Sure, this one was built largely around a gimmick — but there’s nothing wrong with a gimmick if you actually do it right. Thankfully, Team Flash absolutely nailed it with this one.
Spoilers ahead for “Memorabilia,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash, which aired Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.
Barry had the bright idea last week to try and defeat Cicada by waking up his comatose niece Grace, so Sherloque pulls out a piece of dream-walking tech designed to do just that. Of course, this being Sherloque, he had an ulterior motive to try and get Barry kicking around in Nora’s memories, in hopes that whatever’s she’s hiding might come to light. Ironically enough, the plan works, it’s just that Barry doesn’t know enough to actually realize what was right in front of him.
Nora goes rogue and jumps into Grace’s mind alone, but that plan backfires when the exit portal closes and she’s trapped in Grace’s mind. Turns out Grace has a lot in common with her Uncle Cicada — most notably that irrational hatred of metahumans. Instead of going along with Nora and trying to escape back to the land of conscious, she triggers her own subconscious defense mechanism in the form of a killer Cicada that tries to take out Dream Nora. Once Team Flash realizes Nora is in the dream machine, Barry and Iris jump in after her. But instead of winding up in Grace’s mind, they land in Nora’s memories of the future.
This makes for some great moments, as Barry gets a peek at the future Flash Museum, complete with Flash bobbleheads, comic books, and DC-approved action figures. They also see a young Nora, reliving the memories of the weeks and months after her father has vanished. The McGuffin to escape is to spot memories altered by perception, which leads to a sweet moment where Iris realizes she never grows up to become the “mean” mother that Nora hates. Instead, that version of her exists solely in Nora’s young, angry mind — it’s simply the way she perceived her through all that sadness and frustration.
The big reveal comes in the form of Nora’s defense mechanism. No, it’s not a do-gooder like the Flash jumping in to save her. It’s Eobard Thawne, aka the Reverse Flash, who patrols her dreams and tries to drive out Barry and Iris. It’s clear that’s because Iris sees Thawne as an ally and protector in her future, which is why he’s a hero figure in her subconscious, but Sherloque seems to be the only one putting that together at this point.
Nora’s secret messages to Thawne also reveal a critical detail about exactly why she’s apparently working with Thawne in the first place: He’s helping her take down Cicada, who apparently continues killing hundreds of metahumans well into the future, and long after Barry has vanished during the Crisis.
It was subtle, but there looked to be one major development this week that could loom large for the Crisis on Infinite Earths event next season. Iris starts her newspaper a full two years early, which shows once again the timeline is malleable (ahem), and could help explain why the Crisis will happen a few years early (at least by the timeline established back in Season 1). If Iris can found her paper two years early, other events can also happen early. It also stands to reason Nora’s presence in the present might help speed things along, too.
Ralph and Cisco hit up the bar, after Dibny has to trick Cisco into going out with him. Cisco has been pretty bummed ever since his breakup with Gypsy, and though it takes him a while to settle down, he does make a connection with the bartender. Here’s hoping this is the start of brighter days for Cisco.
Nora learns that Cicada has been working with Grace’s doctor, and it seems she could be a whole lot more evil than it first seemed. Let’s keep an eye on her the next few weeks.
With his Grace plan pretty much dead in the water, Barry has a new idea for how to stop Cicada — using Cisco’s metahuman cure on him. Now, this begs more than a few questions. Does he mean he wants to offer the cute to Cicada, or literally weaponize it and shoot him with it? Cisco will not be happy about that latter idea, and it brings up plenty of juicy ethical questions that could be fun to explore.
Next week: Things get, umm, Goldfaced?