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‘The Flash’ recap: 5×08 ” The Past is Prologue”

The Flash takes a look back on its past 100 episodes.

The Flash season 5 episode 8, “The Past is Prologue”, aired on 4 December 2018.

Would you look at that. 100 episodes. Such a momentous occasion it is that the CW moved the Arrowverse crossover for it.

Of course, Barry being Barry didn’t learn anything from the last 100 episodes and time travelled. We thought he finally kicked the habit last season!

A contrived montage

Ralph and Sherloque have been doing recon on Cicada, or Orlin. The two are quite the team, finishing each other’s sentences and saying “Oui” together. They know all of Cicada’s routine and habits.

Now the team just need a plan to take down Cicada – and dampen his dampening dagger. Nora conveniently has a thought-out idea to use some items from the Flash’s past battles to build a weapon that will prevent Cicada from summoning his dagger, because *science*. Barry and Nora run back to:

  • The final battle against Savitar, to retrieve a shard from Savitar’s magnetic-ish suit. The good: we see Barry is his old suit (you know, with the chinstrap) again. The bad: they unleash a time wraith. But Nora gets a piece of the suit in the, ah, nick of time.
  • Zoom taking Barry’s speed, to get the syringe/capsule thingy Zoom used to inject himself with the velocity serum. Barry runs into Harry Wells while looking for said thingy but manages to not give himself away.
  • Unplanned time travel!!! Zoom chases Barry and Nora through time, but the wraith takes him out. Unfortunately, Barry and Nora then exit the speedforce early and break the capsule thing. They realise they are at the point when season 2 Barry time-travelled to get help from Eobard Thawne-Wells. Nora suggests they do just that and get Thawne-Wells to fix the capsule. Thawne-Wells identifies Nora as Barry’s daughter, but he thinks her name is Dawn. Uhh, what?! And then, and here’s the real kicker, he tells Barry, “At least you still have one.” HELLOOO?? Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
  • The night of the particle accelerator explosion, because of course the weapon needs to be infused with dark energy. While hiding in Star Labs, Nora notices Reverse Flash’s suit in the time vault. Barry tells her Thawne killed his mother, and her namesake. When the accelerator faithfully explodes, we see Professor Stein (rest in peace) and his Firestorm matrix, DeVoe and his cap, and the Mardon brothers in their plane. When Wells-Thawne and Barry are brought to the hospital, the doctor who helps Orlin was there to receive them. Barry phases their completed weapon (“transmitter”) into a pillar at the hospital, so they can easily pick it up in present day.

Throughout all this, Ralph, who is witnessing time travel for the first time, plays “Back in Time” by Huey Lewis and the News in the cortex.

Catching Cicada

Orlin is sitting sutifully at Grace’s bedside. The Flash draws him out. Cicada can sense Cisco, Ralph, and Nora even though they are hiding. Barry asks Cicada what he thinks of himself, since he plans to eliminate all metahumans, to which Cicada replies “I will join you”. Does he plan to kill himself? Is he dying anyway, because of his shoulder wound?

The transmitter initially works, drawing the dagger away from Cicada. With its power dampened, Cisco is able to grab it and breach it to outer space. But Cicada can recall it all the way from Earth!?! He blocks everyone’s powers anyway.

A desperate Caitlin triggers Killer Frost, and successfully drives Cicada away. The team later figure that since her powers did not stem from dark energy, she is immune to the dampening dagger.

the flash caitlin snow ralph dibny
image: the CW

Killer Frost might be key to stopping Cicada.

Nora’s secret

When you spend all your days in the same space as two detectives and a CSI, you better not leave your personal stuff lying around. Sherloque got his hands on Nora’s journal this week. Not that he could understand any of it, but Cisco’s old algorithm can (I am disappointed they didn’t explicitly say “This house is bitchin'” again). Sherloque runs it, and it begins to translate: “The timeline is malleable…”

Nora explains the symbols are a language she created that will be unchanged by timeline alterations. She has been visiting Gideon to scan her entries and beam them across the multiverse to…

Eobard Thawne. Who appears with Wells’ face.

This time, however, Nora confronts him in person, likely about how he murdered Barry’s mum.

the flash
image: the CW


  • “I’m sorry, we need to blow up Star Labs again?” – Ralph
  • “These are the best of times. Incidentally they were also the worst of times.” – Cisco, identifying the least disruptive dates to time travel back to.
  • “Did you see the pizza face?” – Thawne-Wells on Savitar-Barry
  • That Cisco and Thawne-Wells moment in the hallway before the particle accelerator explosion that mirrored the moments right before Thawne murdered Cisco in season 1.
  • Nora’s “The timeline is malleable” mirrors Thawne-Well’s “The timeline is intact” from season 1.


In a post credits scene, Earth-90 is littered with the bodies of dead heroes, Firestorm and Arrow among them (they really can’t stop reminding us about what they did to Firestorm during the last crossover, can they?) The last man standing (not literally) is the Flash – played by John Wesley Shipp in a classic suit with the Hermes wing-tipped cowl. He crawls towards a large, magical-looking book, but an imposing figure beats him to it. It’s the Monitor.

The Flash returns this SUNDAY to begin the annual Arrowverse crossover event! Brittney Santiago (Supergirl), Lynsey Neill (Arrow) and myself will be here to cover it!

Relive the best of The Flash with the articles in our Flash Zone.

(featured image: the CW)


Ellen Ng

Ellen is a exhibition planner by day and TV fanatic by night. Currently brewing lots of matcha and managing a team in Fantasy Premier League.

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