Title: The Flash: “Cause and XS” Review
Release Date: February 12th, 2019
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
This episode of The Flash had Nora West-Allen go through the same scenario over and over again for the span of 60 minutes. Sounds really familiar for some reason.
Oh, yeah that’s right. This is what we’ve been doing as the viewers for the last five or so episodes (maybe even longer). It’s getting to the point where I can map out the general outline for each week of The Flash. Team Flash finds an overly complicated way to stop Cicada. Cicada puts them in a deadly situation. Team Flash gets the upper hand on Cicada. And then, by some stroke of divine intervention, Cicada manages to escape with his dagger. Just…what? Was there nobody in the writers’ room who realized how many times they’ve done this?
All this is made worse due to my personal feelings on the big bad this year. I’m not going to fully get into it here but if you want a short summary, here’s what I said last week:
“He’s probably the worst main villain the series has had so far. He’s a boring character with little personality and for some reason, talks like a villain from the Joel Schumacher Batman movies. Which is extremely disappointing because I feel that, if done right, Cicada could have been amazing.” – Taylor Cole, an expert at absolutely nothing
I may just use that quote until his capture/death because I don’t see my feelings on the character changing anytime soon.
Like I said last week, the main story will continue to drag The Flash down until it moves on from Cicada. “Cause and XS” just echo those sentiments for me. Cicada is a freaking magician at this point, popping up wherever the story demands it. His code is starting to fall apart as well. He doesn’t kill Joe or Barry because they are parents but he’s willing to murder two innocent mothers? Iris doesn’t even have any meta-powers. It’s just hard to find the effort to power through this arc.
I loved the premise of this episode. It borrows from films like Groundhog Day and, more recently, Happy Death Day. I expected this to be Nora’s “Enter Flashtime” episode and other than the Cicada business, it delivered in that respect. Her unique powers were put on display and she was great here. Yet again, Jessica Parker Kennedy proves why she’s an amazing actor. You see her slowly unravel into desperation over the course of 52 attempts to save her family. I’m sure some will scoff here, thinking that Nora’s hesitation to tell the team what’s going on is another example of poor writing. I actually didn’t see it that way. I figured Eobard Thawne has pretty much taken the role of her mentor in the future and she’s probably just following what he would want her to do. Remember, in season one, Eobard didn’t want Barry telling the team about traveling back in time due to the ripple effects it could cause. I think this was just some sort of callback to that.
Speaking of callbacks, I was grinning ear-to-ear as Barry was giving his lecture to Nora about the ramifications of time-travel. This, I believe, was line-for-line what Jay told Barry back in season three after Flashpoint. While we don’t know if her time-travel escapades this episode will be integral to the main story going forward, Barry’s words seemed to strike a chord with Nora, putting some doubts into her partnership with the Reverse-Flash.
I feel like I say this every two or three weeks but, Tom Cavanagh deserves more recognition. The dude has about a minute to leave an impression on this episode as Eobard and he somehow delivers. Not only that but, I think I’m starting to like Sherloque now. I’m not sure if this is due to me getting used to the accent, last week’s episode, or Cavanagh’s performance. But, this Sherlock Holmes knockoff is growing on me.
The stuff with Cisco and Kamilla was extremely hit or miss. I either was laughing at Cisco’s dumb wardrobe/Déjà vu or cringing at the awkwardness of the situation, hoping to get back to Nora’s dilemma. By the end, I had become invested and the two finally shared a cool scene together, making the entire story worth watching. There have been rumors over the past week stating Carlos Valdes, who plays Cisco, will leave the show after this season. He’s been absent in a few episodes already. With the meta-cure complete and a new love interest, I can totally buy him riding off into the sunset without his powers after they defeat Cicada.
Another issue I could see people having with “Cause and XS” is the lack of The Flash. I see where they’re coming from. It is his show after all. Nora West-Allen is a major character and I think the writers just want to make sure she’s developed properly. “Cause and XS” and “The Flash and Furious” were solid episodes despite not having the scarlet speedster in the spotlight. Also, “Cause and XS” just wouldn’t have worked if Barry was there to help out Nora.
However, when you look at what Arrow has been doing with developing Oliver Queen this season, you wish The Flash put the same amount of care and effort into Barry. It’s a mixed bag that The Flash will have to get right soon.
Verdict: The Flash delivers another solid episode with “Cause and XS”. Just like last week, the main story once again creates a situation where our heroes look like fools and Cicada escapes. This is a predictable formula that is growing more and more tiring by the episode. Despite all of that, Nora’s Groundhog Day scenario and Cisco’s 50+ first dates proved to be entertaining enough to save the episode.
- Nora's Groundhog Day/Happy Death Day scenario
- Jessica Parker Kennedy's performance
- Cisco's side-story fumbled at times but came together strong at the end
- Barry's speech about time-travel
- Sherloque Wells as a character
- Although it was fine for this specific episode, Barry is beginning to feel like a side-character in his own show
- It appears that Carlos Valdes may seriously be leaving the show