Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Flash season 5 premiere!
In typical fashion, the season 5 premiere of CW's The Flash started off with a "big, big mistake" involving time travel, leaving some even bigger questions. The season 4 finale confirmed what many fans had already figured out: the mystery girl who had appeared throughout the season was indeed Barry and Iris' daughter from the future. She traveled back in time to ask her parents for help, but in the process became stranded in the past. Or so it seemed. The episode revealed that Nora was lying about being stuck and just wanted to spend time with her dear old Dad because, in her timeline, Barry disappeared before she got a chance to know him.
With the appearance of Nora and Barry's new knowledge of his absence in her life, the season is already off to an emotional start. Barry wants to now spend time with his daughter- despite the potential risk to the timeline and her own existence. It will be interesting to see how he balances fatherhood and this secret throughout the season.
The first episode of season 5 (aptly titled 'Nora'), gave fans plenty of questions to consider regarding the character's arrival and the ripples it will create throughout the rest of the season.
Why Does Barry Go Missing For So Long?
Since the series premiere of The Flash, the Crisis of 2024 has loomed large. While there have been different versions of the headline over time, for the most part the message has remained the same. On April 25th, 2024 the Flash will vanish after a battle with Reverse Flash. However, we saw that happen - they didn't vanish, but traveled back in time to the night Barry's mother died. In this episode, it is revealed that Barry never returned to 2024. He remained missing for 25 years, leaving Nora to grow up without a father.
So what is the reason for this long disappearance? Why did Barry not return to his own timeline? One possibility is that The Flash is gearing up for its 100th episode and plans to celebrate it with one of the most famous Flash comics, Crisis on Infinite Earths. In that story, the Flash sacrifices himself to save the world. He doesn't return for 23 years - almost the same amount of time noted on the newspaper Nora showed Barry. It's possible that the show will find some way to use this comic event, especially since they have been teasing it for so long. However, Nora more than likely has a plan to prevent all of this from even happening in the first place, so things are bound to get messy.
Why Doesn't Barry Send Nora Back To The Future?
Barry Allen knows better than anyone what can happen when you mess with the timeline. So why does he decide to let Nora stay in the past? Sure, knowing that he vanishes and never returns has to be a heavy burden to bear and he wants to get to know his daughter, but he should understand the consequences. The whole team should and it's a little surprising no one spoke up to contradict Barry despite Wally's explanation that some events in history are "soft" and can therefore be changed. It's a good thing Harry wasn't there because he definitely would have had a problem with the situation.
Nora's very presence is dangerous. She knows things the other's shouldn't at this point in time. She already has the habit of dropping spoilers about the future and one can only assume the closer she gets to everyone the worse it will get. It's a temptation having her there as well. The characters (probably Cisco) are going to want to take advantage of her knowledge of the future. With Nora around it's sure to create some tension about the characters' futures and their desire to know what happens.