REVIEW: The Flash, S5E22 – Legacy

The Flash covers two episodes’ worth of story in “Legacy,” making up for a lackluster back half of the season with a jam-packed finale that ties up plenty of loose ends. Between Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) coming to terms with their daughter’s fate, Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) becoming the hero she always meant to, and Cisco (Carlos Valdes), Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Sherloque (Tom Cavanagh) each stepping into the next phase of their lives – there was hardly time to defeat Cicada and face off against Eobard as well. But somehow the show managed to do it all, and most of it rather well.

With friends like these, who needs armies?

“Legacy” began where last week’s episode ended, with Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) taking one for the team and turning himself into a Cubist sculpture to keep Cicada’s dagger from disappearing and thus freeing Eobard from his imprisonment. The characters and audience finally got a full explanation for what Thawne’s plan was – basically that the dagger was dampening his powers and creating a situation in which it could be destroyed in the past would restore his speed before his death date – and in one scene they made it sound more feasible and intelligent than it played out for most of the season. But nevertheless, The Flash then presented a moral dilemma: does the team stop Cicada in the present at the cost of freeing Thawe in the future or not?

Luckily, Nora came up with an alternative plan to stop both Big Bads, and it actually sounded like it could work. It was a relief to see her taking responsibility and acting like the grown-up she always was, and for her parents to fully support her decision instead of trying to talk her out of it. First they tried to trap the elder Cicada long enough to convince her younger self to take the cure, which required Nora going inside her mind to show her that Orlin wanted was what best for her, and killing hundreds of people just wasn’t it. Young Grace still had some light left in her and chose the peaceful path, but it wasn’t enough to stop her future self because the shard inside her head was still aligned with the dagger. That meant they still had to destroy the dagger and free Eobard – which should have been the plot of last week’s episode, but that’s another story.

I’m not crying. You’re crying.

The halfway point was when “Legacy” finally kicked into high gear, making up for lost time by wooshing Nora and Barry to the future to fight Thawne and save the unfortunate prison guards from his wrath. The three-way speedster battle was very well-designed, but the best part was when the team joined via time sphere and smashed it right into the Reverse Flash. Nora gave into her Negative Speedforce side once more and nearly killed Thawne, but the moment got a lot darker when it became clear that she was about to be erased from existence thanks to the disappearance of the dagger and the defeat of Cicada. Patton gave another Emmy-worthy performance here, doling out Iris’ fear and sorrow in equal measure as Barry desperately tried to take Nora into the Negative Speedforce to protect her from the changes. But here was Nora made a truly selfless decision: she would rather disappear than give into her darkest impulses, and so her parents had to say a heartbreaking goodbye to her as she vanished before their very eyes.

Thankfully The Flash gave Iris and Barry a moment alone to process their loss, and Nora’s notebook written in the timeless Speedforce Language became an invaluable source of comfort. As did the video letter she left them, echoing Barry and Iris’ own videos from the past, in which she thanked them both for the love and support they had provided and the lessons they had taught her. After a full season of Nora appearing to dismiss Iris at every turn, it was very necessary to see her acknowledge both sides of the West-Allen family. While Barry and Iris still had hope of starting a family in the future, even if Nora wouldn’t be a part of it, they remained unaware that the Crisis on Infinite Earths is coming later this year and they have even less time together than before.

Other subplots in “Legacy” existed primarily to get characters to where they needed to be (or potentially wouldn’t be) next season. Cisco finally told Kamila about his superpowers, a reveal she handled extremely well, and chose to take the metahuman cure in order to experience his life as more than a sum of his powers. Considering that he didn’t get a big farewell scene with the team, but rather a private one with Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) saying goodbye to Vibe, I have to assume the character will be back next season. A character that won’t be back? Cavanagh’s Sherloque, who returned to his Earth to reunite with his love Renee. He won’t be missed, but I am happy for him. I’m even happier for Joe, who got promoted to Captain of the CCPD after Singh got his own promotion to Chief of Police. The best part, though, was Singh admitting he’s known Barry was The Flash for awhile – mostly because it puts “Trial of the Flash” in a better light. Finally, while Caitlin got a new Frost suit courtesy of Cisco, Ralph got a new case file with the name “Dearborn” typed in big bold letters. For the uninitiated, Dearborn in the last name of his eventual wife Sue, and I cannot wait to meet her.

As for Eobard Thawne? He’ll be seen in Crisis when The Flash returns this Fall, ready to make Barry disappear unless Oliver Queen has something to say about it.