NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Flash” are present in this review

 

 

Now that the truth about Nora’s affiliation with Eobard Thawne has been revealed to Team Flash, everyone is left to wonder what their next move with her is, after Barry stashes her in the pipeline. Fortunately, this also means that The Flash can take another well-earned break from the Cicada storyline, in favour of focusing on Nora’s backstory, and how she was ultimately inspired to meet her father in the present day. “Godspeed” also happens to introduce yet another speedster villain to the Arrowverse, in this case the titular Godspeed, though interestingly, he ultimately ended up being the weak link in an otherwise surprisingly strong episode for The Flash.

Most of the episode is dominated by a flashback (flash-forward?) storyline for Nora, as Sherloque suggests that Team Flash read her journal, in an effort to deduce what Nora’s true agenda may be. The first half of the episode thus unfolds with a showcase of Nora’s pre-speedster life as a future-era CSI in Central City, following in her father’s footsteps. After she discovers evidence that a speedster may be stealing chemicals in the city, her enthusiastic CSI partner and best friend, Lia decides to help her investigate, with the two encountering Godspeed, the culprit, at a laboratory. After Nora is hit by lightning before Godspeed makes off with his latest batch of chemicals, she wakes up in the hospital, having had a mysterious chip removed from her body. It’s here that she discovers that she has inherited speedster powers of her own, believing she somehow got them from being hit by Godspeed’s lightning.

Of course, it’s stupid obvious that the power-dampening chip is no doubt an evolution of the present-day metahuman cure, which Iris definitely injected into Nora to prevent her own speedster powers from coming out. It takes Nora a bit of extra time to get to where the audience will immediately arrive, but nonetheless, Nora’s character-driven backstory is mostly pretty well done. It’s good to see that Nora doesn’t immediately get a handle on her speedster powers for once, screwing up a police blockade targeting future criminals, Bug and Byte (which is a very cool Easter egg for DC fans!), though she nonetheless decides to try and get one up on Godspeed with Lia, by taking away a chemical supply before Godspeed can reach it. Godspeed still catches up however, with Nora inevitably failing to stop him, and Lia being killed as a result.

Iris learning about Nora losing the person closest to her ultimately prompts her to release Nora from the pipeline in the present, giving her a chance to explain herself to Team Flash. This is the point where Nora recounts how she met Eobard Thawne, and how she ultimately became motivated to seek help from him. Since Nora decides that the best way to combat an evil speedster is to think like an evil speedster, she visits Thawne at Iron Heights, and tries to get help with Godspeed. Thawne is initially unwilling to help, but quickly deduces that Nora is a speedster, eventually agreeing to help her fight Godspeed. With some coaching from Thawne, which very nicely calls back to Barry’s moments with Thawne during The Flash’s first season, Nora takes the fight to Godspeed, though still struggles, particularly finding herself unable to phase when it counts.

It’s really cool to see history repeating itself with the Flash Family, as Nora is forced into the same reluctant mentorship with Thawne that her father ultimately survived so many years ago. With Thawne’s help, Nora eventually manages to subdue Godspeed as well, eliminating the Velocity-9 drug in his system with the aid of some media satellites, which de-powers Godspeed, and allows him to be arrested. This isn’t a bad first victory for Nora as a speedster, but as I said, Godspeed is a disappointingly lame villain in his Arrowverse incarnation. Godspeed is a speedster-hunting powerhouse in DC Comics lore, and one of the deadliest modern enemies of the Flash Family in the printed panels. In the case of The Flash however, Godspeed is just our latest disposable metahuman villain-of-the-week, being dispatched ridiculously easily, and by a fledgling speedster at that! It really takes away from the character’s appeal when he’s so easily bested in a few short minutes, by Nora of all people!

Regardless, Nora’s tale of defeating Godspeed, and going to the present to meet her father, after discovering a video message stored by Gideon in the Time Vault, eventually gives Team Flash enough reason to believe that Nora had her reasons for allying with Thawne. Barry, however, remains unconvinced, citing that Nora had no reason to go back to Thawne after affiliating with Team Flash, yet she did so anyway. The episode definitely saved its biggest dramatic payoff for the end as well, with Barry dumping Nora back in the future, warning her never to return to the present, before he goes to Iron Heights ahead of Thawne’s scheduled execution, to tell his arch-nemesis that he’s getting what he deserves. It’s not often that Barry’s dark side really comes out, but seeing just how much of a nerve Thawne still hits for him is effectively chilling, especially considering how easy it was for Barry to permanently sever his relationship with his future daughter! I can’t help but wonder if Iris was consulted in the decision to drop Nora back in the future, but I suppose we’ll find out soon enough, in the following episode.

“Godspeed” continues to inadvertently highlight just how much of a weak narrative link Cicada continually is for The Flash, since any Season Five episodes that make an effort to move away from the Cicada conflict seem to often turn out better than the rest. It’s too bad that Godspeed himself is such a lame, disposable threat however. Despite The Flash’s over-abundance of speedster villains at this point, the failure to properly utilize the potential of Godspeed against a member of the Flash Family still marks a pretty huge missed opportunity for the Arrowverse. Still, Nora’s emotional backstory is realized pretty well, as is the cold response by Barry, who more or less disowns his own daughter by dropping her back in the future, possibly without consulting anyone else, including Iris. I doubt that Nora going back to the future will ultimately stick, especially with Cicada still being at large, but it’s good to see Nora getting a worthy episode-long storyline. Hopefully the rest of Team Flash ends up agreeing with Barry dumping her back in her own time period though!

The Flash 5.18: "Godspeed" Review
The Flash manages to rebound pretty well with, "Godspeed", thanks to a strong backstory exploration for Nora, even if the titular villain leaves much to be desired.
THE GOOD STUFF
  • Nora's charming, emotional backstory
  • Iris ending up being her daughter's main advocate
  • Barry's cutting final words to Nora and Thawne
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
  • Godspeed is a lame, disposable villain-of-the-week
  • Not much real mystery left with Nora's powers
81%Overall Score
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