'The Flash': Did "Snow Pack" Hint at How Barry Vanishes in "Crisis on Infinite Earths"?

As The Flash's fifth season has begun to wind down, fans are beginning to look ahead to what the show's future has in store. And as some have already begun to speculate, there's a chance that one thing introduced in tonight's installment could have a surprising significance.

Spoilers for tonight's episode of The Flash, "Snow Pack", below!

The episode opened with Nora West-Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy) being forcibly stuck in the future by Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who threatened that he would be able to tell if she tried to access the Speed Force again. Nora asked Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanagh) for help in being able to travel back in time without being detected, which led to him revealing that he had created his own Negative Speed Force.

Over the course of the episode, Nora eventually got in touch with - and quickly corrupted by - the Negative Speed Force. And while it's unclear exactly how that storyline will revolve itself, we can't help but wonder if the Negative Speed Force could have a lasting impact in the world of the show -- particularly with next year's "Crisis on Infinite Earths".

Granted, a lot of details are still unknown about next season's highly-anticipated crossover event, but the earliest tease made it abundantly clear that Barry will "vanish in Crisis" in some way. But if Barry were to vanish into the Speed Force when that happens, there would need to be some sort of extra wrinkle that prevents him from coming back soon after, since Team Flash has been able to access and bring him out of the Speed Force before.

Even after the team (presumably) helps Nora, the Negative Speed Force would be something that Team largely doesn't know a lot about, which would explain why Barry was stuck there for such a long period of time. It also would be a sort of poetic symmetry for Thawne and Barry's ongoing dichotomy, especially if setting "Crisis" in motion has been part of Thawne's long game.

Having "Crisis" involve Barry entering the Negative Speed Force would create some interesting complications for the show as a whole, if and when Barry were to come back to reality. In the comics, the Negative Speed Force essentially acted like a cancer to any other speedster who touched it, and attempted to use it to corrupt Barry and his loved ones several times over. Even after Thawne died, the Negative Speed Force still haunted Barry, even causing him to lash out at those in his life. Barry and Wally attempted to control and bring balance to the Negative Speed Force, until it was absorbed by another speedster.

The Flash could adhere to or change as much of that canon about the Negative Speed Force as they wanted to, and could easily find a narrative reason for Barry being permanently changed, or corrupted, by what happened.

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The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.