THE FLASH Season 5 Episode 22 Review: Legacy

If the title didn't give it away, the constant use of the word “legacy” throughout the finale should have quickly clued in viewers to the fact that the Flash’s impact as a hero was being put under a microscope for the hour. During the episode’s end, Barry ultimately decided he was more concerned about his legacy as a family man than any of his wondrous feats in costume. It's a painfully ironic conclusion given the fact that this season has already become known for eschewing the human, family drama of the West-Allens and Team Flash in favor of the most boring villain conflict the show has had. Nevertheless, the finale did find a way to end things on a mostly graceful note, so the series can at least end the year with a little dignity. 

The big selling point of the episode was the fact that we finally got to see another real fight between Barry and his greatest foe, the Reverse-Flash. The lead-in to the confrontation was surprisingly enjoyable, considering how terrible the pacing of the show has been lately. I appreciated that the team didn't free Thawne by accident, as seemed likely last week, but knowingly made the decision so they could dispatch Cicada (who mercifully is defeated swiftly and never heard from again). It’s much more dramatically satisfying to watch them deal with consequences of a choice they made rather than just having a dumb mistake ruin everything. 

And the results of the long-awaited reunion were truly delightful. Thawne’s glib and petty attitude stands in such marked contrast to the raw feelings of hurt and bitterness that everyone from the original Team Flash still carries, it elevates the dialogue from the normal cliche action dialogue the writers normally go for. His taunt that he is the only speedster who understands how to manipulate time to get what he wants hits particularly hard after watching him escape years in prison while Nora gets erased from existence. 

While I doubt this is the last we've seen of Jessica Parker Kennedy, it seems likely that this is the last we’ve seen of this particular different version of Nora--which, frankly, shouldn't be too surprising. Nora’s entire life was shaped by her father’s death, but I don't think anyone is expecting him to actually bite the dust in the Crisis crossover. After that event resets the timeline yet again, I suspect Nora will be reintroduced with a different background and personality (maybe even with a twin brother?). 

That said, it's still big loss for both the characters and the show itself. Truthfully, her departure also feels a little mean-spirited. Nora’s character was all about trying to learn and grow from her mistakes; having her entire existence wiped out from one she made in a vulnerable and scared position (one that Barry himself has also made several times) feels a cruel for a normally optimistic show. 

It's compounded by the fact that Thawne’s victory means Nora doesn't succeed in the mission to save Barry she's had from the start. Instead his death is closer than ever, and all she got to accomplish was defeating a villain she accidentally created. I'd like to think that she may at least play some role in whatever allows Barry to live past Crisis on Infinite Earths, but it seems like too much to hope for after all this. It's definitely a disappointing end for character who was often only of the few bright spots in the tedious, drawn out episodes that were all too common this year. 

Despite the obvious crossover tie-ins, the almost epilogue-like quality of the final scenes was a refreshing change of pace from the constant cliffhanger endings of past finales. If, as has been rumored, there are to be some major cast departures, I much prefer treating it as the end of a chapter rather just carrying on as though nothing’s changed, as happened with Wally last season. We can only pray the changes will help the new creative team to seriously reinvent their formula before the show devolves further into a shell of its ideas once were.

Written by Kaitlin Roberts, THE FLASH Beat Writer

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