The Flash season 5 finale tied up a lot of loose ends but raised a lot of questions about season 6 as well. In truth, The Flash season 5 served a very precise function; it was about getting the show ready for the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover. The timeline had to be changed enough to move the Crisis forward to 2019; furthermore, Eobard Thawne had to be brought back into play and moved into position for his role. That meant Cicada didn't really feel like the show's latest Big Bad; rather, he (and later Cicada II) was more of a B-plot.
In the end, though, The Flash season 5 finale was unexpectedly emotional. The destruction of Cicada II's dagger resulted in massive changes to the timeline, and Nora herself began to fade from existence. Surprisingly, Thawne revealed that he did indeed care for Nora, and that he'd already given her the key to escaping the changes of the timeline. All she needed to do was embrace the Negative Speed Force. But, in a stunning twist, Nora refused to do this. She realized that the Negative Speed Force would change her completely, making her more like Thawne, and so she literally chose to be erased from all time rather than fall under the influence of the Negative Speed Force. The emotional scenes that followed, as Nora gave her parents one last hug even as she vanished in a flare of temporal energy, was one of the most effective moments of the entire season.
The Flash's future looks darker than ever before, as Barry and Iris mourn the loss of the daughter they'd come to love. What's more, before Eobard Thawne escaped he spoke ominously of seeing the Flash again soon - during their next Crisis. So let's explore all the questions raised by The Flash season 5 finale, "Legacy."
8. Is Nora Really Gone?
There's a strange sense in which The Flash season 5 wasn't about Barry Allen at all; it was about his daughter from the future, Nora West-Allen. In "Legacy," Nora finally learned that she'd been foolish to trust Eobard Thawne, and that he'd simply been manipulating in order to ensure Cicada's dagger was destroyed in the past. Nora was devastated, and in a flash of rage she came within a heartbeat of killing Thawne. That moment of weakness clearly shook her to the core, so much so that she recognized the influence the Negative Speed Force was still having on her. Nora realized that if she ran into the Negative Speed Force in order to escape the changes to the timeline, then she'd be lost to it forever. Instead, Nora chose to remain a hero to the end, giving her parents one last embrace before she faded away in their arms.
The timeline has changed definitively, and the Nora Barry and Iris knew is gone for good. But that doesn't necessarily mean the character will never return; the Arrowverse's timeline has always been particularly malleable, and in the comics, the Crisis on Infinite Earths led to chaos across the Multiverse. It wouldn't be too much of a surprise to see some version of Nora brought back into being at some stage.
7. Why Has The Crisis Moved To 2019?
In one chilling scene, Gideon activated herself to report an incoming time wave. The AI summoned an image of the newspaper from the future talking about the Flash's disappearance, and the dates began to change, with Crisis on Infinite Earths moving back from 2024 to 2019. That neatly explains why Nora doesn't exist in the new timeline; because Barry is destined to disappear long before she'll ever be conceived.
But why has the destruction of Cicada's dagger moved the Crisis forward like this? The most likely reason is that, in the original timeline, the dagger was used to inhibit someone else's powers before it was strapped to Thawne's chest. Without the dagger, this unknown Meta will be able to initiate the Crisis several years earlier. The most logical candidate is Psycho-Pirate, who played a major role in the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic and whose Arrowverse equivalent was introduced in the Elseworlds event.
6. What Will Barry's Legacy Be Now Nora Is Gone?
The Flash's season 5 finale includes a touching scene in which Barry and Iris reflect upon Nora's sacrifice, and Barry recognizes her as his legacy. Tragically, though he doesn't know it, that means he doesn't have a legacy in this timeline anymore. He will disappear, along with the other speedsters; although the Flash will be honored by Central City, he'll be confined to the history books.
5. What Does Thawne Know About The Crisis?
As confirmed in "Godspeed," Eobard Thawne's experiments with the Negative Speed Force have left him particularly sensitive to changes in the timeline. That means there's a good chance he knew all along that the Crisis on Infinite Earths would be moved forward by destroying Cicada's dagger, sealing the Flash's fate. He clearly knows some of what's going to happen, promising Flash he'll see him in their next Crisis. Barry doesn't join the dots.
4. Does Thawne's Timeline Make Any Sense At All?
Unfortunately, the time travel in The Flash season 5 doesn't quite make sense. Thawne's comment to Barry implies he's pre-Crisis, and that the Reverse-Flash anticipates heading back in time to the new day the Flash is destined to disappear. But Thawne would have been successfully executed if the timeline hadn't been changed, meaning that he'd never have participated in the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Unfortunately, that directly contradicts the newspaper article, which had already established Thawne as part of that worlds-threatening event. At the moment, the timeline doesn't quite add up, and that suggests something is still in flux.
3. Did Thawne Manipulate Vibe Into Taking Away His Powers?
There had been rumors that Carlos Valdes was leaving The Flash after season 5, but those don't appear to be entirely accurate. Rather, it looks as though Cisco's role is changing; in "Legacy," Cisco realizes that he just wants to live a normal life, and injects himself with the Metahuman Cure. The twist has been effectively set up over the last half-season, with Sherloque in particular noting that nobody invests this much time in a Metahuman Cure if they don't secretly want to be normal themselves.
And yet, it's hard not to suspect that Cisco has been manipulated. In truth, his decision was reached because of a supposedly throwaway comment from Thawne, who suggested that Cisco's powers were the only thing "extraordinary" about him. Cisco rebelled against that notion, believing that his intelligence and character are the true reason he's an extraordinary man, and so decided to get rid of his powers. Given how well Thawne knows Cisco, it's likely that comment was entirely deliberate, aimed at tricking Cisco into taking the Cure. Presumably Vibe's interdimensional powers could have come in useful in Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Thawne wanted to ensure Vibe was taken off the table.
2. Will Joe Be A Good Police Captain?
There are other changes in The Flash's season 5 finale, though. Captain Singh gets promoted to Chief of Police, and he appoints Joe West as his successor. It's an interesting choice, foreshadowed by a subtplot in "The Girl With the Red Lightning," and it will be interesting to see how Joe handles his new responsibilities. Fortunately, he'll still be reporting to Singh, who takes the opportunity to reveal he's figured out that Barry Allen is the Flash. Presumably he worked it out after season 4.
1. Will Season 6 Introduce Sue Dearbon?
Finally, Ralph Dibny is shown getting back to work as a private investigator, settling down in his office and opening a file marked "Dearborn." That name will be very familiar to any comic book readers; in the comics, Sue Dearborn was Ralph's long-time love interest, and the two ultimately married. It looks as though the Elongated Man will get a very personal, and very romantic, subplot in The Flash season 6.