The date December 4th resonates greatly with all fans of The Flash series. 5 years ago, it was the day episode 8 of Season 2 of Arrow, titled “The Scientist” premiered. This episode saw the debut of Grant Gustin as Barry Allen in the Arrowverse as the CSI that aided Oliver Queen in investigating a seemingly impossible robbery. Fans clamoured for more of Barry Allen, and not even a year later, October 7, 2014 The Flash premiered on The CW, and soon we were believing in the impossible. It is December 4th, 2018, and The Flash has hit its 100th episode, titled “What’s Past is Prologue”.
SPOILERS TO COME! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOST RECENT EPISODE OF THE FLASH, DO NOT READ AHEAD!
Much like many other 100th episodes, the series delves deep into the roots of the character and reflects on their journey since the beginning. The source of everything to this date, of course, is the particle accelerator. It’s what made Barry Allen the superhero he is, who inspired Eobard Thawne, who set into motion the story as we know it. From there, we get everyone connected to the speedforce across space, time, and the multiverse as a whole, including Savitar and Zoom. This episode takes all of these threads and does something truly amazing for a 100th outing. It was directed by Tom Cavanagh, who also reprised some of his best roles as Wells, as did Teddy Sears/Tony Todd (despite wishing Zoom had more screen time, I was delighted by his return). Cavanagh does a great job at designing a moving Back-to-the-Future-Part-II-esque story I enjoyed every second of (something I hope will be done with Avengers 4, but we’ll see).
The particle accelerator also created The Thinker, who, through the Enlightenment (or lack thereof) seen at the end of last season, created the meta-draining-dagger-wielding villain of this season, Cicada. Together, Barry and Nora must trace this thread back, quite literally, through time, to create a magnet that attracts the dagger. The recipe for success requires ingredients as follows: a shard from Savitar’s suit (strong alloy with magnetic properties), the speedforce transmitter Zoom to give himself Barry’s speed (capture the energy), and energy from the particle accelerator (dark energy power source) to be retrieved from none other than the night of the explosion that started it all.
Who acts strange throughout this episode is the one who concocts this plan: Barry’s daughter Nora. For example, after they escape from a time wraith they encounter at the night of Savitar’s defeat, she says “about Savitar…” as if there’s something more to the story. If it’s not in what she knows, it’s in the ripples her plan likely creates. When going back to the time of Zoom, Hunter Zolomon discovers them and chases them through time, only to be grabbed by the time wraith. Who knows what changes that has created, or where Zoom landed in time!
In the scuffle, Barry breaks the transmitter when stumbling at the point in time we saw in season 2’s episode 17 “Flash Back” in which Barry travels back in time for help from Wells/Thawne (that’s three, count em’, three of Barry at once). He needs the help of Wellsobard once again to fix the transmitter.
When Wellsobard encounters Nora, he guesses who she might be, each guess being rife with a theory! At first, he guesses Jesse Chambers, Libby Lawrence and Danica Williams, all of which are name drops of popular female speedsters or superheroes in general from the comics. Jesse Chambers, who is more commonly known as Jesse Quick, is the most curious of them, though, as we already got a version of her through Jesse Wells. More importantly, Libby Lawrence is the mother of Jesse Chambers. Are we going to get another version of Wells and his family that could of been at some point in the future? Then, once Wellsobard realizes it’s his daughter, he guesses “Dawn”, which was a common theory amongst fans last season. She says she is Nora, to which Wellsobard responds with “at least you still have one”. Will we find out what happened to Dawn? Did Nora erase her from existence in her travels? Is her ultimate goal to bring her back into existence?
Regardless, through this venture, Eobard learns more and more than he already discovered when Barry first traveled back to him. I, like many fans, thought things changed through that first travel, and did even more so when Barry created Flashpoint, but this third interaction is ridiculous (in the best way possible). All the while, Nora is attracted to who the Reverse Flash was. It is through this that Barry and Nora bond in a touching way in that, despite what Barry wants to hide, even the darkest parts of his history are as important as the lightest and collectively they are all of him, and she wants to know all of him. They are father and daughter after all. I should mention this moment happens on the night of the particle accelerator, and when it explodes, Dr. Ambres (doctor of Grace Gibbons, Cicada/Orlin Dwyer’s niece who is in a coma) who takes in both Wellsobard and Barry Allen. Is Eobard wearing her face in present day?
Barry and Nora return and, though they create and use the magnet, it is to no avail, as the dagger is part of Cicada and he is his own magnet, as we’ve seen previously. Killer Frost, however, does thwart Cicada temporarily as we also know her powers did not come from the particle accelerator and make her immune to the dagger.
Getting back to the juiciest thread of the story, Sherloque Wells takes the time to investigate her journal written in the infamously cryptic speedforce language while she’s traveling through time with her dad. Soon enough, he should translate the truth with the help of Cisco’s algorithm to the team. He finds Nora to be “clever” in her plan, as did Wellsobard when discussing the construction of the magnet. When Nora retrieves the journal back, she sends over her latest entry to a “recipient” in 2049 with the help of Gideon. Nora personally visits Iron Heights in 2049, though, to deliver a personal message to what appears to be another version of Wells! Is it Wellsobard? Is it another of the infinite versions we’ve yet to consider? For some reason, I don’t think it is Wellsobard, but someone following in his footsteps (maybe Thaddeus Thawne?).
We weren’t left without comedic moments like a pizza face jab at Savitar from Wellsboard, Nora’s “disturbance in the speedforce” Star Wars reference, and a handshake with Cisco alluding to the phasing through Cisco’s chest, also from Wellsobard, or even Ralph turning on “Back in Time” by Huey Lewis and the News in his first experience of speedsters traveling through time.
However, we, much like Barry are scientists in that we like to hypothesize. We are Geeks, and that’s what we do. Let us know your thoughts on all the questions posed! Let’s all try to find out what makes past prologue! Tweet us @geekmotivation and follow us for more news like this!
Written by Mike Guimond