The Flash season 5, episode 19, "Snow Pack," picks up the pace and raises a whole host of questions. The Flash season 5 has been a strange one, carefully attempting to balance multiple overarching plots at once. In theory, the threat of Cicada should be the A-plot; in reality, the more intriguing mystery has always been Nora Allen and her partnership with Eobard Thawne.
The various plots are building to a climax at last. The truth about Nora has finally been revealed, and last week her father decided to take her back to her own time. Given Barry knows he's destined to disappear, he's basically told his daughter that he doesn't ever want to see her again, and that she can never have a relationship with the father she's always longed for. In "Snow Pack," the Flash's actions push Nora straight back to Thawne. It looks as though Barry has played right into Thawne's hands. Meanwhile, back in the present, Future Cicada is hatching plans of her own - which presumably involve the deaths of a lot of metas.
"Snow Pack" is an odd episode, only because both of these major stories are relegated to secondary status in an episode that focuses in on the relationship between Caitlin and her father. The show uses Caitlin's tortured family background to hold up a mirror to Barry, and make him realize just what a mess he's made of his own family. Still, it seems rather an odd decision, in that viewers will be far more invested in the episode's sub-plots than in the main story.
11. What is the Negative Speed Force?
The Negative Speed Force is lifted straight from the comics, a twisted version of Flash's Speed Force created to be the yin to the Speed Force's yang. It's an extradimensional field of negative energy that eats away at the Speed Force like a cancer. Thawne himself was the source of the Negative Speed Force, which was composed of every negative emotion; his jealousy, his pain, his rage, and his greed. The Flash's version of the Negative Speed Force appears to be identical to this in almost every respect; Thawne claims he created it, and Nora accesses it by tapping into all her most painful emotions. It's clear that a speedster who accesses the Negative Speed Force can use it to do everything a normal speedster does with the Speed Force. Nora is able to use it to travel through time - without her father even being aware she was doing so.
10. How Will The Negative Speed Force Affect Nora?
The experience of tapping into the Negative Speed Force appears to have had a profound effect on Nora. When she returns to 2019, her eyes are blazing with a crimson light, and her usual lightning colors have been replaced with deadly red. It's reminiscent of Geoff Johns' The Flash: Rebirth, which saw Barry Allen himself corrupted by the Negative Speed Force. He became a host of its energies, and through him the Negative Speed Force attempted to consume all sources of Speed Force energy around him. In The Flash: Rebirth, this was Thawne's masterplan; to turn Barry into the ultimate weapon against his friends and family, to transform him into the one who killed everyone he loves.
It's possible that this was Thawne's plan for Nora all along in The Flash season 5; to manipulate her into a place where she would choose to tap into the Negative Speed Force, and where she would become host to its powers. What more fitting weapon could Thawne find to use against Barry Allen than his own daughter?
9. Does Thawne Actually CARE About Nora?
Surprisingly, Thawne appeared to actually care about Nora - to the extent that he gave Iris tips that should help Team Flash bring Nora back from the Negative Speed Force. This is certainly an unexpected twist, a reminder that even the Reverse-Flash isn't completely irredeemable. It does make a strange kind of sense, though; Thawne is on death row, and Nora is one of only two people who've visited him in the last 15 years. There's a sense in which she's seemed to become almost like a daughter to him, and he really does appear to value the fact she keeps coming back to him for advice. This emotion could potentially compromise all of Thawne's plans - whatever they may be.
8. What Is Nora Doing Back In 2019?
The last episode of The Flash, "Godspeed," revealed that Nora had always been obsessed with Cicada - the one case her father never solved. Now she's closer to cracking the case than ever before, but it's all gone horribly wrong. Future Cicada has traveled back to 2019 and is wreaking havoc. Nora considers herself responsible, and her obsession has led her to believe she's the only one who can put things right. Unfortunately, it's entirely possible that the Negative Speed Force has now given Nora another mission; one of wrath, of rage, and of vengeance upon the father who cast her aside and told her she could never be a part of his life.
7. Who Was Right About Nora: Barry Or Iris?
All this flows from Barry's spontaneous decision to return Nora to her own time, and tell her to stay there. It's easy to understand his logic; he's already come to care so much about Nora, only to discover that she's been working with Thawne the whole time. In the Flash's view, Nora is primed as a weapon to be used against Barry and his family. He has no idea how to handle this, he believes he's already been outmaneuvered by Thawne, and the very fact his daughter trusts the man who killed his mother is tearing him apart. In truth, Barry's decision wasn't a strategic one; it represented the fact that he was in too much pain, and simply wanted to run away from it.
Iris, meanwhile, is entirely correct when she argues that Barry doesn't have the right to make unilateral decisions that affect the whole family. The Flash tends to act first and think later, and however heroic his decisions usually are, they don't allow his loved ones the time to process them and work through them with him. In this case, not only did Barry not consult with Iris, but he didn't even give her a chance to say goodbye to her own daughter. Iris is fearful of the future, aware that she's destined to have a strained relationship with Nora, and this could be the one time in their lives when they truly bond. Barry most certainly didn't have the right to make this decision without talking it through with Iris first, and he showed a blatant disregard for his wife's emotions.
6. Why Has Cicada Kidnapped Grace?
Meanwhile, Future Cicada is continuing to enact her own plan - and it apparently involves her past self. Cicada has kidnapped the comatose young Grace from hospital, and at this stage it's impossible to know the reason. Still, this serves as a salutary reminder that Cicada is still a threat, and that she isn't just stranded in the past; she has a purpose, one that Team Flash need to work out as quickly as possible.