“Having Nora in our lives has made us better people. Isn’t it possible that she did the same thing to Thawne!?”
After tapping into the negative Speed Force, courtesy of Thawne’s direction, Nora teams up with a group of unlikely allies while Barry and the rest of Team Flash try to ascertain the true nature of Nora’s rogue behavior.
It’s not a new thing, to have a hero flirt with their darker nature. Whether it be genre pieces with superheroes or Jedi, or more dramatic pieces, that good-to-bad swerve can always be a fun ride. “Gone Rogue” flirts with the fun aspect but falls short. A big part of this is Nora’s choice of partners. Sorry-not sorry, but Weather Witch, Rag Man, and Bug-Eyed Bandit are not what one would call a fascinating lineup of rogues. Other than Rag Man’s freakish abilities to manipulate his body like Playdoh, there’s nothing captivating about their power sets. Add to that fact is that never during the entire heist, does it ever seem like Nora’s really gone off the deep end. Only in one conversation with Barry does the pain she’s feeling stand out and that is one of the saving graces in what would otherwise be a forgettable episode.
One thing the last two episodes have started to examine is Barry treatment of Nora. Due to his own prejudices against Thawne—with good reasons, granted—Barry has no idea how to step back and actually talk to Nora about her decision to work with the Reverse Flash. Instead, he dumps his daughter off in the future like one would a broken TV set at a dumpster. Not only is it thoughtless, it’s callous beyond the pale. While Nora’s anger does not absolve her of working with the rogue castaways, the genesis of her plan becomes a bit clearer when she reveals the solar gun stolen from McCulloch Tech; turns out, it’s the only thing that can destroy Cicada’s dagger. Her reasoning for not coming to Barry is simple; because the plan came from Thawne, he would most likely not believe it. In fact, he admits as much towards the end, when all is forgiven and the West-Allen’s (and Team Flash) are back on the same page.
Which comes to another issue with “Gone Rogue”. Though, to be fair, this may have to do more with how the rest of the season turns out rather than this specific episode. Though Barry reaches out to Nora, the ease of which they patch things up is a bit too ‘afterschool special’. Nora’s ability to accept Barry’s apology is fine and dandy but no way will that rift between the three of them (we’re including Iris here) be magically sealed thanks to Barry’s mea culpa. Granted, there’s a lot more at stake for them than some emotional scars, so maybe Nora’s able to do what her father couldn’t; focus on the bigger picture while putting her own emotional aches to the side. Whether or not this is revisited sometime in the past…to be honest, is doubtful. But shaky narrative, uninteresting rogues, and a crappy finale is what ultimately causes “Gone Rogue” to limp across the finish line. Save for Nora confronting Barry, it’s as forgettable an episode as we’ve had this season.
The good news is, they have two more weeks to make up for it. The bad news? Cicada’s still the villain.
Sigh…this season can’t end soon enough.
- Severe issues aside, there were a couple of enjoyable moments. Cisco’s return, along with his great banter with Sherloque, was one of them. The chemistry between Carlos Valdes and Tom Cavanagh over these last five years has been undeniable and I smile every time this pair shares the screen.
- It’s understandable that, with the titular character being the focus of the series, sometimes the supporting cast gets lost. Caitlin’s ordeal in “Snow Pack”, where she loses her father, is so quickly glossed over (as it was at the end of last week). It’s apropos that she get paired up with Ralph, such a fun character who’s had nothing of import to work with through much of the season, save for being the tall, stretchy goof (which Hartley Sawyer) does admirably. The snippets of conversation between Sherloque and Cisco regarding their love lives only strengthen this glaring issue. The writers should have spent more time with our loving characters than trying (and failing) to build up Cicada and Cicada 2.0 as big bads. Had Team Flash been highlighted more, this season would not be the disappointing fare that it has been.
- While it was great that Nora showed a stronger focus than her father, it would have made for some interesting television not only if she had given herself over to the negative Speed Force, but Barry was forced to work with Thawne to bring her back. Ahhh…missed opportunities.
- Speaking of Thawne, I’m still trying to figure out his end game. He obviously cares for her but also wants out of his prison. Will helping Nora take down Cicada be a ‘two birds—one stone’ deal where the good guys win but, as a result, he gets free? This is the one plot line I’m really interested to see play out.