Catching Up: The Flash Episode 502, "Blocked"

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Flash 502 Blocked

The fifth season of THE FLASH makes it two-in-a-row with some great storytelling. With Team Flash now knowing that Nora (JESSICA PARKER KENNEDY) is not trapped in this time period but here because The Flash (GRANT GUSTIN) never returns from his disappearance in the Crisis that sits five years down the road, Barry settles into the role of mentor to teach his future-daughter how to become the best Flash she can be. But XS is too eager to prove herself, and takes chances that put both her and her dad in danger.

It takes a conversation with Joe (JESSE L MARTIN) for Barry to realize what XS is doing, with the understanding that all the knowledge of her father comes to a museum built in tribute to him. So he takes the time to show her some Season 1 highlights where he made mistakes on his path to becoming a capable hero.

Meanwhile, there's a new supervillain in town and she's getting some revenge on her old partners. Vanessa Jansen (ERIN CUMMINGS) has the abilty to create a super-dense block of air around a person that she can then move or alter. She traps one person and compresses him into a 6-inch cube of meat. Codenamed "Block" by a less-than-peak Cisco (CARLOS VALDES), she's taking over a weapons dealing operation that could put Central City in the middle of a war, unless The Flash and XS can stop her. But when Flash gets trapped in one of her blocks, which are too dense to phase through, it's up to XS to find a way to save him from becoming a Flash cube.

The episode title, "Blocked," refers to more than just the name of the villain, however. Cisco is still moping over his breakup with Gypsy, and because his vibing abilities had synced up with hers, everything he does carries with it a hard memory of her -- voice, scents, etc. Caitlin (DANIELLE PANABAKER) and Ralph (HARTLEY SAWYER) have just the answer in Ralph's 27 Steps to Get Over Losing the Love of Your Life, which puts Cisco through a blender of life changes that, for the most part, don't work at all. But Caitlin's underlying reason for focusing on Cisco is to distract him from further investigating the death certificate of her father, which we've found out was forged. Cisco was going to vibe the certificate to get answers, but because of his current situation, his abilities are 'blocked.' Which is fine, because Caitlin is too scared to find out the answers about her father at the moment -- until it's all over.

The team also has their first encounter with this season's big bad, Cicada (CHRIS KLEIN). His weapon is a lighting-bolt shaped dagger made of dark matter that Cisco cannot pick up, and which absorbs metahuman abilities from a distance. With the abilities of Flash, Vibe, and Elongated Man all absorbed, they don't have a chance against a man who is super strong and, apparently, also a speedster (unless he just has the abilities of whatever metahuman he's in the process of killing, which would be preferable to the bad guy being super-fast, again). Once more XS is the rescuer, although this time XS slowly walks away only upon hearing her call Flash "Dad" when he could just as easily have taken her powers.

What Cicada's motivations are is something we still haven't been told. But we know that XS knows him, and she thinks he's a pretty big deal. He's certainly a high-level threat, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the team deals with him.

4.5 / 5.0