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“What’s Past is Prologue” Honors The Series While Setting Up For What Is To Come

Wow we have really watched over 100 of these suckers, it really doesn’t feel that long ago when we first started talking about everything. Here’s to 100 more I guess, but if tonight teaches us anything “What’s Past is Prologue” is about honoring what has come before to set up something worse in the future. If the ending to this episode is any indication there is still plenty of runway left for the show to explore and it will definitely be fun to see not only how the story wraps up with Cicada but also where everything is going with Nora and her benefactor. Granted, this wasn’t your typical Flash stuck in a specific time period with a sole goal, it was more of a greatest hits, playing on some of the best notes of the show’s history while making sure to move the storyline enough that we actually saw purpose. If anything I am greedy and I wanted a little more out of everything presented, but what we got was a fine package nonetheless.

Like I said, this was more about Barry and Nora seeing he greatest hits of the series: Barry’s final confrontation with Savitar, the night Barry lost his speed to Zoom, the time Barry when back for Thawne’s help, and finally the night of the accelerator. If I had to choose moments from the series I can understand most of them, Nora getting to see Iris do whatever it takes to save Barry, Hunter at his most powerful and psychotic, and Nora seeing Thawne for who he really is. I just wish we had got to see more of their interactions with certain characters. I mean I understand and appreciate who great Tom Cavanaugh’s portrayal of Eobard is and how crucial he is to the backbone of the series, but Teddy Sears and Neil Sandilands deserved more than a cameo and archival footage being used. I wanted to, for a brief moment remember why I was so afraid of Zoom in season two or have DeVoe be smart for a minute. Those touches I think would have put a great episode just over the edge.

As for the scenes we did get, I felt like some worked better than others, but for the most part when they clicked they clicked. Watching Savitar get gunned down was probably the weakest of all the scenes, although it did add some great context for Nora and how she views Iris. As we learned tonight a lot has been omitted from the Flash Museum and there are massive gaps in Nora’s knowledge of what transpired with the team. Jessica Parker Kennedy did a great job with the little knowing looks while observing Iris comfort Barry or seeing Barry confront Eobard. All the heavy lifting for this episode was done by Grant Gustin and when he is on man is it fun to remember how great he is as a matured Barry. The scene in the time vault between Thawne, Nora, and Barry is a particular standout tonight and showed just how great all three of these actors are when given a chance to cut loose.

There were only two really problems with the episode overall: how little the rest of the team actually got to do, and the seeming changes made to the timeline. I am pretty sure Barry should have screwed up the timeline a little bit with everything that happened tonight: Eobard knowing he doesn’t get home, Wells seeing the Flash Ring, Zoom literally being abducted by a Time Wraith. All of these events should have made some big ripples and they do from the looks of how the original Thawne describes his timeline. From the sound of things Nora is not even supposed to exist at all, or at least not as Barry’s daughter from the sound of things. Even great standout scenes like Thawne and Cisco talking in front of the time vault feels like it should have caused some sort of ripples, so I am excited to see if anything at all happens to the timeline moving forward

Like I said the only other real weakness of this episode was the fact the rest of the team really had nothing to do while the greatest hits were playing out. I understand that not all of the cast has been around for these five seasons, but for a lot of the moments we saw we could have had clips of Caitlin, Cisco, and Iris doing something new. Like I said originally the Thawne and Cisco scene was a stand out moment and I get why they recreated that scene, but the rest of the cast deserved their moment in the sun. The only real time they got was when everyone beat up Cicada and while cool really didn’t do the team the justice they deserve.

Overall it was a solid celebration, but a few familiar faces were missing that would have pushed us over the edge.

Final Grade A-

+The greatest hits were pretty solid choices

+Great work from Gustin, Cavanaugh, and Kennedy

+Final fight with Cicada was a good turning point

+End reveal of Thawne in 2049

-Certain characters missing

-Lack of use of other cast members

-The timeline should be even more screwed up now

Extra Thoughts

-So season one Thawne mentions a lot of characters that we haven’t met: Libby Lawrence aka Liberty Belle, Danica Williams aka The Flash of year 2040, Don and Dawn the Tornado Twins. He also mentions Jesse Quick’s really name Jesse Chambers. So, Barry and Thawne have screwed the timeline a lot more than we thought I guess.

-Why didn’t Cisco just vibe the dagger to another dimension? Certainly seems like that would have been the smartest decision.

-So, Nora is the fifth member of the revamped Legion of Superheroes. We know Lightning Lad is in there. Strong bets on Saturn Girl, Mon-El, and Braniac 5 being the other members considering they are the only other ones we have met in the Arrowverse.

-List of missing characters I thought would show up and have a line or two: Wally, Snart, Eddie, Jay, Ronnie. Really would have liked for those important characters to have a real moment of recognition and not archival footage like Ronnie and Wally got.

About the author

Scott Swartz