With the penultimate episode of The Flash Season 5, “We turned over a lot of cards,” showrunner Todd Helbing notes. “Not all of them, but a lot of them. There are still some more coming,” in Tuesday’s finale (airing on The CW at 8/7c).
When last we tuned in, time travel neophyte Ralph came to realize (too late?) that Eobard Thawne — while imprisoned in the year 2049 — has been masterfully manipulating events in Team Flash’s present, by sending Nora back to ostensibly stop Cicada. But what Thawne was really doing was arranging for Cicada’s metahuman power-dampening dagger to be destroyed, thus unleashing Reverse-Flash’s powers in his future prison.
Ralph arrived at this haunting epiphany not long after trying to warn the team that “something doesn’t add up” when it comes to destroying the dagger.
Revisiting Ralph’s series of questions, Hebling says, “In the history of Cicada there was a point where Young Grace woke up, and that whole time Cicada was killing people. So now that they gave him the cure, what happened to all those people he continued to kill?” Similarly, how could Grace kill people in the future with the dagger — as Team Flash assumed she did — if they were about to remove it from existence?
But as we now realize, Grace didn’t use the dagger in the future. Instead, it was being used to restrain imprisoned Thawne.
“The first time that Nora goes to Iron Heights, he’s talking about the power dampening in the cell,” Helbing reminds. “It’s the dagger he’s talking about.”
The finale will deliver “the full answer” about what Thawne has been up to, partly through a flashback but mostly from the man himself. “He talks for the most part — it’s a cool little scene,” Helbing previews. And though some of the sinister speedster’s exposition got cut for time (“The first version of the finale script is always like 70 pages,” the EP laughs), “You get all the information you need.”
Right here and now, however, the information we need is: Why is Iris outright bawling in the episodic photo shown above? Helbing will only say that “that ties into Thawne.”
As for the type of cliffhanger Tuesday’s finale will leave viewers with: “We’ve been dropping Easter eggs, especially in the back half of the season, about next season. It all plays into that.” And might the finale also tease this fall’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event?
“Yes, it does,” Helbing affirms. “Totally.”