The Flash recap: Journey through Nora's memories
Last week’s episode of The Flash ended with the most Flash-development ever: Barry realized that the key to defeating Cicada was through the heart — i.e. Team Flash needed to wake Grace up. This show is all about the value of emotions and loves to be cheesy, so it makes complete sense for it to go in this direction. But, thankfully, the series swerves away from going down the predictable route in tonight’s episode “Memorabilia.” Appealing to Cicada’s love for Grace isn’t going to be as easy as they thought because, well, Grace isn’t the sweet, comatose innocent girl they think she is.
The episode opens with Nora sending another entry to Eobard Thawne in the future. Her latest transmission is about the guilt she feels over lying to her parents and how Eobard trained her well to handle that burden. What she sends Eobard definitely sounds like a diary entry, and I love the idea of Eobard essentially reading her diary in his cell. Do you think this is Eobard’s main source of entertainment?
Anyway, Nora’s secret becomes a problem tonight. After Barry’s realization in the last episode, Sherloque builds a memory machine — a device he used to catch the Mad Hatter (!!!) on Earth-221 — that will allow Barry and Nora to enter Grace’s mind, find her consciousness, and lead her out of her coma. This type of mission comes with some risks: First, the people who go into her mind could become trapped in there. Second, the machine is a bit finicky and gives the passengers access to each other’s minds. That’s actually how Sherloque found out his partner Watson was sleeping with his wife. But anyway, that last bit worries Nora a lot because of the big yellow secret she’s keeping. So to avoid getting caught, Nora decides to go into Grace’s mind by herself. Spoiler alert: That’s a big mistake.
Nora ends up getting trapped in Grace’s mind because the portal she was supposed to lead Grace through to escape disappears. Thankfully, it doesn’t take too long for the rest of Team Flash to figure out what Nora did and that she’s in trouble. So, Barry and Nora decide to go in after her, but La Machine a Memoire The Memory Machine drops them into Nora’s memories.
At first, it’s a pretty exciting place to be because they get to see the extra-ness of the Flash museum. Flash toys, comics, commemorative copies of that newspaper front page, and so much more! But then, they start to follow young Nora and the scene takes a heartbreaking turn because they witness one of Nora’s memories of her mom, and it’s not great, Bob! A very not-cool and pretty insensitive Future Iris finds Young Nora hiding in the villain hall and scolds her for running away. Future Iris even breaks Nora’s Flash action figure. It’s pretty upsetting to watch, both for the audience and Iris, who can’t believe how she can be so cruel.
This trip into Nora’s memories is particularly affecting for Iris because of what’s going on in the real world. See, she’s making plans to turn her blog into a real newspaper (a great time for this story, right?) but the only name that’s available is the Central City Citizen, a.k.a. the name of the paper that reports on the Flash’s disappearance. Iris resists wanting to choose that name because part of her hopes that will change the future and that headline won’t come true. Now, seeing how Nora remembers her mother magnifies that feeling because she sees that Barry’s disappearance did a number on her. She shares these fears with Barry after watching that unfortunate mother-daughter confrontation, and I’m glad that The Flash is making space to explore Iris’ emotional life and how all of this nonsense affects her. (Don’t forget how Iris basically had no agency in a story about her dying in the future in season 3.)
Next: Grace strikes back
Meanwhile, Nora learns that Grace isn’t as comatose as she seems. Thanks to a satellite shard lodged in her brain, she can hear everything her uncle has said by her bedside and hates metahumans just like him. In fact, she hates the Flash because he hurt her uncle, and she turns on Nora and tries to kill her the moment she realizes that Nora is the Flash’s daughter.
Her parents are also having a hard time in Nora’s mind because the Reverse Flash suit in the Flash Museum starts to attack Barry and Iris (Hmm, wonder why?). Thankfully, Caitlin and Sherloque manage to send the three Wests a message: The portals they need are hidden in false memories. That’s when everything clicks together. Barry and Iris realize the Iris-Nora argument they witnessed was just a little girl’s perception of what happened, but it’s not what actually transpired. They return to the villain hall and witness a very tender exchange between mother and daughter. It’s exactly what Iris needs to see. Plus, it also reveals the portal that will take them to Grace’s mind.
Barry and Iris arrive in time to save Nora from Cicada, Grace’s mind’s defense mechanism, and they jump through another portal that was revealed after Nora caused enough of a ruckus in one of Grace’s false memories. Unfortunately, the West-Allen family must leave Grace behind because she refuses to come. Honestly, I didn’t see that coming. I thought Team Flash would actually be able to wake her up, but no, Grace is very much on her uncle’s side because she believes it’s her job to stop him. In fact, she declares that she’ll make them all pay.
Once they’re back in the real world, Iris resolves to actually open up the Central City Citizen. Furthermore, Nora, who feels guilty for both how she remembered her mom in her mind but also for how she treated her when she first arrived, apologizes to her mom once again. Unfortunately, though, this little adventure doesn’t change Nora’s mind about lying to her parents about the Thawne of it all. In fact, she’s more certain that she’s protecting them by not telling them that Thawne is helping her defeat Cicada. In other words, like father, like daughter.
While all of this was going on, Cisco and Ralph enjoyed a boy’s night out. By that I mean, Ralph tricked Cisco, who is focused on his metahuman cure, into joining him out for a drink. Cisco flips out the moment he realizes Ralph lied, but he softens once Ralph explains that he really just wanted to hang out with Cisco. Moreover, Cisco ends up benefitting from this little escapade. First, the distractions help him make a breakthrough on his cure, and secondly, he meets a cute bartender and gets her number. I thought the Cisco-Ralph stuff was a nice counterbalance to the heavier memory stuff and was pretty fun, too.
Wall of Weird:
- Remember how Cisco and Caitlin vowed not to force anyone to take the cure? Well, it looks like Barry is going to force them to break that promise because he decides that he wants to use it on Cicada.
- Sherloque finds out that Nora’s mental defense mechanism assumed the form of Reverse Flash, which is positively curious.
After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.