The Flash: “What’s Past Is Prologue” Recap, Season 5, Episode 8

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Cicada (Chris Klein) recalls his dagger from outer space. Image courtesy of The CW.

This episode was a special one as it marks the 100th episode of The Flash. To celebrate, we take a walk down memory lane. Barry gets to revisit the worst of his past enemies in hopes of discovering how to beat Cicada.

They did finally figure out who Cicada is – Orlin Dwyer. They also find out that Grace’s parents were killed by metas. Between that and what happened to Grace, it’s no wonder that Orlin is not a meta fan. Now that Team Flash knows his identity, it seems like it should be a simple thing to just go get him. At least, it would be if they could use their powers. As long as Cicada has his meta-dampening dagger, he is at a significant advantage.

While the team argues about what to call a power-dampening-dagger-power-dampener, Nora suggests that is a possibility. What they need is a nearly indestructible alloy with strong magnetic properties and the ability to negate dark matter. She points out that they could find the pieces in the past. The alloy could come from Savitar’s suit. The speed force transmitter that Zoom used could be recalibrated to draw dark matter. To recalibrate it, the transmitter will have to be infused to the same kind of dark matter as what was created during the particle accelerator explosion. From that point, a simple time hack, hiding the transmitter at the hospital in the past to use in their present, will be the key.

Seems like a decent plan, the team gets ready. Nora wants to go with Barry into the past, but due to the danger, he tells her no. Iris actually takes Nora’s side. It was her plan, so Nora should get to see it out. Barry finally agrees but reminds Nora that she has to listen to him, no going off book. She’s never managed that in the past so it seems unlikely that she’ll be good this time.

Sherloque glances at Nora’s diary and is very intrigued by the odd symbols he sees. He shows Cisco and asks if he’s seen them before. He has, they were the symbols that Barry was drawing when he came back out the speed force. He was only ever to translate one line, but Cisco is not interested in Nora’s diary and suggests that Sherloque give it back to her.

Sherloque (Tom Cavanagh) shares his curiosity about Nora’s diary with Cisco (Carlos Valdes). Image courtesy of The CW.

Barry and Nora do their time traveling and appear during the time that Savitar and Past Barry are fighting. As they go to get closer, we finally see something they should have thought about – a time wraith. These creatures do not take too kindly to people messing with the timeline. Barry distracts the wraith while Nora grabs a shard from Savitar’s suit when it explodes. Since the Savitar-Barry’s timeline was erased, she has to get the shard into the speed force before it disappears with the rest of him.

Barry and Nora move on to the next point in time. This was from the moment that Zoom took Caitlin. Barry tells Nora to stay put while he goes to grab the speed force transmitter. Naturally, she doesn’t listen, but at least she doesn’t get herself in trouble. The transmitter wasn’t in the place they expected it to be. While searching, Harry shows up and just assumes that Barry is their Flash. In a fit of rage over losing Jesse, he is about to break the transmitter, but Barry manages to stop him by distracting him with information about how to find Jesse, his daughter. Nora joins Barry and they are ready to go again, but Zoom has other plans. He shows up and sees Nora, another speedster whom he can steal speed from.

They run back into the speed force with Zoom hot on their heels and the time wraith following. Just as Zoom gets his hands on Barry, he gets tackled by the time wraith. Kind of have to wonder how that is going to affect the timeline. Wraiths suck the life out of speedsters messing with the timeline. So, will the old team just assume that Zoom disappeared? Oh, well. Who needs continuity anyway?

Nora and Barry tumble out of the speed force, accidentally breaking the dark matter extractor. Nora suggests going to Thawne and asking for help to fix it, but Barry is completely against it. As it turns out, the moment in time in which they fell into is the point three years ago when Barry had gone to Thawne for help. It makes his argument kind of pointless.

Barry (Grant Gustin) and Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) visit Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanagh). Image courtesy of The CW.

Thawne is intrigued by Future Barry and seems especially interested in Nora, calling her a “clever girl,” like she’s a velociraptor. Being from the future himself, he knows all about Savitar and Cicada, even referring to Cicada as “the one who got away.” He agrees to fix the extractor and then sends them on their way.

The last stop on “Villain Tour 2018” is the night the particle accelerator exploded. Things go awry for a moment, as they always seem to do. Thawne feels something, like he knows they’re there. He waits and goes to investigate, but right before stumbling upon them in the S.T.A.R.Labs secret room, he’s interrupted by Cisco and Caitlin. After a short exchange, he returns to start the accelerator.

Nora seems entranced by Thawne’s suit. When she asks why Barry hates him so much, he lets her know that Thawne went back in time and killed his mother, thinking Barry would be so damaged by the trauma that he wouldn’t become the Flash. She is naturally upset but appreciates the knowledge. Barry asks Gideon to store some of the dark matter from the explosion into the vial of the transmitter which she does. We get a really cool moment where we see some of the people from the past getting hit with dark matter, including Barry. There’s Devoe, Weather Wizard, Dr. Stein, and Ronnie.

In an interesting coincidence, the person who ends up helping Thawne and Past Barry at the hospital is Dr. Ambers. Barry stores the device in a pillar at the hospital and he and Nora return home. For the rest of the team, it’s like they never left. Now, everything is in place for them to go get Cicada.

In a shocking turn of events, everything works! Cicada’s dagger is drawn to the magnetic transmitter in the pillar and negates its power, allowing the team to have their powers back. From there, Cisco is able to grab it and send it through a breach into outer space and Barry is able to get a few good hits in on Cicada. That’s where the good news ends though. Cicada is able to recall the dagger even from space, leaving the team once again without powers.

Right before Cicada kills Barry, he gets a surprise when he meets Killer Frost. While his dagger may mute dark matter powers, she is something different so it has no effect on her. She sends him hurtling through the air and is ready for more, but smart guy that he is, he takes off, using his dagger to fly away.

The best shot of the whole episode. Cicada (Chris Klein) is shocked to see Killer Frost emerge. Image courtesy of The CW.

Orlin disappears. He’s not showing up on any of their facial recognition software. They’re left to do nothing but sit and wait until he returns. Meanwhile, Sherloque does return Nora’s diary and asks about the symbols. She says that it’s a time language, a way to record events so that she remembers all the things about her dad when she goes back. He asks if there is a school where she learned it and she says that she invented it. He calls her a “clever girl.”

Nora goes to the secret room and has Gideon record another entry of her journal. She starts to ask Gideon to send a message but then decides that she’ll just deliver it herself. Nora rushes back to what I assume is her time, 2049, and goes to Iron Heights. She stops outside a cell and angrily tells the person they need to talk. That person has a version of Gideon’s pedestal inside their cell and is reading a hologram of the language Nora supposedly created. It appears that she may not have been the inventor after all, something Sherloque was able to pick up on. Who is the real creator? None other than Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash.

WHAT?!? My mind is completely blown! Nora has been consorting with the Reverse Flash? Why? How is he there in the future? How did he get captured? It’s going to awesome seeing how this plays out over the rest of the season.

We’ll have to wait until January 15th, 2019 to see what happens though. Our regular storyline is getting put aside until after winter hiatus. We still get one more episode though as we gear up for the annual DC crossover event, Elseworlds. The Flash will be kicking off the event on Sunday, December 9th, the spot usually reserved for Supergirl. While Arrow will air on its usual night, our friendly neighborhood Kryptonian will have her episode on Tuesday, December 11th.

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By Crystal
Crystal joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2018. Three years earlier, she tripped into the Supernatural fandom and decided to stay. It's where her passion for writing was reborn. Her free time is largely centered around creative writing (okay, it's fanfic), providing editing for others, and binging makeover shows. The DC Universe is her other fandom of choice and she lives for the crossover extravaganzas. The main joy in her life is her young son whom she homeschools and takes to Disney World as often as possible.
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