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Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 7 of The Flash Season 5, called "O Come, All Ye Faithful."
The Flash delivered a brand new kind of threat to Team Flash in Season 5 with Cicada, and not just because he's not a speedster or a evil genius. Cicada hunts metahumans, and he has a distinct advantage thanks to his ability to steal their powers via his lightning bolt-shaped dagger. Although we've known his name for a while, The Flash has kept Cicada largely shrouded in mystery. Now, "O Come, All Ye Faithful" filled in some Cicada blanks to set up next week's 100th episode in some epic ways.
Ever since Orlin Dwyer was spotted visiting a little girl in the hospital, fans have operated under the assumption that she's his daughter, injured and left comatose after the disastrous satellite incident at the end of Season 4. Well, according to "O Come, All Ye Faithful," young Grace Gibbons isn't actually Orlin's daughter. She's his niece.
Her status as his niece at least explains why they don't have the same last name. It was always possible that Orlin was her dad and Grace simply had her mom's last name, but we now can say for sure that Grace was the daughter of Orlin's sister and her husband.
Grace's parents were killed in a metahuman attack, and Orlin was forced to take Grace in. His life was basically a trainwreck before he had to take Grace, and it took a while for him to come to the conclusion that he needed to clean up his act for her sake. Frankly, if I didn't already know that Orlin Dwyer was going to become a metahuman murderer known as Cicada, I would have been 100% Team Orlin at this point.
For much of the episode, it was difficult to say exactly where the story was going or when Grace would wind up in her coma. Then, we had a touching scene of Orlin plying his niece with ice cream at a carnival to celebrate the anniversary of when he promised to clean himself up for her. It was sweet, happy, and utterly touching... which of course meant that everything was immediately going to go wrong.
And go wrong it did! The satellite exploded overhead, knocking everybody at the carnival to the ground and injuring many. Orlin wound up with a shard of debris sticking out of his chest, but he wasn't nearly as alarmed by that as he was alarmed by his motionless niece. He rushed her to the hospital and managed to hand her over to doctors before succumbing to his own wound.
The debris was removed from Orlin's chest and he showed all signs of recovering, although it does explain the breathing problem he displayed as Cicada. He was more distraught by the state of his niece. The doctor cautioned him that Grace might never wake up. Orlin began to blame himself, but the doctor piped up that it wasn't hit fault at all. No, according to the doc, metahumans were to blame.
Yes, it seems that Orlin's villainous twist happened primarily because Grace's doctor suggested that metas are the real enemies when he was in a vulnerable state. Now, of course she is not responsible for Orlin going full Cicada and murdering people, but it's probably safe to say that nobody on Team Flash will be able to count on her help unless she changes her mind in a big way about metahumans.
It's also worth noting that Orlin didn't exactly need a gigantic push to embrace his murderous side. If anything, the doctor's suggestion that metas were to blame for Grace's state was a slight nudge. Anger began to boil in Orlin, and he finally exploded, and the piece of debris that had been lodged in his chest was summoned to his hand thanks to some meta energy.
Orlin didn't just get his lightning bolt-shaped dagger by happenstance or because he went hunting for it. He got the piece of tech after it was withdrawn from his chest following the satellite incident, which left him with a breathing problem, a comatose niece who shows no signs of waking, and a drive to seek vengeance on all metahumans, whether they personally wronged him or not.
Cicada's origin story in "O Come, All Ye Faithful" reveals that he's actually a relatively new villain, which makes him even more different than Barry's past big bads. Barry and the other metas of Team Flash were simply targets for Cicada because of his drive to hunt metas, although I'd say they earned themselves a spot on his list of enemies simply by getting in his way at this point.
At this point, viewers know a lot more about Orlin than Team Flash does, but they are privy to at least a bit more of information about him than they were last week. At the end of the episode, Sherloque came to the conclusion that just as Team Flash had wanted to be together as a family for Thanksgiving, surely Grace's protector would want to be with her for Thanksgiving. Thanks to some handy security footage, Team Flash discovered that Orlin Dwyer is the only man to visit Grace since she was brought into the hospital, and he just so happens to be her uncle.
Team Flash now knows Cicada's identity and what he looks like. Cicada knows that Barry is onto him after he narrowly escaped being spotted at the beginning of the episode, so Barry won't be able to sneak up on him. He'll undoubtedly have to get creative to take Cicada down, and the trailer for next week's 100th episode proves that Barry is going through time to revisit some of his most iconic villains of the series (including Reverse Flash) in pursuit of the way to take down his Season 5 supervillain.
Tune in to The CW on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of The Flash. Next week is the milestone 100th episode, and it's definitely worth tuning in. For some viewing options in the not-too-distant future, swing by our midseason TV premiere guide. Before midseason, you can look forward to the huge "Elseworlds" crossover that will see the Scarlet Speedster shed his scarlet duds for something a lot greener.