Four Times We Saw Nora Change the Past…and One Time We Didn’t

*Spoilers for the season 4 finale of The Flash.

The Flash season 4 finale “We are the Flash” ended with the reveal that Mystery Girl (Jessica Parker Kennedy) is indeed Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris’ (Candice Patton) daughter Nora Allen from the future. While many in fandom rejoiced at having her identity finally confirmed, the second part of her reveal, that she had made a “big, big mistake,” has left fans scrambling to come up with theories on why WestAllen’s daughter risked messing with the timeline.

Marlize Devoe (Kim Engelbrecht) made a point to tell Iris that Barry destroying the satellite by himself would kill him. Many fans believe Nora went back in time to save her dad, Flashpoint style. This would mean Iris must already be pregnant in order for Nora to exist in the first place. However, I don’t think Barry was originally supposed to die then, nor that Iris is pregnant now. In a post-season finale interview, The Flash showrunner Todd Helbing mentioned that “there’s four specific times [Nora] came back, and you’re gonna learn about why she chose those four times and how they’re gonna play into not only the mistake that she made, but the consequences for somebody like her, a speedster, traveling from the future to the past.” Taking Helbing’s tease into consideration, I think the “big, big mistake” Nora made may have happened earlier in the season, and that each time she comes back, she’s checking on how her original change has impacted the timeline. What if, for example, the wedding wasn’t the first time Nora traveled to the past, but rather just the first time we saw her? What if she’s actually been around since the season 4 premiere?

 

Premise:

Helbing said Nora is from 30 years in the future (2048), and if the 2024 newspaper is still intact, Nora would have been around 6 years old when Barry disappeared. She probably wouldn’t remember much about her dad aside from stories Iris told her of how Barry was a great man and from Barry’s legacy as The Flash memorialized in the Central City Flash museum. Thirty years from now something happens in Nora’s future, and she believes the only way to stop it is if her dad was still around. Of course, Iris would have told her all the dangers of meddling with the past, and advised her never to do it. However, Nora probably reasoned if she made a small change, like say… helping Team Flash get Barry out of the Speed Force earlier than they were supposed to, then it would be enough to change the course of history so that Barry didn’t disappear in 2024, while minimizing other changes to the timeline. After all, Barry’s decision to save his mother was a drastic change, but if Nora’s plan is only to speed up things by a few milliseconds, how much harm could that do? Well, I believe it’s her small, innocuous change to the timeline that causes a butterfly effect of other changes that snowballs out of Nora’s control, to the point that she has to save her father to ensure her own existence. It’s this mess that leads Nora to finally come face to face with her parents to explain her mistake and ask for their help.

How did I get to this crazy conclusion? Let’s investigate by looking at the 4 times we see Nora Allen leading up to the finale…and the one time we didn’t.

 

One small change…

The one time we didn’t see Nora is actually the most relevant to this story, because that’s when the first change to the timeline would have occured. Nora’s first trip to the past appeared to be her parents’ wedding, but what if she’s been around long before that? I believe the change Nora initially set out to make was to help Team Flash rescue Barry from the Speed Force sooner than he came out in the original timeline. In the season 4 premiere, Iris and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) disagree on the decision to pull Barry out of the Speed Force. Thanks to Harry (Tom Cavanaugh), Cisco has the calculation he thinks will help them release Barry. Iris argues that they should respect Barry’s decision to go in and that they don’t know the ramifications of what will happen if they bring him out. As it turns out, the ramifications were the creation of 12 new bus metas. When the team realizes their mistake in 4.03, Harry Wells berates Cisco for not consulting him on the calculations before bringing Barry out. But what if the reason Harry was unsure about the numbers and wanted to be consulted in case of their use, was because they weren’t his numbers? What if Nora was somehow able to adjust or slip Harry the correct calculations, which he then passed onto Cisco, allowing Cisco to get Barry out of the Speed Force earlier than he was originally supposed to?

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