“You didn’t get your powers when Godspeed hit you with his lightning. It looks like you always had them.”
Back after what’s felt like a months-long hiatus, The Flash returns this week as Barry and the gang try to come to terms with Nora’s massive betrayal. But more than their coming to terms with her duplicity, “Godspeed” is an origin story, more specifically that of Nora West-Allen and how she became the speedster known as XS.
When Nora’s story first started to play out, it came across as a nice, lighthearted romp that seemed to be more of a pit stop than full on origin. Many of the story queues they used for Nora’s discovery of her powers paralleled Barry’s own early misadventures, including Nora crashing into the back of a dry cleaner’s truck. But the laughs are quickly left behind when Nora discovers the truth of her heritage and Iris’s deception in dampening her powers. Maybe even worse is that when she goes against Godspeed, a newly minted speedster, her best friend Lia is killed right in front of her. Without any support system and knowing Godspeed has to be stopped, Nora turns to the only person that can help her defeat the mysterious speedster.
The saying ‘deal with the devil’ may be an overused saying but Nora’s situation presents the truth of it. Inexperienced as she is with her abilities, Nora knows she won’t stand a chance against Godspeed and while Thawne’s advice helps her win the day, it becomes the schism between her and Barry. Though Nora takes center stage for most of the episode, Barry is the one affected most by her alliance with Thawne. In fact, Barry’s anger, while justified, does cause him to make the unilateral decision to drop Nora back into 2049. It’s a difficult prospect he faces — his daughter working with his mother’s killer — but Barry’s actions are so not like him. Then again, this isn’t the first time Barry’s performed an act without gaining permission — see his use of the meta-human cure as an example — and the fallout for this decision will no doubt cause that much more heartache, especially for Iris.
In the end, while “Godspeed” fumbles away a potentially potent adversary in its titular villain, it offers us a clearer picture of Nora’s rise to XS. Hearing about her break with Iris is one thing, seeing it as she also deals with the grief from watching her best friend murdered is a reminder that, underneath the peppy and excessively bubbly disposition, lies a damaged woman who’s been adrift in a sea of her newfound abilities and only now is she finding comfort in the friends and family of her past.
Watching Barry tear that away from her is heartbreaking and one can only wonder the damage of Nora being abandoned by her father, the man she worshiped above all others, will do to her psyche. If anything, she may be more susceptible to Thawne’s influence than ever before. And that is not a good thing for anyone involved.
- I really don’t think I’ve been angrier with Barry than his callous actions against Nora. As understandable as his feeling of betrayal is, the nature in which he dismisses his daughter was beyond cruel. Kicking her out of the lab would be one thing, but to drop her back off in the future and tell her never come back? That’s a vindictive action more becoming of a villain like Thawne… and the fallout from his actions will be a very painful one for Team Flash.
- Speaking of Thawne, I’m still trying to determine if he’s sincere in his relationship with Nora. There are moments in which he seemingly cares for her, even defending her with Barry. But I just can’t quite trust his motives. He’s the one that pointed her towards discovering the truth about Barry as well as helping her make the jump into the past. Additionally, he knew that, sooner or later, Barry would find out the truth their partnership and the overtly negative reaction that would follow. Considering he has only 10 minutes left before he pays the ultimate price, I lean towards him having one last gasp of gaining his freedom than him searching for redemption in the end.
- About Godspeed…sigh. Another example of the network shows breezing past a character/plot point. Sure, this may not be the end of Arthur Hart but to de-power this baddie so much as to allow Nora to defeat him in her first go-round was more than disappointing; it was almost lazy to the point of recklessness. Godspeed is not an old or established Flash villain but his story is one that could have really been told throughout a season than that of a jobber. Maybe he’ll return in some form next season…as a matter of fact, how crazy would it be if Nora ended up partnering with him and Thawne after going off the deep end after Barry abandoning her? Okay, that sounds to fanfiction-ish but talk about a kick-ass conflict it something like this came to pass!
The Flash – “Godspeed”
7.5 out of 10