(WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SEASON 5 EPISODE 20 OF THE FLASH!)
Grounded to the future is quite a punishment, but you can't slow a crafty speedster down. Who says negative energy can't get you anywhere? Some familiar rogues join the party, and Cicada's own endgame is finally revealed. Let's find out why The Flash has "Gone Rogue" this week.
Let's talk about what we know first. Barry doesn't trust Nora because she's working with Thawne, but Iris doesn't think it's a big deal. As a matter of fact, she actually thinks that Thawne may have changed and that this plan could actually work. This is still very much a point of contention for Barry and Iris, and we see this throughout most of the first part of the episode. How they want to deal with Nora is also dividing them. So who's right?
We know that Nora has used the negative speed force to return back to 2019. We also know that she had to put herself in a certain place mentally to do that, and it was ugly. Feeling hurt, abandoned and shunned by the father that she idolized, Nora rounds up a group of rogues to carry out a heist on one of the biggest military weapons contractors in the world. Even more strange, the heist is for money. This looks bad, but I didn't really have much doubt that this was for a good reason. We see her destroy a server earlier in the episode after acquiring the plans that she needed. She also has plenty of opportunities to go all-in on the villain thing, but doesn't even kind of take the bait. She might be working with Rag Doll, Weather Witch and Bug-Eyed Bandit but it always felt like a means to an end. The only time I had doubt is when she zaps Barry while she is stealing some tech from Star Labs. Even then, I felt like she was probably lashing out, like kids can sometimes do with their parents. She also threatens to kill Cisco at one point, but never really makes any serious moves. So something just didn't sit right as it relates to Evil Nora. What's interesting is, Iris knows this immediately and never sways from it. She even tries to convince Barry, but ultimately it's Joe that makes Barry see the light. Just because Nora may be right, doesn't mean she's thought this all the way through.
With Barry now back on everyone else's side, the heist is about to go down. This is when the biggest facepalm moment, maybe of the entire season, happens for me. Nora uses the stolen tech from Star Labs to get them in the door, but once they're in the weapons room, Bug-Eyed Bandit and Weather Witch turn on her. Who didn't see this coming a mile away? Oh, did I mention that there was a metahuman power dampener in the room? So now Nora has no real way to fight back. The rogues threaten to start killing hostages if The Flash doesn't show up and reveal his true identity. The Flash was a lot closer than they thought, but when he does show up things seem very odd. It was quite hilarious, especially since no one had a clue what Barry was talking about. Maybe it's because that was not Barry at all, it was Sherloque providing the motions and the words for Barry's hologram. That's when we find out that Barry, Iris and Joe are all in the room ready to take down the rogues. They also have Nora's back 100%, so that little feud didn't last long. It takes them little time to figure out how to power down the dampener and take Weather Witch and Bug Eyed Bandit into custody. Yes we do get the "one big happy family" moment after that, but that happiness is short lived.
Caitlin and Ralph had be on a trip to her father's lab to find out what Cicada may have taken while she was there. What they end up finding is the master plan. Cicada has stolen early versions of the metahuman cure that did not work. So now she has a weapon that could kill all metahumans. Worse yet, she has an atomizer and can just disburse this virus throughout the city. Without proper treatment, all metahumans will die. I'm guessing that's not something that you just waltz down the corner drug store to do. The bright side is, one of the weapons that would have been part of the heist was actually taken. It's a mirror gun, for lack of a better name, that could be used to destroy Cicada's dagger. There is a bit of hesitation, since this was Thawne's plan, but eventually everyone is on board. I have to say that I tend to lean more towards Barry's side on this whole Thawne issue. Look at how long Harrison Wells was able to mentor Barry and make him better, only to reveal is true identity of evil. Thawne is a master manipulator, no doubt about it. So has Nora made him want to be a better man, or does she have? That's the biggest question left to answer here. We end the episode by seeing Cicada putting her weapon into the atomizer and preparing for a global mass casualty event.
I'm happy that The Flash didn't play out Nora's angry streak for too long. While I understand it was literally a necessary evil, it just didn't suit her at all. It never felt right, because they have established the exact opposite personality for her from the very beginning. Some things just felt out of character, so they didn't really ring true in the moment to me. It was nice to see some memorable rogues, and it was also nice to see Joe back out there taking down the bad guys again. I will say that, as far as grand plans go, what Cicada has planned probably makes the most sense of any of the other DC TV shows right now. I also don't feel like it's a foregone conclusion that Team Flash will be able to stop her, at least not fully. I know that there is a better chance that they will stop her, but that seed of doubt is there and I'm at least interested in where that could go if it played out. Even though there have been some frustrating moments this season, The Flash continues to show why it is arguably the best run show in the entire Arrowverse. Let's see if they can, once again, close out their season strong.
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