Catching Up: The Flash Episode 504, "News Flash"

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Flash 504 News Flash

Sometimes I watch an episode of THE FLASH and I'm all excited about the cool things that happened in the story. And then I catalog them in preparation for reviewing, and I thing, "Yeah, it was great except for this... and this... and this..." Eventually, I've picked it apart enough to realize that maybe I didn't like the episode as much as I initially thought I did.

Which is why "News Flash," in retrospect, is such a stinkeroo.

Here's what you need to know: When Flash (GRANT GUSTIN) and X/S (JESSICA PARKER KENNEDY) punched The Thinker's satellite into smithereens, those smithereens -- all infused with the same dark matter that once bathed the city at the beginning of the series -- fell where they had consequences. One of them created Cicada and his lightning-bolt dagger-of-power-dampening.

Another landed near an eager citizen journalist, Spencer Young (KIANA MADEIRA). But instead of turning Spencer into a metahuman...it turned her smart phone into metatechnology.

At which point, I think of the GEICO commercial: "That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works."

Spencer's smart phone has a super power. If she writes a headline on it and puts it out on her app, Spin Zone (which has more followers than Iris's blog), the subjects of those headlines get hypnotized into carrying out the tasks and making the headlines reality. It's fake news meets EARLY EDITION.

And what's Spencer's motivation? Well, other than clicks, she apparently has taken a shine to Central City's newest, cutest speedster. And when Nora goes to confront Spencer in her civilian identity, well, it seems the feeling is mutual.


When Nora Met Spencer. (L-R: JESSICA PARKER KENNEDY, KIANA MADEIRA)

Somebody at CW please move the Flash Writers room further away from the Arrow Writers room, please. We already see in ARROW's future his son William is gay, and we now see that the daughter of The Flash and Iris is also bisexual. And no, I don't care if either one is, but when it is both it just seems too derivative and borderline autophagiac.

We also get to see Barry play in a charity softball game -- and find out he sucks at it. This makes no narrative sense whatsoever. He can fake that he sucks at it, if he's trying to keep his abilities secret, or he can be mildly good at it if he tries not to use his abilities. But he doesn't "turn on" his powers. They're part of him. There is no reason he should miss a pop fly, let alone several of them. No reason he shouldn't be able to hit any ball pitched to him. The coment from Cecille (DANIELLE NICOLET) that "At least he's coordinated when it counts" is a flat-out cop-out. This should have been an opportunity for maybe some light comedy, seeing Barry intentionally seem klutzy. Instead, it was just sad.

The other subplot we follow, and one I enjoyed more, was seeing Ralph Dibny (HARTLEY SAWYER) team up with multiversal detective Sherloque Wells (TOM CAVANAGH) to find the identiy of Cicada. Ralph thinks they should investigate the respirator mask Cicada wears. Sherloque dismisses the idea, but humors Ralph's attempt at being a detective. Thing is, while Ralph is often comic relief, his detective skills are pretty sharp. Unfortunately, the respirator mask is almost too common, but not so uncommon that an investigation into the local plant where they're used doesn't land Elongated Man on Cicada's radar. This was a nicely done bit of giving Ralph some respectful spotlight, but possibly a bit jarring for those who have seen him over the last year, as he isn't presented as just a keen detective, but he also began rattling off chemical compound compositions, which was completely out of character.

Finally, we find out why Nora has been so stand-offish to her mother, Iris (CANDICE PATTON). It seems X/S hasn't had her speed powers all that long, and that's because future-Iris found a way to keep them from her, dampening them and not letting Nora know she even had them. We don't find out the reason for this, and probably won't for a while, but it's definitely something that has left Nora bitter.

I still love this series, but a bit more thought and originality is going to have to go into future storylines.

Grade: 
2.0 / 5.0