This post contains spoilers for The Flash.
The Flash has finally returned after a long hiatus to give us a glimpse of what happens when the team gets back to basics. After The Thinker took out their satellites, Team Flash has to do their jobs the old fashioned way. No facial recognition, no traffic cams, nada! They’ve also got to figure out to do with a time traveling interloper who just so happens to be Barry and Iris’ daughter.
Nora West-Allen made several appearances back in season four. Despite many guessing the relatively obvious plot point early on, the team behind the show decided to keep her identity a secret until the show’s season four finale. With that decision, no time passes between then and the season five premiere. The new speedster’s title episode kicks off in Joe and Cecile’s living room seconds after last year’s finale. Fittingly, it also revolves almost entirely around her and what her presence means to the timeline
Throughout the episode Nora seems distant with Iris and clingy with Barry, with the opposite being the case for her parents. At first it’s unclear as to why Barry’s trying so hard to distance himself from his daughter (with his excuse of the timeline being obvious bullshit), but Nora’s motives are relatively clear early on. The future she comes from is the one Barry disappears in. Guess dear ol’ dad wasn’t there to warn her about messing up timelines after all!
Did you possibly forget how time travel works in the DCTV Universe? Don’t worry, a very confused and occasionally frustrated Ralph Dibney has you covered! Ralph spends the majority of “Nora” learning a bunch of stuff the rest of us already knew, serving as a comical recap machine for those who may not have watched the other four seasons. If Dibney’s not your brand of humor, there’s a whole episode worth of hungover Cisco that we should absolutely see more of in the future.
The big bad is Gridlock, serving as another one-and-done throwaway villain. A villain of the week may not be what you want to see in a premiere episode, but the episode goes so far as to call it out. In addition to that, The Flash seems to finally be playing by its own rules. The Arrowverse has set up its own comic booth mythos, complete with its own set of science guidelines that we’ve often seen either contradicted or outright ignored. In the span of “Nora” we see the young speedster’s tacheon issue debunked, and have the Legends and the Waverider both acknowledged and exhausted as an option.
Though Gridlock has that flavor of the week thing going on, he did serve as an entrance for the season’s primary baddie: Cicada. If you’re not familiar with this particular DC creep, he sucks the life force out of his victims, and has a certain affinity for starting murder cults. We’ll have to see if they stick to the Cicada Cult’s usual MO, which just so happens to be killing off everyone The Flash has ever saved. Needless to say, Barry and team are going to have their hands full this year.
“Nora” gives a nod to everything that makes The Flash great. It’s filled with heart, humor, and might have you dabbing at your eyes a time or two. The episode also doesn’t skimp on the cool factor. In addition to finally introducing the iconic Flash Ring, it acknowledges Ryan Choi’s existence in the DCTV universe! Ryan’s the future protégé of a one Ray Palmer, and eventually takes on the Atom moniker after Ray’s disappearance. Though it’s unlikely we’ll meet the future hero anytime soon, it was a cool nod to the “Brave New World” comic book run.
Next week we’ll see Barry try to chase those elusive “firsts” with Nora while reliving all of his missteps in the process. It’ll be difficult for them to outdo Barry teaching her how to phase with the original Wells’ voice in his head (goosebumps!) but, with an outstanding start to their season, it’ll be fun to watch them try!
What did you think of the Speedster’s return?