*Warning this review contains spoilers for Season 5 Episode 16 of The Flash
I’m happy to report that season five, episode sixteen of The Flash, is not just good, but its everything the show should be. This episode is funny, dark, and has a surprisingly compelling mystery. I would go as far as to say that this episode reminded me of season one while I was watching. Now, this episode isn’t perfect, however, it had me. From the very beginning, I was sucked in. It’s one of those episodes with a dark mystery that you just want to curl up and watch on a rainy day.
The main story arc of this episode is Team Flash trying to convince Cicada to take the metahuman cure. The Flash nails this story arch in terms of tone. It is both visually and thematically dark. I loved all the sets in this episode. Whether it’s a dark alley, scary laboratory, or a mysterious police department, every location added to the story. On the latest review of Arrow, I was just talking about how much of a difference a director can make. Here, director Viet Nguyen does a fantastic job. Especially, with the action sequences. The end fight between Team Flash and Grace was done so well. In fact, the moment where all of the Team starts shooting at Grace actually gave me chills, it was just amazing.
Another area where the show has significantly improved is the acting. Just like with Arrow, I am now able to count on the actors to give it their all even if the episode isn’t that great. Almost everyone does a great job here with standouts being Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Jesse L Martin, and Lossen Chambers as Dr. Venessa Ambres. While most of the actors do a fantastic job, there are three actors who all suffer from the same problem. Tom Cavanagh as Sherloque, Danielle Nicolet as Cecille Horton, and Chris Klein as Cicada all suffer from overacting. They’re all good actors, but they just need to turn their performances down a notch.
While Cicada is indeed a menacing foe, Team Flash’s worst enemy continues to be themselves. Every episode at least once one character aggravates another. Last episode Caitlyn and Cisco were ticked off by Barry, and now this episode Cecille is ticked off by Joe. Having arguments within a group can actually strengthen the bond, however, these aren’t arguments, their just stupid little things that the characters get annoyed about. In this episode, Cecille gets upset because Joe doesn’t want to work with her. However, she was disrupting his investigation so he doesn’t want to work with her. The whole thing was kind of pointless.
However that being said, I did really like Joe and Cecille’s story arc. I thought it was interesting and I loved how it perfectly connected to the main story arc. As far as Iris and Nora’s storyline that frustrated me. I continue to be annoyed by the fact that Iris is always removed from the action. She always has this C storyline that I wish they would just get rid of and put her in the A storyline. It’s a shame because I think Candice Patton is a really good actress and I want to see her become a more prominent member of Team Flash.
Overall I thought this episode of The Flash was just perfect. It was everything the show should be. I loved the darker tone and thrilling action sequences. One of the things I missed most about the recent episodes is the lack of a compelling mystery, and this episode fixed that. The acting, for the most part, was very solid and the set design was spot on. Also, the way the A and B storylines came together was seamless. This is what The Flash should be, and I truly hope this is an exciting new direction for the show.