*Warning this review contains spoilers for Season 5 Episode 17 of The Flash
While not perfect, season 5 episode 17 of The Flash has a lot of good elements to it. It takes risks and isn’t afraid to go dark at points. However, the good parts in this episode are significantly dragged down by the shows old problems. The silliness, drama, and lackluster mystery really keep this episode from being perfect. And because of these things, this episode is certainly enjoyable, but also forgettable. Anyway, there is a lot of good and interesting stuff introduced in this episode.
At first, I was skeptical when they introduced Grace from the future. I thought it would just be a lesser version of the already underwhelming Cicada. However, I was wrong. Grace is much cooler than Orlin and a lot more badass. This is the shows, first major female villain and they’re doing an amazing job. Not only is she as competent as her male counterparts, but she can hold her own. She can easily stand beside the shows best villains Zoom and Reverse Flash. It is also nice to see a villain who just doesn’t hold back. She is brutal and is definitely not afraid of killing. She is a straight up villain and I would be really disappointed if they redeem her by the end of the season.
Unlike Cicada, team Flash definitely holds their punches. It just doesn’t make any sense why they won’t give Grace the meta cure. Every second they don’t give her the cure more people die. Never on any show or movie have I ever seen the hero need permission to stop the villain, from the villain themselves. It just doesn’t make any sense. Also, I really feel this episodes mystery as a whole really didn’t make sense. It feels like the show leads us down these complicated and long paths just to get to a simple answer that we were able to figure out a long time ago. For example, it took Sherloque Wells around seven episodes to figure out that Nora was working with the Reverse Flash which we learned around seven episodes ago. It’s just annoying to watch characters solve mysteries that we already know the answers to.
As far as the story goes, it was pretty simple and straight forward. With an episode entitled “Time Bomb” you would expect an action-packed thrilling episode. However, this episode is kind of slow at times and only has a few action sequences. But this story contains some really interesting elements to it. One of my favorite parts of the episode was focusing on different kinds of metas. Often on the show, metas are either depicted as heroes or villains. I liked in this episode that they focused on metas that exist in the grey zone. Where there not good guys or bad guys, they’re just trying to live their lives. And the scene at the hospital between Vickie, and her husband and daughter almost made me tear up. It was a very powerful scene and gave me more of an understanding of the meta situation.
The acting in this episode is pretty standard. There are a few standouts and a few that need improvement. Jesse L Martin continues to be such a gift to the show and Hartley Sawyer is very funny, even when his lines are not. I’m also glad that Iris got in on some of the action towards the beginning and wasn’t stuck in her usual C storyline. As far as Sarah Carter goes as Grace, she is pretty much on par with Chris Klein as Orlin. Meaning she is not a great actress but at least she is not trying to overact unlike him. And with Orlin, I thought it was ridiculous that in a span of one episode the show tried to fully redeem him. Finally, it is rumored that Cisco is leaving the show, and if this is the case I will not be sad. All he does at this point is argue with the other members of team Flash and I’m really tired of it.
The production value on this episode is also pretty standard. While the directing isn’t great, it’s not bad. There are actually a few pretty cool shots sprinkled throughout this episode. For example, when Cicada’s bolt comes crashing through the window, it was truly a beautiful shot. The sets were also not bad. The children’s party was a fun set all be it a tad silly. It was strange to go from a dark and gritty episode to almost a Saturday morning cartoon type episode. Personally, I prefer the more gritty tone to the show however it just can’t resist being silly from time to time.
Overall this was a pretty average episode of The Flash. It certainly had good elements to it, however, the show slips back into its old habits. The drama is forced at times and the sillier tone just doesn’t work as well with the show. However, it did introduce some pretty clever ideas. I loved spotlighting different types of metas and how they deal with their powers. Also, Grace as Cicada is a really cool villain and I hope she continues to not hold back.