It’s now or never on The Flash and “Failure Is an Orphan.”  Team Flash knows their meta cure works after King Shark returned to his human form last week.  Now all they have to do is find Cicada/Orlin Dwyer (Chris Kline) and talk him into taking the cure. Sounds easy right?

At the same time, Sherloque (Tom Cavanagh) has been suspicious of Nora/XS (Jessica Parker Kennedy) for some time now.  He stole her journal, but can’t read it because she uses a speed force language unknown to anyone on the team. The only translation he has finished is the phrase that the timeline is malleable.

RELATED: Read the Latest Recap of THE FLASH, “King Shark vs. Gorilla Grodd”


Nora reports back to Eobard Thawne (Cavanagh) that the meta cure works.  He tells her that the timeline has changed. He found a headline of Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) and Cicada’s final confrontation.  Thawne found a problem though. There is a new timeline trying to break through. It’s unpredictable and could happen at any moment. Nora has to help the Flash find Cicada immediately.  She asks if she messed something up and Thawne says no. A new variable is coming and it’s something big.

Barry discusses an alert with Nora and Iris on The Flash.

Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, Candice Patton as Iris West Allen and Jessica Parker Kennedy as Nora West – Allen in The Flash — “Failure is an Orphan” — Photo: Jeff Weddell/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Nora has the team in the control room, going over every detail to find Cicada. The team is pretty much annoyed with Nora, so Barry interrupts them saying he’s sure they will encounter Cicada soon.  The very energetic and overbearing Nora turns on Barry, making sure he’s ready for one of the biggest challenges of his career. She even asks if he knows what he’s going to say to Cicada. Barry has some idea, but he and Iris have plans.  Until Iris (Candice Patton) informs them that there’s something going down at Jitters. XS leaves to check it out

At the police station, Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) welcomes Joe (Jesse L. Martin) back to work. She asks for the Cicada task force file.  They pull a file on Dr. Ambres (Lossen Chambers) and find she’s been treating Grace Gibbons (Islie Hirvonen), Dwyer’s niece. A lot of medications have been missing from her floor. Joe thinks Dr. Ambres is helping Dwyer. Cecile wants to team up with Joe to question Dr. Ambres.

The big commotion at Jitters is the reveal of the new drink…XS-presso.  Yep, XS gets her own drink. And that prompts Iris to reflect on all of the family things they haven’t done. She has a huge list of activities.  They get an alert about another meta attack. The meta is stealing hydrochloric acid and drinking it. He has the power to blast acid all over the place. The Flash and XS can’t stop him and he escapes.  XS realizes the burn marks from this guy are in the picture from the future of Flash and Cicada’s last battle.

Picture Perfect

Nora explains to the team about the picture, saying it was in the Flash museum.  The acid meta is supposed to be the last victim for Cicada before Barry vanishes.  Leave it up to Sherloque to ask Nora why she didn’t tell them about the photo before. She plays it off saying her timeline is unreliable because of all of the variables.  So far everything is the same for this matchup and this will be the last day they confront Cicada.

The team has to get to work. Barry has to figure out what he’s going to say to Cicada. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) dubs the acid meta Acid Master and sets up facial recognition to find him. Nora and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) work on a way for Barry to talk to Cicada without getting killed. Sherloque tells Iris that if it all works out, this will be the end of their journey. Iris tries to talk Nora into spending some time with her, but Nora is focused on helping Barry figure out how to talk to Cicada.

Cecile and Joe go to the hospital to talk to Dr. Ambres. Cecile is excited because this is the first team up with her abilities.  They question Dr. Ambres about the missing medication. When Dr. Ambres lies, Cecile fiddles with her ring. The team-up doesn’t go so well and Joe lets Dr. Ambres go.  He tells Cecile they don’t have a motive or evidence to keep her. Cecile gets upset because Joe doesn’t trust her abilities. She calls off the team up and walks away. Joe is definitely in trouble.

Slow Down Nora!
Sherloque assesses the mystery in The Flash

Tom Cavanagh as Sherloque Wells in The Flash — “Failure is an Orphan”– Photo: Jeff Weddell/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Nora basically just gives Barry a pep talk. She reminds him of how he talked to villains to change their minds about being bad.  Each person had different circumstances, but it’s the Flash’s legacy to change the hearts of villains.

Meanwhile, Sherloque checks on the translation when he is interrupted by Caitlin and Cisco enter the lab.  They ask Sherloque if he’s ready to go home. He is, but he still feels like there’s more work to be done. Cisco tries to give Sherloque some advice about long distance, interdimensional relationships, but Sherloque blows him off. Sherloque says he has the solution to Barry’s speech.  He tells them that he will miss them both…but they will miss him more.

Failure is an Orphan

Cicada chases the Acid Master down an alley. When he turns the corner to grab the meta, he grabs Killer Frost instead.  Frostie was able to open a breach with a tachyon device, putting Acid Master in the pipeline. She disarms Cicada and breaches away. The Flash arrives and attempts to talk to him.  Flash tells Cicada about the cure. He says Cicada’s legacy is one of fear. He’s remembered as a monster and the Flash can help him change that. Cicada throws Flash around, saying he doesn’t care about his legacy.  Frost returns to keep Cicada from killing Flash and Cicada flies away. Mission failed.

The team can’t track Cicada anywhere.  Barry says it was their last shot, but they don’t know that.  Iris reminds everyone that they are changing the timeline. The photo that Nora found could have changed by now or not exist at all.  Sherloque purposefully says “the timeline is malleable.” Nora doesn’t react, she’s too upset that their plan didn’t work. Barry blames himself and leaves to see if he missed anything at CCPD.  

