“I always wanted to be a hero, to use my extraordinary abilities to help people. That’s why I came here, to meet my family, stop Cicada, help fix The Flash’s legacy and save him from disappearing in the future. I believed I could do the impossible, but I never imagined it would turn out like this,” says Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) in a voice-over as season five episode 22 of The CW’s The Flash begins.
Picking up right where episode 21 left off, The Flash (Grant Gustin) shoots the mirror gun at Cicada’s dagger to destroy it. Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) shouts, “Don’t shoot it!” but not in time to get Barry to stop. Ralph has to use his powers to stretch in front of the shot and take the hit. His body contorts into a weird shape and he passes out. Cicada II grabs the dagger and flies off.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Team Flash tries to figure out why Ralph would stop Barry from destroying the dagger. Barry tells an upset Nora that Ralph must have had a good reason. He asks Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) how Ralph’s doing and she tells the team his cells are inverted. She doesn’t know how to fix him.
Sherloque (Tom Cavanagh) heads off, whispering, “Why indeed?” determined to figure out Ralph’s motivation behind stopping the destruction of the dagger. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) receives a page from his girlfriend and admits to Caitlin he hasn’t told her yet about having powers. Caitlin tells Cisco if he wants a real relationship, he needs to tell her.
Barry and Nora go to the CCPD to try and track Cicada II. While investigating where Cicada II crashed into the CCPD, Barry finds a small piece of wood.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Sherloque informs the team he’s figured out why Ralph did what he did by going through his notes and that it’s Cicada’s dagger in the future that’s keeping the Reverse Flash in prison. The team now has a dilemma: do they stop Cicada II and destroy the dagger thus letting Thawne free in the future or do they stop Thawne?
Cut to 2049 and a guard puts the Reverse Flash ring from The Flash museum on Thawne, saying it’s a departing gift.
At her cabin in the woods, Cicada II is talking to her uncle about fixing the time sphere to use it to go back and stop the particle accelerator explosion, hence erasing all metas.
Once again to S.T.A.R. Labs and Nora’s upset Thawne was manipulating her for his own selfish reasons and hasn’t changed at all. (Really, hasn’t Barry been saying this all season?!) Nora sulks and Barry tells the team they’re not going to let Cicada II kill all the metas. They’ll stop her and will deal with Thawne later. Everyone agrees.
Cisco meets with Camilla and reveals that he’s Vibe and is the one who came up with the meta-cure. He apologizes for not telling her sooner and starts to leave, thinking they’re over. Camilla tells him to wait and shocks him by saying she understands why he didn’t tell her early on. (She’s read a few comic books and knows how the whole superhero thing goes.) She also tells him she would never stand in the way of him being Vibe.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Sherloque and Caitlin are trying to figure out a way to fix Ralph when Cisco returns and Sherloque suggests Cisco blasts him to activate his muscle memory. Cisco does it and, yes, Ralph’s awake and back to his old self…except his language skills are jumbled.
Barry has a talk with his daughter, telling her she’s a lot like him. She’s trusting and always blames herself when things go wrong. She asks how she can fix it and he admits she might not be able to. She made a mistake and sometimes all someone can do is live with the consequences. He gives her the speech Jay Garrick gave him in season three, asking what type of hero she’s going to be: one who takes a “do-over” after every mistake or one who lives with it and moves forward?
A little while later Team Flash has tracked Cicada II, using the wood Barry found, to the large wooded area just outside of Central City. Nora believes she has a plan to stop both Cicada II and Thawne.
Nora, The Flash, Killer Frost, Joe (Jesse L. Martin), and Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) track through the forest to find Cicada II’s cabin. She shows up ready to try to kill them but…surprise!…it’s a trap. Joe uses the breach device to send Cicada II to S.T.A.R. Labs and trap her in the speed trap they used against Thawne in season one.
While Cicada II keeps using her dagger and powers to weaken the force shield, Nora enters the cabin and uses Caitlin’s mind device to enter into young Grace’s mind. She tells Grace she needs to take the cure because she’s a meta and when she grows up, she becomes a killer. Grace doesn’t want to believe it, and remembers her uncle telling her not to listen. However, a new image of her uncle appears assuring her Nora’s telling the truth and to take the cure.
