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The midseason finale of The Flash dropped a bombshell at the end of 2018, and it didn’t waste time diving back into it with the midseason premiere. So, what’s the deal with Future Thawne?
Spoilers ahead for “The Flash and the Furious,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash, which aired Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.
Yes, Nora has been working with Future Thawne in the year 2049. For quite some time, presumably. As suspected, it was Thawne who taught Nora to user her powers in the first place, and also passed on the skills to use her speed to travel back in time and meet Barry. He’s a mentor to the Flash’s daughter, in all wild twists of irony. We’ve seen a few different Thawnes along the way on this series, but this one is different. He’s broken, and almost remorseful. He tells Nora he wanted to be the Flash, to get to know him. It’s part of what motivated him to help her fulfill that dream for herself.
He also talks about his obsession with the Flash, and how it broke him when he finally came to the realization he could never be him. This episode also introduced a new wrinkle to the Future Thawne mystery: a ticking clock, with just 51 minutes left on the timer. After Nora decides to give Thawne a chance at redemption, he complains he’s almost out of time to prove he’s changed. Is he awaiting a looming execution in this future prison? Suffering from some metahuman ailment that has left him with less than an hour to live? We don’t know, but it seems something very serious is coming — and coming soon — for Future Thawne.
As for the wider A story, we see Barry largely sidelined for most of the episode after losing control of his phasing powers. So the story focuses quite a lot on Nora as she steps in to work a case on her own. Nora is having a hard time believing people can truly change, and projects that prejudice on the Weather Witch, pushing for a harder sentence even after Cecile (using her lingering meta powers) says she senses great remorse from her in the courtroom. After the Weather Witch is busted out of prison by another meta, Nora immediately believes the worst — and actually betrays the Weather Witch when she tries to turn herself in and help lead Team Flash to the real meta causing all this trouble.
It was a predictable bit of events that followed, with Nora’s actions actually pushing the repentant Weather Witch to go bad again — only to have a last-minute appeal and lesson learned by Nora lead her to save XS at the last second. It was a nice learning moment in a young hero’s journey, and gave Barry a chance to mentor in the ways he does best. He reminds Nora that everyone can change, maybe even Thawne (an admission he may come to regret). He gives a nice throwback in making his point, talking about how Leonard Snart grew and changed to become a hero with the Legends.
Cisco is on the mend with his Vibe abilities, and the healing process led to a revelation: Cisco thinks he can make a metahuman cure. Basically, something that’d be able to neutralize a metahuman’s abilities permanently. It sets up plenty of ethical questions, as Cisco and Caitlin waste no time wading into them. Caitlin is initially against the idea, as she’s finally found a balance with her own abilities. But Cisco has felt like his old self with his powers dampened, and would be open to losing them permanently if it’d allow him to eventually live a truly normal life.
It’s the opening salvo of a storyline we’ve seen play out in sci-fi and comics (most notably the X-Men) plenty of times, but still a good one. If they do develop a cure, how do you utilize it? How do you avoid it being weaponized? What are the ethical implications? Plenty of great meat to dig into in the coming weeks and months.
Cicada is fairly quiet this week, though the cops are on the lookout for him, now that he’s been identified.
This week also brings an explanation for Joe’s absence (actor Jesse L. Martin was forced to take a break from filming to recover from a back injury, though he’s now back on set and set to return later this season). Turns out Joe has been off-screen visiting with his son Wally, and could stay away a while longer.
Sherloque’s investigation into Nora’s secrets is still underway, and he’s working hard to figure out what secrets this Speed Force language may hold. His search leads him to the future AI Gideon, who tells him Nora has deleted all her files and records from her mainframe. Which, yeah, is pretty suspicious.
Looks like we have a new, younger set of Rogues on the way. Silver Ghost is trying to get a new band together, which is why she recruited Weather Witch. With both still on the run, expect the Young Rogues to show up again.
Keen-eared fans likely noticed the ARGUS car stolen by Silver Ghost is loaded with Wayne tech. Looks like those Batwoman connections are already starting to get dropped in there. Also, Wayne has phasing tech, apparently?!
With Barry on house arrest, he digs into Rory’s book Uncaged Desire from Legends of Tomorrow. Nice callback bit of crossover love there.
Next week: Cicada goes on a full-on killing spree, and he seems to have Nora in his sights.