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Major spoilers below for The Flash's 100th episode, which featured all kinds of crazy moments. Be sure to watch before reading on!
The Flash's cast and crew have been talking up Episode 100 for quite a while now. Thankfully, the action-packed "What's Past is Prologue" lived up to expectations, and even went beyond some of them. Time travel, villainous returns and big twists helped make this one of The Flash's most fun and intriguing episodes to date. And we need to talk about it.
Without further ado -- at least caused by anyone in the present -- let's start things off with a key piece of info that fans have been waiting for since the Season 4 premiere.
Barry And Nora's Doodles
For a full year or so, The Flash fans have wondered about the strange doodles and symbols that both Barry and Nora were seen jotting down in Season 4. Episode 100 finally cleared up part of that mystery: it's a time language that Nora created in order to keep track of events regardless of changes to the timeline. In fact, it's what Nora has been using to clue 2049's Eobard Thawne in on things.
One answer doesn't sate all curiosities though, either ours or Sherloque Wells'. If Nora created the language, how was Barry using it when he escaped the Speed Force? Is it tied to Reverse-Flash, who obviously learns how to read the doodles in the future, being trapped in the Speed Force at some point? Why were they on The Thinker's face, though?
What Happened To Dawn West-Allen?
During Barry and Nora's pit stop to see Eobard Thawne-as-Harrison Wells, he misrecognizes Nora as Dawn West-Allen. That felt like a direct wink to viewers who spent much of Season 4 assuming Jessica Parker Kennedy was secretly playing future-daughter speedster Dawn, twin to Don. Upon hearing that her name was Nora, Thawne ominously commented, "At least you still have one," which I suppose is in reference to Barry's mother Nora being long gone.
But neither Barry nor Nora made any move to ask about his "Dawn" guess, so what the hell was that all about? Is Dawn actually Nora's twin in the future, causing Thawne's confusion? Have we really been seeing only Nora this entire time, and not a pair of twins, Michelle Tanner-style? Or was the Reverse-Flash's postulation based on the original, non-altered timeline, where he possibly had Dawn instead of Nora? This theory train doesn't stop, guys.
Thawne's Comic Speedster References
Before the Dawn West-Allen guess, Eobard Thawne took three other incorrect stabs at Nora's identity, and each of them created potentially important reverberations down the many corridors of the Arrow-verse. One was Danica Williams, a more recent Flash who is part of the Beyond universe, set in the 2040s. Danica works at the Flash Museum in the comics, so if that's the same, then Nora almost has to know her and/or be close with her.
Thawne also mentions Jesse Chambers, which isn't the strangest reference, since viewers are already quite familiar with Violett Beane's Jesse Wells on Earth-2. Jesse's mention here is heightened by the third guess, Libby Lawrence, who was DC Comics' first Liberty Belle. Libby later married speedster Johnny "Quick" Chambers, and gave birth to Jesse, who inherited both of their powers and took on the Liberty Belle mantle at one point. Was it a sign that Violett Beane will get a new role to play in the future?
2049's Reverse-Flash Looks...Different
Just in case anyone thought Tom Cavanagh would only be playing 1,700 different characters in Episode 100, which the actor also directed, the installment ended with his 1,701st. (Rough estimates.) It was already a shock to see that Nora's actions in the present were being guided by 2049's Reverse-Flash -- even though we did guess it previously -- but also surprising was his general appearance.
Instead of seeing Matt Letscher as Eobard Thawne, we got a Harrison Wells version, which was hinted at in the "Crisis on Earth-X" crossover when Letscher's Thawne teased having a different face the next time he'd face The Flash. However, the episode makes a point to differentiate this Wells' appearance from previous looks, mostly by making his hair much lighter than other Wells' solid black coifs. Is all of Reverse-Flash's time-meddling and dimension-hopping taking a weird toll on his identity?
Barry Definitely Changed The Timeline, Right?
After spending much of the season stressing to Nora that changing events in the past is bad news, Barry took a brief breather by changing some events in the past. He first got discovered by a suspicious Harry, fretting over Jesse and Caitlin's safety, and Barry made the choice to tell Harry how to find Jesse using her Earth-2 frequency. At that point, Barry's Flash Ring is also prominently displayed as being in Harry's possible line of sight.
Already, that should mean ripples galore down the timeline if Harry asks Barry about the ring and conversation. Then that whole "Zoom found Barry and Nora and chased them until being caught by a Time Wraith" thing happened. Sooo, does that mean Present-Day Barry technically defeated Zoom, and that he got turned into Black Flash earlier than before? Nothing seemed too out of sorts whenever Barry and Nora got back, though, nor when she returned to 2049. Maybe the Time Wraith dropped Zoom or something.
Nora Seemed Clueless About Barry's Mom
Considering Nora seemingly spent most of her adult life within the Flash Museum devoted to her father, it was rather surprising to learn that she was clueless about Barry and Eobard Thawne's peak hatred for each other. The fact that his villain name is the antithesis of The Flash's moniker was lost on her, I suppose. But beyond simple logic and reason, how did Nora miss out on the murder of Nora's same-named grandmother?
Perhaps the answer to that question lies in yet another time-travel jaunt that the father and daughter pair took together in Episode 100. Feeling remorseful about her future partnership, Nora goes back to the night of the murder and talks to Barry about wanting to change things. Despite any and all Flashpoint warnings, will Nora soon try and save her grandmother from Reverse-Flash? And could she actually succeed, thus explaining why she wasn't already aware the murder happened?
Cicada Totally Could Have Been Stopped
All the time travel and speedster returns made it easy to forget that all of Barry and Nora's painstaking and emotional efforts were in the name of stopping Cicada. Yet, whenever the plan actually worked, and Cicada was unable to use his dampening dagger on Team Flash, no one actually made any moves to ACTUALLY STOP HIM. They just bragged like brats and gloated about outsmarting him.
Of course, they didn't actually defeat Cicada. Team Flash's highly capable members continued doing nothing until the villain was able to regain possession of the dagger (from outer space). Then, when Caitlin realized the non-dark-matter-meta Killer Frost could show herself, she failed to immediately freeze Cicada before he was able to make a hyper-leap. Instead, she just posed and gave a one-liner, and everything that anyone did earlier in the episode was for nothing. COME ON, GUYS!
There were absolutely more moments to talk about during the episode -- what was up with the way Thawne gave Nora that water bottle? -- but for now, we're looking ahead to the "Elseworlds" crossover, which kicks off on The CW on Sunday, December 9, with The Flash on a special night. Witness all the glory of Stephen Amell squeezed into the Flash suit, and keep current with all the great TV coming soon in 2018 and in 2019.