The Flash season 5 episode 18 review: Godspeed

This review contains spoilers.

5.18 Godspeed

Well, hello there, Godspeed. This might not have been the way I expected to see perhaps the greatest Flash villain of recent years introduced, but I’m willing to set all my preconceived notions aside in the service of the season. And in this case, Godspeed the episode is more important to those than Godspeed the actual villain needs to be at the moment. This was a desperately needed excellent hour of The Flash, and one that I really hope is enough to shake the show completely out of the rather safe rut it has been in for much of the season. 

Danielle Panabaker directed this episode, so unsurprisingly, in the few scenes where we actually have Team Flash interacting, everything was right on the money. Despite my misgivings about where they’ve taken Caitlin’s story over the last year or so, Panabaker will always be one of this show’s secret weapons. Letting her take the reins on what, with a little tweaking, could have been a pilot episode for a Nora Allen XS series was a smart move, but it also seems appropriate that so much of this episode was a love letter to broader Flash lore, as well as the show’s specific history, with elements from nearly every season all managing to pop up in one form or another.

Using Nora’s journal as a way to fill in the blanks of future history, from Nora’s “origin story” to how and why she came into contact with Thawne in the first place, Godspeed feels much more like an episode of the show I thought we were getting in the early days of season five. Whatever uneven moments it has, and whatever my misgivings about how Godspeed himself was used here, this is hopefully an indicator of how the final five episodes of this season will play. There’s very little excess, plenty of great character work, and genuine tension and menace whenever Eobard Thawne makes an appearance.

Some of us might be getting a little tired of the ‘tired and sad’ Barry and Iris that we’ve seen a lot of this season, but at least here it pays off. Barry essentially slamming the door on Nora at the end of the episode and its immediate follow-up with his face to face with Thawne were probably Grant Gustin’s finest moments this season. It’s strange to think that he hasn’t had a whole lot to do this year, but if this is where we’re going with him for the final stretch of episodes, it was all worth it. The same goes for Iris, and the contrast between the behavior of ‘present day’ Iris and her future counterpart was really effective.

While Sherloque doesn’t get a lot of screen time this week, Tom Cavanagh uses it incredibly effectively. I was so sceptical of Sherloque at the start of this season, and he has turned into an absolute delight. But I have to appreciate the way that he doubles down on not telling the team about his Nora suspicions, and Barry’s actions at the end of the episode would seem to reinforce why this was the right move. But since we’re talking about Sherloque, well … I feel like I shouldn’t even get into this, because it is admittedly half-baked, but enough fans have put it out there that I can’t get it out of my mind.

It’s the whole ‘Sherloque is masquerading as Thawne in the future’ thing. I don’t know how much (if any) of this theory is true. But Thawne’s particular method of deducing that Nora is a speedster sure feels like Sherlock/Sherloque style deduction, doesn’t it? Is it at least a little bit possible that at some point, Sherloque figured out the bigger picture, found a way to sneak into the future, and temporarily replaced Thawne so that he could manipulate the outcome of these events into one that is a little less harmful for everyone? I admit that my head hurts even thinking about it, but it would be a fun way to fake everyone out, and it would absolutely cement Sherloque in the pantheon of this show’s great Wells. On the other hand, I’m fairly certain that the moments with Barry and Thawne at the end of the show are with the real Thawne, so maybe this is all nonsense. I love the casual menace in Thawne’s tone when he refers to Iris as “the little runner” too.

Like Cause And XS (which I also thoroughly enjoyed) I don’t know if Godspeed will win over the Nora haters of the world. I’ve mostly been a fan of the character throughout the season, and taking an episode to properly focus on her origin story is absolutely the right move, and one that comes at the right time (isn’t it great that we hardly heard a mention of the word “Cicada” at any point?). It’s a neat twist paralleling the “lightning strike” elements of Barry’s origin with Godspeed’s lightning frying the power dampener that Iris had implanted in Nora, and we got a powerful moment between her and Iris out of the deal.

Godspeed himself is nothing short of a brilliant visual. A more perfect translation of his comic book counterpart and its design by Carmine Di Giandomenico I couldn’t have hoped for, and I really hope they do more with this character down the line. It’s kind of a shame that he was used as something of a throwaway villain here, and I really hope this doesn’t mean that they’re going to take him off the table for future seasons. This character is too cool to be a one-and-done, and while it’s admirable that the show has tried to adhere to a “no more speedster villains” policy since the end of season three, if you’re gonna end that drought, you may as well do it with Godspeed. That was BD Wong doing his voice, by the way.

Read Aaron’s review of the previous episode, Time Bomb, here. Watch The Flash season 5 on NOW TV.

 Get The Flash season 1-4 on DVD for £48.95


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