The Flash season 5 episode 4 “Blocked” aired 16 Oct 2018.
Second episodes are always an odd place, tailing behind the stunning premiere yet too early for things to get really juicy. The Flash reverted to its villain-of-the-week formula in “Blocked”, but bucked a trend on the larger scale: it showed us the face of our big bad! That it fast. (Get it? Fast?)
Good on Gridlock, he didn’t just stand around waiting to be stabbed. He somehow broke free of his transport restraints and tried to escape the masked, Darth Vader-sounding man trying to kill him. Unfortunately for him, mystery masked man has a dagger that absorbs his powers???!! Gridlock did not last long after that.
The show then followed the meta-killer to a gym locker room. There he removed his mask and top to reveal an average gym-going dude. The man goes to the gym to spar – so we know he has been practicing to take down metas. He keeps his lightning-shaped, power-removing dagger in his locker.
This short sequence not created tension about our main villain, but showing him unmasked underlined his normality. He has no superpowers or super intelligence; he is just an average person.
Nora comes clean to the team about Barry’s future and her reasons for time-travelling. Iris points out that they have made the newspaper headlines change before, and will change them again if necessary. She seems more upset about her unreciprocated interest in bonding with Nora. Joe assures her that Nora will eventually reach out.
The West-Allen family converge on a crime scene. Nora lies about being an unpaid CSI intern so she can work with her father. She and Barry discover an arms dealer killed by compression into a small cube. Yikes. Meanwhile, Captain Singh covertly informs Iris of Gridlock’s murder. She promises to alert him to any intel she finds in her reporting investigation. She interviews Gridlock’s now-injured convoy and reviews footage of the incident, but comes up dry.
Meanwhile, Cecile freaks out about her diminishing powers. She says that her telepathy allowed her to be perfectly attuned to her child’s needs and wants. Joe tells her that they should be normal parents and not use crazy technology to read baby Jenna’s mind.
Nora interferes when The Flash faces a new metahuman, and almost gets hurt in the process. Barry grows concerned that Nora keeps trying to punch above her own weight. However, he is at a loss at how to make her take a step back. Joe, the sage of the day, reminds Barry he was once like that himself. Nora wants to impress her father, since all she knows about him are his greatest achievements. Cecile overhears Joe’s advice for Barry and realises she herself doesn’t have to be a perfect parent.
The Book of Ralph
Elsewhere is Star Labs, Ralph suggests Cisco vibe Mr Snow’s fake death certificate to find out who forged it. Cisco is reluctant however because he and Gypsy’s vibing abilities connect them to the same multiversal network. Caitlin and Ralph thus decide they need to help Cisco get over his breakup.
Ralph has a 27-step guide to mending one’s broken heart. Cisco skips a lot of the steps, but he does get a makeover from Ralph’s personal stylist. This means Cisco with slicked hair and a blazer. Too bad he isn’t in the mood to enjoy it.
Eventually though, the boys realise Caitlin’s insistence on helping Cisco is a deflection from her father’s fake death certificate. She worries about the implications – that her father wanted nothin to do with her. Cisco encourages her to face her fear. When he vibes the paper, Caitlin sees that her mother had something to do with the forgery.
The Flash home videos
I don’t know how he got them, but Barry has old-school style tapes of his early training fails, like falling off the treadmill. He uses them to show Nora that she doesn’t have to be an all-amazing superhero right now. Some things will come with time.
Iris comes home and together she and Barry figure out a way to track their latest meta without their satellite. Vanessa Jansen is so-named Block because she creates blocks of extremely dense air. She can use them as a shield, or to compress people (yuck.) Luckily, air density is easy to monitor. Go team West-Allen!
The Flash nearly subdues Block, but she traps him in her air block. Nora/XS realises Block doesn’t have much stamina and manages to wear her down, releasing Barry. Cisco and Ralph breach to the site too late to get any action…
…or not. The mystery masked man suddenly appears, stabbing Block fatally. While Nora rushes Block to a hospital, the man absorbs Barry, Cisco, and Ralph’s powers, then kicks all their asses. Cisco cuts his hands on the lightning dagger, which may affect his powers moving forward. The man almost stabs Barry, but backs off after XS returns and police sirens are in earshot. Also – Nora called the Flash “dad” in front of the villain.
Iris picks up on a rattling sound during the fight, and recognises it from the footage of Gridlock’s attacked convoy. Nora says it sounds like a cicada, hence naming our villain. Her face is fearful. What does she know about him?
- “I don’t think we have some of those words yet!” – Barry when Nora complains about the lack of future technology
- “Please stop caring about me.” – Cisco when Ralph and Caitlin decide to help him
- “You cut my hair, I cut you.” – Cisco to the stylist
Next episodes can’t come fast enough? Fear not, the Flash Zone has you covered ’till next week!
(featured image: the CW)