Spoilers ahead for Episode 13 of The Flash Season 5, called "Cause and XS."
Nora West-Allen has been in the mix and messing with the timeline all of The Flash Season 5 so far. While she has seemed like a lovable member of Team Flash with no ulterior motives to the rest of the good guys, she has secretly been working with Reverse-Flash to try and prevent her dad from disappointing in the future "crisis."
At first, it was easy to relate to Nora's poor decision because of her drive to save Barry, but as the episodes pass, the question becomes whether The Flash is going too far with the partnership between Nora and Reverse-Flash. Here's how it all went down.
Most of "Cause and XS" actually didn't involve Reverse-Flash at all. When Barry had to run into the Speed Force to prepare the metahuman cure, Nora was in charge of Central City speedster duties for an hour. Unfortunately, it was a very inconvenient hour for Nora to be the lead speedster, as Cicada and his dagger began targeting members of Team Flash, which he could identify after his encounter with Iris last week.
In the first course of events, Nora and Caitlin raced to a rooftop to save Iris, who had been kidnapped by Cicada. Before the heroes could get away unscathed, Cicada threw his dagger at Caitlin, and it stabbed her through the back, killing her. Since Nora is related to Barry Allen, of course her first instinct was to travel back in time for a redo.
As it happens, Nora's subsequent solo attempts to redo the timeline didn't go any better, although the results would be slightly different. No matter what she tried, a member of Team Flash would be murdered by Cicada, and she couldn't even get into the Speed Force to fetch her father. The good news is that she and the rest of Team Flash worked out a way to prevent any of them from dying and stab Cicada with his own dagger, so all's well that ended well!
Or so it seemed. After Barry returned and learned what Nora had done to try and rescue everybody, he sat her down and discovered that she'd tried to fix the timeline 52 times before succeeding. He used a coffee mug to explain that messing with time results in permanent damage. Even when things are fixed, evidence of what was broken remains, and Nora just "broke" time more than 50 times until she got her way.
Alarmed by her dad's ominous words, Nora raced to 2049 to confront Reverse-Flash and demand he tell her that they're not making everything worse and that he knows what he's doing. Rather awesomely, Reverse-Flash just yelled "I AM THE ONLY SPEEDSTER WHO KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING!"
Honestly, I'm inclined to believe Reverse-Flash on this. He may have been defeated by the good guys and wound up in prison, but he's a bad guy with evil goals, and he arguably did less damage to timelines than Barry and Nora. I believe that he knows what he's doing; he's just probably not doing what Nora thinks he's doing.
When Nora didn't look 100% convinced by his outburst, Reverse-Flash more calmly said that they need to stick to the plan, which is that they will defeat Cicada, destroy his dagger, and save Barry... as long as she listens to his instructions. Although Nora didn't answer, her expression indicates that she is back on Team Reverse-Flash. Come on, Nora!
The evidence continues to accumulate that Nora should not work with Reverse-Flash behind Team Flash's backs. On top of Reverse-Flash murdering Nora Allen to turn Barry into The Flash down the line, he did all sorts of awful things to her dad after he became the Scarlet Speedster. In "Cause and XS," Nora even learned that Reverse-Flash killed Cisco before Barry changed time, and the memory lingered enough that Cisco would "vibe" what had happened. Red flags, Nora! Red flags!
A big part of the problem with the ongoing partnership is, for me, that Nora won't be able to claim that she didn't know she was doing something wrong when the truth inevitably comes out. She has had chance after chance after chance to come clean, and the evidence continues to mount that even if she can save her father, the collateral damage could be catastrophic. Nora doesn't feel like a hero, and her time travel-related temper tantrum in "Cause and XS" didn't help her any.
There's also the point that Sherloque is poised to figure out her secret sooner rather than later. Her attempt to distract him from his investigation by introducing him to the Earth-1 version of his wife failed, and his final scene of the episode had him sitting in front of monitors as Nora's time language translated in front of him.
If he connects the many dots she has dropped and exposes her before she comes clean, nobody on Team Flash may be able to trust her. Even her parents may not be able to believe what she says anymore, even if they'll still love her. I did note that Iris was not the one to chase after Nora for a pep talk after her tantrum.
The fact that she is Barry and Iris' daughter has always made her feel younger than she is, but Nora is an adult who has had many chances to come clean. The Flash runs the risk of turning her into a villain if she doesn't change courses soon, even if (when?) it is revealed that Reverse-Flash has been using Nora all along. Are any of us expecting anything other than for Reverse-Flash to turn on her or at least have his own motivation for wanting to save his arch-nemesis?
Only time will tell how it all goes down. I wouldn't be shocked if Reverse-Flash's grand plan impacts the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover next fall, but surely the partnership between Reverse-Flash and Nora can't last that long. The coming episodes will hopefully begin to show Team Flash realizing that she's up to something.
They'll probably have bigger problems in the next episode, though, as the trailer reveals that the long-awaited King Shark vs. Gorilla Grodd showdown. The bad news is that The Flash won't be back until Tuesday, March 5. For more of what you can catch on the small screen in the not-too-distant future, swing by our midseason TV premiere schedule.