The Flash has confirmed the future Cicada is Grace Gibbons, niece of the present-day villain, which is just the jolt that season 5 needed.. The twist, which had previously been a popular fan theory, promises big things in the future as the series continues towards its season 5 finale.
The action of "Failure is An Oprhan" centered around Barry Allen's efforts to track down Orlin Dwyer, a factory worker who became a serial killer of metahumans dubbed Cicada after his niece and adoptive daughter, Grace Gibbons (who was orphaned after her parents were killed by metahuman criminals), was left in a coma following the events of the Enlightenment in The Flash's season 4 finale. With Grace herself having been diagnosed as a metahuman after Dwyer went on the run and STAR Labs having developed a serum that could permanently remove a metahuman's powers, Barry spoke to Cicada, father to father, and convinced him to surrender and have his powers removed for Grace's sake.
While the serum seemed to work and removed Dwyer's ability to negate the powers of other metahumans, STAR Labs was attacked while Caitlin Snow and Dwyer's ally Dr. Ambres administered it and performed surgery on the wound in Dwyer's chest: Team Flash suddenly found themselves facing off against another Cicada. Despite lacking Dwyer's ability to neutralize Team Flash's superpowers, this new Cicada proved more than capable of facing The Flash, Vibe and Killer Frost at the same time, using their knives to parry everything that Central City's heroes threw at them. The new Cicada was also telekinetic, trapping Barry Allen against the wall where he couldn't run and throwing the contents of the STAR Labs cortex room at the rest of the team. The new foe then killed Dr. Ambres and escaped with the comatose Orlin Dwyer, with the final scene of the episode revealing her as a grown-up Grace Gibbons.
The idea that Grace Gibbons would grow up to become the second Cicada who plagued Central City decades after her uncle's final reported battle with The Flash was first raised weeks ago in the season 5 episode "Memorabilia." It was here that Nora West-Allen used a piece of advanced technology to enter into the mind of the comatose Grace, hoping to wake her from her coma and use her recovery to convince her uncle that not all metahumans were bad. Unfortunately, Grace was fully aware of what was going on in the world outside her own head and harbored a hatred of metahumans even more intense than her uncle's. Grace idolized her uncle, who she saw as a hero trying to protect people from the monsters that killed her parents and Nora was barely able to escape the dream world after being attacked by one of Grace's psychic guardians - an older woman in the costume of Cicada.
It remains to be seen how this future Grace Gibbons made her way back to the past or what she hopes to accomplish now that she's here. That mystery, coupled with the fact that her powers seem better defined and not quite as overpowering as her literally invincible uncle, have made the new Cicada into a far more compelling antagonist than Orlin Dwyer ever was. It will be interesting to see how Barry and his allies will move to counter her in future episodes of The Flash season 5.
The Flash season returns with 'Time Bomb' on Tuesday, March 19 at 8/7 central on the CW.