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Spoilers below for the latest episodes of The Flash, so be sure to watch before moving on.
As the Arrow-verse has proven on more than one occasion, it's difficult and problematic to maintain a single overarching antagonist through 22 episodes. Yet that continues to remain the go-to storytelling mold for The Flash, which is balancing one of its most interesting villainous arcs – Nora as potential pawn in Reverse-Flash's plans – with one of its worst villainous arcs – Cicada becoming Cicada 2.0.
Though Chris Klein's Cicada started off Season 5 as an enjoyably mysterious and extremely powerful foe for Barry and the team to figure out, the bottom fell out rather quickly, and the twists involved haven't helped very much. So join us as we ask the surprisingly valid question: Does anyone still care at this point?
Do Cicada's Mysteries Exist Or Matter Anymore?
As fans learned more about Orlin Dwyer's Cicada in the first half of Season 5, there were some interesting stakes as far as how his powers worked, how he related to the hospitalized Grace, and what he wanted from Team Flash. That all got cleared up, however, before The Flash dropped the twist that Grace-from-the-future came back to get her own revenge, which included killing her uncle.
That part was already a tad contrived, but it would have been fine if The Flash were able to turn Cicada 2.0 into a truly captivating baddie with her own set of values, mental issues and powers. Unfortunately, she's just a thinly veiled copy with slightly more impressive meta-abilities.
And now...I can barely remember what her point is anymore, since she tends to disappear from view once other storylines get more attention. She last popped up to battle Killer Frost in "Snow Pack" and killed Thomas Snow before taking off with the cryo-aomizer. It's not made clear at all what that device will be used for, but someone will likely be taking an ice bath soon. Will it be a hero, or just younger Grace? I don't know how much I will care either way.
Reverse-Flash's Return Changed The Game
To be sure, Cicada might not have come across as a more consistently interesting villain had The Flash not decided to double-down on its big bads midway through the season. However, bringing a new-ish iteration of Tom Cavanagh's Reverse-Flash to the table was just asking for all other threats to feel dwarfed in comparison.
In laying out Reverse-Flash's connection with Nora, The Flash has literally incorporated the entirety of its run so far to help flesh out the narrative. Nora's time-travel adventures, like Barry's, are responsible for causing all kinds of anomalies and alternate realities that potentially span from Barry's childhood all the way to her "current" life in 2049, and Season 5 has been successful at making viewers relive past experiences with new eyes.
So on the one side, there's a tried and true villain whose actions legitimately created the show's titular superhero. And on the other side, there's another time-traveling villain who is driven almost completely by vengeance, but who lacks 99% of the personal connections that Reverse-Flash has with Team Flash (not to mention Thawne's evil charisma). I suppose I'm curious about Reverse-Flash's interests in Cicada, but only because Reverse-Flash is involved.
How Could Cicada Become Important Again?
For one, if Cicada is revealed to have some deeper ties to Nora's life in the future, or to Reverse-Flash's specific plot mechanics, that could go a long way at justifying the non-speedster's extended stint. The presence of the dark matter shards in the future has been an intriguing concept, and some fans have predicted that 2049's imprisoned Eobard Thawne was also injured by some power-negating shards.
If Grace Gibbons doesn't share a future with Nora or Reverse-Flash, maybe she's responsible for some major event in the near future will solidify the villain's legacy for Flash viewers in the way that Cicada is viewed as an unforgettable monster in Central City's future. Yeah, I get that Orlin already killed a bunch of metas and did all kinds of other weird shit, and that Grace really picked up on those habits, but Cicada still doesn't feel like top-tier Flash nemesis material just yet in my eyes.
Which brings us to the third option: Cicada needs to kill off a major member of Team Flash before Season 5 ends. That would be the most powerful gut-punch for all involved, and would give Barry the ultimate reason to stop Cicada to no end. (The lead-up to Crisis on Infinite Earths will likely be a deadly one across the Arrow-verse.) That obviously happens, since the finale will be a face-off between Flash and Reverse-Flash, but how?
How Should Cicada Get Defeated?
Because this is The Flash and not Game of Thrones, the first option here will be the least lethal one. Logic would dictate that Team Flash should use the metahuman cure on the younger Grace. Then, because cause-and-effect is a crapshoot in this universe, they should double down by administering it to adult Grace as well. Naturally, she should still spend the rest of her years in a prison, regardless of if she's still a metahuman or not.
A second option would require a more permanent exit for Grace, and/or an earlier permanent exit for her uncle Orlin. Not that I think Barry or Iris would be the ones to physically kill Cicada. Rather, that might be a good place for Nora to step up and renounce whatever evil patterns she's falling into after being rejected by Barry. Even better: Nora and Reverse-Flash somehow tag-team Cicada into an early grave, and then they both revert back to their respective protagonist and antagonist labeling.
Personally, I'd like to see Cicada get entirely wiped out of existence in some way, or another ridiculously convoluted way of handling the villain's demise. The more surreal and over-the-top, the better, since it's going to take something extremely noteworthy to make Cicada's final episode stand out in fans' memories. Of course, this is even assuming The Flash does take Grace's Cicada out of the picture, as opposed to just setting her on the sidelines in wait for Season 6.
What do you guys think about Cicada's reign on The Flash thus far? Let us know below, and don't forget to watch the final few episodes airing Tuesday nights on The CW at 8:00 p.m. ET.