The Flash returned for its fifth season this past Tuesday, picking up right where it left off at the end of season four. We were briefly introduced to Barry and Iris’ daughter, Nora, who is visiting from 30 years in the future. She’s the perfect combination of both of them, with her personality leaning more towards Barry. In her time, she’s known as a Speedster named XS, a nickname given to her by Iris. She isn’t keen to give too much information to the team, which has Barry rightfully suspicious.
As Nora works with and learns more about Barry, she slowly begins to open up about herself and a spoiler-free version of her world. The episode is light and upbeat, a welcome change from previous seasons where we hit the plot hard and heavy right from the start.
While Wally disappears to try and work out a way to get Nora home, she welcomes the opportunity to try and prove herself to Barry and the team. It goes horribly wrong; Nora repeats the same mistakes Barry did as a novice superhero. Seeing Nora ignore his requests, and making unthought out decisions makes him realize this really is his daughter. She’s doing exactly what he did as a novice hero. Because she ignored Barry, they are unable to capture the Meta-Human Gridlock. It proves she has a long way to go and is in desperate need of a mentor.
While clearly annoyed, Barry takes it upon himself to teach Nora how to be a Speedster. Both Iris and Barry take time to speak with her and get to know her in different ways, a sign of their different parenting styles. While Iris has always been empathetic to struggling Metas, Barry had previously been harsh when put into a mentor position. Thankfully, he’s a lot kinder to Nora in this instance, and she thrives. Even when it comes to light that Nora wasn’t stuck in the past, he isn’t angry and continues to be the father figure she’s yearning for.
A poignant scene between the two is when the pair works
together to fight Gridlock as he tries to take down a plane. Barry teaches Nora how to phase in nearly the same way Thawne taught him, just with more love in his words. Barry has certainly grown into a much better mentor than a few months earlier with Ralph.
Caitlin, Cisco, and Ralph hang back as Nora and Barry find their footing. Supporting the team as comic relief, they almost seem unimportant for most of the episode. Thankfully, we’re given the tiniest bit of information on Caitlin’s past. While coming to terms that time travel is real, Ralph manages to get Caitlin’s dad’s death certificate. He reveals it’s fake, and her father isn’t really dead. This is excellent news– perhaps Caitlin will have an easier time rediscovering her past if he’s alive.
Nora’s arrival has brought on every comic reference they could pack into an hour-long episode. Throw away lines can have a lot of weight considering Flash’ extended history. For example, Nora’s usage of the word “Schway” was a fun surprise for any Batman Beyond fan. This was a fun introduction to Nora, and while I’m sad Wally is departing, for now, I’m hopeful for this season.