This late review of The Flash‘s late Thanksgiving episode is a current season low. “Oh Come, All Ye Thankful” goes all in with its holiday theme, which mostly falls flat. There’s not a lot to latch onto with this episode, as it’s largely repetitive and corny. However, the West-Allen family manages to capitalize on the slack, crafting a strong main story within a lackluster adventure.
“Oh Come, All Ye Thankful” has THREE different Bad Dads storylines. Exploring the tension between Barry and Nora works, as the show has mostly focused on Nora’s problems with Iris so far. Cicada’s story is a strange About A Boy equivalent that doesn’t inform the character well. While Supergirl spent time exploring how Ben Lockwood becomes Agent Liberty over time, the randomness and thin motivation for Cicada weakens the character. Add the random Weather Witch premiere, who is the season’s weakest one-off villain, and “Oh Come, All Ye Thankful” is a disappointing harvest.
The framing device of Thanksgiving is also a strange choice. Not because it’s a week late – which really isn’t that bad – but because it provides very little substance. The Flash uses Thanksgiving primarily as a way to… make the side characters sad? The fact Sherloque flips Cisco and Caitlin so quickly – and that Killer Frost flips them equally fast – is an inconsequential story. Plus, the threat of a bad Thanksgiving quickly loses prominence. The holiday technically explains why Orlin visits Grace, but as Sherloque notes, he visits her every day. For The Flash, there truly is nothing special about Thanksgiving.
However, for all this episode’s faults, they hit gold with the West-Allen family turmoil. Nora has been a godsend for The Flash, as her relationship with Barry and Iris is consistently engaging. Nora’s fear of losing her father is such a simple yet strong conflict. The reason the other Bad Dad storylines fall flat is that they’re up against a really good instance of it. While this Flash episode flounders overall, the family storyline works really well.
This season of The Flash is doing great work with the West-Allens. It’s disappointing the other storylines in this episode can’t keep up. “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” is a blend of weak conflicts that dilute the primary story. There’s gold buried in the episode, but there’s a lot of junk to weather in order to get to it.