The Flash season 5 episode 4, “News Flash”, aired 30 October 2018.
Ay, it’s a Flash pun. Honestly, it would have been better if it had something to do with the ‘Flash Goes Missing in Crisis’ article, but “News Flash” introduced something new to the show all the same: meta-technology.
See, when Devoe charged up the satellite with dark energy last season, the energy was passed on to people AND objects by the falling debris. The advent of meta-technology, on paper, means anyone could get access to metahuman ‘powers’.
Put a Spyn on things
The team discover this through Spencer Young, a former reporter. She had been live-video-blogging the (failing) Enlightenment when she/her phone was hit by satellite debris. Now, she runs a news app SPYN, delivering the fastest updates. However, it turns out her phone allows her to hypnotise people into carrying out events she can report, thus why she has the fastest scoop. She sets XS up to stop a bomb threat at the CCPD vs Fire Department charity softball game. Caitlin and Iris worry that Spencer’s reporting will make Nora a target for Cicada.
Side note: Barry is terrible at softball.
Iris asks Spencer to stop reporting about XS for Nora’s safety. Spencer, however, thinks Iris, as a fellow blogger, feels threatened by her app. Even more confounding is that Harry’s meta-human detector watch says Spencer isn’t a meta.
Finally, Spencer lures the Flash and XS to a soccer stadium, where she hypnotises XS into trying to kill her father. Iris figures out that Spyn hypnotises people by showing them headlines she came up with, and warns Barry in time. Then she grabs a gun and a breaching device, breaches to the scene, and shoots XS with a power-dampener as the young West-Allen vibrates her hand through Barry’s chest. Talk about the badass woman of the house.
Back at Star Labs, the team open up Spencer’s phone to find it infused with dark matter. And so, meta-technology was discovered.
Since The Flash returned, one thing fans have been missing is Westallen interactions. Nora’s introduction has made many of their scenes about family, at the expense of showing them as a couple. “News Flash” struck a decent balance here.
Early last season, we had the iconic scene of Risky Business Barry dancing and preparing breakfast. Now it’s Iris’ turn, though she definitely isn’t as good a cook or dancer as her husband. Barry does his best to enjoy the food. Iris also finds out Barry bought Nora a phone without consulting her. Typical parent moment.
Also, the protective parent is Iris, who stormed into Jitters when Spencer and Nora were kinda flirting.
Throughout the episode, Barry kept consoling Iris about her icy relationship with Nora. It seemed like the two women finally made progress when Iris had to guide XS through extinguishing fire on her own. However, Nora reveals in a confrontation that Iris had implanted a power-dampening chip in her. That explained why Nora was very green in the superhero business: she’s only known of her powers for six month! It’s also a very valid reason for Nora to feel resentment towards her mother.
Barry openly sides Iris on this issue, believing Iris had good reason even if her actions were extreme. It’s great to see him being supportive no matter what. However, I must admit Barry was somewhat tactless in explaining his position on the issue. He ends up freezing Nora out of the ‘family’. She moves in with Joe and Cecile.
In other family news, Cisco moved in with his parents to lay low. He didn’t appear this week, which saddens us all deeply.
Two detectives are better than one
Ralph wants to prove to Sherloque that he is more than a “baby giraffe”. To do so, he investigates Cicada’s respirator mask, a path Sherloque is convinced will lead nowhere. To his credit, Ralph’s sleuthing plus Googling skills point them to a warehouse. However, they find that respirators are standard attire worn by all the employees. Seeing no way of narrowing down who Cicada could be, Ralph believes he did fail. Unbeknownst to him, Cicada does in fact work at the warehouse, and spotted Elongated Man and Sherloque. Is Ralph going to be the next target?
Sherloque realises that Ralph was onto something. After some experimenting (which involved Caitlin punching him in the chest – and for someone who failed PE, Caitlin does pack a punch), he figures out that Cicada must have an injury affecting his respiratory system. An impact to the chest from falling satellite debris, perhaps? His breathing difficulties plus the cover of the mask equals the cicada noise. Sherloque credits Ralph for his instinct to follow the mask lead. Looks like Watson showed Sherlock up this time!
Sherloque explains that Nora’s punch must have changed the trajectory of the falling satellite. This means the satellite hit different people, thus changing the timeline and Cicada’s identity. So is Cicada a metahuman? We see him discover he has super strength, but has to exert himself greatly to use it. The effort opens his glowing shoulder wound.
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(featured image: the CW)