The Flash season 5 episode 14, “Cause and XS”, aired Feb 12 2019.
Short rant: I dunno how you all pronounce the word ‘effect’, but it sounds nothing like ‘XS’ to me.
Remember when we thought The Flash finally learnt its lesson about time travel (in short, don’t do it)?
Well, apparently not. Then again, this whole season is set up by Nora time-travelling from the future to change current events. “Cause and XS” was all about Nora time-travelling, though for a good cause.
And episode of The Flash without the Flash? Well, they kind of made it work.
Cisco is done formulating the cure. But seeing as we have about 9 episodes left, there must be something that makes the cure not immediately useable.
For starters, the cure needs to incubate for a month before it is functional. Or they can bake it in the speedforce for an hour and let the dark matter exposure do its work. This job naturally falls to Barry.
Nora worries about Barry’s absence, given Iris’ close call with Cicada last week. Barry brushed it off, which was wildly out-of-character for him. Or maybe he was thinking, “your mum stabbed Cicada with a pen, she’ll be fine.” Then he speeds off to speed-bake a small vial, and that’s all we see of him until the end of the show.
A lot can happen in an hour
Oof, Barry should have listened to Nora.
Soon after Barry leaves, Ralph enters with the Book of Ralph, ready to help Cisco conquer his date with Kamilla, the bartender from last week. Everyone finds excuses to leave, because they don’t want to know what is in the Book of Ralph. Smart choice – because it contains “reconnaissance” about men Kamilla might have previously dated/worked with who are nothing like Cisco and it makes Cisco insecure.
In any case, the Book of Ralph might have sort of worked the last time, but this time it made Cisco fail his date.
Iris went to her office to work on an article/not have to hear anything about the Book of Ralph. There, an incensed Cicada captures her and uses her as bait for Team Flash. When XS and Killer Frost arrive on scene, he promptly directs his dagger-that-is-now-a-boomerang such that it nails KF in the back.
A desperate Nora runs back in time to the moment Ralph first enters with his book.
The past 52
Nora subsequently tries and fails 52 times to change the past hour so that no one dies. However, the dagger-boomerang hits someone different each time, from Cisco to Cecile. In the process, Nora re-arouses Sherloque’s attentions, while Cisco repeatedly bombs his coffee date.
The rest of the team (sans Barry) eventually figure out that she’s been reversing time. Nora despairs because she cannot go back beyond that hour, and doesn’t know what else to do. Without Barry around, Cisco steps up to the plate to give Nora a pep talk. He begins by reminding everyone about that timeline where he got a vibrating hand through his chest.
Nora realises that in every timeline, Cicada’s movements have been the same: go to Iris’ office –> go to roof –> throw his dagger like a boomerang. So this time, everyone goes to the roof, ready to face Cicada. Just as the dagger is about to hit a target, Nora runs through fast enough to reverse time, but in a slow and controlled manner so she can inch everyone out of the way – and Cicada into the way.
While you were gone
Everyone is saved, Cisco finally doesn’t screw up on his date, and Barry returns with a now functional metacure.
Upon learning about Nora changing the last hour 52 times, he dutifully delivers the speech about the consequences of time travel. He even does the whole Jay Garrick demo with the cup. The message is clear: do not time travel, things will never be the same again.
However, they did save the teams’ lives after all. Maybe this is one of those situations where a Legends of Tomorrow outlook is more appropriate: “screwing things up for the better”. (Honestly, the disproportionate amount of caution these two shows respectively take when it comes to time travel is staggering and greatly amusing.)
Finally, Sherloque returns to decoding Nora’s time language after the events made him suspicious again.
Finally finally, because The Flash can’t have too many dramatic endings featuring Tom Cavanagh, we return to 2049. Nora, concerned about the side effects of changing the timeline to catch Cicada, demands reassurance from Eobard Thawne.
Thawne says he is the only speedster who “know what he’s doing.” He isn’t wrong. I mean, his whole travel-back-in-time-build-particle-accelerator-so-Barry-Allen-can-become-the-Flash-and-send-me-back-to-my-time plan was pretty darn well thought out.
Cisco is back and armed with all-new quotes:
- “Historically speaking, this is way faster than we’ve stopped any big bad.”
- *mouthing at Nora as Ralph brandishes the Book* “Help me please”
- “Believe it or not, this ain’t the first time I’ve died in a past timeline.”
Some other notes:
- fifty-two times, hmm?
- When Cicada was in Iris’ empty office and picked up that photo of her and Joe, I though we were going to have Jesse L Martin back only for him to get tied up and tortured by a villain again.
- are Ian and Stefan (the random Jitters customers) a shoutout to the TVD franchise? Or am I just reaching?
Lastly, I like Kamilla. The inclusion of her character is pretty random, but she is cool. She can stay.
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(featured image: the CW)