'The Flash' returns on October 9: All the changes Barry Allen and Team face in season 5
Traveling back in time from 30 years in the future, Nora successfully lands at the West-Allen house but her hastily-taken decision seems to be a "big, big mistake".
It's that time of the year again when DC's much-awaited superhero series make a comeback with brand new seasons, characters arcs and plot twists and turns. Moving into the season of fall premieres, though, fans need to know that there are some dramatic changes in order - ones that are totally going to change the course of the narrative, especially for our favorite speedster, the Flash.
The last time we saw Barry Allen and Team, during season 4 finale, they were fighting a different battle altogether, locking horns with DeVoe and saving the Earth from a barrage of catastrophic incidents including crashing satellites. In the midst of this showdown, though, a mystery speedster was introduced into the plot - Nora West-Allen, a promising meta-human time traveler who came to Team Flash's rescue all the way from the future.
Without wasting much time, the epic crossover event “Crisis on Earth-X” further revealed (and thereby left fans on tenterhooks) that Nora is none other than Barry and Iris' daughter from the future. Traveling back in time from 30 years in the future, Nora successfully lands at the West-Allen house but her hastily-taken decision seems to be a "big, big mistake".
Not only is she trapped in the present timeline now but also her time-travel has created an altered reality - something like Flashpoint 2.0 (when Barry went back in time to save his mother) - stirring newer troubles from everyone involved.
But the change in the timeline is just the tip of the iceberg. Like always, season 5 will be posing a barrage of fresh threats for Barry, Iris, Caitlin, Cisco, and everyone associated with the Team Flash. Unlike other seasons, though, this time around the threat is not from a villainous speedster but rather a “grizzled, blue-collar everyman whose family has been torn apart by metahumans." Obsessed with changing the order, season 5 villain Cicada (alias of David Hersch), played by Chris Klein, "now seeks to exterminate the epidemic — one metahuman at a time.”
Amongst the many powers that this new metahuman-hating supervillain possesses, one of the strongest is that he “can dampen other metahuman powers," according to 'The Flash' star Grant Gustin, who went on to tease season 5's big bad in elaborate details.
"He’s got an edge that no other big bad has ever had. We don’t know who he is. He’s mysterious. He’s just kind of an intimidating, big scary man that can render pretty much all of these metahuman superheroes useless, more or less, in battle."
If these details about Cicada's humungous powers and capabilities send a chill down the spine, the next bit of information about his connection with a Team Flash member (well almost) will certainly terrify you. According to Gustin, Cicada's arrival is definitely tied with Nora. “We learn pretty early on, which shouldn’t come as a huge shock, that Nora being here actually has something to do with Cicada’s arrival,” the actor said.
Now where these changes leave us with regards to the narrative of season 5 - our guess is as good as yours. But one thing is for sure, Nora's introduction is not only going to be connected to the villainous arc but also to the leading couple Barry and Iris. In the prime of their lives, the pair is thrust in an unrealistic situation where their adult daughter, who is of the same age as them, shares the same timeline as her speedster father and mother.
“With [Nora], it’s the time that she comes from and what she did. She makes this sort of big mistake at the end of the [Season Four finale] — you see the concern of what she’s done, and Barry certainly learned his lessons from time travel, so now it’s going to be interesting to put him on the different side of the problem and see how he can help her fix it,” showrunner Todd Helbing explained teasing the changing theme in season 5 of 'The Flash'.
With a new villain, a new series regular, and a resurgence of the theme of time-travel, season 5 seems to be sprouting in several new directions, to say the least. One may even argue that the show has taken on too many narratives on its plate, playing out each storyline simultaneously. But this is not a folly on part of the writer's room and the showrunner, rather a new strategy whereby multiple arcs take shape while being tied to the same vein thematically.
"One of the pitfalls that we ran into is that it's hard in 23 episodes to have one storyline play out so this year, while there is certainly a spine, we have two or three major stories that go on in different increments – like a first act, second act, third act," Helbing added.
"That's been helpful in a lot of ways. We learned a lot when Barry [Grant Gustin] was in prison – it was only three episodes but it really opened our eyes."
'The Flash' season 5 premieres on The CW on Tuesday, October 9.