THE FLASH Season 5 Episode 2 Review: Blocked

As it turns out, I needn’t have worried we were in for another extended secret-keeping plotline (regardless of how much fans may miss some of the earlier seasons, I think we can all agree those were something no one wanted to see make a comeback). Barry and Nora reveal his future disappearance to the rest of the team right as the episode opens. The gang’s reaction is relatively understated, which actually feels quite fitting since they went through the same thing with Iris barely a year ago and manage to rewrite the future almost once per season. The lack of tortured angst means that we instead get to really dive deeper into Barry and Nora’s new bond, which is fast becoming one of the show’s most endearing relationships.

Grant Gustin and Jessica Parker Kennedy have fantastic chemistry, and the parental element gives their mentor/pupil dynamic an added layer of conflict that sets it apart from Barry’s previous attempts at teaching. Nora is eager for Barry’s approval in a way Wally or Ralph never could be, and Barry clearly struggles with living up to the perfect speedster she’s idolized her whole life. It’s a fun give and take, with Barry’s gentle corrections often just making Nora more determined to do things her way so she can impress her long lost dad. While they seem to settle upon a happy balance by the episode’s end, Nora’s ongoing hero worship of Barry seems bound to cause more trouble throughout the season, particularly as it’s so pointedly contrasted with her frostiness to her mother. 

Given the lengths Nora went to in order to avoid meeting Iris last season, I suspect that there’s probably still more behind her appearance than we know yet which might have caused future Iris to try and prevent her from going back. If Barry saving his mother jeopardized the timeline, it seems like there’s bound to be some similar consequence for Nora doing the same for her dad. 

At the very least, given Cicada appeared to recognize XS, it’s safe to say his backstory will end up into the West-Allen family’s future in some inevitably tragic way. The fact that he’s already gotten to face off against nearly the whole team already noticeably sets him apart from previous big bads, who often wouldn’t get to go head to head with Barry until the midseason mark; furthermore, revealing his presence so early on also means there has to be more to his feud with Barry than just a hatred of metas. A time traveller with a vendetta would definitely have enough to potential to merit a longer conflict. 

Whether Caitlin’s search for her father has that same potential , however, remains to be seen. I was pleasantly surprised the show was self aware enough to acknowledge how long drawn out the storyline has been, and even turn it into a neat emotional moment between Caitlin and Cisco where she admits to self-sabotaging her investigation out of fear of what she’ll find. But the ultimate revelation we ended on was that Caitlin’s mother was involved in her husband’s disappearance, which you’d think a bunch of geniuses wouldn’t have needed superpowers to deduce. 

Nevertheless, the show did a better job of balancing the comedic tone of Cisco’s post breakup rebound with Caitlin’s family drama than almost any episode we got last season. It was also far more cohesive than usual, actually managing to weaving together both Iris’s investigative reporting and Cecile’s new mother worries neatly into the main Barry and Nora plot. It feels a little premature to start saying THE FLASH has found its footing again purely because of a two episode good streak, but we’ve already gotten to see some sound plot structure and solid character foundations being pulled up, which puts it heads and shoulders above where the last two seasons were at this point.

Written by Kaitlin Roberts, THE FLASH Beat Writer

Related Post:THE FLASH Season 5 Episode 1 Review: Nora