For the past 4 seasons, The Flash‘s mid-season finale has been a Christmas special. However, with the 100th episode next week and the ‘Elseworlds’ cross-over event the week after, the holiday episode was moved up to this week. This week’s episode, ‘Come All Ye Thankful’, focused on Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) still trying to come to terms with the anger she has following her father’s disappearance. Meanwhile, Barry (Grant Gustin) and the rest of Team Flash must stop a new metahuman, Weather Witch (Reina Hardesty) from killing her father, Weather Wizard, aka Mark Mardon (Liam McIntyre). The episode also focuses on Orlin Dwyer, aka Cicada (Chris Klein) and the relationship with Grace (Islie Hirvonen).
This episode of The Flash has been one of the best so far. It centered around the theme of being thankful for what you have, but it didn’t quite overdue it like other holiday specials. The action sequence in the second half of the episode was incredibly amazing to watch. But the outstanding component of the episode was the relationships between Barry and Nora as well as Orlin and Grace. Warning, major spoilers for following the picture.
Attacks at the Power Plant
Earlier in the episode, Iris (Candice Patton) and Nora talk about Barry’s adventures. Nora thinks that they must have been cool to see, but Iris tells her the truth. Most of the time, Barry would put his life on the line to protect the city. This angers Nora, making her believe that his recklessness is done without thinking about his family.
Later on in the episode, the alarm in Star Labs goes off. There’s an attack at the power plant downtown, prompting Barry and Nora to stop it. While surveying the power plant, a lightning bolt strikes one of the fuse boxes. Worried that it wasn’t an accident, Barry has Nora save the workers at the plant. Cisco tells Barry that there’s a cold fusion core from Mercury Labs in the center of the power plant. Barry attempts to go after it but sees another lightning bolt about to strike the plant and jumps in front of it. Nora rushes to her father, but he’s not waking up. Caitlin sees that his heart rate is going down and tells Nora to rub her hands together fast enough to create lightning that will jumpstart his heart. Nora tries several times but nothing seems to work. Nora, unsuccessful in saving her father, watches him die. Unwilling to give up, she tries one more time, and it works.
Nora has to see her father dying all over again. For obvious reasons, she’s even more upset at Barry for risking his life. Normally, I’m not a fan of this kind of storytelling in superhero shows and comics. It does make sense for a hero’s or heroine’s family to be worried about them, but I don’t normally care to see that in stories. However, Nora didn’t grow up without her dad. Her feelings do seem logical. She could never really do anything about her situation, but now that she could, her anger is justified. I’m glad that this wasn’t pressed too hard and used this episode to deal with her feelings.
The Flash and Nora vs Weather Witch
After a failed attempt at tricking Weather Witch, she vows to destroy Central City. She heads to the airport in the city to take out her revenge. The alarm inside Star Labs goes off and Barry runs to take her town. Once at the airport, Barry takes the bystanders to safety inside the hanger. Iris and Cisco remember that they still have Weather Wizar’ds wand in the archives. Iris gives Nora the wand and she rushes off to give it to him.
At the hanger, Barry pleads Weather Witch to take her revenge out on him and to leave the city alone. She refuses and starts to create a lightning tornado. Nora gives the wand to Barry. Cisco explains that as long as Barry’s close enough to Weather Witch, the wand will absorb the energy around her. However, all that energy will go through Barry’s body since it does have to be released somewhere. He’ll become an actual lightning rod. Before running off, he looks at Nora, worried that she’ll think he’s being reckless again. But Nora realizes that Barry is a hero and that putting their lives on the line to protect people are what heroes do.
Barry runs around the tornado, much like how he ran around the tornado in the very first episode of the show. After he’s collected enough energy, Barry throws the lightning at Weather Witch to stop her attack. She notices what Barry’s doing and sends her own lightning rod towards him. Their blasts connect and everything goes white. Nora is worried that her dad died. The smoke from the blasts hadn’t cleared yet, so Nora couldn’t see well. However, Barry came out of the smoke and had Weather Witch in handcuffs. Nora and Barry hug and celebrate their victory.
This scene alone makes this the best episode of the season so far. It had a nice callback to the series premiere and Nora got to say the famous “Run Barry, RUN” line. The main reason that I love this scene is that it’s very reminiscent of one of DC’s greatest story arcs ever, Crisis on Infinite Earths. In that story, Barry runs around the Anti-Monitor’s anti-matter canon and creates a speed vortex. Unfortunately, he runs at such a fast speed that his body cannot handle it. Barry begins to disintegrate and dies but manages to save the multiverse. I was excited to see that being teased, especially with the ‘Elseworlds’ event airing soon.
