Tom Cavanagh, Grant Gustin
Photo: Dean Buscher (The CW)
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Weeks ago, the last new Flash episode to air ended with Barry locking his future daughter Nora in the STAR Labs pipeline. It was a unilateral decision on Barry’s part, and “Godspeed” ends on the same note. Barry delivers Nora back to the future because he can’t trust her, but he’s really demonstrating that he hasn’t learned much about trust himself in the five years Team Flash has been together.

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The bulk of the episode (the first directed by Danielle Panabaker) unfolds as a flash-forward to Nora’s discovery of her own meta powers and her consulting with Eobard Thawne on learning to use them. In the present-day timeline, Sherloque is on the outs for not letting the rest of the team in on his mistrust for Nora from the start. Ralph suggests reading Nora’s journal to find out exactly what she’s been up to, and nobody has a problem with that.

In 2049, we find Nora as a CSI tech with no speedster abilities and, indeed, no knowledge that her father was the Flash. She still idolizes him as a CSI and is obsessed with cracking the one case he never could: uncovering the true identity of Cicada. A series of chemical thefts from labs around the city has her suspecting there’s a new speedster in town—a theory proven correct when Nora’s best friend Lia freeze-frames a crime scene video, revealing streaks of white lightning (and no, not the moonshine kind).

This new speedster is Godspeed, repurposed from the comics as a Velocity-9 powered villain trying to create a permanent formula for super-speed. As Nora questions a scientist at one of the labs to try to figure out where Godspeed will hit next, the evil speedster shows up and Nora ends up getting zapped by lightning. She thinks this has given her superpowers, but really it just fried the power-dampening chip Iris had implanted in her as a child. She’s been a speedster all along, and now Lia has to help her come up with a better superhero name than Hot Flash. Alas, Lia isn’t long for this world, as when she and Nora attempt to remove the next chemical Godspeed needs from its lab, the villain shows up and phases through Lia’s heart.

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Jessica Parker Kennedy, Candice Patton
Photo: Katie Yu (The CW)

In the present day, Iris has heard enough to decide to give Nora a second chance, just as Nora once gave her. (This will be important later!) Released from the pipeline, Nora tells of her consultation with Thawne, which plays out much like Silence Of The Lambs initially as Nora is led into the high-security wing at Iron Heights and meets the evil genius who can help her stop the killer on the loose. He does so, using Nora’s vulnerable emotional state following her friend’s death to his advantage in establishing trust. As he’s leading her step by step through her defeat of Godspeed, the parallels to Thawne-as-Wells training Barry back in season one are hard to ignore, even before he says, “Run, Nora. Run.”

Back in the present day, Barry asks for a minute to talk to Nora alone, which is when he whisks her back to 2049 via the Speed Force. It’s remarkable that after five years, he’s still thoughtless enough to do this without even consulting with Iris, who already made her desire to give Nora a second chance very clear. Sure, it’s understandable that he’s upset Nora kept going back to see Thawne even after learning he’d killed Barry’s mother. That doesn’t make it any less frustrating that he continues to make the same misjudgments season after season without ever really learning from his mistakes. It’s tiresome, and it’s really a disservice to the character. Surely there are other ways of conjuring interpersonal drama, no?

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After dropping Nora off, Barry heads to Iron Heights to confront Thawne. (I’m still not entirely clear on how Thawne is alive in this particular form and situation, but Barry doesn’t ask.) He tells Thawne he lost, and with the countdown clock to his execution now under ten minutes, it certainly looks that way. History tells us not to expect him to die so easily, though, and the previews suggest Barry is going to catch hell when he gets back to the present for exactly the reasons he should. Team Flash is a team for a reason. If only its members could remember why for more than an episode at a time.

Stray observations

  • Was Tom Cavanagh using a different voice for Thawne this week? It sounded like he couldn’t quite shake Sherloque’s accent.
  • Not only is Jitters still around in 2049, it doesn’t look much different than it does today.
  • I had to laugh when future Iris showed up and she was just Candice Patton with some silvery streaks in her hair, which was exactly what I expected.
  • Lia plays an oldie to wake Nora up after she gets zapped: Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.”

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