Spoilers ahead for Episode 2 of The Flash Season 5, called “Blocked.”
News that The Flash‘s new supervillain for Season 5 was going to be Cicada broke over the summer, and fans have been waiting months to see how he would differ from Barry’s past big bads. We knew he wouldn’t be a speedster and definitely wasn’t going to be Thinker 2.0, but The Flash kept him largely shrouded in mystery. Well, “Blocked” finally introduced Cicada, and he’s awesomely terrifying.
Cicada technically made his first appearance on The Flash in the final moments of the Season 5 premiere when he killed Gridlock by yanking him out of his transport, sapping his powers, and beating the stuffing out of him. We didn’t get a good look at him until “Blocked,” however, and the episode didn’t hold back on making him one scary bad guy. Iris was actually the first one to get a lead on him.
While the speedsters were chasing after the Meta of the Week, Caitlin and Ralph were attempting to help Cisco through his heartbreak, and Cecile was coping with the loss of her powers, Iris was working as a journalist to figure out what happened to Gridlock. There was clearly something to the story that he’d been murdered when he seemed poised to spend a long time rotting in the meta wing of Iron Heights, imprisoned but very much alive.
She tracked down one of the guards who had been transporting Gridlock, and he revealed that he and the other guards had been knocked out in the incident, with Gridlock the only one to die. He wasn’t altogether uninjured, however, as he was restricted to a chair and confined in a neck brace while he talked to Iris. Cicada only killed the meta, and the humans in the immediate vicinity were seemingly collateral damage.
Iris also got her hands on security footage of the attack on Gridlock’s transport. While the grainy video didn’t get a good shot of the perpetrator who seemed to appear out of nowhere, she could detect an distinctly unsettling sound. At that point, she couldn’t put a name of what it sounded like. That realization wouldn’t come until the end of the hour.
Team Flash finally got to meet Cicada face-to-face when they least expected it. They tracked a meta villain by the name of Vanessa to a location, and Barry and Nora raced off to try and stop her. All seemed to be shaping up for a relatively easy victory for the speedsters, and Nora clapped a pair of power-dampening cuffs on Vanessa. Unfortunately for Vanessa, another meta didn’t intend to be so easy on her.
Cicada appeared out of nowhere and stabbed Vanessa through the back with his lightning bolt-shaped dagger, shocking both speedsters enough that Iris sent Cisco and Ralph to back them up. Barry yelled for Nora to take Vanessa to a hospital, and he wasn’t so panicked that he forgot to call her by her superhero name rather than “Nora.”
After Nora raced off with Vanessa, Barry prepared to battle Cicada with Cisco and Ralph at his side. It should have been an easy three-on-one fight for these members of Team Flash, but they didn’t account for what Cicada could do. His dagger somehow managed to sap all of their meta powers, leaving The Flash without his speed, Vibe unable to vibe, and Elongated Man very un-elongated.
Cisco attempted to pick up the dagger and somehow restore their powers, but all he managed to do was slice his hands up and fail to do any good. To his credit, Barry took a swing at Cicada, perhaps coming to regret not taking some hand-to-hand lessons from Oliver Queen during one of their crossovers. Cicada easily defeated all three heroes and had Barry at his mercy, seemingly intending to kill him.
The day was saved in quite an unexpected way. Nora zoomed back onto the scene, having deposited Vanessa at a hospital and with her powers intact. Unlike Barry, she was not able to hold back her panic and remember to call him by his superhero name. The good news is that when she screamed “Dad!” in terror at the sight of Cicada apparently preparing to murder him, Cicada took a good look at her and… stopped.
Either Cicada has some kind of connection to Nora or Cicada has a heart somewhere deep beneath all the murderous rage, vengeance, and creepy buzzing sound. It’s difficult to guess at a connection to Nora or anybody else until we know if Cicada knows any of their secret identities, but his decision not to kill Barry may be as simple as not wanting to kill a father in front of his terrified daughter.
The earliest official description of Cicada revealed him as a “blue-collar everyman whose family has been torn apart by metahumans,” and his mission is to “exterminate” the metahuman “epidemic, even if that means picking them off one by one. He clearly loved his family enough that their loss has driven him on a crazed mission. Perhaps he doesn’t want to tear apart another family by killing The Flash.
That does raise some larger questions. After all, the Flash certainly won’t be the only meta on Cicada’s kill list to have a family, and he wouldn’t be very effective at exterminating metahumans if he spares every parent. Cicada also left Ralph and Cisco alive, which could indicate that he was shocked by Nora’s appearance rather than suddenly filled with mercy to spare her dad. He wouldn’t have been killing Ralph and Cisco in front of their children!
What are Cicada’s rules for killing and not killing? Why did he spare Cisco and Ralph? What is his connection (or lack thereof) to Nora? How do his powers work? We can only speculate at this time, although we do know a fair amount about his comic counterpart. How much of DC’s Cicada will be translated into TV Cicada?
We might get some information courtesy of Nora. When Team Flash was going over the footage of Cicada at the end of the episode, Nora recognized the sound and revealed the baddie’s name: Cicada. She clearly knows about him. Hopefully we only have to wait until next week to discover whether this is because of a personal history between the two or if Nora just spent a lot of time by the Cicada exhibit in the Flash museum.
The Flash didn’t waste time revealing Barry’s big secret to the rest of Team Flash, so maybe we can count on the show moving the plot forward quickly. Tune in to The Flash on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW for more Cicada. For more viewing options — superhero and otherwise — check out our fall TV premiere schedule.