Nora and Barry’s Heart-to-Heart Conversation
After Barry and Nora have defeated Weather Witch, all members of Team Flash head to the West-Allen home for the Thanksgiving meal. Barry talks to Nora in private about what went down during the battle at the airport. Before Barry can really say anything, Nora lets him know that she understands why he’s The Flash. She tells him that she saw that Barry almost didn’t go after Weather Witch because of Nora. She doesn’t want to put her dad in a situation like that ever again. Barry tells her that he’s the Flash for his family. He wants to protect them.
This conversation was inevitable. For the first half of the Fall season, Nora had been harboring anger at Iris for dampening her powers and not telling her what she was doing. Even though that was resolved in episode 5, it made sense that Nora would also be harboring some hate towards her dad for not being there. Nora only knows her dad through all of the great battles he had. She didn’t know what it took to be a hero, all the dangers that came from it. From watching her dad put his life on the line, she knew that Barry was doing it so that she could be safe. That’s the ultimate goal for any parent, to keep their child safe.
From the opening scene in Grace’s room, we find out that Cicada is her uncle. Their relationship is played out through several flashback sequences. In the first sequence, it’s revealed that her parents died a year before the events of the Enlightenment and Orlin becomes her legal guardian. He doesn’t want to take care of her and doesn’t hide it. He doesn’t live in the best conditions and seems to not even care much about anything but himself. He doesn’t even have anything to give Grace for breakfast other than Chinese food that’s a few days old.
Several other flashback sequences show the progression of their relationship. Orlin tries to adapt to being Grace’s guardian but can’t seem to get a handle on things. When Grace snaps at him for trying to help her but not willing to get his own life together, Orlin realizes that he needs to try harder. He manages to get them settled in a new house. He promises Grace that he’ll take care of her and to work on himself.
The final two sequences take place during the night of the Enlightenment. Grace and Orlin are at the fair celebrating getting through their first year of being a family. Grace notices that the sky is turning purple and they both pass out from the effects of the attack. After regaining consciousness, they try to run to safety but a piece of debris from the satellite that Nora and Barry destroy lands in front of them. Grace is knocked out and Orlin is impaled by a piece of shrapnel.
He carries her to a local hospital where he hopes they can help her. While he’s taken into surgery, the doctors try everything to help Grace. After his surgery, Orlin goes to see her. The doctor tells him that she took too much brain damage, which could mean that she could never wake up from her coma. He blames himself for what happened, but the doctor blames the meta-humans who cause destruction on the city. Orlin seemingly agrees as he watches the news reports of the satellite and vows to kill every meta for Grace.
By this point, we’re lead to believe that they’ve built a strong relationship. His origin makes me think that he and Barry are quite similar. They would both do anything to protect their family. Barry does that as The Flash and saves people while Orlin takes the mantle of Cicada and kills. I can see the downsides in making Orlin a sympathetic villain, but nothing has lead me to believe that he is truly evil. The Reverse Flash hated Barry Allen. The reason wasn’t ever revealed, but his hatred consumed him and turned him truly evil. I haven’t seen that level of evil in any other Flash villain on the show. The closest could be Zoom, but even then his evil came from his troubled past.
Cicada’s Identity is Revealed
Nora, Iris, and Barry are seemingly called back to Star Labs after the dinner. Sherloque brings up the fact that since they were with their family celebrating Thanksgiving, then Cicada would probably still want to do the same. He had Cisco hack into the hospital’s security camera and they found out that only one person had visited Grace. Since they still believed that Cicada had some sort of relationship with Grace, they still believed that he would visit her. And surely, the camera footage showed Orlin Wyre walking to Grace’s room.
This constant meddling from Team Flash will not end well. Like I said before, even though Grace is not his daughter, Orlin will most likely retaliate for them using Grace to get to him. To make things worse, Barry went to see Grace with Orlin hiding inside the room. I wouldn’t be surprised if he puts things together and figures out Barry is The Flash.
I really liked this week’s episode of The Flash. I haven’t been excited about an episode of the show in a long time. The mere premise of the episode was enough to get me pumped. I can only hope they deliver quality episodes like this in the future.
‘The Flash’ airs every Tuesday at 8pm EST / 5pm PST on the CW Network.