Grace is confused and doesn’t want to believe she’s a meta. Nora keeps talking to her, telling her deep down she knows it’s true and that if she doesn’t take it her older self from the future will kill thousands of innocent people. Grace says she doesn’t want to grow up a killer and agrees to take the cure.
Cicada II is successful at destroying the force field around her and flies back to the cabin.
Grace takes the cure but since she still has a small piece of debris from the satellite in her head, it’s enough dark matter to stop the cure from working. Cicada II bursts into the cabin and blasts Joe and Killer Frost with her powers. She then uses her power-dampening on The Flash and Nora.
She slides Nora over to her and raises the dagger above her head. “You took my family away from me. Now watch as I take yours away from you!” says Cicada II to a helpless The Flash. A breach opens and the mirror gun comes out of it and right into The Flash’s hand. He quickly shoots it at the dagger, destroying it.
Seconds later, Cicada II turns to ash and is no more.
Cut to 2049 and the dagger disappears from Thawne’s chest. He says, “Just in time,” eyes glowing red. Thawne speeds around killing the guards and leaving the main guard, who enjoyed inflicting pain on him, for last.
He puts the ring on and his old Reverse Flash suit comes out. “Consider this a departing gift,” Thawne says to the guard as his Reverse Flash vibrating hand punches him in the chest, killing him. Suddenly, time goes backwards immediately after Thawne got his powers back and the guards are alive. The Flash and XS speed the guards to safety and then return to face Thawne.
“Well, well, it appears someone has figured out how to reverse time…clever girl,” says Thawne. Barry and Nora tell Thawne they figured out why he trained Nora and had her punch the satellite, to make sure to create a Cicada they could stop and to be sure to destroy the dagger. “You’re leaving out the most delightful part..how you both help me escape,” says Thawne.
He reveals that when they time-traveled to the time vault to get his help to drain dark energy from the killer, Nora blurted out his name. Years later when Thawne had the dagger strapped to his chest, he knew what he had to do – get Nora to trust him. Thawne boasts to them that he’s the only speedster who knows how to manipulate the timeline to get what he wants.
Thawne speeds out with The Flash and XS chasing him. He splits himself in two and leads The Flash and XS on two different chases in which they eventually collide into each other.
Thawne’s enjoying the moment when the time sphere comes out of a breach and crashes into him. When he gets up he sees full Team Flash ready to take him on. “This is nice, Team Flash back together again,” says Thawne. He greets them all, welcoming Dibney to the team, acknowledging Frost who responds by her eyes lighting up even bluer, brighter, and angrier, and Cisco.
“It warms my heart to see you again,” says the evil speedster who apologizes for vibrating punching Cisco in another timeline but says if he hadn’t done it, Cisco wouldn’t become extraordinary. “I don’t need powers for that,” replies Vibe.
Thawne super-speeds at them but Vibe keeps opening breaches. sending the Reverse Flash into them. When he comes out, he’s hit by Killer Frost’s cold blasts, Dibney’s elastic punches, and two super-speed punches from The Flash and XS. Beaten. Thawne slowly gets up only to find XS holding him by his throat, eyes glowing red. “It’s not my father’s legacy to disappear, Thawne, it’s yours,” says Nora, ready to vibrate power-punch him.
“NORA!” yells Iris (Candice Patton) and Barry. She stops. “So close, little runner,” says Thawne. Nora’s hands start to light up and Nora becomes afraid. Thawne explains a new timeline is setting in that Team Flash created when they destroyed the dagger.
“I’m sorry, little runner, trading you in like this, but I had to be sure that I could go free,” says Thawne. Barry speeds over and starts to choke Thawne. “You can still save her, Barry,” says Thawne.
He tells Barry to take Nora into the Negative Speed Force; it’s the only place immune to timeline changes. Thawne tells him to go now or they’ll lose her forever. He admits he’s grown fond of her and in a way she has shown him what it would be like to have a daughter. “See you in our next crisis,” says Thawne before speeding away.
