The Flash season 5, episode 20, "Gone Rogue," sees Team Flash struggle to take down Nora - and finally begins to reveal the mysterious plans of Eobard Thawne and the future Cicada. Time travel has always been central to The Flash, ever since the pilot episode began the build-up to "Crisis on Infinite Earths," and at times that's caused a great deal of frustration for viewers. In the case of season 5, though, time travel has actually been the most interesting plot element. Team Flash is currently caught in a strange, twisted game of chess between two master-planners from the future.
The new Cicada has been consistently presented as an almost unbeatable serial killer; unlike her Uncle Orlin, Grace tends to overwhelm Team Flash with ease, and they've barely escaped from each encounter with their lives. For all that's the case, up until now the threat of Cicada has been fairly limited. She's been presented as a hunter, a dangerous predator who stalks her prey through the shadow. That behavior served Cicada well in her own time, which was packed with metahumans, but in 2019 they're far fewer. That means she has a chance to stem the tide - and she's worked out a way to do it.
Fortunately for Team Flash, Eobard Thawne and XS have a plan of their own. But it's still unclear whether or not Thawne's intentions truly are so innocent as they seem; in which case, it's entirely possible Team Flash is caught in a clash between two dangerous villains. Here are the biggest questions after The Flash season 5, episode 20.
8. Why Does Thawne Want Cicada's Dagger Destroyed?
Nora West-Allen has always been obsessed with Cicada, the one case her father couldn't crack, and in "Gone Rogue" her plan to take Cicada down is at last revealed. Thawne has identified a Dark Matter-infused weapon that he believes could destroy Cicada's dagger. This is Cicada's greatest weapon, the reason metahuman powers are nullified in proximity to her, and it may even be the source of her own powers. Destroying it is a smart strategy, and by the end of the episode, even Team Flash have decided to run with it.
The fundamental problem, however, is that this doesn't quite match up with the events of episode 18, "Godspeed." Nora didn't travel to the past in order to beat Cicada; she did it so she had a chance to meet her dad. Thawne was the one who suggested Nora should help her father deal with the Thinker's satellite, which changed history and meant Cicada emerged years earlier than he should have done. That simply can't be a coincidence; whether or not Thawne does indeed care for Nora, he still has an agenda of his own, and it apparently involves the destruction of Cicada's dagger.
7. Could Thawne Be Trying To Redeem Himself?
Iris met Thawne in the previous episode, "Snow Pack," and she's concluded that Thawne really does care for Nora. As she points out, having Nora in their lives has made Barry and Iris better people, so why couldn't it have done the same for Thawne? Certainly "Gone Rogue" does imply that this is the case; Thawne may have introduced Nora to the Negative Speed Force, but it doesn't appear to have done any long-term harm to her. But if Thawne does care for Nora, has it compromised his judgment?
6. What Actually Is Cicada's Plan In The Flash Season 5?
"Gone Rogue" finally reveals Cicada's mystery plan and the reason she's stuck around in 2019. Like Nora and Thawne, to Cicada 2019 is the past, which means she knows exactly how things are going to play out. She successfully steals some early samples of Cisco's Meta Cure, failed versions that would be fatal to any Meta exposed to them. Her intention is to use the Cryo-Atomizer to cover all Central City with the Cure, killing every single Meta in the city. That's why she broke her younger self out of hospital; to get her far enough away so she would survive. Disturbingly, by the end of The Flash season 5, episode 20 Cicada has everything she needs to enact her plan.
5. Is Orlin Really Alive?
In a shocking twist, the episode shows Cicada stood next to her uncle Orlin - who she murdered in an earlier episode of The Flash, "Failure is an Orphan." It's reasonable to assume that this is the Orlin of Cicada's original timeline, and that he isn't actually physically present at all; the two shared a psychic bond, so it's conceivable that this is some sort of hallucination. Certainly, that would explain why Orlin didn't appear to have aged at all.
4. Who Are The Young Rogues?
Believing she can no longer rely upon Team Flash, and acting under the influence of the Negative Speed Force, Nora recruits a group of villains to her cause. She chooses the Bug-Eyed Bandit, Weather Witch, and Rag Doll to form the Young Rogues, ironically stealing the name from a group that the villain Silver Ghost had intended to start earlier in The Flash season 5, in the episode "The Flash and the Furious." Unsurprisingly, Nora's idea backfires after the Young Rogues decide they don't trust the Flash's daughter.
3. Can Nora Just Abandon The Negative Speed Force?
In the comics, the Negative Speed Force is 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, and it's accessed when a speedster taps into their negative emotions. Surprisingly, though, The Flash dismisses the Negative Speed Force pretty quickly. "Gone Rogue" ends with a tender moment in which Barry persuades Nora to come home, and she simply puts the Negative Speed Force behind her, with her speed effects returning to their traditional yellow-and-purple colors. It all seems just a little too easy.
2. What Are Renee Adler's Powers?
"Gone Rogue" contains nods to a number of secondary plots, most notably with both Sherloque and Cisco wrestling with their love lives. Cisco notices that Sherloque has seemed rather lukewarm over Renee Adler recently, and when he points it out Sherloque explains that he's realized Renee is keeping a secret from him. He's deduced that, in this reality, Renee is a Meta. The Great Detective doesn't like secrets being kept from him - which is particularly ironic, given he hasn't even told Renee that he comes from another Earth. But what are Renee's powers, and why is she keeping them a secret?
1. Does Vibe Secretly Want To Be Normal?
Sherloque understandably feels as though he's being needled by Cisco, and so responds by making some observations of his own; he suggests it's time Cisco decided whether he wants to remain a superhero or not. As Sherloque points out, Cisco had spent an enormous amount of time working on a Meta Cure, and he's also desperately trying to keep his vigilante life a secret from his girlfriend. Carlos Valdez is leaving The Flash at the end of season 5, so it's not hard to see where this is going.