I’ve been hard on this season of The Flash. It’s felt way too familiar, retreading old plot lines, features an uninspiring villain and is dragging out its most intriguing subplot. But Memorabilia felt like a blast of The Flash in its prime. It wasn’t perfect, but it kept me interested throughout.
The episode kicks off with Nora delivering a voicemail email to Thawne. It seems early on that the explicit purpose of her visit to this time period was so she could stop Barry from disappearing in the Crisis. That kinda kills the whole hook with her communication with Thawne.
Here’s the thing with the what’s Nora hiding mystery. The Flash writers regularly have written these cool mysteries and subplots only to stumble on the payoff (see also Savitar’s identity, Flashpoint, Dr. Alchemy, etc.). They haven’t earned the trust that after 20-some episodes it’s all going to come together and make the Nora subplot worthwhile. My biggest concern is the writers will fall so in love with Nora that they’ll keep her around for another couple of seasons.
Team Flash (minus Cisco) went out skating when Sherloque received news that his
plot cheat device memory machine arrived. This device was used by one Jervis Tetch from Earth 221. Man, the Arrowverse is really going heavy with the Batman references now, huh?
Cisco arrives just in time to tell them this idea is stupid and to remind us he’s working on a cure for all the dirty filthy muties…uhm, metas. Sherloque wants to use the device to go inside Grace’s mind hoping that waking her up will get Uncle Cicada to stop his murderous rampage. That can’t really be their plan, can it?
But the device has a pesky habit of letting users catch glimpses of each other’s memories. I admired the writers’ restraint in saving the obvious joke that Sherloque’s old partner was named Watson until Episode 12. Nora, naturally is worried everyone is going to freak out upon learning her real agenda, sneaks in to Grace’s mind alone instead of with Barry like planned. A West-Allen not sticking with the established plan? No way!
With Nora trapped with grace’s conscience, Barry and Iris strap into the device to bring her out. They end up in Nora’s mind allowing Barry a moment to geek out at The Flash Museum. It was fun watching Barry having fun with the notion of a museum celebrating his heroics without getting a big head about it. This was filled with some cool Easter Eggs like Dr. Light’s costume among the Villain Wing, DC Collectibles Flash action figures and a comic book featuring Flash vs. Cicada.
Barry learns what was already established earlier in the season as he watches a video saying Flash never caught Cicada and he killed more than Zoom or the Red Death(?). You know, Cisco could really save himself a lot of trouble working on the meta cure and just let Cicada do all the heavy lifting… Just a thought.
While Nora contends with Grace’s protective subconscious defender Cicada, Barry and Iris have to avoid Nora’s — the Reverse Flash, or at least his costume.
I didn’t like the cheat Caitlin calling in to the mind realm to help the others as Barry never can figure out anything on his own on his own show. It was nice to see Barry encourage Iris and totally have her back when she started worrying she was a crappy mother based off of one bad moment with young Nora.
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When they get out, Grace’s subconscious is still fuming and ready to get payback on Nora. That could be interesting. And maybe this goes a way into explaining why Grace’s Cicada looked like a woman underneath the mask unless Uncle Orlin has really let himself go. Sherloque teases knowing Nora’s secret, but plays it off. I’m a little frustrated that no one else is questioning Nora’s full of holes story. She’s a liar on the levels of Hurley or Smallville Clark Kent. Sherloque does ask Barry about Nora’s defender and seems intrigued that it was Reverse Flash.
In this week in the continuing adventures of Caitlin & Killer Frost, no wait, we actually get a subplot about Iris? And it’s actually about Iris not just her response to Nora or Barry? Sign me up! Ralph’s office building has a vacancy that would be perfect for a thriving journalist who wants to expand her blog to a newspaper. I feel like the writers don’t understand how newspapers work in 2019. No one would trade a profitable blog for a newspaper with real overhead costs like printing, staff writers, photographers, editors and deliverymen.
As luck would have it the only free newspaper name available is Citizen. Again, pretty sure that’s not how that works either guys. Iris is leery of calling her paper The Central City Citizen as that was the same as the paper on the Crisis headline. C’mon Iris, if four and a half seasons have taught us anything it’s that it’s perfectly fine to change the timelines without fear of repercussions.
I’ve gotta give the writers credit for successfully redeeming Ralph in one short season. He’s always being Mr. Helpful to the rest of Team Flash. This week his outreach efforts are for Cisco, by luring him to a bar tracking a Cicada lead only to learn it’s the band Sickada playing at single’s night. For a second, I was gonna vibe through my TV to smack some sense into Cisco as he totally went into Geek Squad mode when the cute bartender flirted with him, but he came around. Nice job Ralph.
With the first epiphany failing Barry wants to try a new tactic — he’ll use the meta cure on Cicada. Why? The dude has looked like a chump most of the time he’s fought Flash. This seems like a little overkill. Seems like using it to cure the Dark Matter in Grace’s head would be more effective.
Memorabilia wasn’t a perfect episode, but it had some fun thrills and teased the next Flash/Reverse Flash confrontation. Not a bad way to spend 44 minutes.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW