Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 11 - Seeing Red

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


When Cicada starts targeting metahuman ex-cons with the aid of an ally in the police department, Nora is injured and left with no way to heal when Cicada's attack drains her ability to regenerate. This leaves Barry struggling to contain his anger as he works to protect the same metacriminals he helped to put away from Cicada. Meanwhile, Killer Frost starts to interfere with Caitlin's work on a metahuman cure.


Every X-Men comic about a cure for mutation.


It should be blindingly obvious why Killer Frost doesn't want Caitlin helping make a cure for metahuman powers, yet neither Caitlin nor Ralph can figure that out until Killer Frost tells Ralph.

As impressive as Ralph and Sherloque's deductions are, wouldn't the records they are looking at indicate that all of the murder victims have criminal records and were recently released from prison?


Hartley Sawyer is once again the episode's VIP as Ralph Dibny. I find myself wishing more and more for an Elongated Man spin-off, as unlikely as that may be.

A very close second for the VIP award is Danielle Panabaker, who has fantastic turns here as Killer Frost and Caitlin Snow.


The effects work with Ralph carrying the metahuman ex-cons is brilliant.

The blocking on the knife fight between Killer Frost and Cicada is well-executed.

Flash Facts

One of Cicada's victims is a man named Dwayne Geist. In the comics, Dwayne Geyer was a superhero called Geist - the German word for ghost or spirit. First appearing in Detective Comics Annual #6 in 1993, Geist was one of the heroes created for the Bloodlines event who later joined the superhero team called Blood Pack. Geist had the power to become invisible when exposed to bright lights. Unfortunately, he had no control over this power and was unable to hold down a day job due to his being invisible and completely blind in bright lights. He largely retired from superheroics but still showed up in the background of a few event comics over the years.

It is unknown what Dwayne Geist's metahuman powers were, but he had a spider tattoo on his neck.

Another of Cicada's victims, who we actually see die on-screen, is a man named Carl Bork. In the comics, Carl Bork first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #81 in January 1969. A criminal dock worker, Carl Bork still acted to save the life of a young boy from drowning while in the South Pacific. The grateful natives gave him a magic statue, which made him super-strong and invulnerable to physical harm. With this, Carl Bork declared himself King of The Docks and made a bid to take over Gotham City. The combined efforts of The Flash and Batman eventually brought Carl Bork down, after The Flash tracked down the original statue and threw it into the sun.

Years later, Carl Bork would play a supporting role in the comic The Power Company. Though he had originally lost his powers after the statue was destroyed, he eventually regained his strength and invulnerability along with a monstrous physique. Unable to find a job because of his appearance and criminal record, he was hired on to The Power Company.

The Arrowverse version of Carl Bork was a metahuman and petty crook who worked as hired muscle for other criminals. He was pulling a robbery with Matthew Norvok when he was killed by Cicada. He had super-strength and invulnerability.


Meloxicam is an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Bork's body showed a number of incised wounds, which were the cause of his death. There was also a depressed skull fracture indicating an impact with a hard surface. Barry and Nora determine that the depth and diameter of the wounds match those inflicted on Gridlock, Block and Raelene Sharp.

Caitlin thinks that if she can isolate the genetic marker that bonds human DNA to dark matter she can reverse engineer the process and unravel that to create a cure. Unfortunately, she needs the DNA of a recently created metahuman (eight months of younger) to identify where the marker is in the genome.

Cicada's attack on Nora caused an axial burst fracture in her L3, L4 and L5 vertebrae. He also severely displaced her fourth thoracic vertebrae.

Normal axon growth rate in a large nerve reaches five mm a day. With speed healing, Nora's should be over 100 mm a day. She knows this because she took neuro-regeneration for her fifth grade STEM class. (Iris studied fractions at that age.)

