While I appreciate how Kate is typically willing to take a life if she feels it’s necessary, as it’s one of several key differences between her character and Bruce’s, I’m not sure I can say this particular one was all that justified. Don’t get me wrong, Cartwright was a terrible person who’s ultimately to blame for who Alice and Mouse turned out so deranged and dangerous. That said, it the reveal of something Cartwright did years ago that sent Kate over the edge instead of it being a more calculated decision based on what he could do in the future. It was much more emotionally charged than that, and for such a life-changing decision, I can’t say it’s really justifiable.
Still, that doesn’t mean I think Kate is now irredeemable or anything, but her reasoning for killing Cartwright should definitely have a specific impact on her journey going forward. I imagine she’ll realize that she didn’t have an objectively good reason for killing him in that moment, which will likely cause her to rethink the idea of killing again at all. She may want to adopt Bruce’s no killing rule, but at the same time, she’s also a soldier and is probably more still think that there are some people who have to die, even after this. I definitely see this move putting Kate down a dark path where she’s even working with Alice for a time, but even if this does become a breaking point for her, I’m still confident that she can find a way to retain her sense of heroism.
This was obviously a huge episode for Nia in terms of not only this season, but also her overall journey. Seeing her collapse emotionally at the end was heartbreaking, but it also felt necessary given all she’s been through lately. As the first trans superhero on TV, it’s obviously important that the show deals with issues regarding that part of her identity, but I do also hope that when she does take the spotlight again in the future, it’ll be in regard to stories about other non-related topics. I just don’t want to see her character be so defined by the fact that she’s trans that the show forgets to flesh her out more. It’s important for any character to be defined by more than just one or two things, and especially so in Nia’s case. I think doing more to normalize her as both a superhero and a fully interesting character is an important aspect of representation.
It does seem like Nia’s arc this season has really only been about two things: her relationship with Brainy and her being trans. Those are obviously two important elements that I do want the series to showcase, but her character risks falling flat if they’re the only two elements that get attention throughout the season. Going forward, I just hope that the writers can get more creative with presenting challenges and new stories for Nia, which should give her the strong character development she deserves. I thought this episode did a lot right, but the producers need to keep things varied in order to ensure that Nia remains as interesting as she was last season.
The rivalry between Barry and Thawne is easily one of the best in the Arrowverse, so while I understand that others may want the show to just move on and be done with Reverse Flash, I still love it when he shows up. Knowing that he’s still out there in some form keeps both the characters and the viewers on their toes, anticipating that this larger threat could emerge at any time, even when things are going well. It really mirrors much of their relationship from the comics and lends credence to the idea that they’re intrinsically linked to battle seemingly forever. While not every one of Thawne’s appearances has been a home run, I’m still down to keep seeing him so long as the writers can come up with ways to inject some legitimate creativity into his storylines for when he does inevitably return.
Even though this trope of not wanting to tell someone about this big life change until the last minute has certainly been done before, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t still effective here. Ultimately, what I love most about their friendship is just how loving and open they are with their emotions, and their goodbye stayed true to that aspect here. There’s still a presumed notion among plenty of people that male friendships are based around making fun of each other and other behaviors that border on bullying. Obviously not every friendship like this is inherently bad – I’ve certainly had good friends where we spend plenty of time roasting each other – but more people need to be aware of how healthy it is to say things like “I love you” to your friends. Sentiments like this don’t have to be restricted to romantic partners and family members, and I think Ray and Nate have done an excellent job of showing more positive aspects of male friendships. Seeing the two of them together is one of many things I’ll be missing now that Ray and Nora are gone.
It’s been fascinating to watch Nora’s redemption arc over the course of the show, and I think my favorite thing about her story is that it shows the importance of having consistent support around you. As a child of evil, it would’ve been easy for the Legends to stick with the simple assumption that she’d never be any better than her father. But all it took was one person believing in her – Ray – to set her on the path to being good. It gave her a chance to really look back on her life and understand that while she was obviously dealt a pretty awful hand in life, she still committed crimes of her own accord for which she needed to atone, which can be very refreshing for a villain to realize. And while Ray has obviously been a major player in that journey, it usually takes more than just one person to affect major change over a long period of time, which is why it was so important for her to get further emotional support from Ava and Mona in their book club meetings. All in all, Nora is a former villain who has absolutely earned the right to be called a hero, and while much of the attention has obviously gone to the character who’s been around longer, we shouldn’t discount the fact that Nora has been amazing in her own right as well.
Ray’s had plenty of great moments in the five-and-a-half years he’s been a part of this universe, but I think my single favorite came in season 2 when he was stranded on the moon with Reverse Flash. I loved how the desperate circumstances of them being stranded forced the two to work together and even find some surprising common ground. You knew it was never gonna result in either of them fully switching sides or anything, but it certainly did cast the fight between the Legends and the Legion of Doom in a different light. It was interesting that it took one of that universe’s biggest villains to make Ray realize that there was always some selfishness in his mission even if it was about helping others, and I think realizing that sort of flaw, while surprising at first, probably helped him to become a more well-rounded hero and overall person as he went on. Plus it made Ray’s death at the hands of Thawne, temporary as it was, all the more shocking considering the short bond they managed to create.