Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched the latest episode of The Flash.
For Flash fans wondering what the other connective tissue would be linking Eobard Thawne's Nora-minded scheme together with Grace Gibbons' Cicada 2, "The Girl with the Red Lightning" finally delivered answers. Even if those answers were delivered slightly out of context, and without a deafening "Aha!" to go along with them.
The episode's big final-minute reveal showed that it wasn't a power-dampening cell that was negating Reverse-Flash's powers during his future-set imprisonment, but rather Cicada's dagger. And not like some kind of a cheap ripoff version of the dagger, either, but presumably the actual meta-thwarting weapon used by Orlin Dwyer in the current-day timeline. (Before he died, that is.) It was a cool reveal and all, but we're wondering how any of this is going to work out for anyone. Let's discuss.
What's Up With Reverse-Flash's Dagger?
For most of the season, viewers and Nora have been working from the faulty assumption that Thawne has been interested in destroying Cicada's dagger as a way to help Nora, and thus Barry. I mean, we all knew that was going to be a devilish set-up, but it wasn't clear to what ends. Now we know Reverse-Flash has more selfish reasons for wanting the dagger blasted out of existence.
The episode didn't detail how everything is meant to play out, but there were enough clues given to allow for promising conjecture. And they came from Ralph's inquisitive theorizing, against all odds. (Was anybody else disgusted by the way Barry and the others patently dismissed Ralph's idea despite the fact that all of their plans are just as faulty most of the time?)
Basically, Nora's time-traveling resulted in a paradox in which there are two of Cicada's dangerous daggers within the same timeline. And it appears as if Reverse-Flash is strapped with the very same dagger that Cicada used in an earlier version of the timeline, which co-exists with the dagger that Grace is currently wielding.
It's unclear how authorities in the future got a hold of the dagger in order to use it on Thawne, but that will likely get ironed out whenever fans learn how the villain got caught in the first place. What is clear, however, is that Reverse-Flash's goal this entire season has been to set up the dagger's destruction in the past so that it won't exist to stop him in 2049 any longer. If that happens, he'll likely return to 2019 for that big face-off with Barry.
How Can Team Flash Get Rid Of The Dagger?
As it was laid out in "The Girl with the Red Lightning," Team Flash is putting all of its chips on Cisco's modified Mirror gun to zap Cicada's dagger seemingly out of existence. So if the dagger is erased from the timeline in 2019, then it would necessarily be erased from the 2049 timeline. That opens up its own can of speculative worms, as far as how Thawne would have been held captive in the future if the dagger didn't make it beyond 2019.
The final moments show Barry taking his shot just as Ralph makes the attempt to stop him from doing just that. Interestingly enough, though, fans don't actually see the mirror blast hitting the atomizer, leaving it open to speculation that things don't play out quite like that.
What else could go down, though? Could Ralph elasticize himself so that HE gets shot by the mirror gun and disappears? That would be a wild sacrifice.
Neither of those situations explains where items go after they get shot by the mirror gun, though, and Team Flash was remarkably blasé about that aspect. As if they aren't all fully aware that there are multiple universes out there where things can sometimes end up via weird circumstances. Because that got mentioned, I fully expect for that issue to come up in the finale, in a way that doesn't make it easier for Barry & Co. to go through with their plans.
What Will Happen With Nora In All This?
As it's been made abundantly clear, Team Flash's collective hands are almost as dirty as Eobard Thawne's are, in the sense that they've been partially responsible for every metahuman-creating event that's gone down. Also, that Nora is personally responsible for the satellite destruction that birthed Earth-1's altered Cicada. No matter how much she has tried to repent for any of her actions, she continues to discover how complicated it can be to fix time-related mistakes.
As such, it seems like The Flash has to figure out a way to both have Nora truly repent for her actions, as well as have her make one final attempt to clean everything up. Not that it's easy to determine how that will go down, especially since the Flash finale will also need to clear up just what kinds of emotional connection Reverse-Flash actually has with Nora. Will he end up killing her off as a pawn in his over-arching revenge scheme, or will he end up saving her life the same way she did for him, in a sense, by going back to the past in the first place?
One part of me suspects that Nora will inevitably try to reverse the events of the satellite explosion in some way, so that Orlin Dwyer and Grace Gibbons are never in the position to become the alternate Cidadas of Earth-1. She'd likely need to find a way to destroy the satellite well before it would even be in the position to get launched, and in a way that could potentially kill her off.
It's not worth immediately getting into the timeline issues that situation would create, but I think that ending Season 5 with Nora's death would be a strong way to close out her current story while giving Barry and Iris an emotional gut-punch that they would eventually try to reverse anyway. Plus, it might allow for another version of Godspeed in the future that gets a way more interesting storyline.
So, in the end, it's rather unclear how Reverse-Flash's big plan will go down, nor how it will affect all of the other characters. But if I'm having to bet money on anything in particular, my dibs are on Thawne's main guard getting annihilated the very second the dagger's dampening powers aren't an issue anymore. He shouldn't have been such a dick, and also probably shouldn't have let Nora in to talk to Reverse-Flash so often, either.