The angered Barry channels 2.86 billion joules of energy through his body. That's almost as much power as 3 lightning bolts.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Barry asks Killer Frost to help him track down the metahuman ex-cons.)
Killer Frost:
Oh, and you think they're going to listen to me? (smirks) 50/50 on that. I haven't quite lived up to my name...

Killer Frost: That was quite the speech back there. Almost seemed like you actually wanted to save those metahumans.
Norvok: No, you know me better than that.
Killer Frost: No. I don't think I do.
Norvok: I used to be a good guy, you know?  I worked at the Central City Zoo, watching the reptile cage. We were open the night the particle accelerator blew up. After the blast shattered all the cages, I had to pull an elapid snake off a kid. Then that dark matter hit.
Killer Frost: What happened to the kid?
Norvok: (grunts) He's fine. And what do I get, huh? A snake in my head and a psycho-killer that wants me dead? That was the last time I put anyone else before myself.
(Norvok takes his bottle and walk off. Ralph, who has been listening in from the hall, walks in and takes his seat opposite Frost.)
Ralph: You know, it's almost like a small part of me feels... sorry for that guy.
Killer Frost: Why? He's only out for himself.
Ralph: Come on. He's clearly terrified. I know what that's like. (pauses) You gonna tell me you've never felt fear like that guy?
Killer Frost: No. Why?
Ralph: Really? Not even a little bit worried about Caitlin making the cure?
(Killer Frost opens her mouth but they hear the rush of air indicating Barry's arrival. Nothing is said as they stand to go meet him.)

(Cicada is easily beating The Flash up.)
Cicada: You can't win this fight.
Killer Frost: I'll bet I can! We haven't been formally introduced. They call me Killer Frost. Let me show you why.
(A dagger of ice forms in Killer Frost's hand.)

(As Killer Frost ducks away from Cicada's dagger, it goes past her and flies through the wall... straight towards Norvock. He stands there, frozen as time seems to slow down as the dagger approaches him... as Ralph Dibny reaches down and pulls him into the helicopter just before it would have hit him.)
Norvock: (stunned) You saved me!
Ralph: (nodding to the other ex-cons) You saved them first.

Dialogue Disasters

(As The Flash and Cecile watch over the crowd of clearly nervous metahuman ex-cons.)
Cecile: They're all terrified. I can feel it. (Oh, you needed telepathy to figure that out?)


Cicada has been hiding out at Dr. Ambres house for the past few weeks.

Dr. Ambres has a contact in the CCPD who hates metahumans. They gave her a list of metahuman prisoners due to be released.

Cicada kills Carl Bork - a metahuman criminal with super-strength.

Reference is made to the deaths of Gridlock (501), Block (502) and Raelene Sharp (506)

A metahuman in Iris and Barry's apartment was killed as well.

Cisco is working on the metahuman cure at Icicle's lab.

Killer Frost keeps messing up Caitlin's equations on the metahuman cure and sings Barney's "I Love You" song whenever Caitlin tries to ask her why.

Sherloque is still trying to decode the time language in Nora's journal. He still has not translated anything besides THE TIMELINE IS MALLEABLE.

The three metahumans killed by Cicada in the last 24 hours were Kira May, Dwayne Geist and Carl Bork.

Joe is still in Tibet visiting Wally.

Geist has a spider tattoo on his neck.

Kira May was wearing clothes two sizes too large for her when she died, indicating sudden rapid weight-loss.

Carl Bork's medical records said that he had a droopy eyelid, caused by nerve paralysis, which is a side-effect of drinking too much prison wine.

On Sherloque's Earth, the slang term for prison wine is Borat rather than Bruno.

Based on all of this information, Ralph and Sherloque determine that the common link between all of Cicada's victims is that they are ex-prisoners. This leads Barry to discover the same prisoner log that Dr. Ambres gave Cicada.

Barry and Cecile tell Captain Singh they think someone in the department is tipping Cicada off. He refuses to believe it.

Cecile says she will pull some strings to offer Witness Protection to all the meta-human ex-cons on Cicada's list.

