The Flash S5x14 – Cause and XS

Nora keeps going back in time to save Team Flash from dying at Cicada’s hands, but she just can’t seem to get it right.

Previously on THE FLASH

Last season, LEGENDS OF TOMORROW did a time loop episode, where Zari relived the same moments over and over until she figured out the right way to get through her predicament. It was a fun episode that played well with the tropes of a time loop with a LEGENDS spin.

But the team of heroes on a timeship aren’t the only ones capable of time travel.

Barry Allen takes an hour to run off into the Speed Force to charge the serum that could help them take down Cicada instead of waiting for it to cure over the next 29 days. Nora gets a little nervous about his being gone because of how badly things went when Barry was stuck in the dampening chamber a few episodes back. But he reassures her that if she just slows down a little bit and thinks things through, she can work anything out. Besides, what could go wrong in an hour, right?

Hoo boy…

While Barry is gone, Cisco is getting ready for a date, Iris is off to write an article and Caitlin, Sherloque and Ralph are all doing their own thing. More importantly, Cicada is hunting, researching Iris after his run-in with her last episode.

He is, or course, unhappy, and manages to capture Iris. The team tries to rescue her, but Cicada is waiting. When his dagger stabs Iris, XS runs back in time to try and change the future, but it just leads to another member dying. So she tries it again and another teammate dies. In all, Nora went back in time 52 times trying to save everyone and failing miserably. She watched people she loved die 52 times before Team Flash managed to figure out that she was repeatedly going back in time to fix something.

That’s a lot of death, trauma and failure that Nora experienced before realizing that she could probably use some help.

And once Team Flash is assembled, they work out a plan from all of Nora’s notes on all of her encounters with Cicada (I’d ask when she had time to jot down detailed notes of all of her encounters, but I’m guessing the answer would involve more time travel and my head already hurts a bit). The plan results in XS pushing Cicada in the way of his own dagger, and the big bad flying off to link his wounds. The team gets a win and everyone is happy.

And then Barry gets back from his hour in the Speed Force (while actor Grant Gustin was off getting married, hence his absence from most of the episode). While he’s proud of Nora for saving the day, he’s still a little upset with her for all the time travel and explains to her how fragile the space-time continuum is and how her actions could have changed things. He uses the same explanation that Jay Garrick gave him a few seasons ago. Nora takes the lesson to heart and goes back to 2049, where she confronts Eobard Thawne. The Reverse Flash assures her that he’s directing Nora to do things that would destroy Cicada’s dagger and then save The Flash.

To make matters more complicated for future episodes, it seems as though Sherloque Wells has decoded Nora’s time journal. Her secret probably won’t stay a secret for too long.

As far as time loop episodes go, I don’t think this was as good as when LEGENDS did it. Honestly, Nora isn’t nearly as likable as she should be, which I know I’ve mentioned before. But if you’re going to center an entire episode around her – not to mention the emotional arc of the entire fifth season – she should probably be a bit more likable.

Not to mention that more than once this season, I’ve felt like Nora acted way too much like Bart Allen, Barry and Iris’ grandson from the future who becomes the hero IMPULSE. This is especially true when you look at all the times Barry has tried to get Nora to slow down and think a bit. I have no problem with the character switch-a-roo, but as a fan of Impulse, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed.

Also, she looked kind of ridiculous in the scenes where she was running back in time. That really bothered me. How have production companies not come up with a good way to express that kind of running on screen?

Anyway, regardless of my disappointed, or my nitpicks, I am completely and totally hyped for the next episode. Not because of the ongoing hunt to defeat Cicada. We all know that won’t be resolved until sometime in May. No, no, no… we’ve got a huge episode coming up.

Forget Cicada. It’s King Shark vs. Gorilla Grodd! I don’t know if I can wait til March 5 for this!