Barry and Nora speed off into the Negative Speed Force but Nora, whose eyes are turning red, says she can’t do this. She speeds back to Team Flash and Iris and Barry plead with her to go into the Negative Speed Force. Nora tells them if she goes in it will become a part of her forever.
An emotional Nora tells a distraught Iris she can’t save her. She won’t become like Thawne – full of hate and anger. She takes responsibility for her mistake in trusting Thawne and quotes Barry’s speech back to him about living with the consequences. Barry, Nora, and Iris hug each other as Nora tells them it’s okay. She lights up and starts to erase from existence. “Thank you for everything” are Nora’s final words to her parents.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Team Flash grieve over Nora. Joe says they have to believe they’ll see her again. Barry says Nora made sure they didn’t lose everything; Ralph says she saved every meta in the city and Caitlin points out that Nora gave young Grace a new start in life. Sherloque chimes in saying she helped him find his true love, Renee Adler. Sherloque says goodbye to Team Flash and heads back to his Earth. Joe gets buzzed by Singh and tells Barry and Cecile they’re needed at CCPD. As they leave, Cisco and Caitlin go into the med bay.
Caitlin asks Cisco if he’s okay and he tells her that what Thawne said he doesn’t want. He thought Vibe was the person he was supposed to be, but he thinks it’s time that
Cisco gets his turn. He wants to take the meta-human cure.
Caitlin, a little surprised and upset, asks if he’s sure because once he does this there’s no going back. He confirms he realizes it’s permanent and hands her the device to give him the cure. With tears forming in her eyes, Caitlin says, “Killer Frost and I are really going to miss Vibe.” She administers the cure to Cisco. She asks how he feels and he says, “Scared but I’m hopeful.” Before he leaves he tells her he left her something in the workshop and that it’s his way of saying thanks for being a great friend.
Over at the CCPD, Singh reveals he’s been promoted to Chief of Police and that he’s promoting Joe to replace him as Captain. He also says that if things get tough he knows The Flash will be close by. He looks at Barry, acknowledging he’s known for some time Barry is The Flash.
Barry and Iris are in the time vault talking about Nora when Barry finds a small flash drive. It’s a recorded message from Nora in case things went bad; the speech that played in the beginning of the episode. As she pours her heart out to her parents, the show cuts to a scene of Joe at his new desk at the CCPD, Cisco walking with Camilla, smiling, Ralph at his P.I. office looking at a new case folder labeled Deardon, and Caitlin finding what looks to be a new suit for Killer Frost from Cisco.
“I wouldn’t change anything about my time with you, my sweet parents.” Nora closes telling them to remember she loves them both and always will no matter what the future brings. The scene fades to black.
The final scene is in the empty dark time vault which suddenly lights up. Gideon says, “Incoming Time flux.” The newspaper article about The Flash vanishing during the crisis comes up on screen but the date changes from 2024 to 2019.
The Flash Season 5 Episode 22 – The Season Finale Review:
Full of action and heartbreak, episode 22 titled “Legacy” ends season five with perhaps the saddest loss the team has ever experienced. Nora is gone, erased from the timeline because she trusted her father’s worst enemy, Eobard Thawne. However, she went out a hero, sacrificing herself to stay Barry’s daughter and not become an evil speedster like Thawne.
On another sad note, Cisco gives up his powers and identity as Vibe to try and have a normal life. He says what sounds like a final goodbye to his best friend Caitlin and possibly Team Flash. (It had been rumored for months that Carlos Valdes wanted to leave the show at the end of season five). If this is truly Valdes’ exit from the series, it will hurt the dynamic and chemistry of the cast and the show. Here’s hoping he returns.
The cast delivered some strong performances and the action scenes were exciting, but hands-down the best performance was given by Tom Cavanagh as the Reverse Flash. It’s his scenes with Grant as The Flash and Kennedy as Nora that sizzle with tension and suspense. His incredible portrayal of Thawne is one of the key elements that made the first season the best season of the show.
This also feels as though the writers and showrunners are closing the chapter on the early and mid-career of The Flash’s superhero adventures and are getting ready to set up and begin the last few years of The Flash’s heroics.
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