The Flash recap: Nora teams up with bee-list (sorry not sorry) rogues
One of the things I’ve been enjoying about The Flash’s fifth season is how it’s in conversation with the show’s exemplary first season. From Thawne’s return and mentorship of Nora, to the introduction of the young rogues, and other small callbacks, the series has done a good job of using season 1 to give this season’s arc added weight, which is a great thing because a show’s history is one of its strongest assets this far into its run. In fact, this week’s episode is a pretty solid example of how the show has successfully remixed season 1 ideas to create something new and interesting.
Although the title of Tuesday’s episode, “Gone Rogue,” which was written by Sam Chalsen and Joshua V. Gilbert, is a play on season 1’s excellent “Going Rogue” (a.k.a. Captain Cold’s first episode), the actual hour has more in common with another season 1 outing: “Rogue Air.” In “Rogue Air,” Barry teams up with Cold and Golden Glider to ferry metahumans out of the pipeline and thwart Reverse Flash/Thawne’s plan, which raised questions about whether the rogues could be trusted or if they’re irredeemably bad, and if Barry was crossing a line by working with them. Similarly, “Gone Rogue” sees an angry Nora (foolishly) join forces with the young rogues for, as we find out, a good reason and alludes to other memorable season 1 episodes, too.
After finding out that Nora has returned to 2019, Team Flash uses everything piece of tech to find her, or at least be alerted when she uses the Speed Forces. Unfortunately, all of that work is for naught because Nora has abandoned the Speed Force in favor of Thawne’s angst-causing Negative Speed Force, which the team doesn’t know about yet. So, Team Flash is basically several steps behind Nora — who breaks into an architecture firm and steals blueprints for weapons manufacturer McCulloch Technologies’ test site — when the episode begins.
Acting on Thawne’s advice, Nora plans on breaking into McCulloch Technologies to steal something; however, the building has a super metahuman power dampener that prevents her from pulling off this heist on her own (Wow, a big week for heists in superhero TV shows and movies). So, she steps to the bad side and recruit some bee-list rogues: Weather Witch, Rag Doll, and season 1 throwback Queen Bee, whose love of bee puns has not diminished since the last time we saw her (Her most recent Arrowverse appearance was in the Arrow season 4 episode “Beacon of Hope”). She needs their meta-tech to successfully break in and acquire some meta-tech weapons that the defense contractor is developing. Before they do that, though, they must first rob from the Flash, which excites her new friends.
So the Nora & The Young Rogues head to S.T.A.R Labs. Nora infiltrates the S.T.A.R-chives, which sets off an alarm that lures in her father. Barry tells Nora she can come as long as she stops working with Thawne, but Nora rejects his olive branch because she’s pissed off about him trying to push her away. Her eyes turn red, her face starts vibrating, and she shocks her father with red lightning. In other words, the Reverse Flash jumps out. Even though I was kind of on the fence of Nora stepping to the dark side, Jessica Parker Kennedy does a good job of making it believable and making you understand where all of this frustration comes from.
Nora absconds from S.T.A.R. Labs with three things: Spencer Young’s meta-tech phone, and Cisco and Sherloque. She orders Cisco to reprogram Spencer’s phone so they can use it, and Cisco hilariously points out that he was in this exact situation five years ago and rightfully calls them a rogues cover band. Not only that, but his reaction seeing Queen Bee is also hilarious, too. “Is that crazy bee girl? Hey girl, what’s going on? What a throwback!” he says. Nora responds to Cisco’s flippancy by threatening him with Reverse Flash’s signature move, a hand through the heart. “How’s this for a cover band?” Nora snarls. And Cisco caves and agrees to do the work. I love how this scene mixed up both funny and dramatic allusions to season 1.
After his encounter with Nora, Barry is convinced that she’s been irredeemably corrupted by Thawne and is determined to bring her in. However, Iris — who has been busy piecing together Nora’s plan with Cecile and figures out that she’s trying to steal some meta-tech from McCulloch to defeat Cicada II — argues that maybe they should trust Nora even if she’s following a plan that Thawne came up with. Iris believes Nora has made them better people and she wonders if she’s done the same for Thawne. Both this and some words of wisdom about trust from Joe convince Barry to not write his daughter off completely.
Meanwhile, Nora has a heart-to-heart with her new team, all of whom tell her that she can’t depend actually depend on family. “When people tell you that family is always going to be there for you, they’re full of it,” says Weather Witch, adding that they’re her new family now. Of course, the new rogues turn on Nora the minute they break into the McCulloch’s testing lab. They take her and the other McCulloch employees hostage and threaten to kill them unless the Flash reveals his identity, because they want to make a name for themselves.
In a surprising twist, though, Team Flash was already on the scene in disguise as McCulloch employees. So, they unmask themselves, and Barry and Nora bury the hatchet in Flash Time before knocking Weather Witch and Queen Bee out. Meanwhile, Iris knocks Rag Doll out with one punch.
In the wake of the heist, Nora reveals that she broke into McCulloch to steal a mirror gun, which was built from the satellite shards and is capable of destroying anything, including Cicada II’s dagger. Even though Barry bristles at doing anything Thawne tells them, he agrees to go along with the plan because he trusts Nora.
Unfortunately for Team Flash, though, the Cicada II situation has become even more dangerous: Ralph and Caitlin figure out that Cicada II stole the prototypes of Cisco’s metahuman cure and plans on using the cryo-atomizer to kill every metahuman with it.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty solid episode; however, there’s something a bit wonky about its message. The last time we saw Weather Witch, she saved Nora from a speeding car, the implication being that she and other villains weren’t irredeemably bad. But this episode really undercuts that idea that people can change by having her double-cross Nora in the penultimate act and calls into question Nora’s faith in people. Weirdness aside, though, I suspect the purpose of this is to prepare us for Thawne’s eventual betrayal.
Wall of Weird:
- There’s a moment in this episode where you think the show is leading to romance between Ralph and Caitlin, but it hilariously swerves as both characters confirm that they aren’t interested in each other. It’s great.
- Sherloque helps Cisco realize that the reason he hasn’t told his girlfriend about his secret identity is because he’s considering giving it up.
After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. the Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.