The Flash 5.20

The Flash 5.20 Recap: “What a Throwback!”

Between two Cicadas, Eobard Thawne, and now Nora seemingly going dark, The Flash is really inundated with villains this season. Why not bring back a bunch of minor leaguers while we’re at it?

Even though he knows she returned to the present day, Barry hasn’t been able to find Nora. He places sensors all around the city to detect tachyon energy, with no result. Nora’s definitely around, though. She breaks into an architectural firm at night and steals blueprints for a place called McCulloch Technologies. It turns out that, since tapping into the Negative Speed Force, Nora’s speed is now generated by negative tachyons, which don’t show up on the regular sensors.

Nora wants to break into McCulloch Tech, which designs classified high-tech weapons for the military, but needs help getting through the place’s security. Of course, she can’t exactly ask Team Flash. With her mask on as XS, she summons three members of the Young Rogues: Bug-Eyed Bandit (Emily Kinney, formerly of The Walking Dead), Weather Witch (Reina Hardesty), and the crazy contortionist called Rag Doll (voiced by Phil LaMarr). Knowing her as a hero, they’re naturally skeptical that she’s really gone bad, but Nora convinces them that the score is too good to pass up.

Barry’s sensors finally detect Nora at the Starchives building. He races over to talk to her and apologize. He tells her that she can come home. Nora isn’t interested. She’s actually just a distraction to keep Barry busy while Rag Doll invades Star Labs to kidnap Cisco. Although not planned, he winds up taking Sherloque too.

Nora is still pissed that her dad gave up on her. She rages out and loses control, zapping him with red lightning (much like Eobard Thawne’s) when he tries to touch her. Before escaping, Nora steals the hypnotizing meta-tech phone confiscated from Spencer Young.

After meeting up with the Rogues again, Nora demands that Cisco hack into Spencer’s phone. He doesn’t take her seriously and actually laughs at the request, until Nora threatens to phase her hand right through his chest. Cisco quiets down and agrees to do what she says after that.

Despite everything that has happened, Iris is still willing to give Nora the benefit of the doubt that she hasn’t gone fully evil and may have a good reason for doing what she’s doing. She even argues that Eobard Thawne seems to have changed. Barry doesn’t buy it. He’s quick to write his daughter off as a lost cause again.

Weather Witch figures out that XS is the Flash’s daughter. They bond over daddy issues.

Once Cisco finishes hacking the phone, Nora uses it to hypnotize both him and Sherloque into sitting quietly until she returns. Fortunately, Cisco foresaw something like this and programmed the hypnosis power to crap out after a minute due to poor reception. He and Sherloque escape their bonds.

Nora and the Rogues go undercover in military uniforms and use the phone to hypnotize their way past McCulloch Tech security. Rag Doll squeezes through a small pipe to get access to a top secret room called The Forge, where the company keeps meta-tech weapons. Before Nora can get what she came for, Weather Witch and Buy-Eyed Bandit double-cross her, and because the Forge room is equipped with meta power dampeners, she can’t use her speed to fight them. They send a message threatening to harm Nora unless the Flash comes to them and reveals his identity on camera.

The Flash arrives quickly, but he’s acting pretty weirdly, clearly vamping to kill time. After a moment, he’s revealed to be a hologram manipulated by Sherloque back at S.T.A.R. Labs. The real Barry, as well as Joe and Iris, were in the room the whole time disguised as McCulloch employees. They came armed with laser rifles.

Barry fights Weather Witch and Bug-Eyed Bandit while Joe and Iris fight Rag Doll. Barry takes a blast from Weather Witch’s wand to save Nora, and she realizes that her daddy loves her after all. Nora joins Barry in the battle until they capture the Rogues.

Nora apologizes to her father, and explains that she was trying to steal a weapon capable of destroying Cicada’s magic dagger. She was never really evil, just stuck in a very negative head space due to accessing the Negative Speed Force. She always had good intentions, but didn’t think Barry would trust her and thought she could control the Rogues.

Barry surprises Nora by agreeing to follow through with the rest of Eobard Thawne’s plan. Barry and Iris promise never to leave Nora again now that their family is reunited.

Side Quest

While everybody else is busy dealing with Nora and the Rogues, Caitlin and Ralph follow Cicada II’s trail to Thomas Snow’s arctic research lab. They discover that prototype samples of Cisco’s meta-human cure were stolen, and deduce that Cicada II is trying to make a super virus that will wipe out all metas.

This is confirmed when we see Cicada II working on a weapon. She hallucinates that the original Cicada (Chris Klein) is helping her, as if she hadn’t murdered him.

Episode Verdict

I didn’t much buy into the idea of Nora going bad, and am very glad that storyline is dispatched quickly. It’s also kind of fun to see Emily Kinney again.

Unfortunately, the episode’s plot doesn’t make terribly much sense. It seems like Nora could have figured out a way into the McCulloch building without needing any of the Young Rogues or even the hypnosis phone. Trusting Cisco to hack the phone for her is pretty naïve. Why the meta dampeners in the Forge room don’t affect Bug-Eyed Bandit’s power or Weather Witch’s wand is conveniently ignored.

Bringing back the original Cicada as a hallucination is a weak excuse to get Chris Klein back on the show. The episode also has a lot of really lame humor from Ralph that falls flat and has no relevance to anything.

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