In ‘The Flash’ recap for the season 5 debut, Barry and Iris meet their daughter Nora from the future and find out why she’s really traveled to the past…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
If there’s been one major recurring theme throughout almost every season of ‘The Flash’ it’s that time travel typically equals disaster.
That was never more clear than Barry’s mission to go back in time to save his mother from being murdered that resulted in ‘Flashpoint’, which caused catastrophic changes to the timeline that can never be fixed again.
So when Barry and Iris were greeted in the season 4 finale by their daughter, Nora West-Allen, who traveled back in time 30 years, they are noticeably scared about the ramifications of her visit.
In addition to Nora’s arrival, Team Flash has grown by one with Ralph Dibny now a full time member of the group and Caitlin still searching for answers that will help her bring Killer Frost back to life again.
And finally a new meta-human hating villain made his first appearance at the end of an action packed episode.
With that said, let’s recap the season 5 debut of ‘The Flash’ titled ‘Nora’…
Nora’s arrival in Central City in 2018 wasn’t supposed to involve interacting with her parents but she ended up helping Barry destroy the Thinker’s satellite at the end of season 4 and now she’s convinced that she may have screwed up the timeline forever.
To make matters worse, Nora suddenly can’t run fast enough to open the Speed Force that will allow her to travel back to her own time so she needs help from Team Flash to return her to the future before more harm is done.
Wally zips off to ask the Legends for help while Cisco starts researching a way to get Nora fast enough to run back to the future. Barry is mostly concerned that Nora doesn’t say too much about what happens to them years from now or that could affect their actions now and thus further damage the timeline.
The good news is Nora seems to be a chip off the old block.
She’s a speedster nicknamed ‘XS’ — a name her mother gave her when she was growing up because she did everything in excess just like her father. Now Nora is the protector of Central City but she traveled back in time 30 years to get a glimpse of her parent’s wedding and now disaster struck to keep her locked in the past.
Barry is doing his best to keep Nora at arm’s length over fear that too much interaction will ultimately screw up the timeline and she might just Marty McFly herself out of existence. Still, Barry goes back to work at the CSI lab and finds out that his daughter followed in his footsteps. That’s when he gets a call that a meta-human attack is taking place and he races off to help but instructs Nora to stay behind.
Barry arrives to face off with a villain known as ‘Gridlock’ — he’s a meta-human who absorbs kinetic energy and then he’s able to use it as his own power — so when the Flash arrives and punches him, he only gains more strength. Nora doesn’t listen to her father and shows up dressed as ‘XS’ offering to help but the distraction ends up allowing Gridlock to gain the upper hand as he returns fire on Barry, sending him flying halfway across the city while he escapes.
Back at STAR Labs, Nora laments on messing up Barry capturing the criminal while revealing that when she read about Gridlock in the future, he was a minor villain that the Flash dealt with rather easily. Now he escaped and she’s further altered the timeline.
That’s when Cisco arrives with a tachyon booster — the same one that Eobard Thawne used back in season one — to increase Nora’s speed. He gives her the technology and she races off with Barry so he can send her back to the future. Unfortunately, Wally returns with bad news just as Barry and Nora crash into the Speed Force without actually being able to enter it.
It seems the Legends discovered that Nora is eradiated with negative tachyons that are preventing her from jumping into the Speed Force and she can’t hitch a ride back tot eh future with them because those same negative tachyons would destroy their ship. So it looks like Nora is stuck in the past while everybody tries to find a way to get her back to her own timeline.
The History of Things to Come
Iris attempts to connect with Nora over coffee but their conversation is tense and somewhat awkward, Meanwhile, Nora can’t stop doting over her father, who she seemingly idolizes and knows every bit of history about his time as the Flash. Still, Barry refuses to really get close to Nora as he later explains to Iris that he’s always wanted a family with her but he also wanted to experience all the firsts that come along with being a dad.
He wanted to see his daughter for the first time after she’s born and watched her take her first steps and now he’s not sure that will ever happen. That’s when Barry has a thought about Nora’s arrival and why she came here in the first place.
He races off to find her and that’s when he asks about what happens to him in the future.
Nora brings up that same news story that Barry found back in season one about the Flash going missing from the year 2024. Nora then reveals that Barry never returned and 25 years later he’s still missing in action.
That’s why Nora came back — she never knew her father because he disappeared when she was still a baby and the only way she’s ever known him was through the history of the Flash. It also explains why Nora has been so attached to Barry since coming back because she’s actually meeting and spending time with her father for the first time ever.
Barry also finds out that Nora had a negative tachyon weapon on her suit, which was what was preventing her from returning to the future. She wanted to stay to spend as much time with him as possible.
Meanwhile, Caitlin is still trying to figure out a way to get Killer Frost to reemerge and she tells Ralph about that flashback she received when Cisco vibed her to the past. That’s when he does some digging and finds the death certificate belonging to her father, who was also in the same memory with Caitlin. It turns out, Caitlin’s father may not be dead after all because the certificate is signed by a coroner who never existed.
In other words it’s a fake and Caitlin’s father may actually be alive somewhere out there with answers about her past and Killer Frost.
Phase Like a Family
With Barry still reeling from the news that he disappears in the future, he’s called back into action when Gridlock resurfaces on a plane over Central City. It seems he plans to bring the aircraft down and absorb all of the energy from the explosion for himself.
Sadly because of his latest Flash suit being destroyed when he stopped the Thinker, he’s running low on outfits but thankfully his daughter has him covered. She hands him a power ring designed by Ryan Choi — aka The Atom — and from there his new suit emerges.
Barry races off with Wally and Nora in hopes of stopping Gridlock and then phasing the plan back down to the ground so nobody is injured. Barry and Wally have phased through objects before but Nora says she never got the chance to learn because she never actually grew up with her father as a speedster.
Barry promises to help and they make their way to the plane, subdue Gridlock and then he calls back to his lessons with the fake Harrison Wells back in season one when he learned how to phase. He passes along that same education to his daughter and they are able to save the plane and all the people on board.
After saving the day, Barry returns to STAR Labs with his daughter and tells everybody that they will have to figure out the best way to send her back to the future but for now she’s going to stay. Obviously, Barry knows Nora can run back at any time but he wants to allow his daughter to stay so they can get to know each other.
Nora agrees to stay at STAR Labs so she doesn’t interfere too much or pass along any crucial information that could totally blow the timeline apart. Iris remarks how amazed she is by Nora and she’s just happy that they will ultimately get their happy ending together, unaware that Barry is going to disappear in the year 2024 and never return again.
In the closing seconds of the episode, Gridlock is being transported to Iron Heights prison when his transport is hijacked by a masked figure with a lightning bolt shaped dagger. He breaks into the transport and Gridlock asks what he wants. That’s when Cicada is revealed — he’s the new meta-human hating big bad this season played by Chris Klein — and he tells Gridlock that he wants all meta-humans to die.
Cicada will be a huge thorn in Team Flash’s side this season as he looks to eradicate all meta-humans from the planet Earth.
‘The Flash’ returns next Tuesday night at 8pm ET on the CW.