Amunet Black's bar has seemingly been abandoned. Ralph says there's a rumor she skipped town months earlier.

Norvok's first name is revealed as Matthew. He was last seen in 421.

Norvok agrees to help talk the other metahuman ex-cons into going into protective custody but only if he's the first one on the convoy out of town.

Cecile asks Captain Singh to set up roadblocks from Linsin to Weber Avenue.

Matthew Norvok was a zookeeper who worked the reptile house at the Central City Zoo.  He was pulling a snake off of a kid when the particle accelerator explosion occurred, causing him to bond with the snake. He says that was the last time he ever put someone else before himself.

Peek-A-Boo was last seen in 401.

Peek-A-Boo is said to work at a bar called The Sundollar on 8th Street.

Cicada attacks The Sundollar just as The Flash arrives to try and get Peek-A-Boo to come with him. They just barely escape through an extrapolater breach.

Cecile says she's felt the same level of righteous anger Barry is feeling over Nora's death from Cicada. She warns him against giving in to that anger.

Cecile thinks that she felt the same anger from Officer Jones and thinks he may have leaked the list of prisoners to Cicada.

Sherloque asks Nora if she could help him access the Flash Museum archives or maybe take him to the future. He also asks if it is possible for a non-speedster to enter the Speed Force. Nora says she is not sure.

Sherloque's fob-watch is revealed to have a hidden audio recorder in it.

Iris tells Sherloque to stop investigating Nora.

Killer Frost says she's afraid that if Caitlin makes the metahuman cure she'll use it to get rid of her and then there won't be anyone to protect Caitlin.

Ralph says he understands that but tells Killer Frost that when The Thinker took her away, all Caitlin could think of was getting Killer Frost back.

Officer Jones has hated metahumans ever since being manipulated by Spyn in 504. He tells Cicada where the metahumans are going to be picked up by the FBI.

The metahuman ex-cons are hiding out at Botti's Roofing Company.

Cicada disables the landing gear of the helicopter that comes for the ex-cons.

Ralph using his stretching powers to start lifting all the ex-cons to the helicopter after Peek-A-Boo refuses to ferry people up with her teleporting powers.

Norvock is the last ex-con to be lifted up to the helicopter.

Killer Frost is able to contain Cicada's dagger within the discharge of her freezing hand attack. While she is doing this, metahumans created by contact with dark matter can use their powers normally.

Barry almost kills Cicada, but relents when Nora runs in and shows him she is alive and running again.

Officer Jones is arrested for aiding and abetting Cicada.

Killer Frost replaces the blackboard that she destroyed for Caitlin.  She also gives Caitlin a frozen sample of the blood she took from Cicada during their knife fight - the DNA of a recently created metahuman that Caitlin needs to make the cure.

Sherloque begins analyzing the handwriting in Nora's journal. He determines there are two different styles of hand-writing and concludes some mastermind must be manipulating Nora.

47 tacos is Nora's limit.

Thinking on how being a father has changed his heart, Barry thinks the way to stop Cicada might be to appeal to his heart and find a way to save Grace.

As the episode ends, Cicada is looking through a scrapbook of articles on metahumans and reading about Cicada.

Untelevised Adventures

Cisco is doing research on his metahuman cure at Icicle's lab.

The Fridge Factor

Nora is temporarily paralyzed in order to fuel Barry's "losing control" subplot.

The Boomerang Factor

The "Barry loses control when he gets angry" subplot is wholly unnecessary and ads nothing to the episode.

The Bottom Line

Good show. A marked improvement from last week, but almost anything would be. I'm not sure how much of this is due to the absence of the horribly out of character Cisco and the addition of the always fun Ralph but the interactions between Caitlin, Ralph and Killer Frost are one of the high points of the season so far. It's also fun to see how the metahuman sub-culture in Central City works and I wish the show explored this side of the city more often.

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