Last week’s episode of The Flash ended with the most Flash-development ever: Barry realized that the key to defeating Cicada was through the heart — i.e. Team Flash needed to wake Grace up. This show is all about the value of emotions and loves to be cheesy, so it makes complete sense for it to go in this direction. But, thankfully, the series swerves away from going down the predictable route in tonight’s episode “Memorabilia.” Appealing to Cicada’s love for Grace isn’t going to be as easy as they thought because, well, Grace isn’t the sweet, comatose innocent girl they think she is.
The episode opens with Nora sending another entry to Eobard Thawne in the future. Her latest transmission is about the guilt she feels over lying to her parents and how Eobard trained her well to handle that burden. What she sends Eobard definitely sounds like a diary entry, and I love the idea of Eobard essentially reading her diary in his cell. Do you think this is Eobard’s main source of entertainment?
Anyway, Nora’s secret becomes a problem tonight. After Barry’s realization in the last episode, Sherloque builds a memory machine — a device he used to catch the Mad Hatter (!!!) on Earth-221 — that will allow Barry and Nora to enter Grace’s mind, find her consciousness, and lead her out of her coma. This type of mission comes with some risks: First, the people who go into her mind could become trapped in there. Second, the machine is a bit finicky and gives the passengers access to each other’s minds. That’s actually how Sherloque found out his partner Watson was sleeping with his wife. But anyway, that last bit worries Nora a lot because of the big yellow secret she’s keeping. So to avoid getting caught, Nora decides to go into Grace’s mind by herself. Spoiler alert: That’s a big mistake.
Nora ends up getting trapped in Grace’s mind because the portal she was supposed to lead Grace through to escape disappears. Thankfully, it doesn’t take too long for the rest of Team Flash to figure out what Nora did and that she’s in trouble. So, Barry and Nora decide to go in after her, but La Machine a Memoire The Memory Machine drops them into Nora’s memories.
At first, it’s a pretty exciting place to be because they get to see the extra-ness of the Flash museum. Flash toys, comics, commemorative copies of that newspaper front page, and so much more! But then, they start to follow young Nora and the scene takes a heartbreaking turn because they witness one of Nora’s memories of her mom, and it’s not great, Bob! A very not-cool and pretty insensitive Future Iris finds Young Nora hiding in the villain hall and scolds her for running away. Future Iris even breaks Nora’s Flash action figure. It’s pretty upsetting to watch, both for the audience and Iris, who can’t believe how she can be so cruel.
This trip into Nora’s memories is particularly affecting for Iris because of what’s going on in the real world. See, she’s making plans to turn her blog into a real newspaper (a great time for this story, right?) but the only name that’s available is the Central City Citizen, a.k.a. the name of the paper that reports on the Flash’s disappearance. Iris resists wanting to choose that name because part of her hopes that will change the future and that headline won’t come true. Now, seeing how Nora remembers her mother magnifies that feeling because she sees that Barry’s disappearance did a number on her. She shares these fears with Barry after watching that unfortunate mother-daughter confrontation, and I’m glad that The Flash is making space to explore Iris’ emotional life and how all of this nonsense affects her. (Don’t forget how Iris basically had no agency in a story about her dying in the future in season 3.)
Next: Grace strikes back
After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.