It’s Thanksgiving on The Flash! Sure, we all celebrated the holiday last week, but The Flash’s tardiness on this one feels apropos given Barry Allen’s allergy to punctuality. You know what else was fitting? The season’s focus on parent-child relationships. Thanksgiving is a time for family, specifically family drama, and the show used the holiday as an opportunity to dig into Barry and Nora’s relationship, and more interestingly, Cicada/Orlin’s relationship with the comatose Grace to varying degrees of success.
The biggest thing to come out of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” is that Team Flash finally discovers Cicada’s identity after hacking the hospital’s security footage and discovering that Orlin Dwyer is the only one who visits Grace in the hospital. However, before they reach that moment, the show reveals Cicada’s origin story through a series of flashbacks. For me, at least, this was probably the weakest part of the episode because while they revealed some new information, the actual story felt cliché.
In the first flashback, a disheveled Orlin receives a visit from the cops. He thinks it has something to do with a drunken altercation he had, which is shorthand for this guy is a bloody mess, but that turns out not to be the case. The cops are actually there because his sister died in some metahuman attack, which means his niece, Grace, is now his responsibility. As I mentioned, Orlin doesn’t have his life together and isn’t too happy about having to take care of a kid, and Grace knows it and even calls him out on the fact that he also just dislikes himself. Chris Klein does a good job of modulating his performance to differentiate Orlin before and after the Enlightenment. For example, his voice is higher and not as a gravelly in the initial flashbacks.
Of course, if you’ve watched any supposedly heartwarming movie about kids moving to live with their messy relatives after losing a parent, you already know that things start to turn around for Orlin and Grace after her brutal analysis. Orlin starts putting effort into being a good parent and gets them a rundown house that they can renovate together and gifts Grace a dollhouse for her work on herself, too. It’s not too long before we see them strolling through a carnival thick as thieves when the Enlightenment begins. A piece of the satellite crashes right in front of them as they’re trying to make their escape, knocking Grace unconscious and piercing Orlin’s chest with a lightning shape shard that would eventually become his dagger.
Orlin’s crusade against metahumans, however, doesn’t just begin once he rushes Grace to the hospital. No, he doesn’t even think about ridding the world of metas until Dr. Ambers, the sketchy doc we’ve seen over the past few episodes, makes an offhand comment about metas wreaking havoc unchecked and he watches a news segment about the Flash saving the day while Gridlock commits another jewelry robbery. But, based on the flashbacks before this moment, we know that he’s mostly driven to kill metahumans because he feels guilty for Grace ending up in a coma right as things were turning around for them. Nevertheless, the entire arc we saw in the flashback still fell kind of flat because, as I mentioned before, we’ve seen this type of story many times before and the episode’s specifics weren’t enough to make it feel it fresh.
NEXT: Lightning strikes the same man many times
Meanwhile, back in the present day storyline, Team Flash’s Thanksgiving is interrupted by a freak lightning storm that threatens to explode a power station. The Flash and Nora speed onto the scene, and Iris orders Nora to help the workers evacuate while the Flash tries to stop the power station from exploding. Unfortunately, Barry gets struck by lightning in the process and flatlines, and it falls to Nora to turn herself into a human defibrillator to revive him. It’s an emotionally trying moment for Nora because right before this, Iris told her about all the times she had to watch as Barry gave his final goodbye before speeding off to sacrifice himself. Of course, Nora manages to revive Barry, but the entire experience leaves her rather shaken.
It turns out that the lightning storm was created by Weather Wizard/Mark Mardon’s daughter Joss, a.k.a. Weather Witch, who gained the ability to control lightning after her weather vane got struck with a piece of the Enlightenment satellite. Yay, more meta-tech! Not only that, but Weather Witch has returned to Central City with one goal: killing her father. It turns out that Mark abandoned his daughter and her mother many years ago, but in the intervening years, Joss and her mother had a falling out and Joss ran away. Now, she’s back and wants revenge on her father for leaving them (Yes, the show goes for the obvious but necessary parallel, which we’ll get to in a minute). Of course, Barry and Nora aren’t just going to hand Mardon over and try tricking her with a hologram, but that plan fails and Barry ends up getting knocked down by lightning once again, except his heart doesn’t stop this time.
Naturally, Barry recovers from the brush with lightning and is ready to go after Weather Witch, who promises to destroy Central City if they don’t turn her father over. But the combination of hearing Iris’ stories about the finales of season 1 and season 3 and Barry’s recent brushes with death frighten Nora, who already lost her father once before. She confronts him about this and asks him to give up the Flash because she hates that he constantly runs out into danger and is willing sacrifices himself (in other words, abandon his family), and she believes that this is the only way to change the future so Barry doesn’t disappear in the crisis. Nora’s demand is heartbreaking but understandable because the show has done a good job of setting up just how much Barry’s disappearance affected her, and it makes total sense that being with her father now and seeing him in action in the Flash would awaken that trauma at some point. Plus, as always, Jessica Parker Kennedy gives a moving and heartbreaking performance.
Even though Barry is very conscious of Nora’s fears, he still heads out to save the day once Weather Witch starts attacking an airport. XS speeds the Weather Wand out to him so that he can neutralize her powers, but then Weather Witch creates a bloody lightning tornado, the only way to stop her is for Barry to do what he did in the pilot – run circles around the tornado. However, this time his body will function as a lightning rod, which means he’s putting his life in danger once more. Given Nora’s fears, though, Barry hesitates before rushing out to save the day. But Nora gives him the ol’ “Run, dad, run” and he does what he needs to do and survives. I’ll admit, it’s rather fitting that the show returned to Mark Mardon as it heads into its 100th episode.
With the day saved, everyone heads to Barry and Iris’ loft for Thanksgiving. Well, not initially. After Sherloque brought down the mood by pointing out how Cisco and Caitlin had nothing to be thankful for because their 2018s were awful, the three of them decide to skip Thanksgiving and get drunk in the lounge (Cisco ranting about how Thanksgiving is built on a lie killed me). But then Killer Frost pops up and tells them they’re being stupid for willingly missing out on good food and good company, so they end up joining Barry, Iris, and Nora for the holiday.
Wall of Weird:
- At the beginning of the episode, Barry visited the hospital looking for Grace’s parents, which prompted Dr. Ambres to tell Orlin he needs to stop coming there since the CCPD is onto him.
- Sherloque gives a Thanksgiving toast in which he praises the colonizers for taking what they want, which was the funniest moment of the episode because he clearly didn’t understand that was a bad thing.
- “People need the Flash” “I need my dad.” Heartbreaking!
- “I’m the Flash for my family and I don’t have to run to the future to understand why I sacrificed myself. I do it to save you and your mom and all the people I love,” Barry, to Nora, at the end of the episode.
- Cecile and Joe weren’t in the episode because they decided to spend Thanksgiving with Cecile’s family.
- Also M.I.A.: Ralph!
- The Flash boss breaks down the latest Killer Frost twist
- The Flash recap: Caitlin’s chilly family reunion reveals Killer Frost’s origins
- Arrowverse stars reveal details about the Trinity-centric ‘Elseworlds’ crossover
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