THE FLASH 5.08 Review “What’s Past Is Prologue”

He has a vibe about you, Cisco. Get it? Eh?!

This post contains spoilers for The Flash.
Check out last week's review here.

Some of the best episodes of The Flash are the ones that make you sit back in your chair and smile over how charming it was. “What’s Past is Prologue” is just that, but it’s got some tricks up its sleeve, too. The show’s one-hundredth episode follows Barry and Nora as they go through key moments in the past to collect items they need to make a power dampener to stop Cicada’s bolt. Those key moments include Savatar’s demise, the night Zoom stole Barry’s speed, and the day the particle accelerator first exploded.

As you’d imagine, these moments give us a chance to see some of the character’s we’ve long missed. Both Professor Stein and Ronnie Raymond are glimpsed on their adventures through the timeline. We also get moments with King Shark and Gorilla Grodd, and I’m definitely not cranky that we didn’t see any Captain Cold. Leonard Snart’s unfortunate absence is ultimately forgiven for one reason, and one reason only: “What’s Past is Prologue” is brimming with Harrison Wells content.

The fact that Tom Cavanagh’s career never skyrocketed is a damn crime. All the same, I’m glad that means that he gets to play in the DCTV universe. Not every iteration of Wells has been great, but Cavanagh is always a gem. Not only is he exceptional on screen, he makes one hell of a director too. He was given the honor of directing the centennial episode, and the unique task of progressing the story while still paying homage to the show’s history.

Clearly, Team Flash’s plan to defeat Cicada could never work. There’s the outsider reasons like the fact that we’re not even at mid-season yet, but then there’s plot points like the woman who came up with said plan is literally working with Eobard Thawne DBA Harrison Wells. Nora West-Allen is about to be so, so, so grounded. But is that really her name?

When she was in the room with Harrison and Barry, Nora looked utterly horrified. Jessica Parker Kennedy is an even better actress than we gave her credit for last week, since that scene was apparently actress-ception. Questions started to fly when Harrison calls her “Dawn”, but that could be filed away as an Easter Egg, since the DCTV universe has a habit of renaming the children of its heroes. Besides, Kennedy looks so much like Grant Gustin and Candice Patton’s kid that she has to actually be a part of that bloodline, right?

Honestly, I don’t know what to think anymore. What I do know is that Sherloque is boring and I was worried that we were going to have to spend a whole season with him without any pissed off Wells iterations in sight. Not anymore! It was nice to not have a speedster villain for a season or so, and there was so much potential with Cicada, but “the greatest serial killer in history” seems pretty stagnant for the time being. It’ll be lovely to spice things up with some Thawne/Wells savagery.

“Well, at least you still have one,” in reference to Nora is the kind of devastating one-liner that I’ve been missing from The Flash’s baddies. It may be unfair to compare everyone to the biting wit of Harrison Wells, but when you know the best is right there waiting to come out to play, it’s hard to be excited about a villain who just clicks at you while waving a piece of metal around. Plus, said best appears to have a sidekick in Nora for the time being, making him extra dangerous.

Sherloque may be a little exhausting, but he does realize the importance of Nora’s journal. After using Cisco’s program to decode, he discovers the note he pulled says “time is malleable” in the same language that Barry was writing when he came out of the speedforce. Her visit to her grandparents makes you believe that she might have the same motivations as Barry, hoping that she can save her dad from his disappearance (and perhaps her grandmother as well). Then we learn that she’s working with Harrison/Thawne, whose primary goal has always been to get home.

All if this is about to go on hold for the crossover, but what do you think Nora’s motivations are? Was the terror she exhibited over Barry’s death fear that she was about to lose her father, or that Thawne would hurt her for the failure? Was her irritation with Wells over the new knowledge that he killed her grandmother, or is she ticked off about something else entirely? What in the world is going on in the West-Allen family? We want to hear your thoughts in the comments!