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January 22, 2019 at 10:37 PM EST

Watching Barry and Iris adjust to becoming parents has been one of the most interesting parts of season 5, especially given the very unique situation they’re in since their daughter is all grown. In tonight’s episode, we saw the two experience every parent’s worst nightmare: their child getting severely injured. Given the show’s past experiences with dark storylines, no one would fault you for being worried about the episode, but I was surprised by the fact that it mostly worked.   

From the moment the episode began, you could tell that it was heading toward something big at the end of its act, if only because everything was moving at such a quick pace. The hour begins with Cicada’s doctor friend paying him a visit and letting him know that she’s found him an ally in his crusade against metahumans. From there, we see Cicada murder one metahuman. He eventually goes after a second one, and luckily, Team Flash arrives in time to confront him. Unfortunately, that’s when tragedy befalls. During the fight, Cicada gets a hold of Nora and “Knightfalls” her, a.k.a. breaks her back. Honestly, the shot of him hoisting her up in the air and punching her back was incredibly hard to watch, which isn’t something I’m used to saying about The Flash.

What happens to Nora is upsetting, but it hits even harder because both Grant Gustin and Candice Patton do a great job of conveying how much it pains them to see their daughter confined to a hospital bed. Director Marcus Stokes smartly lets the camera linger on Patton’s emotive face as she sits by her daughter’s bedside, which helps sell the emotion of the scene, too. Things get even more emotional once Nora regains consciousness and realizes she can’t feel her legs because Cicada’s dark matter was interfering with her powers and slowing her healing.

Normally, Joe West would be there to comfort both Barry and Iris; however, due to Jesse L. Martin’s own real-life back injury, Joe is conveniently still in Tibet with Wally. While his absence was definitely felt in the episode, it gave Barry and Cecile a chance to team-up on tracking down Cicada. With some help from the team, they realize that Cicada is targeting names from a CCPD list of former metahuman criminals, which means someone in the department is leaking the information. Barry and Cecile decide the best course of action is to move the metahumans into federal custody.

While Cecile makes arrangements with the feds, the Flash, Elongated Man, and Killer Frost pay Amunet Black’s old snake-eyed henchman a visit and ask him to put them in contact with all of the metas on the list. He obliges, but none of them really believe how dangerous Cicada is until the big bad himself goes after Peek-a-Boo. Luckily, she manages to escape because the Flash was there and used one of the breach-creator-things to flee. Which actually raises a question: Why didn’t Team Flash just breach the metas into federal custody instead of transporting them via normal means, which is more vulnerable to attack? (Spoiler alert: their transportation method ends up getting attacked).

NEXT: Iris comes to Nora’s defense

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After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.
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