Is The Flash Setting Up Nora As A Villain?
Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 10 of The Flash Season 5, called "The Flash & The Furious."
Nora West-Allen has been a focal point of The Flash before fans even knew her identity, and she's come a long way since debuting as the Mystery Girl at Barry and Iris' wedding. At first in Season 5, the most objectionable thing about Nora seemed to be a failure to really understand the impact her presence in the past could have on the future. As Season 5 progressed, fans learned that Nora was concealing a dark secret: an alliance with Reverse Flash.
The events of "The Flash & The Furious" raise the question of whether The Flash is setting Barry and Iris' daughter as a villain. Now, the key word here is "setting," as Nora's situation is not entirely one of her own making. Her intentions seem decent, if somewhat selfish in the grand scheme of things. Her actions... well, her actions could come across as quite villainous if she doesn't change her ways sooner rather than later.
In the 100th episode, it was revealed that Nora had been working with Reverse-Flash in the future, and his help is what enabled her to race back in time to meet her dad and potentially prevent Barry from going missing in the coming "crisis." During her trip to the past with Barry, however, she met the first version of Eobard Thawne that appeared on the show, back when he was pretending to be the wheelchair-bound Harrison Wells, and she learned what Reverse-Flash had done to earn the seemingly eternal ire of Barry Allen.
Nora hadn't known that Reverse-Flash murdered her namesake back when Barry was a little boy, and that complicated Nora's situation and her partnership with Reverse-Flash in 2049. In "The Flash & The Furious," Nora confronted Thawne about his actions, understandably furious. He tried to tell her that he'd had the time to dwell on what he'd done and he had come to regret his actions. According to Thawne, he had changed and was no longer the man he was when he killed Nora Allen.
To her credit, Nora didn't immediately believe Thawne. In fact, that Thawne had murdered her grandmother for the sole purpose of traumatizing her father turned Nora from somebody who might give people the benefit of the doubt automatically to somebody who refused to believe in redemption and change. She even rushed to judgment on a reformed Weather Witch, in a move that could have cost a lot of lives. It wasn't until she had a chat with Barry that she changed her tune.
Barry told his daughter that part of what makes a hero is the capacity to see the best in people. When she asked if he believed Reverse-Flash could change and show some good, Barry confirmed that he could believe it if enough time had passed. I'm not sure that I believe his words so much as Barry wanted Nora to believe the overall lesson that he was trying to impart on his daughter.
Still, Nora took it to mean that Reverse-Flash's claim that he'd changed was true, and she raced back to the future to see him again. They made amends, but it was also revealed that Thawne doesn't have all the time in the world anymore. He's scheduled to be executed. Basically, Thawne is in a bit of a crunch. Could desperation drive him to do some despicable things? Or has he truly changed?
My money isn't on Thawne having changed, and if Nora's actions do end up painting her in a villainous light, he'll be at least partly to blame. He hasn't brainwashed or blackmailed her into working with her, but Thawne has tricked people far less trusting than Nora. There is one move that Nora seemingly made on her own that she might not be able to blame on Thawne, and Sherloque is onto her.
Sherloque found out about Gideon for the first time in "The Flash & The Furious" after he attempted to casually ask Barry about the doodles he'd been scribbling after popping out of the Speed Force back in Season 4, which viewers now know is a time language used to record events permanently so they're not forgotten even if the timeline is changed. Nora claimed to have created that language on her own, although the odds are pretty good that Thawne had a hand in it.
Barry didn't pick up on Sherloque's shiftiness when he asked about the time language, and he didn't note Sherloque's sudden interest after he mentioned Gideon. Sherloque made his way into the time vault and met Gideon, who addressed him as "Dr. Wells." His first request was information on Nora West-Allen, but Gideon couldn't provide. Why? Well, it turns out that Nora deleted any and all files on herself from Gideon's database.
At this point, nothing we know of Nora points to her as a bad person who wishes bad things on good people. Has she been making some questionable decisions for what seem to be honorable reasons? Absolutely. But those decisions may paint her as a villain once everything inevitably goes wrong. There are too many variables in play for Nora's plans not to backfire, probably rather spectacularly on her.
Between her changes to the timeline, the likelihood of Reverse-Flash turning on her, and her increasing desperation to prevent her dad's disappearance in the crisis, and a lot can go wrong. That's not even accounting for Cicada and what will seemingly be a serious injury she sustains in the not-too-distant future! Could Iris' discovery of what Nora is up to lead to a rift between them? Surely something is going to go down between mother and daughter, and Iris clearly wasn't on board with Nora's attitude in this latest episode.
Tune in to The CW on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET to see what happens next on The Flash. This was the first of the Arrow-verse shows to return in 2019; check out our midseason TV premiere schedule to learn when Arrow and Supergirl will be back as well.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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