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