THE FLASH Season 5 Episode 3 Review: The Death of Vibe

Picking up right where last episode left off, THE FLASH continued to buck its own trend of drawing out villain reveals by having our heroes get up close and personal with their new archnemesis. Altered timelines aside, Cicada doesn’t appear to be much more than an anti-meta serial killer at this point, which sort of limits the types of interactions he has with the team to standard ax murderer fare. While the insect noise his mask makes is suitably creepy, his overly modulated voice and corny villain dialogue take away much of his menace during these scenes. His character was much more effective during his earlier appearances when he was eerily silent, to the point of not even seeming to react during fight scenes. 

Nevertheless, he present enough of a threat that the team help once again recruits a different Earth’s version of Harrison Wells to help their cause—specifically, in this case, Sherloque Wells, who is ostensibly the greatest detective in the multiverse. Although Sherloque’s attempts to turn the job into a quick cashgrab are more entertaining than the typical fare from Herr Wells or the other zany one-note versions in the Council of Wells, his con jobs are, as Cisco aptly put it, “shenanigans” that ultimately just distract from the main story. There’s nothing about his character that justifies him being a regular fixture of the show. We already have Ralph and Joe filling the detective role—heck, even Barry had a brief stint as PI last season. There’s no lack of goofy humor with Ralph accidentally becoming a meme and Cisco’s continued moping over his Cynthia breakup. It’s unclear what exactly Sherloque is bringing to the table that we don’t already have a few times over, and a talented actor like Tom Cavanaugh feels wasted in simply filling the token Wells slot for the season. 

Sherloque’s help, or lack thereof, finally culminates in Cicada “killing” Vibe, but it’s hard to determine what exactly this means for Cisco. Is he going to stop using his powers? Seems doubtful, especially given that a good chunk of what he can do is rooted in visions and other psychic powers. Does he have to go into hiding to keep up the fa├žade? Not really, because Cicada has no clue about his secret identity. 

The only change is that Cisco probably can’t head out into the field anymore; unlike the Flash, however, Vibe wasn’t really a public persona that interacted with citizens. I was surprised there were even picture of him in the newspaper for Cicada to stalk him with. Given that, it’s hard to feel like there’s anything to mourn here. Still, at least trying to reclaim Vibe might give some clear direction for Cisco to move in as a character, since Ralph and Caitlin’s search for her father seems to be growing more convoluted and aimless by the day. 

The true show-stealer continues to be the dynamic between Nora and her parents. Hopefully it won’t evolve into an episodic “what hero lesson does Nora have to learn this episode?” type scenario, but so far I like that her progress hasn’t been a straight line and that she acted even more reckless in than we’ve ever seen her. As Iris pointed out, Nora’s actions make a lot of sense when put in the context why she originally time travelled. Accidentally creating a serial killer puts her father in the very danger she was trying to prevent. It’s also interesting that, for all that Nora gives Iris the cold shoulder, in her moment of crisis she turned to her mother for approval and support. It suggests that whatever caused this rift to form in the future is something circumstantial and a not fundamental split between the two. 

Of course, what’s really sure to keep fans talking is the ending reference to Nora having some sort of time-travelling partner. The obvious guess that many have already suggested is that it’s her brother— as comic book readers will remember, Dawn, the primary character whom Nora is based upon, of the brother-sister duo the Tornado Twins. It would certainly make sense that a sibling would encourage her to save their long-lost father. For myself, I’m not as convinced given the fast and loose attitude the series has had with the comic book continuity, particularly when it comes to Barry’s family. I do hope that whomever it ends up being still has a significant connection to the West-Allen clan though, since Season Five has shown us that’s at least one area the show can still consistently knock it out of the park in.

Written by Kaitlin Roberts, THE FLASH Beat Writer

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