THE FLASH Season 5 Episode 18 Review: Godspeed

After finally revealing Nora’s secret partnership with Thawne a few weeks ago, Danielle Panabakers’ directorial debut “Godspeed” was billed as the tell-all confession for what Nora had been up to. But while there was some shuffling through her journal, it was really really more of a straightforward belated backstory for Nora than anything else. As an origin, it worked mostly due to Jessica Parker Kennedy playing Nora with complete earnestness and puppy-dog eyes, even though the standard checklist of superhero firsts. All the beat for beat parallels with Barry in the pilot episode were a bit on the nose, but it worked as storytelling shorthand to let the audience know the place Nora was at in her life with limited time to build expand on her life in 2049. 

As for the titular villain — I know it was frustrating for fans of the comics to see a well-loved and complicated character like Godspeed reduced to a goofy, one-off meta for Nora’s first speedster outing. But frankly speaking, the show has consistently displayed little interest in truly adapting the Flash’s rogues gallery, always favoring a stream of new metas every week rather than a creating recurring well-rounded villains cast. At this point in the game, I’d feel disingenuous to get upset about every time it’s done to a rogue when the writing has been on the wall for years. It is what it is. 

Where the episode succeeded most was in showing viewers Nora could choose to align herself with someone notorious as Thawne. In previous interactions between the two, Nora often felt a little too naive and Thawne a little too much of snake for you to reasonably buy into their dynamic. Here, however, with the added context showing how suddenly understand how suddenly isolated Nora became after finding her chip and how with limited her pool of knowledge was with the Flash museum redactions, it’s easier to understand how she got in over her head so fast. Thawne being more mournful and subdued in his cell helped as well. Even knowing all we do, it still was a bit of a shock to see how fast he could drop the repentant mentor act once Barry came to confront him. It’s a shame Tom Cavanagh has been mostly playing one note stereotypes like Sherloque or Herr Wells as of late — where he truly shines is in these subtle moments of menace as he plays God with the West-Allen family. 

But while Nora’s story may have helped fill in some character gaps, there is still so much missing information about what she and Thawne have been up to. Did Nora discover time travelling on her own or did Thawne plant the seed to go to the past in her head? Who decided to interfere with the Enlightenment, and how much have the two of them been intentionally altering the timeline? If this were just a peek into Nora’s past, I’d be fine with having this many loose ends, but it seems bizarre that no one on Team Flash would have these concerns after the bombshell, which was the whole reason her history even came up. Surely Barry would have some concern about what happened after Nora found the Time Vault before unceremoniously grounding her in the future, right? 

It just shows again how dragging out the Nora storyline out this much has taken away a lot its potential. We don’t have time to wait for the team to go through another round of unanswered questions with Nora because there’s only a few episodes left. And after the intense, raw hatred that electrified Thawne and Barry’s ending encounter, going back the lackluster Cicada feud feels more pointless than ever. It seems so clear that bad blood between Thawne and Barry’s family is where all the real drama the season is coming from; why it’s being sandwiched between Caitlin’s renewed paternal woes and recycled version of the meta serial killer plotline instead of being allowed to be the main course continues to be a mystery.

Written by Kaitlin Roberts, THE FLASH Beat Writer

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