Father Knows Best
Joe gives Barry some advice in The Flash

Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West in The Flash — “Failure is an Orphan”– Photo: Jeff Weddell/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Joe finds Barry at the forensic lab and two exchange war stories. Barry says he struck out hard when trying to convince Cicada to take the cure. He tells Joe exactly what he said. Joe says that’s something the Flash would say. When Cicada sees Barry in the suit, he only sees the thing he hates. Joe suggests talking to Cicada as Barry. Great Advice!

Joe tells Barry about his team up with Cecile and how badly that turned out. He says Cecile’s powers put him to shame. Barry tells him to remember that they are a team. Cecile’s strengths are his strengths and vice versa.  He has to let her do what she’s great at and that will create more room for him to do what he’s great at. Joe is shocked and commends Barry on his pep talking skills. Barry says he had a great teacher.

Bonding Time

Nora decides to listen to the Flash’s com recordings to see if there was any method that worked best.  Iris tries to make her take a break and spend some time with her. Iris’ efforts have not gone unnoticed.  Nora asks why she keeps trying to pull her away from helping Barry. Iris explains that if this is the finale for Cicada, then Nora will return to her time soon.  They don’t have much time to spend together. Nora says they have the whole future together, but Iris says it will be decades before it will be like that again.

Cecile meets Joe at the police station. He apologizes saying he let his pride get in the way.  Joe asks her to join him in interrogating Dr. Ambres. They find out that Dr. Ambres has definitely been assisting Dwyer.  Her fiance was killed by metahumans, that’s why she chose to help Dwyer. They tell her about the cure at STAR Labs and want her to tell them where to find Dwyer.  Dr. Ambres is reluctant to give up any information about Dwyer. She eventually agrees to set up contact. Cecile senses that the doctor is hiding something. They call Barry to the station and tell him that Ambres is setting up a meeting. They also found out that Grace Gibbons is a meta.

Barry informs the team about Grace.  The wound in Grace’s head started glowing and her powers started to manifest, but she’s still in a coma.  Barry also informs them that he doesn’t want to use powers to corner Cicada. 

Meanwhile, Nora talks to Iris and assures her that she came to the past to get to know her parents. She had a list of events that she wanted to experience with them.  Nora promises to make every moment they have left a memorable one.  Barry interrupts to let them know he’s leaving to talk to Cicada, father to father. 

Face Off

Dwyer shows up at the meeting place that Dr. Ambres set up.  The Flash arrives, asking to talk to Dwyer. Dwyer doesn’t want to talk. He says every time a meta comes around, normal people get hurt.  All metas deserve to die. Flash asks if that includes Grace. He forms Dwyer that Grace is a meta. Flash knows that Dwyer is trying to make the world a better place for Grace.  The cure they have will cure her and Dwyer. Dwyer asks how he can trust Flash, so Flash removes his mask. He stands before Dwyer as Barry saying he’s a father too. He loves his daughter and would do anything to make the world a better place for her.

Flash takes Dwyer back to STAR Labs to administer the cure.  The only condition that Dwyer has is that Dr. Ambres is the one who patches him up.   Dwyer threatens to kill them all if anything goes wrong. They start the procedure with Dwyer’s dagger nearby.  Cecile and Joe are watching, but Dwyer’s rage is making Cecile uneasy. She joins Sherloque and Nora in the lounge.   Dr. Ambres is very uncomfortable with everything, but Dwyer tells her to calm down.

Cicada 2.0
Team Flash gets a surprising visitor on The Flash

Candice Patton as Iris West – Allen, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon, Jessica Parker Kennedy as Nora West – Allen and Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow in The Flash — “Failure is an Orphan”– Photo: Jeff Weddell/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Caitlin gives Dwyer the cure, taking away his meta powers. When Dr. Ambres starts to stitch him up, the power goes out.  Cecile feels someone coming and another Cicada arrives. This Cicada’s abilities are different. This Cicada blasts some kind of power dampening light at the Nora and Cecile.  Sherloque is able to set off the alarm in the lab.

Iris helps by giving Dr. Ambres light to work with.  Cisco checks the backup security cameras and sees the second Cicada walking through the halls.  Everyone is confused. Killer Frost patches up Dwyer by freezing his wound. Dr. Ambres moves Dwyer out of the lab.  The Flash, Vibe, Killer Frost, Iris, and Joe all stand to meet the new Cicada. When he walks in, Cicada overpowers the team, deflecting every shot they take at him.  He traps the Flash in his power-dampening force field and knocks everyone backward. Cicada destroys the command center and walks away. Before leaving, Cicada kills Dr. Ambres and takes Dwyer.

The team assesses the damage and nothing is working.  Barry ran outside to find Cicada and Dwyer, but they disappeared. Nora is confused because they go Cicada. So who is this new person? Sherloque says it’s someone worse.

Dwyer lies asleep in a cabin in the woods.  The new Cicada checks on his wound that’s still frozen.  Cicada says she missed him and removes her mask. She calls him Uncle Orlin. It’s Grace (Sarah Carter), but she’s all grown up.

RELATED: Read all of THE FLASH Season 5 Recaps Here!


Great plan, but the team is smarter than that. They have been messing with the timeline so much, just with Nora being there.  Who knows what all she messed up in the future as well.  If Nora isn’t careful, she’ll wipe out her entire existence.  I think that might be best.  Iris and Barry will need a fresh start when they decide to have kids. 

Sorry if it sounds like I don’t like Nora.  She has caused so much trouble since arriving.  She is learning and growing from her mistakes, but she’s also lying about her true purpose. Now there’s an even more dangerous Cicada running around Central City. Things would have been better if Nora had stayed in her timeline…maybe…




Noetta Harjo
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