The Flash season 8 has developed the variant version of Nora West-Allen into a different, distinctive character than the original XS from Season 5.
Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for The Flash season 8, episode 15, “Into the Still Force.”
A major problem regarding the new version of Nora “XS” West-Allen has finally been addressed, with The Flash season 8 distinguishing the variant from the original. This was a major conflict for fans of the character, who came to love XS during The Flash season 5 and mourned her heroic death. The introduction of another XS from the revised future cheapened her sacrifice, as there was little apparent distinction between the two versions of Nora West-Allen. Thankfully, The Flash season 8 took steps to address this issue.
XS (Jessica Parker Kennedy) was introduced into the Arrowverse at the start of The Flash season 5, although her arrival was foreshadowed by several cameos during The Flash season 4. This Nora grew up without a father, but idolized the memory of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), having no clue that she had inherited her father’s powers until an encounter with the speedster villain Godspeed resulted in the death of her best friend, Lia Nelson. This version of Nora sacrificed herself to stop Cicada, securing a future where it was impossible for her to exist. A new version of XS was introduced in The Flash season 7, but the episodes she appeared in—alongside her new brother Bart “Impulse” Allen (Jordan Fisher)—did little to make the new XS seem noticeably different from the original, despite an entirely different upbringing under both her parents.
The Flash season 8 episode “Into the Still Force” helped to develop the new XS into a distinctive character, showing something of her life in Central City 2049 before she was drawn into the Still Force to fight alongside her father. The post-Crisis version of Nora West-Allen was revealed to have followed in the footsteps of her mother Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton), becoming a reporter. This marked a major divergence from the original XS, who had become a CSI with the Central City Police Department like her father, after studying forensic science at Central City University.
Another notable point was revealed later in “Into the Still Force,” as The Flash tried to tap into the Still Force so that he could break himself and XS out of an extradimensional prison. While he was connected to the Still Force, Barry experienced visions of the past, present, and future of Team Flash, telling Nora that he could see Bart’s children and “your wife.” This directly established the new Nora West-Allen as LGBTQ+.
It should be noted that The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace claimed that the original XS was a lesbian. However, there was nothing in The Flash season 5 which directly confirmed this point as strongly as the idea that the new Nora West-Allen will marry a woman at some point in the future. By firmly demonstrating this fact, The Flash season 8 not only developed the new version of XS into a better-defined character but also addressed the concerns that her existence cheapened the sacrifice of the original XS.
More: Arrowverse Finally Admits Its Biggest Team Flash Problem
The Flash releases new episodes on Wednesdays on The CW.
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