Previously on THE FLASH…
It turns out that Ralph Dibny DID manage to stop the Flash from destroying Cicada II’s dagger, which would have freed Eobard Thawne from his prison right before being sent to his death. Great, the evil mastermind stays locked up and sentenced to death and all they have to do is take down adult Grace to end the threat of Cicada and we all go home happy, right?
It’s never that easy.
Ralph gets pretty well taken out by the Mirror Gun Flash was using to destroy the dagger, leaving the team to try and figure out what the Elongated Man had managed to figure out. When they do (well, when Sherloque does), they have to make a choice – let millions of metas die at the hands of a crazy Cicada or destroy the dagger and let the Reverse Flash out.
The team faces Cicada again, after sending Nora into her present self’s brain to convince her to take the meta cure, which wipes future her out of existence, but only after Barry hits the dagger with the mirror gun.
Future timelines are getting blown all to hell this episode, and it happens again with Nora, after Reverse Flash gets out and goes to torment Team Flash. Barry and his buddies do a pretty good job of giving Thawne a whooping, but then the new timeline starts to materialize, which means the Nora we’ve come to know this season starts to wipe away. Thawne convinces Flash to go into the Negative Speed Force to save Nora, but Nora doesn’t want that to be a part of her forever, so she agrees to fade away instead.
Thawne manages to get away, though, telling Barry that he’ll see him “in the next Crisis.” Spoiler alert, dude, it’s still months away! That’s right, months not years, as we see the newspaper detailing Flash being lost in a Crisis having its date moved up from 2024 to 2019. It’s silly that the newspaper changed, though, since we know Oliver made a deal with the Monitor to save Barry and Kara during the ELSEWORLDS crossover, and he started to fulfill his end of the bargain in ARROW‘s season finale.
Time travel continues to make my head hurt, but The Flash keeps messing with the timeline, even though he should have learned his lesson during FLASHPOINT.
The season 5 finale is probably a pretty good example of a pyrrhic victory. Yes, Cicada was taken down, but Reverse Flash got loose again, their Nora no longer exists and Vibe decides he no longer wants to be defined by his powers, so he takes the cure and becomes Cisco Ramon. Team Flash is going to look a lot different in season 6
On the bright side, Captain Singh is promoted to Chief of Police and gives Joe his old job, revealing that he’s known Barry is the Flash for a while. And Ralph, who was finally acknowledged as a master detective by Sherloque opens a case file marked “Dearborn” as the episode montage hits. Dearborn is the maiden name of the woman who would eventually become Ralph’s wife in the comics, so I’m really looking forward to meeting her next season.