By Chancellor Agard
October 30, 2018 at 10:09 PM EDT
Robert Falconer/The CW
S5 E4
  • TV Show
  • The CW

Why has Nora been so chilly toward her mom? That question has been hanging over The Flash since the season began. At first, it appeared as though it was just because Barry disappeared when she was still a baby and she never got to know him. But as the weeks have gone by, the mother-daughter tension has lessened. Well, we learned why Nora wants nothing to do with Iris in tonight’s episode, “News Flash.”

Throughout the episode, Team Flash is in pursuit of a meta who is somehow able to control or hypnotize people. The meta makes a police officer attack the CCPD’s softball game with a bomb, and makes Barry speed off from the scene of the fire, leaving Nora to put it out herself (Thank god, Iris was on the phone to guide her through it Harrison Wells style!). Eventually, Iris realizes that Spencer Young, a former CCPN reporter who runs her own competing blog, may be the one behind it after she notices that Spencer published articles about each incident before they happened.

To test her theory, Iris and Barry send Nora to Jitters to see if Spencer is a metahuman, but Nora ends up flirting with Spencer instead. Iris swoops in and interrupts the meet-cute, giving Nora a chance to actually test Spencer to see if she’s a meta. The watch says no, which Nora’s glad to hear since she thinks Spencer is cute, but Iris forbids her from pursuing her because she still might be dangerous. “I’m trying to protect you,” says Iris. That’s the last thing Nora wanted to hear because it’s the same excuse Future Iris used to justify implanting a power dampener in Nora, thereby removing her powers. It turns out Nora just discovered she had powers six months ago! What drama!

Honestly, this may be the show’s best revelation in quite some time. It’s powerful because it’s so personal to all of the characters involved. Of course, Nora is pissed because her mom took away part of who she is and didn’t give her any say in the matter. Iris, on the other hand, can’t believe she would do something like this and completely understands why Nora is so upset with her. Both Jessica Parker Kennedy and Candice Patton do a fantastic job of juggling this heavy emotional material in a way that makes you feel for both women. Barry comforts Iris and says she must have had a good reason to do this, but she doesn’t believe him. Well, that is until she’s forced into a position where she has to make a similar move.

Spencer — whose dark matter-infused phone can hypnotize people with her headlines — calls in a bomb threat at the soccer stadium in order to lure both the Flash and XS there. Once they arrive, she flashes “Nora kills the Flash” over the stadium’s screens, which then pushes Nora to try to murder her father. Boy, the ensuing fight is rough and shows off just how powerful Nora is. She comes oh so close to Reverse Flash-ing her father, but thankfully Iris shows up in time and shoots her with a power dampening dart before she can kill Barry.

Making that decision helps Iris realize what Barry said earlier, and she tells Nora that she must have had a good reason to take such a drastic step in the future. Nora scoffs and accuses Iris of only wanting to control her. She expects Barry to have her back on this, but Barry tells Nora that he supports Iris. The resulting look of shock and disappointment on Jessica Parker Kennedy’s face was downright heartbreaking. With her parents united, Nora runs off and decides to move in with Joe and Cecile.

Although the West-Allen family drama worked really well, I find myself torn on how the show handled Spencer Young. Throughout the episode, it wasn’t clear how committed the show was to using her as a means of commenting on the ways in which the media can manipulate readers. Spencer is portrayed as a click-hungry blogger who will do anything to get an audience. At one point, Iris even comments that Spencer using her powers to create newsworthy events, like a bombing at a softball game, is fake news taken to the extreme. But the show never really does much more with it, so it’s hard to tell whether it was actively trying to make a point or not.

While West-Allen was busy dealing with Spencer, Sherloque and Ralph made some headway on the Cicada case. Ralph decides they need to figure out why he wears the mask. At first, Sherloque doubts this detail is actually important since it wasn’t the last thirty-something times he caught Cicada, but then he has an epiphany after they visit a factory (where Cicada actually happens to work) and discovers that everyone there wears the mask. Sherloque realizes that the noise Cicada makes isn’t just from breathing through the mask, but from a lung injury that he incurred on the night of the Enlightenment when dark matter-filled debris rained on Central City. The debris not only injured Cicada but also gave him his dagger powers. So Spencer’s phone combined with Cicada’s dagger means one thing: There are probably a bunch of people running around Central City with meta-tech.

Wall of Weird:

  • Iris trying and failing to make breakfast at the beginning of the episode was great.
  • In a surprising turn of events, the writers avoided the most obvious characterization for Sherloque and actually had him give Ralph credit for his Cicada discovery.
  • Also, I’m really enjoying Ralph’s new look.
  • Carlos Valdes was absent from the episode. Onscreen, Caitlin said Cisco was laying low after his encounter with Cicada.

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The Flash

After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.

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  • 6
  • The CW
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