“I guess you’ll always be the first one to the scoop if you’re the one making it.”
Over the first month of ‘The Flash’ despite the early introduction of Cicada, and Nora West-Allen speeding into the lives of her future parents, the first three episodes seemed more like fillers. It’s a weird take considering what’s been going down but, after “News Flash”, the missing ingredients from the previous weeks are apparent.
Spencer Young is introduced at this week’s threat: a millennial more focused on getting likes and her trending status than delivering accurate news, she was affected by the destruction of DeVoe’s satellite during the Enlightenment. More accurately, her phone was infused with dark matter. It turns out that, not only did the satellite debris create new metas like Cicada, but now there are all sorts of meta-tech out there for anyone to get their hands on. Spencer’s lameness aside, this new avenue of meta-tech is a good one.
After four seasons of always having meta-humans to deal with, now Team Flash has to take into consideration that it could be the tech and not the person. Creatively speaking, this really expands the show’s meta (!), allowing for more thoughtful stories. Instead of the “I’m doing this because I am”, they can now present situations of “I’m just using the tech I was given—I didn’t know this would happen…” Obviously, that’s not the case with Spencer but the idea that someone can cause harm, not because they have a predilection to do so, rather that they are completely unaware of their actions is (potentially) a welcome change of pace.
Staying on the nasty meta front, Ralph and Sherloque partner up to investigate Cicada’s origins. Ralph believes the villain’s mask may offer insight into who he is; naturally Sherloque—not Sherlock—mocks what he believes is Ralph’s lack of detective skills. It’s only later that Sherloque takes Ralph’s suggestion to heart and correctly theorizes that Cicada has some sort of breathing issue most likely as a result of his injuries during the failed Enlightenment. Whether this allows Team Flash to follow-up on all reported injuries that night and to narrow down their suspect list remains to be seen.
“My whole life has been a lie because you have been trying to protect me.”
With all that said and the meta-tech mind control, the biggest standout in “News Flash” was the relationship between Iris, Nora, and Barry. For the last several weeks, viewers—along with Iris herself—wondered why Nora was so lukewarm in her mother’s presence while looking up to Barry like he walked on water (technically he can run on it but…well, you get the point!). In a heart-rending confession, Nora reveals the truth; for her entire life, Iris has lied to her.
For reasons yet to be revealed, she planted a power dampener into her daughter, negating Nora’s speedster abilities. While it’s not detailed what led to Nora discovering this but the fact that she’s been a speedster for only six months, makes her inexperience and stunted abilities more understandable. She’s been playing from behind her entire life and to find out that the person whose job it is to protect and nurture her performed such a violation is a harsh reminder that, just because someone purports to do something out of love, doesn’t mean it was the right thing or that it should be readily forgiven. When Barry supports future-Iris’s decision, it slams a wedge in between him and Nora. Yes, fences will be mended and more of the truth may come to light but, for now, Team Flash—or more accurately, Team West-Allen—is in disarray. And with Cicada seemingly becoming more powerful as his symptoms progress, that’s not a place of success for our white hats.
- Supporting those you love is such an important part of relationships. When someone loses confidence or doubts what they can/should do, that support system is vital. Just as important though, is being able to tell a loved one that, “while your heart was in the right place, this wasn’t the right thing to do.” Barry’s spiel to Iris on having faith in her choice to hide the truth from Nora, while noble, may also be misguided. He assumes that just because she did it out of love, to protect Nora it was the right thing to do. That’s a false assumption. Consider how many times Barry (and others) have hidden the truth to protect those they love only to have those decisions bite them down the road. It may turn out that Iris did the right thing but, wanting to keep someone safe doesn’t absolve you from making a terrible decision.
- Oh, my stars and garters; if I hear another show march out the “fake news” tagline again, I may scream. Yes, this phrase has been pasted everywhere thanks to our political machine and while art often imitates life, it can be overdone (a reason I’ve never warmed to Law and Order). My plea to writers is, let’s temper the inclusion of real-world things with a more fantastical lexicon…that’d be so schway!
- Despite the mini-rant in the previous point, I must admit the entire Spencer Young storyline was a clever, albeit heavy-handed take on the trajectory of social media these last few years. Too often people want to be famous and don’t care how they get there. Whether it’s reporting rumors and innuendo or posting risqué opinions and pictures, the social media machine offers the chance for anyone to get famous so long as they push the right buttons. Arguments for right and wrong aside, it is the truth. More to the point, the introduction of this new ‘meta-tech’ may suggest even more dives into the positives and negatives of our modern technology.
The Flash – “News Flash”