Spoilers below for The Flash's Season 4 finale, so be sure to watch before reading on.
After a season full of The Thinker's precognitive mind games giving Barry and his fellow Team Flash members some of their biggest headaches yet, The Flash brought Season 4 to a close in a most dramatic fashion, with the titular hero breaking into Clifford DeVoe's consciousness and saving a former teammate in the process. In the end, some mysteries were solved, while other answers remained just out of reach, and unsurprisingly, quite a few new questions popped up in the interim. So let's break down all the biggest elements going into next season.
What's Up With Nora Allen's Big Mistake?
The Mystery Girl finally got a name! And though she didn't exactly have the name we were expecting, with Dawn being the more comic-specific moniker, Nora Allen's identity as Barry and Iris' speedster daughter was right in line with many predictions made about the character. (And "Nora" also fits in with the "Nora shouldn't be here" line that Barry garbled in the premiere.) But what was the big mistake she referred to making in the future? Here's how showrunner and executive producer Todd Helbing put it to EW.
A lot of it is obviously all about next season. Barry certainly learned his lesson about time travel and the effects that it can have. She comes back for a specific reason, not only to see her parents and meet everybody on the team, which you saw all throughout the season --- there's four specific times that she came back, and you're gonna learn about why she chose those four times and how they're gonna play into not only the mistake that she made, but the consequences for somebody like her, a speedster traveling from the future to the past, and what that means for Barry and the team.
Many fans probably assumed that there was an innate importance to the specific moments when Mystery Girl showed up to the various Team Flash members, especially when it happened on Barry and Iris' planned wedding day. But how will those play into Nora's time-travel foibles? And is it possible that her mistakes have anything to do with the fate of a potential twin brother, or has the TV show decided to leave the brother out of it? Also, is Wally going to be a cool uncle or what?
Why Did Nora Allen Behave So Strangely Before?
While Nora's first appearance as Mystery Girl pegged her as sweet and possibly sympathetic to Barry Allen, her later appearances didn't always seem quite so kindhearted. Particularly when she spilled coffee on Caitlin. To that end, fans had also been questioning why Iris and Nora hadn't ever shared the screen together. According to Todd Helbing, it's Nora's knowledge of the future that guides her interactions with everyone.
Yeah, she comes from 30 years in the future, so 30 years from now, a lot has happened. She's privy to information that nobody else is, so her experience in the future is certainly different than where everybody is now. A lot of next season too, you're gonna see this relationship between Barry and Iris and Nora, so we just wanted to give the audience a little glimmer into what her reaction is to everybody. If you go back and watch all of the ways that she interacted with everybody, you can get a nice little sense of what her relationship is with everybody in the future.
Does that mean Caitlin is going to get her Killer Frost powers back and ruin something for Nora? Or will something else cause strife there? As well, now that we know Nora definitely is wearing the same jacket as her mother, are we meant to believe that Iris gave it to Nora for reasons that imply she isn't around anymore in Nora's present? Did her big mistake cause tragedies within the West-Allen families? It's so easy to picture worst-case scenarios here.
Who Will The Season 5 Big Bad Be?
The Flash fans were somewhat prepared for Clifford DeVoe's Enlightenment plan in Season 4 thanks to Savitar's line about the cerebral inhibitor in Season 3. And while Todd Helbing had previously teased a similar call-forward to the Season 5 villain in the Season 4 finale, it didn't happen. However, a casting call revealed by The Hashtag Show may be a big clue for who or what will be endangering Central City in the fall.
Desmond Paull is reportedly the name given to the Season 5 villain, though it's obviously a fake title given to throw off the public. According to the description, Desmond is a metahuman whose interactions with dark matter are independent of the particle accelerator explosion (possibly tying into Caitlin's "natural" powers?), and he can not only claim to be immortal, but he also the ability to sap other metahumans of their unique powers. And because he blames powered folks for the problems in his life, his goal is to rid Central City of all metahumans.
It's theorized that Desmond Paull may be the live-action iteration of the comic book villain Cicada, o.k.a. David Hersch, created by Geoff Johns in 2001. After being struck by a bolt of lightning (that he believed was also tied to The Flash's powers), Hersch found he had the ability to take others' life forces, which extended his own lifespan. Of course, it's just as possible that it'll be some other villain who will just be given similar powers to these, and I've still got some money on DeVoe's artificially intelligent form wreaking havoc. Thankfully, we probably won't have to wait until Season 5 gets here to find out.
Why Wasn't The Season 5 Villain Teased?
Fans expected to see some semblance of a hint of what Season 5's big bad will be, and some may have expected that "Thomas" line to be a reference to next season's villain. But as Todd Helbing explained it, the scene they shot ended up not getting used in the finale itself. Patience is key, though.
What happens more often than not is, we shoot a lot of stuff in the finale that gets cut. So for time we had to cut it. It was gonna be the tag at the end of the episode. But we'll get it out; the public will see it before the season starts. Maybe we'll release it online or at Comic-Con. But yeah, it just it came down to a time thing.
There were a lot of big moments in The Flash's finale that understandably needed to happen to end Season 4 properly enough, with any Season 5 reveals being more expendable for that reason. But it's confirmed the show definitely did produce and film at least one scene, which is almost guaranteed to make its way to our eager eyeballs in the coming months. I'd hate to have to wait until Comic-Con to get here to get a confirmation on it, but so be it if it means a crazy new villain.
What Will Caitlin's Reveal Lead To?
Recently, Caitlin experienced one of The Flash's biggest and coolest reveals when we learned that her Killer Frost abilities predated both Savitar's arrival and the particle accelerator explosion. And in the Season 4 finale, the news came out that "Thomas" was found and has "been this way all the time," which would seemingly be about the presumed father figure in her flashback, and about the mystery powers running in the family somehow. While Todd Helbing didn't go so far as to confirm that, here's what he had to say about where the Snow storyline is heading.
One of the themes for next season is family. When you're dealing with a show that jumps around, obviously with Barry, Nora, and Iris, it's gonna be family, with Joe and Cecile and the new baby, there's family, and then Ralph is part of this new family. And then with Caitlin, she had one understanding of where her powers came, and you've met her mother in the past seasons, you got a little glimpse of her father. But there's gonna be a new dynamic with Caitlin and her family in Season 5.
We haven't seen much of a dynamic at all with Caitlin and her family, save for her mother's short-lived appearances in Season 3. But we do know there is much angst and unresolved tension, and it would be great to get a bunch of flashback moments in Season 5 that explore what those family dynamics were all about. I think we've gotten enough from the West-Allen clan to justify more Snow business, right?
What Version Of Harrison Wells Is Coming Next?
With each season of The Flash comes new iterations of Harrison Wells, whether they're main characters or fleeting Matthew McConaughey-like versions from Earth-Alright, Alright, Alright. Now that we've said goodbye to a more emotionally mature Harry, whose hyper-intelligence was lost to his dark matter obsession, can we expect to see a new character for Tom Cavanagh in Season 5? It sounds like it. According to Todd Helbing:
I don't want to tell you yet who he is, but when I was up there in Vancouver shooting for the finale, I talked to Tom for quite a bit about it. We landed on a pretty fun and interesting new Wells to join the team.
When he says, "fun and interesting new Wells," I'm assuming he means a brand new take on the scientist character, and not one of the versions that have been contacted in the past, either through the Council of Wells or the Anti-Council of Wells. Season 3's H.R. has been the wackiest of the regular Wells to appear so far, with Harry being a far more serious and hard-nosed take. I'm hoping for the most over-the-top version yet...which means I'm hoping for Harrison Wells triplets!
Will Ralph's Elongated Man Return In Season 5?
Whenever The Thinker took control of Hartley Sawyer's Ralph Dibney, it was a giant shock, since the Arrow-verse doesn't usually kill off anyone from its main stable of heroes in the middle of the season. We didn't think he was coming back, either, but we should have known this show would figure out a way to resurrect the comic hero. (Which was done through a bonkers, non-intuitive plan drafted up inside DeVoe's consciousness.) But now that The Thinker's human form is gone, and Ralph is back in the land of the living, does that mean we'll be seeing more of Elongated Man's goofy antics in Season 5? Here's what Todd Helbing said about it.
From the beginning of the season, we wanted DeVoe to hop into other people and then to finally get to Ralph, and really play it like he was dead. That was what we walked partly through at the beginning. So it was always the plan to kill him and then bring him back to join the team at the end, and then to be part of the next season.
Helbing doesn't say if Hartley Sawyer will be promoted to series regular for Season 5, but it does sound like Elongated Man will once again be around S.T.A.R. Labs in order to put his stretchy thoughts to taking down whatever the Season 5 villain ends up being. And we're thinking his brush with death will make Ralph all the more lovable in the new season. (Though we hope he never loses verbal gems like, "Crap in a hat.")