshing in just in time to save the day for Iris on her important call, the playful banter from the team as they realize Nora is an annoying version of both Barry and Iris on steroids, and the moment Barry reveals to his loves that he has to be the man and not the hero to appeal to Cicada. All were great moments that remind the viewers why they fell in love with this show. It balanced the life of a hero with his real life really well at one time. It doesn't seem to know how to do that anymore for whatever reason.

Joe West

It is so good to see Joe West back on The Flash. His guidance for Barry and Iris is something that propelled the show along in early seasons. As they have gotten older, they are leaning on him less, but his Joeisms are still needed now and again. Barry sure did need Joe to make him realize that Flash was never going to get Cicada to take the cure, but Barry Allen might have a chance with Orlin Dwyer.

As for his relationship with Cecile, they are cute and all but no way should they get more romance than the main couple. That's beyond weird. Nevertheless, Joe being threatened by Cecile's powers was well done. Joe has always felt left out of the science and tech at STAR Labs, so leaning on his badge and instincts have served him well. Losing that edge to a mind reading girlfriend can't be easy for him. Finding the strength to admit he was wrong after talking to Barry is a testament to the important role of family and family communication on the show.

The Villain/ The Twist

Orlin Dwyer's Cicada has been an utter disappointment from the start. His non-scary nature, his strange and strained villain voice, and the faces he makes are just pretty unbearable. When he took the cure it was a welcome reprieve. The Grace Gibbons Cicada though- now that looks like a villain. She wasn't talking (surely so we didn't notice she's a she) but doing more damage than Orlin has seemed to do. Wielding two boomerang like weapons and just fully commanding the screen, she is far more scary and formidable that her uncle. Perhaps that's why she killed more people than the Red Death. But just how did Cicada 2.0 get in the current timeline?

Other Things I was Thinking as I Watched:

*Why hasn't Sherloque said anything to Barry or Iris more forcefully? He hasn't hesitated to tell anyone anything else this season so why is he holding back his suspicions of Nora?

*Barry and Iris' faces when Nora was bossing the team around were priceless. They also realized at that moment that Nora is simultaneously the best and worst of them.

*Where is Joe and Cecile's baby?

*Are Barry and Iris being written with more distance to serve the Nora story line? It's obvious the show can write romance (Hell, they did it for a shark and managed to make us feel for him last week.) so what gives?

*Why hasn't Barry been training? Maybe that's why he gets beaten every week. He doesn't run anymore. Barry doesn't even get a win against petty criminals easily. Though the season is mostly about Nora, Barry is still The Flash.

*Why do they keep name dropping Wally? Is he making a reappearance? If not, stop playing games please.

*How did adult Grace/More Evil Cicada get into the current timeline? Who helped her travel through the Speed Force to get there? Does it have something to do with Nora's 53 time reversals? Is Reverse Flash about to reveal his true scheme?

*When Orlin sees what has become of Grace, he will turn to Team Flash.

It's good to still have some suspense left this season. It will be interesting to see how the rest plays out, but one thing is for sure- without heart, The Flash is just an empty shell of itself. The Flash airs on the CW on Tuesday nights.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments! And as always, thanks for reading.

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