And here we are, at the end of an uneven season of The Flash with a suitably uneven finale episode. For all the talk that Clifford DeVoe was going to be a villain unlike anything Barry and the crew had faced before, the Thinker’s arc in season four has been a total slog—but last night’s Flash not only finished his reign of “enh,” it gave us plenty of other points of interest.
Thankfully, “We Are the Flash” got most of the Thinker/Barry battle out of the way pretty quickly—a bit of mindscape shenigans here, an awful-looking DeVoe-clone battle there. Setting most of the conflict literally inside DeVoe’s mind made for at least some most interesting visuals, but otherwise, a lot of the conflict boiled down to the same boring beats we’ve already trod over during the course of this season. Is there still good in DeVoe somewhere? No, he’s an asshole! Let’s try and be vaguely surprised about that!
What is inside DeVoe’s mind, however, is much better than anything actually related to the Thinker: Ralph! And he’s still alive, for reasons that require some stretches even the Elongated Man would consider a reach, but honestly, I don’t care. Ralph’s death earlier in the season was a low point, an unnecessarily cheap bit of heartstring-pulling that curtailed what was developing to be one of the best arcs on the show in recent memory, for the sake of drama. To have him really be alive and fighting alongside Barry again, and their bond that developed in the early parts of the season being what truly helps defeat DeVoe once and for all, might be a bit Frankie Goes to Hollywood—but dammit, it works.
The rest of the episode—after an electrifying sequence where Flash and a Mystery Girl who appears out of nowhere (more on her soon) have to stop DeVoe’s dead-man-switch satellites from crushing Central City—is thankfully more or less spent picking up the pieces of what’s left behind after the Thinker’s reign of dull, not-all-that-smart terror is put to an end. Which is good, because what’s worked above all about season four has been the character growth in Team Flash rather than anything at all related to DeVoe’s plans for Enlightenment. Harry gets his memories restored but not his intelligence, leading to him walking off into the Earth-2 sunset to live a happier, more emotionally-in-touch life (and to surely be replaced by another Wells next season), Cecile finally has her baby, and everyone can finally get together and celebrate. Even Wally! Remember Wally? Poor Wally.
It’s at Cecile’s post-baby-bash where “We Are the Flash” delivers its second big, intriguing reveal after Ralph’s restoration: The Mystery Girl finally reveals herself to the team after months of teasing and... don’t be that surprised, because yes, she’s Barry and Iris’ daughter from 30 years in the future, like most people guessed. Although she’s not named Dawn, as she is in the comics. World, meet Nora West-Allen, who in a shocking twist has made a huge mistake by using time travel to come back in the past and interfere with the lives of her relatives and their closest friends!
Turns out, selfishly using time travel to muddle in your personal past is actually just a thing that runs in the Allen family.
It looks like Nora’s meddling will be a major part of the show’s next season—which has me hesitant, given that the last time The Flash delved into the ramifications of time travel it was distinctly unpleasant viewing. But given that what worked the best about season four was the show learning from some of its grave mistakes in season three (although it really needs to learn that not all Big Bad villains can sustain a season-long arc after DeVoe), I’m somewhat optimistic that I won’t have to start a God Dammit Nora Allen tag on this site this fall. Time will tell!