After having an incredibly comedic fourth season, the fifth season of The Flash is where the series began to find its balance again. Nora West-Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy) became one of the focal points of the season after making her big reveal in the fourth season finale. Revealed as Iris (Candice Patton) and Barry’s (Grant Gustin) future daughter, the fifth season became all about family and legacy. But with a new season comes a new big bad in the form of Cicada (Chris Klein), who is perhaps the show’s weakest overall villain.
The fifth season came with a lot of big moments, such as a monumental 100th episode to another big Arrowverse crossover that would set up this year’s crossover. With that said, these are the best and worst episodes of The Flash season five.
10 WORST: News Flash (Episode 4)
While Nora had some solid episodes, she also had some stinkers. The fourth episode introduced the concept of meta-tech: technology that had been fused Dark Matter. In “News Flash”, the team takes on Spin (Kiana Madeira): a former colleague of Iris at CCPN who now had her own blog thanks to a piece of meta-tech she had obtained.
Her phone got fused with Dark Matter which allowed her to create news, allowing her to be first on the scene. Nora's initial adoration of Spin held the episode back a lot, especially since Spin isn't that memorable to begin with.
9 BEST: Nora (Episode 1)
The season premiere felt like a true season one episode. As Nora tells how she is “stuck” in 2018, she gets an opportunity to bond with her father while also showing a cold shoulder towards her mother. Despite having lied about being stuck, Nora soon reveals that Barry never returns in the future.
This explains why Nora wanted to meet her father badly as she never got to know Barry in her timeline. Another big moment here is the introduction of the iconic Flash ring as Barry gets his new suit, but also this important tool.
8 WORST: Goldfaced (Episode 13)
While undercover episodes can sometimes be hit or misses depending on a bunch of variables, this thirteenth episode was definitely a miss. Here, Barry and Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) go undercover as bad guys to invade the black market to obtain a device that can stop Cicada. Simply put, “Goldfaced” just feels flat.
Despite a good guest appearance by Damion Poitier as DC baddie Goldface, “Goldfaced” doesn’t hold up as a stand-alone episode, particularly because of the undercover work by the two heroes.
7 BEST: Cause and XS (Episode 14)
Faced with the impossible, Nora is put to the ultimate test. Once she reveals to the team that she has reset the timeline 52 times, they come up with a plan to stop Cicada temporarily.
6 WORST: Snow Pack (Episode 19)
The mystery of Caitlin’s (Danielle Panabaker) supposedly dead father Thomas Snow was an on-and-off one for this season. After being introduced in the first half of the season, the show kind of forgot his storyline until later on. Caitlin saves Thomas from the Icicle, but the family reunion is cut short when Cicada II (Sarah Carter) kills him. It's as anti-climactic as it sounds.
The bigger problem here is that they went back to a storyline this late in the season only to end it so abruptly, making you wonder why they even bothered with it to begin with.
5 BEST: What’s Past is Prologue (Episode 8)
From revisiting those big moments, the 100th episode also comes with the big surprise that Nora was being mentored by the Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh) in her timeline. Time travel has never been this fun.
4 WORST: The Girl With the Red Lightning (Episode 21)
This penultimate episode is a frustrating one simply because no one would listen to Ralph. At this point in the game, it had become evident how exhausting the Cicadas had become. Fans just wanted this story to be over done with.
But when they try to figure out how to get rid of the villain’s lightning bolt dagger, Ralph realizes that destroying the dagger will set Thawne free in the future. This is where you just want to pull your hair out because of Team Flash's refusal to not listen to their resident detective.
3 BEST: Elseworlds, Part 1 (Episode 9)
The Elseworlds crossover kicked off with The Flash as we got to see Barry and Oliver (Stephen Amell) switch lives. Acting as the Green Arrow, Barry gets to be a hero without powers while Oliver tries to figure out how to be a speedster. Not only is it one of the more entertaining crossovers, but it’s the most important one that sets up this year’s Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The Flash portion stands out because of the Smallville tribute that was included, where they traveled to Earth-38 to get Kara’s (Melissa Benoist) help.
2 WORST: Gone Rogue (Episode 20)
As Nora was on her bad girl phase in the twentieth episode, it becomes XS’s final bad episode in the season. In “Gone Rogue," Nora teams up with a few members of the new villainous Rogues team that had been established throughout the season.
But not only does it come off as a cheesy hour of the episode, it feels unnecessarily dramatic because of the actions Barry took when he found out that Nora had been working with the Reverse-Flash. Talk about overacting.
1 BEST: Legacy (Episode 22)
The fifth season finale doesn't just end the Cicada arc but also turns the Reverse-Flash into the real threat. Things get worse when Nora is erased from the present following the timelines' changes. This leads to the show's most painful death, as Barry and Iris witness their daughter disappear.
Later, Nora's parents watch a video she left. Nora thanks them for the time she got to spend with them, leaving them in tears. Then there is the cliffhanger where the headlines of Barry’s disappearance change, revealing that it’s going to happen in 2019 - the year of the coming Crisis.