THE FLASH Season 5 Episode 7 Review: O Come All Ye Faithful

This week gave us a series first for THE FLASH with a merry Thanksgiving-themed story, albeit one that comes a week late. It’s a shame for the timing delay in the episode airing, as I’d wager how much audiences will enjoy it depends a lot on how much holiday spirit they have. The writing is unabashedly sentimental and includes plenty of goofy cliches like Sherloque trying to convince Cisco and Caitlin gratitude is overrated, only for them to see the value of Thanksgiving right before Iris and Barry’s big dinner. If you go in antsy for a meta brawl or a new revelation about Barry vanishing in the future, there’s not going to be much to satisfy you. But if you’re the type of viewer that can appreciate a little festive sappiness, “O Come All Ye Faithful” is probably one of the strongest holiday episodes that a DC show has had in the past several years. 

Unsurprisingly, given the time of year, most of the focus is on family--specifically, the three father/daughter units of Barry/Nora, Cicada/Grace, and Weather Wizard/Weather Witch. The last of these is easily the weakest pairing and feels largely tacked so to really hammer home the theme of fatherhood, in case the Cicada and Barry parallels weren’t obvious enough for you. All in all, Weather Witch is a pretty embarrassing baddie even by Flash standards, with everything from her lackluster design to her over-the-top dialogue coming across as completely phoned in. 

Her attempt on Barry’s life, however, does manage to spark an interesting argument between Barry and Nora about why he chooses to be the Flash, despite the terror it gives his family and the knowledge it’ll eventually cost him his life. While there was never any doubt about how their conflict was going to be resolved, it still felt like a valid point for Nora to raise, considering you can draw a pretty straight line from Barry putting on the Flash suit to his future disappearance--so much that it even that it was even a plot point ninety-nine episodes ago when the byline first showed up in the pilot. And it nicely tied up her previous conflict with Iris to have Nora realize she was projecting her anger at Barry onto the parent who was still alive. 

Jessica Parker Kennedy plays Nora with such a large amount of heart, however, that it doesn’t feel strange at all to see Nora naturally and almostly instantly accept her dad’s calling the moment she sees people in real danger. She and Grant Gustin have an odd rapport to play with just by the nature of the beast when it comes to telling a time- travelling drama, but the two really haven’t missed a step when it comes to selling themselves as parent and child. “I’m the Flash for my family” is about as cheesy a line as you’ll get, but within the context of Barry assuring Nora about her place in his life, it works beautifully. 

Despite what the schmaltzy holiday trappings final duo might lead you to guess, the episode ended up not being a true filler either, as we were also treated to truth behind Cicada and his comatose daughter via flashback. Their storyline plays out like a mini Hallmark movie of sorts with Orlin as the bitter, antisocial grump who turns his life around after reluctantly adopting his late sister’s daughter. In another episode, this backstory might have felt a little on the nose, but it ended up making a pretty nice fit with the rest of the already emotional episode… or it did right up Orlin started bleating out his vow to “KILL. ALL. METAS.” with his lightning bolt shaped boomerang by Grace’s hospital bed, and the the humanity of the character immediately gave way to cartoonish villainy. 

Some clumsy moments aside, though, THE FLASH overall blends surprisingly well with a holiday setting, perhaps because the heightened drama of the winter season fits with the often in your face writing style of the series. Whether or not this ends up being a regular occurrence, I think the show proved once and for all it has the right amount of mushy cheer to pull off a proper holiday episode.

Written by Kaitlin Roberts, THE FLASH Beat Writer

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