The Flash: Failure Is an Orphan review S5 E16

It’s kinda hard to believe The Flash is in its fifth season. I mention that more as the fifth season was arguably Arrow’s greatest season after Season 3 botched its landing and Season 4 was terrible on multiple levels. I was optimistic that the post-Season 5 landscape would set an exciting new status quo for Arrow. Those hopes largely went unfounded in Season 6 and have been squelched with the current Season 7.

The Flash mirrored Arrow’s first four seasons with a strong first two installments and a third that lacked punch near the end. Season 4 was a miss right after Thinker started swapping bodies. With Failure Is an Orphan, we’re at the home stretch of this season and this is no Arrow Season 5.

Most of that has to do with Cicada being such a lame and non-threatening villain. Failure Is an Orphan attempts to fix that with a twist that took more time than necessary to develop considered it was teased a few weeks ago.

In a fun nod to the larger DC Universe, Thawne name drops Kamandi while discussing future/past plans with Nora. There’s a new timeline struggling to break through and it’s up to Nora to stop Cicada before it changes.

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I love how in just a few weeks, Joe is doing more work than anyone else on Team Flash in terms of actually getting useful intel on Cicada. This week, he deduces Dr. Ambrose has to be working with Cicada. Cecile wants to tag along for the interrogation as her as needed per episode mind reading powers could come in handy. Joe and Barry have a nice scene exchanging helpful advice. It was always apparent, but his absence made it so clear how badly this show needs Jesse L. Martin. The show could get by with a lot of characters leaving (hey, where’s Ralph?), but Joe is always the one indispensable member of the cast after Iris.

Oh, and Joe and Cecile also managed to find out Doc Ambrose’s finance was killed by a meta and that Cicada’s niece, Grace, is a meta. There’s 67 people on Team Flash and Joe accomplished more in two weeks than they have all season!

With Cicada nearly defeated, Iris is worried Nora is planning on leaving soon. I’ve given up wondering why no one is concerned about screwing up the timelines from Nora staying here so long since I’m clearly the only one. Iris’ plan is to milk every moment possible with teen/young adult Nora. I get the writers think this is sweet, but Iris isn’t going to be in a wheelchair or dead in the future. All of these current memories would seem like they’d spoil the future moments Iris and Nora will share.


Ah, who cares? Jitters has an XS drink now and it’s yummy. Nora and Barry have a run in with an acid-spewing villain so lame Cisco can’t even be bothered to come up with a cool name for him. This was enough of a spoiler for Nora to realize this is the day they stop Cicada.

Last week, Barry revealed his master plan to offer Cicada the cure. Now we get the rest of this brilliant plan — he’s going to appeal to Cicada’s legacy. Barry, this is a crummy plan. Let’s ask the Council of Wells for a better idea, huh?

Predictably, Cicada could care less about his legacy and knocks out Barry. For the second time, Barry avoids the hippie Flash talk and chats with him father to uncle father. But to be on the safe side, they’ll give Cicada the cure first and then Grace. And let’s bring in Doc Ambrose to help/learn everyone’s secret identities.

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With Cicada getting dosed with the cure, everyone’s shocked to learn STAR Labs is under attack by a new invader…Cicada II. This is the same one Nora battled in her trip through Grace’s mind. This time travel is making my head hurt. Not as bad as Team Flash as Cicada II wipes them out with no trouble. It always bugs me that every formidable villain is faster than Flash’s reaction time. How does that work? And for fun, Cicada II kills Doc Ambrose, which we kinda saw coming once she learned everyone’s identities. Quick question: will Joe be suspended for letting a suspect get killed in an unauthorized procedure instead of taking her into custody?

Cicada II, who is a grown up Grace, takes OG Cicada to her lair. He might be cured, but he’s still her uncle, darn it.

Failure Is an Orphan went an interesting route although it seems like this season would have been better served getting here (ironically) faster. Still, it’s nice to see a real threat arrive and the potential for Team Flash to have to work to beat this new and improved model Cicada.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW