The last time we checked in with Team Flash they had just defeated the Thinker and were enjoying the birth of Joe and Cecile’s daughter when Jessica Parker Kennedy’s Mystery Girl interrupted the festivities with a bombshell: She’s actually Barry and Iris’ future daughter Nora West-Allen and she made a big, big mistake. If you watched all of the uneven third season, then you probably saw that twist coming. Still, it opens up an exciting world of possibilities for the show and presents a new challenge for the team, especially for Barry and Iris. Sure, we’re only one episode into season 5, but based on the premiere, it seems as though this season may live up to that promise. “Nora” is a fun and strong season opener that feels like it’s powered by the palpable joy and bubbliness of Kennedy’s performance, and it left me excited to see where the season goes.
“Nora” picks up exactly where we left off in the finale. Pretty much everyone at Joe’s home is speechless after Nora’s revelation — except for Cisco, who cuts the tension with his need for alcohol, and Ralph, who is just now realizing that time travel is a thing. (Ralph discovering the existence of time travel and the multiverse in this episode brought me so much joy.) Nora moves about the room with an air familiarity because she knows almost everyone there from the future, and doesn’t waste any time revealing the big mistake she made: By helping Barry save the day in the finale, she’s messed with the timeline (like father, like daughter) and can’t return to the future. Thus, she needs Team Flash’s help.
Even in her early scenes, Kennedy, who is a series regular this season, feels like a great addition to the show. She infuses almost all of Nora’s lines with an infectious sense of wonder, and it’s hard not to geek out with Nora, who is in awe of pretty much everything. Sure, Nora has read about all of Team Flash’s exploits, but now she’s here and gets to experience it first-hand — like the tachyon enhancer Barry used to meet Supergirl for the first time. And in her excitement, she also lets slip a few details about the future: There’s a Flash museum, King Shark and Grodd eventually fight, and she knows Lighting Lad.
Having Nora here presents an interesting quagmire for her parents. Barry is determined to send her back to the future because he’s (hypocritically) worried about the damage her presence does to the timeline — especially after a kinetic-absorbing meta named Gridlock manages to get away because Nora distracted him while in battle. Iris, on the other hand, is very eager to get to know her daughter. Alas, Nora doesn’t feel the same way, for reasons we’ll learn soon.
The Team tries using Thawne’s tachyon enhancer to increase Nora’s speed so she can go home, but that fails because, as the Legends discovered when they tested her blood off-screen, she has negative tachyons coursing through her body. Said negative tachyons are preventing her from entering the Speed Force (Don’t you just hate it when that happens?). Nora’s stuck here until Team Flash can find a way to balance out the negative tachyons with positive ones — or, more accurately, until Nora stops flooding her body with negative tachyons. This shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, but Nora lied.
Barry realizes that Nora isn’t being totally truthful with them and confronts her with his suspicions, which leads to yet another bombshell from the future: Although Nora has spent her entire life with Iris, this is the first time she’s met Barry, who’s been missing for 25 years after disappearing in the headline-making crisis of 2024 when she was a baby. All of this hits Barry like a brick because he had just shared with Iris his concerns that he was going to miss all of Nora’s firsts and now it turns out that he actually did.
Next: Cicada enters stage right