THE FLASH Season 6 Episode 5 Review: Kiss Kiss Breach Breach

After being named last week as Barry’s pick to take over leading the team, Cisco's reluctance to step into the spotlight was put to the test as an unexpected murder mystery unfolded while Barry and Iris were on vacation. It’s very refreshing to have two Cisco-centric stories back to back--despite his fan-favorite status, Cisco’s diminished role has been so noticeable it was commonly thought that Carlos Valdes was preparing to exit the show entirely last year. Thankfully, nothing came of the rumor, and the show seems to have finally righted itself this year. 

Unfortunately, the whole episode quickly became tainted by reintroducing his old flame Cynthia for the sole purpose of giving us another example of “Women in Refrigerators”--the Gail Simone coined term for killing a female character as a plot device to motivate or develop male characters. Cynthia was already written out of the show ages ago, and while it was handled rather clumsily, the decision was understandable given Jessica Camacho’s commitments to other projects. Having her reappear (which I mean in the loosest sense, as she’s only in a few background shots and clearly played by another actress) just to be murdered feels wholly unnecessary. Her father and Cisco’s rivalry, which was already plagued by sexism, now seems even more troubling. Carlos Valdes and returning guest star Danny Trejo did their best with the material they were given, but the sense that Cynthia deserved more than to be object for the men in her life to fight over hung like a cloud over every scene. 

Mercifully, Cisco mourning Cynthia didn't create any romantic drama with Kamilla, who ended up being incredibly understanding of his grief. She served as the leading lady of the episode, but her role was mostly to act as a support system for Cisco. I didn't come away feeling I learned anything new about her character, despite the boost in screentime. It's a shame, as I'm really rooting for the series to start showing its civilian characters more love. 

The murder mystery itself was serviceable enough. This wasn't the most interesting evil incarnation of Cisco we’ve seen, but having a whodunnit involving multiple versions of yourself is a neat concept that makes sense given the show’s reliance on the multiverse. It would have been fun to throw in a few more versions of Cisco, to create some mystery about which doppelgänger across hundreds of dimensions was the murderer, but there's probably limits to how much you can play with that before it becomes too confusing for the average viewer. I'm also fascinated to see how Cisco ends back up in the Vibe gear from Barry’s premonition, given the hints his powers were resurfacing ended up being a red herring planted by the evil Cisco. Are they going to have to engineer a cure for the cure? 

The rest of the cast was basically a footnote in the episode: Barry and Iris were off on a trip, Caitlin had the same conversation with Bloodwork she's had in all their interactions, and Ralph did whatever it is Ralph does. The only other noteworthy development seems to be that Joe’s paternal wisdom has won over Nash Wells. It was sort of a given, since having a Wells seems to be obligatory for the show, but now that box has been checked we may be able to finally see if this incarnation truly adds anything to the team dynamic.

Written by Kaitlin Roberts, THE FLASH Beat Writer