An entire season’s worth of secrets have finally come to a head, as Nora’s life in 2049 is finally revealed, as we learn exactly what led her to work with Thawne — and to come back to the present day in the first place.
Spoilers ahead for “Godspeed,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash, which aired Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
We had gleaned much of Nora’s life story up to this point already, but seeing it play out gave her arc some much-needed humanity — not to mention some surprisingly poignant tragedy. Nora only found out about her speedster powers after being zapped by future speedster Godspeed (a fairly recent addition to the DC Comics canon, an antagonistic speedster introduced in 2016). The lightning bolt fries Nora’s power inhibitor and unlocks her connection to the Speed Force. She tries to be a hero like the Flash she’s idolized her whole life, only to drag her best friend right into the crosshairs of Godspeed.
As for why Nora turned to Thawne for guidance? She’s trying to catch Godspeed, aka August Heart, a speedster who has gained his powers by trying to perfect the speedster drug Velocity 9 (a change from his comic origins, which instead focused on a Speed Force storm). Thawne is the only speedster left alive (as far as we know) in 2049, so Nora sought his input to avenge her friend. In context, it makes sense. At this point, Thawne has spent 15 years in prison (meaning he was arrested around 2034, right?), and seems to tap into his own mentorship of Barry circa Season 1 while helping Nora stop Godspeed.
One lingering question is exactly why Thawne helped Nora at all. She doesn’t even know Barry is the Flash when she reaches out to him for help, though Thawne obviously puts the pieces together when Nora tells him her name. But why offer his guidance? Why help devise a plan to, seemingly, save Barry in the past? Is he simply lonely? Bored? Actually repentant? Does he really care for Nora? The last option seems at least plausible. After being confronted by Barry, Thawne asks him to forgive Nora — the final wish of a man on death row. We still don’t know what’s happening to Thawne when that countdown clock hits zero. (He says his “time on this Earth is coming to an end,” so is he looking to jump to another one? Or actually about to face death to pay for his crimes at this point in the timeline? We just don’t know.)
“Godspeed” does a good job of filling in many of the gaps in Nora’s story, but the only remaining question is the one Barry can’t seem to get over, either. It’s understandable why she went to Thawne in the first place. She had no other options … but why keep going back, even after she’s met Barry and Team Flash back in the present? It’s a fair question, and Iris doesn’t have a good answer for it. Even after learning everything Thawne had taken from her father, from her family, she still goes back to him almost half a dozen time to seek his guidance.
Barry says he simply can’t trust her anymore, and rushes her back to her own time and leaves her there, warning her not to return back to 2019. It’s a brutal moment, though Barry makes a fair point — you can’t have someone there you can’t trust. And at this point, he simply doesn’t trust Nora.
Let’s talk about that future message, which clearly has some ties to the impending Crisis on Infinite Earths events. Barry’s message to Nora, left on Gideon, features a very apocalyptic background — and seemingly comes just as he’s preparing to disappear for good(?). It’ll be interesting to see how that ties in, but for now all we know is he made sure to leave a message for Nora telling her he loved her. It’s also clear that message is what pushed her over the edge to go back and meet her father.
Interesting move to introduce Godspeed in this way. In the comics, he’s a colleague of Barry’s from the present day, who becomes an antihero of sorts trying to avenge his brother’s murder. Most of that story was scrapped (at least to this point) for the TV version, with Godspeed retooled into a guy just trying to give himself speedster powers via Velocity 9. Curious if we’ll ever see more of Godspeed, of if he’ll wind up simply a Baddie of the (Future) Week.
Cicada is still on the loose, but spent this week offscreen to give Team Flash some time to deal with all these Nora revelations. But we still don’t know exactly why Nora was so obsessed with destroying Cicada’s dagger, thinking it would somehow save Barry. Yes, it’s clear she was obsessed with the final case Barry never solved, but how that fits into his eventual disappearance is still a bit nebulous.
Next week: Iris is understandably upset about Barry kicking Nora back to the future without even a goodbye. But it sounds like she and Thawne will be coming back into the fold with a vengeance. Gulp.