“Time Bomb,” the 16th Episode of the fifth season of the Flash was indeed an episode that dropped a bomb on Team Flash. With much prodding from Sherloque Wells, Nora West-Allen, aka XS, and the Fastest Daughter Alive was revealed to have been working with the Flash’s nemesis the Eobard “Reverse-Flash” Thawne in the year 2049. With the truth out, this caused Barry Allen to jail his own daughter in the meta cell. Nora apologized to her father for lying to him for which Papa-Flash responded “So am I.” Talk about grounding your child for hanging out with a bad influence.
I did a poll on Twitter for the Flashcast which is a podcast segment that I do for the Podcast on Earth-2 regarding Barry’s decision to jail Nora. In the poll, I asked if Barry was right to jail his daughter after the revelation. By a landslide vote, most people have sided with Barry on this one. As for me, I am mixed on the issue.
The reason behind my ambivalence is that as a long-time viewer of the Flash (and someone who has started to like Nora’s character), I can see both motivations of father and daughter.
In Barry’s point-of-view, his beloved daughter was in cahoots with the very man that killed his mother when Barry was only 11-years old. What’s ironic is that Nora is the name of Barry’s mother. So, for his daughter to be working for his mother’s killer must have got him feeling (rightfully so) some kind of way (an obviously not-so-good feeling). Let’s not forget the hurt Thawne has done to others. Barry’s father, Henry Allen, was framed for a crime he did not commit, several people were affected by the particle accelerate explosion and woken up with powers they did not ask for, and many others were killed.
Now, in Nora’s point-of-view, we see a young naïve woman who had just learned that she has these extraordinary powers she did not ask to inherit from her father. In addition to that, she had to grow up without a father and with a mother who was overprotective of her. When Nora found out that she had powers, it became her mission to travel back in time to meet her heroic father in person who disappeared before she was born. But to do that, she was going to need to get help from more than the archives or exhibits from the Flash Museum could provide her. She wasn’t going to need something…she was going to need someone to help teach her about her abilities.
Enter Eobard Thawne, the greatest nemesis of the Flash and the murderer of her grandmother.
Uncle Eobard had all the knowledge of all things Speed Force. And even more, he could give Nora what she wanted: the chance to meet and possibly save her father. As a result, Nora learned to run back in time. And with that, she met her father Barry at his wedding to Iris West before it was crashed by Nazis (God, I hate Nazis).
What I am writing is that I understand how Barry felt and why he did what he had to. After all, his daughter was taking direction from the man that killed his mother (her grandmother) and hurt others. But I also understand Nora’s point-of-view. This was a young woman who had never seen her father and who was overprotected by her mother. After watching every episode from this season and seeing more of Nora’s relationship with Thawne, there is no doubt in my mind that Future Iris dampened Nora’s powers because she feared that Nora would seek the Reverse-Flash for answers. I also have no doubt in my mind that somehow, Thawne took out the dampener from Nora and taught her about the Speed Force while he fed her lies about Iris. In other words, Nora was manipulated in the guise of a promise that with her abilities, she would be able to see and save her father.
Think about how you would feel if given the opportunity to see a loved one. What would you do? What hoops would you jump to do so? Or what about when it came to just saving the world? What would you do? Who do you know would have the best expertise to give you what you need when it came to your abilities? Barry of all people should know the answers to those questions.
Like Nora, he sought the help of Reverse Flash and with the knowledge that the punk killed his mother. First time was when he learned that he could run back in time to see his mother and change history. First time around, he realized that doing so would jack up the timeline. The second time Barry had to sought Thawne’s wisdom was when he needed to have the Tachyon device fixed to improve his speed. The third time around was after Zoom murdered Barry and thus Barry did run back in time and save his mother. This resulted in Flashpoint where everything was nearly out of whack. And guess who Barry sought to restore the time line? You guessed it, it was Uncle Eobard who advised the Scarlet Speedster that his mother had to be killed for everything to be almost normal or at least close to it. And the fourth time was to prepare a device that would take down Cicada. And let’s not forget, Barry himself acknowledged that he too thought keeping secrets protected his loved one. Maybe this would be a teachable moment for both father and daughter.
Barry and Nora have a lot in common when it comes to being the hopeful and trustworthy heroes they are. I feel that Barry is going to realize this is later episodes as the fifth seasons comes to an end. Nora is a reflection of the curious and confused speedster Barry once was. Both had Thawne as a father figure who mentored them and taught them everything about themselves and the speedforce. Both longed to see their fathers. And both had to realize that their powers are a reminder that they are not gods. They are people given a gift and a special purpose. Sooner or later, Barry and the rest of Team Flash will forgive Nora for lying because they knew that given the situation, they would have listened to Thawne because of the impact that he had on their lives. That is my defense of Nora West-Allen.