“You made a mistake. A big mistake. Sometimes, in life, all we can do is just live with the consequences.”
After the painfully long arc of battling the most uninteresting antagonist in series history, Team Flash discovers that, despite the very real threat Cicada 2.0 poses, she’s nothing more than a tool, used by the show’s most complete villain and Barry’s forever foe, the Reverse Flash.
Picking up seconds after last week’s cliffhanger, “Legacy” drops us in as Ralph jumps in front of Barry blasting Cicada’s dagger with the Mirror gun after he figures out Thawne’s plan. As it turns out, the team has a Sophie’s Choice if you will; either destroy the dagger which will free Thawne from his imminent death sentence or don’t and watch as Cicada 2.0 murders all metas. Despite knowing the damage Thawne can do once freed, Barry goes all in on destroying the dagger until Nora offers up a solution that was there the whole time.
Using the connection she’s shared with the future Grace Gibbons, Nora suggest she travel into the comatose Grace’s mindscape, convince her to take the cure, and help her wake from her coma. Though everything goes according to plan, when Cicada 2.0 arrives, the dark matter present in the dagger overpowers the cure, thus forcing the team to destroy the dagger before the villain is able to murder Nora. Freed from his prison, Thawne kills his jailers and as he gets ready to run back into the world, time is reversed, the guards are saved and he comes face-to-face with XS and the Flash.
The ensuing interaction between the three speedsters consists of an unnecessarily over-the-top villain speech by Thawne explaining his plan followed by one of the cooler speedster chases in the show’s history.
Showcasing his fantastic control of his own Speed Force, Thawne splits himself as Barry and Nora give chase, reminding viewers just how powerful and dangerous he is. When it looks that Barry and Nora are done for, the rest of the team enters and tag team the off-balanced Thawne. It’s here that “Legacy” takes a turn, offering us a wonderfully heartbreaking surprise as Thawne’s escape has mutated the timeline, causing Nora to fade away in a speedster’s rendition of the Infinity War dusting.
The emotional climax is the finale’s highlight. Barry and Iris watch helplessly as their daughter begins to fade, doubly distressed as she refuses her one chance of survival—taking flight into the Negative Speed Force. The heartbroken couple can only hold Nora as she finally disappears from existence.
As if that goodbye isn’t enough, the heartbroken Barry and Iris discover a goodbye message stashed in Nora’s journal. While not wholly necessary after they were able to hold her as she faded away, this recorded goodbye provides a capstone to Nora West-Allen’s story, one that has been filled with ups and downs but, at its core, was a fun journey of the heart and what it means to truly be a hero.
- “Remember who you are”: it’s a line used often in movies, from Hellboy (2004) to The Lion King and for The Flash, “Legacy” took that idea and ran with it. Much of this season was bogged down with a bland villain as the power behind the show—its characters—often took a backseat to the plot. Though Cicada 2.0 is a big part of the finale, at least the first half, the second half of the episode puts the characters at the forefront. It touches on the emotional connections they share and watching a scared Nora accept her fate, dying (or non-existing) in the arms of her parents, touched me like no other moment has this season.
- So similar to its Arrow brethren, “Legacy” really felt as if it could have been marked as The Flash series finale. The changes we saw at the end—Cisco taking the cure, Joe becoming Captain, Singh calling Barry out as the Flash, Sherloque reuniting with Renee, Caitlin getting a new Killer Frost outfit, and Ralph realizing he’s a damn good detective—were Hallmark-type moments for our beloved characters. Barry and Iris getting that final message from Nora would have been the perfect topper as the pair continued on with their lives while battling crime in Central City. But we have another season to look forward to though Team Flash may look a bit different after rumors of a main cast member or two not returning for Sason 6.
- Though Nora could have saved herself, she, like her father, gets her strength from her own light. Succumbing to the Negative Speed Force for survival, while making for a potentially captivating return for her next season, would have erased the bright, exuberant character we’ve come to know over the last year. It’s even more bittersweet to watch as she reiterates Barry’s own words to her about how, in life, sometimes you just have to live with the consequences.
- Speaking of consequences, that post-credits teaser—Barry’s disappearance in the Crisis has now moved from 2024 to 2019—connects well with Oliver’s sacrifice hinted at in I’m looking forward to next season, now more than ever.