The Arrowverse is marching inexorably toward the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Universes will be destroyed and heroes will die. Barry Allen knows for a fact that he will have to sacrifice himself. He’s been prepping the team since the beginning of season 6. This week, Barry is doing something we’ve never seen him do: take a danged break. With Barry getting a tan (can a speedster tan?), Cisco is the head nerd in charge of Star Labs. It’ll be a chill weekend, right? Spoilers for The Flash, Season 6, Episode 5, “Kiss Kiss, Breach Breach,” follow.
“Kiss Kiss, Breach Breach”
With Barry out on vacation, we have a totally Speedster-Free episode of The Flash. Cisco is in charge, and he’s just finished building an artificial intelligence construct that can mimic Barry’s decisions with startling accuracy. Just as soon as Barry can get out of there, though, an old friend if Cisco’s shows up: Breacher, played by the legendary Danny Trejo. Frost, meanwhile, continues to pursue Dr. Rosso, and someone has followed Nash Wells into the sewer to which he’d tracked the Monitor, Mar Novu.
The main arc of this episode centers around Cisco. While Cisco accepted the responsibility of being the leader of Team Flash last week, he’s clearly still struggling with the idea. He and Kamilla have reached a consistent, happy point in their relationship, but Cisco is losing sleep and sleepwalking. Breacher shows up to inform Cisco that his old flame, Gypsy, was murdered by a criminal she was pursuing—a hacker named Echo. We learn that Echo is a Cisco Ramon from another earth who saw Earth-1’s Cisco as a good fall-guy. He’d planned to let the inter-dimensional police lock up our beloved computer boy while he gets away scot-free.
There’s as much good as bad here. On the good side, I’ll always take another guest appearance from Danny Trejo. Full stop. Also good is seeing Cisco get more time with Kamilla. The couple has chemistry and it feels like a natural pairing in a show that has toyed with so many forced pairings. It’s also good to get some time focused on Cisco, though I have a theory about that that I’ll get into further along in this review.
On the bad side: what an ignoble fate for Gypsy. The minor DC character was turned into a serious love interest for Cisco. While their separation ultimately felt right for the characters, she was hugely influential in his life. This episode is about her death and we don’t even see her face. Her death is purely to help Cisco become more confident. That’s the very definition of fridging, like it or not.
It’s all about momentum
The other plotlines were given enough time to move the overall story of this season forward, but not enough to do much else. Frost and Ralph go after Dr. Rosso, but Frost strikes out on her own before long in hopes of talking her old friend down. Meanwhile, Joe West followed Nash Wells into the sewer. Nash’s assumption that he’s smarter than everyone else gets the pair trapped behind rubble, arguing as they try to figure out a way out.
Frost’s visit to Rosso is short and hardly sweet. Rosso is fully embracing his power, and offers it to a de-Frosted Caitlin. When she refuses, he nearly chokes her out. Wells and West argue back and forth about the value of knowledge and faith; Wells knows no one is coming for him, but Joe has faith that someone will. Honestly, Nash? Joe’s faith is based on data. Someone has saved his bacon every time he’s been in trouble in the last six years. These B-stories did little more than keep up the momentum of the Bloodwork and Crisis stories.
Is this a goodbye?
Back to Cisco, though. We know for a fact that Oliver Queen will die not just because characters on the show have said as much, but because his show is only 10 episodes long in its final season. Oliver will die. Meanwhile, The Flash keeps telling us that Barry Allen will die. But Barry has a full season of episodes ahead of him, and part of Oliver’s deal involved saving Barry and Kara. He’s probably not going to die. Meanwhile, we only have a few more episodes before Crisis begins. So why are we taking a week away from Barry, who is about to die, to do a one-off mystery with Cisco, who will take over for him?
It seems more and more likely that Cisco will bite it during the Crisis. There have been rumors more than once that actor Carlos Valdes is leaving the show. Our boy Cisco is finally happy and in love, and he’s finally starting to self-actualize as a leader. What better time to kill off a character? If Valdes is leaving the show, it seems like a perfect exit for his character: a heroic sacrifice during a massive event. No need to write him off when there’s an apocalypse coming.
Maybe it’ll age well.
This week’s entry could’ve been worse, but it feels like the most forgettable episode right now. If Cisco’s days are indeed numbered, then it may become more poignant. We’ll go back and look at Cisco and Kamilla together, tears in our eyes, wishing we’d valued the numbered days we had with the Arrowverse’s best villain-namer. Meanwhile, I’m going to keep wishing that Gypsy had been given a better way out.