‘The Flash’ Season 5 Episode 14 Recap and Review: “Cause and XS” is All About Nora

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The Flash Season 5 Episode 14

Jessica Parker Kennedy, Danielle Panabaker and Hartley Sawyer in ‘The Flash’ season 5 episode 14 (Photo: Katie Yu © 2019 The CW Network)

“Why can’t I fix this?!” exclaims an extremely upset Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) as she’s been reversing time to try to save members of Team Flash while Barry (Grant Gustin) is in the Speed Force in season 5 episode 14 of The CW’s The Flash.

Episode 14 titled “Cause and XS” begins with Cisco (Carlos Valdes) finalizing the meta cure and checking out Kamilla’s photos on her professional photographer’s website. Unfortunately, he’s forced to breach back to S.T.A.R. Labs with some bad news. In order for the cure to work, they have to wait for it to synthesize and that will take 29 days. Barry’s not okay with this news saying if Cicada (Chris Klein) goes after another meta or comes after them, they need the cure to be ready.

Sherloque (Tom Cavanagh) suggests Barry can speed up the process by taking the cure into the Speed Force, which would reduce the wait to only an hour according to Cisco and Caitlin’s (Danielle Panabaker) calculations. Barry suits up and prepares to enter the Speed Force and Nora follows her dad. However, Barry doesn’t need her help and won’t let her handle this task. Nora’s nervous for Barry to be gone for an hour. “The city will have no Flash for an hour,” she reminds him, and he assures her he trusts her to protect the city and the team while he’s gone.

Nora heads back to the cortex and spots Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) looking for Cisco. She says she hasn’t seen him but thinks he’s in the cortex. Ralph finds Cisco and wants to discuss his date with Kamilla. It turns out Ralph’s been cyberstalking her and Iris (Candice Patton) has heard enough, excusing herself by saying she has an article to write.

Once at her office Iris is kidnapped by Cicada. She wakes up on the rooftop and Cicada reveals he knows who she is and that she’s part of Team Flash. “You said you were going to beat me, but I’m going to beat all of you tonight,” he warns.


Meanwhile, Cisco meets Kamilla at Jitters and since he’s let Ralph get into his head, instead of being himself he tries to act like a hotshot business tycoon which turns Kamilla off right away. Cisco receives a text alert during their lousy date and apologizes, explaining he has to go and asking for a do-over date. Kamilla doesn’t seem that into the idea of another meet-up.

An alarm goes off at S.T.A.R. Labs and Nora speeds herself and Killer Frost to the roof where Cicada’s holding Iris. Cicada has already thrown his dagger which is on its way back to him like a boomerang. It comes flying up behind Killer Frost who’s about to unleash an icy blast at Cicada when she gets stabbed in the back by the dagger and falls dead. “Caitlin!” screams Nora, speeding off and reversing time to when she was at S.T.A.R. Labs right after Barry went into the Speed Force.

Nora heads to the cortex, sees Ralph looking for Cisco, exchanges the same words with him, and then enters the cortex to see Caitlin alive and well. (WHEW!)

This time when Iris is about to leave for her office, Nora suggests she work in the lounge. Nora claims Barry would be back by the time Iris gets to her office. Plus if she stays, she’ll make her some coffee. Iris agrees to stay put.

Cicada goes to Iris’ office but doesn’t find her. He checks next door only to find Ralph in his office. Ralph sends an alert before getting knocked out and brought up to the roof. Again, Cisco’s date goes badly as this time he acts like a gym rat and once again he gets an emergency text.

S.T.A.R. Labs’ alarm blasts and Nora speeds off with Killer Frost to save Ralph. Again, the dagger’s coming up behind them but Ralph yells at them to move. Nora shoves Killer Frost out of the way just in time for it to miss Frost and land in Ralph’s chest, killing him. “Ralph!” calls Frost before battling with Cicada. Nora’s forced to speed off – again – reversing time to the spot where Barry just entered the Speed Force. (It’s The Flash version of Happy Death Day…groan).

Each time Nora tries to save a member of Team Flash, a different member ends up dying up on the roof including Vibe and even Cecille (Danielle Nicolet). Also with each do-over Cisco has yet another disastrous first date (which is the best part of the episode). He begins having vibes of past dates and eventually figures out Nora’s messing with time.

Not knowing how to fix things, Nora decides to go into the Speed Force and bring Barry back so he can save the day. However, the Speed Force won’t let Nora in. Finally out of ideas and desperate, Nora enters the cortex and before she can tell Team Flash what’s been happening Iris asks her daughter, “You’ve been reversing time, haven’t you?”

Nora comes clean and tells them why and that no matter what she does, someone from Team Flash dies. They ask how many times she has reversed time and she says 52. Nora, upset, decides the best option is to pout in the pipeline.

Cisco finds her and admits he should have realized sooner what she was doing because of the déjà vu, but his break-up from Gypsy left him feeling unsure of himself. He confesses he had 52 horrible first dates because he wasn’t being himself. This gives Nora the idea to go through her journal where she kept notes about her 52 attempts to see what she needs to do to fix everything. She also works with Team Flash – finally – to come up with a plan, which they do.

Sherloque figures out that with Vibe and Killer Frost’s powers working against Cicada as a distraction, Nora must focus and control her power. She has to slow it down to be able to stop Cicada’s dagger.

Iris lures Cicada to the rooftop as bait while Vibe, Elongated Man, and Killer Frost breach through with two breaches and their powers aimed at Cicada. XS uses the two breaches to position herself and slow down time so that Cicada’s dagger will miss Team Flash. They’re exiting through a breach as the dagger heads for them, and it ends up wounding Cicada who flies off.

The Flash Season 5 Episode 14

Carlos Valdes and Victoria Park in season 5 episode 14 (Photo: Jeff Weddell © 2019 The CW Network)

So with Cicada off licking his wounds once again, Team Flash encourages Cisco to go on his date, albeit late. Ralph tells him he can handle it and to be himself. Barry returns from the Speed Force and sees everyone’s faces. “Something happened while I was gone, didn’t it?” he asks.

Over at Jitters, Cisco meets Kamilla and is just himself which works like a charm. Seems Kamilla is into his nerdy passion for his tech toys and the newest project he’s working on.

Nora fills Barry in on what happened and he warns her about the dangers of time travel. Barry gives Nora the same speech Jay Garrick gave him in season three, using a coffee cup to show that once he phases and breaks it, even when he pieces it back together there will still be cracks in it. The same with time changing. It changes things and events, especially around those you love. “We’re not gods, Nora. We’ve just been given extraordinary abilities,” says Barry.

Sherloque starts to make a breakthrough decoding Nora’s journal code.

The last scene takes place in 2049. Nora visits Thawne, worried about making things worse with the time travel. Thawne reveals he’s the only one who knows how to change the timeline and not have it backfire. Thawne tells Nora to stick with his plan: destroy Cicada’s dagger and then save Barry Allen.

The Flash Season 5 Episode 14 Review:

For the second time this season the writers sidelined Barry so that Nora could be the focus and struggling hero. Again, this isn’t a good move because it doesn’t even feel like the same show when Barry’s not front and center. The show is called The Flash after all, not Daughter of The Flash. Also as talented an actress Jessica Parker Kennedy is, she’s not ready to take center stage as the main hero the way Grant Gustin does as Barry. Nora comes off like a whiny, well-meaning kid in this episode and fails to convey the sense of panic, fear, and desperation she should be feeling trying not to lose a member of Team Flash to Cicada’s dagger while her dad is in the Speed Force.

As far as originality, the writers seem to be mimicking the main plot from films like Happy Death Day and Edge of Tomorrow for this episode. Also, repeating dialogue and scenes that were originally done in earlier seasons comes across as tired, repetitive, and uninspired. A perfect example of this is the speech Barry gives Nora that Jay gave him in season three…only two seasons ago.

When The Flash returns from its mini-break on March 5th, it will be with the big match-up fight between King Shark and Gorilla Grodd. Now, that’s original. Can’t wait.

GRADE: C

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Kevin Finnerty

Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.
Kevin Finnerty
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