Ahead of The Flash‘s season 5 premiered, the Powers That Be previewed that this season would be about legacy. At the time, that made sense because the show was introducing Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future, Nora West-Allen. However, tonight’s very strong episode revealed that theme also applies to this season’s big bad Cicada, who has created one hell of a legacy that will cause many problems in the present for Team Flash.
“Failure Is an Orphan” begins with Nora traveling to 2049 to visit our favorite evil speedster, Eobard Thawne. Unfortunately, the Reverse Flash has some bad news for her: Yes, the day of the Flash’s final confrontation with Cicada before Barry disappears has arrived; however, the timeline is changing, which means some new variable has entered the mix.
What’s interesting about this opening exchange, though, is what it suggests about Nora and Thawne’s relationship. Since the Thawne twist was introduced in the 100th episode, it’s been clear that Nora and Thawne have this mentor-mentee relationship. In tonight’s episode, though, Thawne refers to Nora as his “little runner,” which suggests one of two things: He genuinely cares for her, which I would believe because it was always clear that he did come to care for Team Flash at least a little bit; or he’s preying on her need for a father figure. Either way, I liked how that one nickname added a few more layers to his partnership.
Worried that everything she’s been working toward may go wrong, Nora rushes back to the present intent on making sure this final confrontation goes off with a hitch and ends up becoming a hilarious pain to everyone else. Thankfully, they end up getting a break of sorts when an acid blasting metahuman breaks into a lab at CCU. Although the meta gets away, it’s not all bad news because the acid burn he leaves on the ground matches one that Nora saw in the front page photo of the Flash and Cicada’s final battle while she was with Thawne, which means that this meta will lead them to Cicada.
Because everything looks like it’s falling into place, Nora becomes obsessed with making sure her father comes up with the perfect heroic speech that will convince Cicada to take the cure. Her mind becomes so one-tracked that she starts to ignore Iris, who realizes that this might be the last day she has with Nora if they succeed in defeating Cicada. I’ve said this multiple times, but I love the fact that the show is digging into Iris’ emotional life, and I genuinely felt for her in this episode as she tries to spend time with a daughter who is too distracted to realize what’s up. Luckily, Nora eventually realizes how insensitive she’s being and promises to make each moment they have left matter.
Speaking of spending time together: Joe, who finally returns to work, uses his detective skills to link Dwyer to Dr. Ambres, and teams up with Cecile to interrogate her. Unfortunately, their partnership doesn’t go well because Joe is so used to doing things his way that he sort of dismisses Cecile’s powers, which are indeed an asset.
Next: A deadly family reunion
After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.