Blocked was a return to form for The Flash. Unfortunately this was a throwback to the series’ sillier times. Ultimately, the episode managed to turn around, but its various tonal shifts this early in the season is troubling.
In a big change from how the Arrowverse normally treats masked characters, we see Cicada (Chris Klein) unmask right away. He’s reliving his fight against Gridlock as he prepares for his shift work. Guess being a supervillain doesn’t pay as well as it used to?
Even more surprising was the immediate reveal that Nora is in this time because Barry vanished. I was fully expecting that secret to be milked for 10-15 more episodes so good on the writers.
Is Cisco still drunk? That’s two episodes this season where he’s been acting like an idiot. Now he suddenly remembered Gypsy broke up with him. And he’s desperate enough to follow Ralph’s 27 steps to getting over the love of your life. This subplot was goofy as heck and a complete waste of Cisco, Caitlin and Ralph. Well, at least Caitlin and Cisco.
Cecile is troubled because she’s losing her telepathic powers. She’s stressed out because she won’t be able to hear what the baby is thinking. This subplot also had some silly moments, but Danielle Nicolet managed to salvage it as Cecile explained her fears in not being a perfect mom. And Papa Joe dished out another generous portion of Joe’s Great Advice. That also applied to Barry as he was dealing with Nora’s hero worship.
Nora decides she’s going to be Barry’s CSI intern and help him with his case. Jessica Parker Kennedy is very charming, but after a season of watching Ralph play the clueless and occasionally well-meaning hero, XS playing the same role this season is going to get old quick.
It’s also a little frustrating that the writers are treating XS like a rookie when she’s a hero in the Legion of Super-Heroes. After seasons where Barry is the mentor to Jesse, Wally and Ralph, it would have been more interesting seeing XS teach Barry some new tricks. It’s hard to imagine Brainiac-5 not giving Nora the cheat code on how Barry summoned lightning.
At least Grant Gustin has great chemistry with Kennedy, which offsets a lot of the interesting choices with regards to Nora. Curiously, Nora still seems annoyed with Iris. Blocked did remember Iris has a life outside of Team Flash and she did some investigating for her reporter gig.
Erin Cummings (Spartacus) guest starred as rogue Vanessa Jansen, who can create blocks and projectiles. It was somewhat weird how the writers set Vanessa up as the worst arms dealer ever. Why would she keep the back of her truck open or not change her location at all?
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Flash and XS probably could have taken her out with no trouble if they didn’t bother announcing themselves before facing her. I know the writers have to make the rogues somewhat formidable, but it seemed such an obvious way to stop this particular Rogue. And Cisco and Ralph arrive to do nothing…well, that’s not entirely true since Cicada popped up all horror movie villain style and stabs Vanessa.
Cicada’s magic dagger also managed to neutralize Flash, Vibe and Elongated Man’s powers. It wasn’t until XS returned and called Flash ‘Dad!’ that Cicada held back from killing Barry. That was interesting.
For those keeping track, we got two Marvel Comics references in Blocked with Thor and Ghost Rider. Too bad DC’s Universe doesn’t have enough characters for Team Flash to mention…
The latest in Caitlin’s subplot is her mother forged her father’s death certificate. But why? Stay tuned true believers! Great, now they’ve got me doing it too.
In their debriefing, Team Flash notices the similarities of the Gridlock assassin and the villain they faced though he definitely didn’t sound like any Cicada that I’ve heard.
Blocked was eventful, but it was more than a little worrisome seeing The Flash struggle to navigate the difference between lighthearted and goofy moments.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW