Previously on THE FLASH…
“Run, Nora. Run.”
There’s a lot to unpack in this episode, as it pays off all of the mystery behind the daughter of Barry Allen and Iris West, which has been building all season. Though most of what was revealed here, in the 18th episode of the season, was things we already knew.
Nora West-Allen didn’t know her dad, because he died when she was young. Her mother dampened her speed and kept Nora’s father’s secrets from her as a means of protecting her. And she went to the only speedster she could – the Reverse Flash – to help her find some answers. We just got the background narrative put all together in one episode. Most of it takes place in 2049, as the present-day Team Flash reads from Nora’s journal while she’s imprisoned in the secret STAR Labs gulag.
While I’ve been really looking forward to the Nora backstory to be revealed, I was really excited about the villain introduced this week. Godspeed – who I think has the best evil speedster costume of them all – is a relatively new addition to the Flash’s Rogues gallery. Created by Joshua Williamson at the start of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative in 2016, GODSPEED was a Central City police officer who was looking to avenge the death of his brother. Along the way, he killed a bunch of people who were given speed powers in a freak storm and became a central player in the Flash’s latest run of stories.
The Godspeed of the ARROWVERSE, however, is a guy in 2049 trying to become a speedster. He’s also the first bad guy Nora faces when she discovers she has powers, requiring her to learn how to use her speed and stop him from permanently speeding himself up. While Godspeed has endured in the comics, he doesn’t fare so well here. Nora turns to Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, who helps her defeat Godspeed.
After hearing Nora’s origin as XS – which included the death of her best friend at the hands of Godspeed – Barry has heard enough. Feeling betrayed, he takes Nora back to 2049 and tells her not to come back, then has words with Thawne.
With the focus on Nora discovering her powers, the episode slyly nods back to the pilot episode of The Flash to draw parallels between Nora and Barry’s first experiences as metahumans. We also get a multitude of DC Comics references – some who’ve been mentioned on the show before. If we judged this episode on its ties to the source material alone, it would get high marks.
Even standing on its own, the episode is one of the better turns of the season, I thought, as the emotional stakes are high. Barry feels betrayed, Nora is devastated that her hero father is mad at her and Thawne has minutes before he’s to be executed as the episode ends.
My biggest concern with this episode – and most of the ARROWVERSE this season – is that we have only a handful of episodes left and I have no idea where we’re going for those last few hours of television this series. Future Cicada is still out there, and I assume Nora and Thawne will play a part, but usually by now we have a much more clear roadmap to the season finale than we have now.
Even still, THE FLASH is on a good run of episodes, and I am looking forward to learning how they finish things up.