‘The Flash’ Season 5 Episode 4 Recap and Review: “News Flash”

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The Flash Season 5 Episode 4 Recap

Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Jessica Parker Kennedy as XS in ‘The Flash’ season 5 episode 4 (Photo: Robert Falconer © 2018 The CW Network)

“You can’t blame yourself for something future you might do,” says Barry (Grant Gustin) to Iris (Candice Patton) while trying to comfort her after she finds out why her daughter from the future, Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy), wants nothing to do with her in season five episode four of The CW’s The Flash.

The episode begins with a scene from the night of “The Enlightenment” and Nora helping Barry destroy the satellite. A young female who’s running around recording the event on her phone is saved from falling debris by XS. When she tries to snap a selfie with XS, the speedster races off. The woman, who turns out to be a female journalist, notices that her phone has a new weird glow to it.

Back to present day and Iris is burning breakfast in the hopes of having a family meal together. It doesn’t go well. Barry tries to be supportive and eat the inedible food while Nora tells her mom she’s not a breakfast person. Nora receives a text from Sherloque (Tom Cavanaugh) saying he needs them at S.T.A.R. Labs.

Sherloque is about to go over his notes on Cicada with Team Flash and notices Cisco isn’t there. He asks about his whereabouts and Barry tells him he’s recovering from his wounds and laying low at his parents. (WHAT! This is the first episode since The Flash series started missing Carlos Valdes as Cisco. More on this later in the review). While going over everything they know about Cicada, Sherloque has deduced that Cicada and his weapon got there powers at the same time.


Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) asks about Cicada’s mask and suggests they follow it as a lead, but Sherloque shoots down the idea saying he only uses it to hide his identity. Barry and the gang head out participate in the softball game between CCPD and CCFD while Sherloque and Ralph stay behind to work on figuring out the identity of Cicada.

At the game, Barry’s once again put out in right field. He doesn’t use his powers and plays fairly badly. Nora’s about to get food when she’s hypnotized by seeing a message on her phone.

A member of the CCPD named Jonesy walks out onto the field carrying a backpack. Cecile gets a sense something is wrong and XS speeds onto the field, grabs Jonesy’s backpack, and throws it up into the air where is explodes. Barry touches Nora who comes out of her trance and asks what’s going on. “You just saved everyone.” replies Barry.

Ralph and Sherloque visit the place where Cicada fought Barry and Elongated Man looking for a piece of evidence from the mask he wears. Sherloque is convinced it’s a big waste of time, but Ralph finds a substance that’s part of the mask and should lead them to where the mask is used.

Iris notices a former co-worker of hers, Spencer Young (Kiana Madeira), has her own blog and is posting about all of XS’ feats. Iris meets with Spencer at Jitters to try to talk her out of posting any more stories. After a very quick catch up, Iris tells Spencer someone is targeting metas and if she keeps writing about XS, she could make her a target. Spencer blows it off saying she’ll make her famous and risk is part of the job. As Spencer leaves, she reminds Iris that she used to do the same thing with The Flash a few years back. Iris claims that was different, but Spencer just insults her and leaves.

Barry and Nora examine Jonesy and he tells her to send the information to Caitlin at S.T.A.R. Labs. Jonesy swears he doesn’t remember doing it and doesn’t even know how or where he would ever make a bomb. An upset Joe (Jesse L. Martin) reveals he’s seen video of Jonesy taking bomb parts from the evidence area in CCPD. Joe just can’t understand how Jonesy could go bad.

There’s a fire across town so Barry and Nora speed over to help put it out. Nora doesn’t know what to do and Barry assures her he’ll walk her through it. As he’s explaining to Nora how to superspeed her arms in a rotation motion to put out the fire, Spencer, who’s there filming everything on her phone gets impatient and sends a message to a sign that Barry sees telling The Flash to go to Las Vegas. Hypnotized, The Flash speeds off. Nora yells after him and asks Team Flash for help on her intercom.

Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) tracks Barry and sees he’s heading west fast. Iris takes over and walks Nora through how to put out the fire which works. (This scene is very reminiscent to when Wells first taught Barry how to put fires out with his speed in season one).

Barry returns from his trip to the outskirts of Vegas and tells Team Flash he has no memory of what made him do that. Caitlin theorizes that Barry, Nora, and Jonesy are victims of somehow being hypnotized. She checks out their suits and Jonesy’s brain scan for clues. Iris suspects Spencer is behind it all because of her blog posts and their time stamps. Nora, a fan of Spencer’s blog, doesn’t want to believe it.

Ralph and Sherloque’s investigation lead them to a construction factory and they talk to the foreman about the masks. He walks them inside where they see that every employee wears that mask for safety purposes and that they’re not the only company to use them. Sherloque guesses that thousands of employees from many companies use the mask. They thank the foreman for his time and leave. Across the room, Cicada is working but has noticed their visit.

The Flash Season 5 Episode 4

Candice Patton as Iris West-Allen and Kiana Madeira as Spencer Young in ‘The Flash’ season 5 episode 4 (Photo: Robert Falconer © 2018 The CW Network)

Barry and Iris send Nora out with a special watch. Her task is to bump into Spencer at Jitters and use the watch to see if she’is a meta. When Nora does bump into Spencer, instead of doing what she’s supposed to do she starts gushing about being a big fan of hers. Spencer loves the flattery and starts to flirt with her.

With their plan going south, Iris goes in and reminds Nora they’re late for an event and tells her to look at her watch. Nora activates the gadget and it shows that Spencer is not a metahuman. Spencer leaves and Nora’s mad at Iris for interfering. Iris attempts to explain she’s just looking out for her, and Nora confesses she knows Iris put a power-dampening chip in her when she was young. Nora, crying, tells her shocked mother she only discovered she had powers six months ago. She knows her mother tried to keep her from being who she really is and always tries to control her. Shocked, Iris begins to cry and has nothing to say.

Later at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry tells Iris that Nora will forgive her and he’s sure what she did she must have done out of love. Iris remains shocked she would do that to her own daughter.

Sherloque accidentally scares Caitlin by coming up behind her and tells her he needs her help. He needs her to punch him in his diaphragm. Caitlin won’t and he starts taunting her into doing it by saying he’s all brains and no brawn, too weak to do it. Caitlin knows what he’s trying to do and it worked.

Sherloque puts on the mask and Caitlin punches him hard. She asks the bent-over Sherloque if he’s okay and she hears his heavy breathing. “You sound like Cicada,” says Caitlin just as an alert about Central City Stadium goes off. Barry and Nora race off to look for a bomb in the stadium. After flashing around they find nothing. Iris notices the time of the bomb alert posting and the first 911 call and figures out it’s a trap set up by Spencer.

Spencer is at the stadium and sends a hypno-message to the game board telling XS to kill The Flash. Hypnotized, Nora attacks Barry. Barry speeds around the stadium trying to avoid Nora who chases after him, hot on his heels.

Iris grabs a special dart gun and loads it. She tells Caitlin to take over and uses the breacher tech to open a breach to the stadium. Nora and Barry end up colliding and just as Nora’s about to “Reverse-Flash” punch him to death, Iris shoots her with a powers dampening dart. Sherloque deduces Spencer must still be in the stadium if she was sending the electronic messages and recording the fight. Barry catches up to Spencer as she’s trying to leave. He cuffs her and takes her phone away.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Sherloque tells Team Flash he believes Cicada’s lungs were injured from the dark matter and debris from the satellite falling and crashing in a different direction. He apologizes to Ralph and lets everyone know he discovered this by following Ralph’s lead about the mask. The team also realize the satellite crash also caused meta tech like Spencer’s phone.

Iris finds Nora and apologizes for dampening her powers. At first Nora thinks Iris is talking about the dart, but Iris explains she’s talking about in the future and that she knows she must have had a good reason. Nora becomes really upset, yelling at her mom and telling her she took all choice away and only did it to control her. Barry walks in and hears what’s going on. To Nora’s dismay, he backs Iris. Barry believes that if future Iris did this, she must have had a good reason because keeping her family safe is everything to Iris. Nora, feeling betrayed and hurt, goes to stay at Joe’s.

The last scene shows Cicada at home in terrible pain. He grabs a metal pole which he realizes he can crush with one hand. Cicada’s wound on his chest is expanding and getting worse.

The Flash Season 5 Episode 4 Review:

Slow, boring, and missing a key cast member, season five episode four titled “News Flash” is one of the most forgettable episodes of the series to date. The big revelation of why Nora doesn’t want anything to do with Iris was one of the better scenes in the episode and the only interesting element in the plot. Jessica Parker Kennedy has wonderful chemistry with Grant Gustin, but unfortunately has zero with her co-star Candice Patton. Every scene featuring them interacting felt forced.

The interaction and way-too-short investigation by Ralph and Sherloque into finding the identity of Cicada was far more interesting and entertaining than the main storyline.

Now to the biggest complaint and weakness about this episode… Writing Cisco out of this episode with a poor excuse about “staying low and recovering from wounds at his parents” is not acceptable at all! Since the series began, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, and Carlos Valdes have been in every episode of the show because they are the original “Team Flash.” It’s their scenes together, their chemistry and characters that have helped make the show the number one rated series on The CW. This might have been a move to give more screen time to Iris and Nora, but hopefully this isn’t a trend fans and critics can expect to last – or even be repeated for that matter.

GRADE: C+

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Kevin Finnerty

Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.
Kevin Finnerty
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