As the fourth season of The Flash came to a close, Team Flash was celebrating the birth of Joe and Cecile’s daughter when a young mystery woman crashed the party at Joe’s house. She revealed herself to be Nora Allen-West, Barry and Iris’ daughter from 30 years in the future.
The fifth season picks up immediately where we left off. Team Flash is in shock from Nora’s announcement, but quickly realizes that she is telling the truth. This bubbly, energetic speedster (who goes by the name XS) takes after her father, even working as a forensic scientist in the future. Over the years she has become a Flash superfan, spending lots of time at the museum learning about all about her father’s exploits and each of the villains he faced. She is a bit secretive about the real reason she came back, saying only that she wanted to see her parents. Nora is now stuck is the past—she is unable get her speed fast enough in order to open the up the Speed Force to return to her time. So she decides to take the opportunity to learn from her parents, and joins Barry as an intern at the CCPD. Barry and Iris make it clear that they don’t want to know anything about the future. However, just in her traveling back in time, Nora has already caused some unexpected and possibly dangerous alterations to the timeline.
In addition to facing off with many exciting villains-of-the-week, this season Team Flash finds itself up against a dangerous new big bad named, Cicada (Chris Klein). Cicada is a metahuman Grimm Reaper—he hunts down metahumans and eliminates them with his glowing lightning bolt-shaped dagger, which has the ability to dampen his victims powers. Nora tells the team that Cicada was unstoppable in her future, but that something has changed in the timeline because The Flash didn’t face Cicada until mach later on. And so as Team Flash tries to figure out Cicada’s motives and how to stop him, they once again seek help from Herr Wells, but since he is busy, Wells sends someone else to assist them—the “Greatest Detective in the Multiverse”, Harrison Sherloque Wells. Sherloque is a pork pie hat wearing, French-accented version of Wells who’s a bit over-confident and full of himself at times, but does have the intelligence to back it up. However, this Wells isn’t helping the team out of a sense of justice—he’s looking for a paycheck as he has seven ex-wives and lots of alimony to pay!
Meanwhile, the rest of Team Flash also have their own personal things to deal with. Cisco is still trying to get over Gypsy—even vibing makes him think about her. Ralph, who’s had ample experience with heartbreak of his own, offers to help Cisco. Barry and Iris are getting to use having an instant adult daughter, and try to bond with her. While Nora is eager to hang out with and learn from Barry, she seems a bit colder when it comes to Iris. And speaking of cold, last season the question was raised as to how Killer Frost was really created and for what purpose, and this season Caitlin goes on a quest to find her father and discover those answers.
I really enjoyed this season of The Flash. While the season does take some dark turns, the series always does a good job of mixing in fun, lighter moments in order to keep the overall tone of the series from getting too dark. A lot of the fun this season comes from characters like Ralph Dibny (aka Elongated Man), who’s powers come with a built in vehicle for physical humor, as well as Sherloque, who has a lot of fun with that accent and his crazy ex-wife stories.
While the trend of most streaming shows is shorter seasons, the CW superhero shows continue to do a full 22-episode seasons. Usually The Flash has just one major storyline or big bad that stretches across the entire season. While this is also the case this season, there are enough mini-arcs and twists and turns in the Cicada storyline that keep things interesting, and it never felt like this season-long arc drags on. I really enjoyed the addition of Nora this season. She has a fun, bubbly enthusiasm that reminds me a lot of Barry. The writers also did an excellent job of putting in some totally unexpected turns in Nora’s storyline as well as in the Caitlin/Killer Frost arc, which help to keep things interesting.
The season also features some creative episodes, such as the Groundhog Day-like “Cause and XS” episode that finds Nora re-living the same events over and over again as she tries to prevent any member of Team Flash from getting killed during a meeting with Cicada. At the same time, Cisco keeps re-living a horrible first date, each time testing out a different persona in hopes of getting it right. There are also several episodes in the latter half of the season that jump ahead to 2049 to let us see what’s happening in Nora’s time. And the season beings back some familiar faces, such as King Shark and Gorilla Grodd.
The Blu-ray release of this fifth season includes all three hours of the season’s big Elseworlds crossover event, while the DVD release only includes “Hour One”, The Flash episode. While this crossover event was a lot of fun (especially the first episode), it doesn’t really tie a whole lot into the season storyline of The Flash. You could almost skip this and not even notice any effect on the season, but I wouldn’t recommend it as it is so much fun to see Barry and Oliver swap places!
The premise of the crossover is that an other-worldly being known as Mar Novu/The Monitor shows up on Earth-1 where he hands psychiatrist Dr. John Deegan (Jeremy Davies) a book with the power to rewrite reality. In the first hour, the The Flash episode, we see that in Deegan’s new reality, Barry Allen and Oliver Queen have swapped places (whether this is a Freaky Friday or a Quantum Leap situation is constantly up for debate). Oliver wakes up in bed next to Iris and discovers that he is Barry Allen, despite still looking like himself. Meanwhile, Barry discovers that he is now the Green Arrow. None of their friends know about the swap, or believe them when they try to explain the situation. Barry, of course, has fun with his new abilities, while Oliver is understandably upset—especially when he has to embrace his inner joy in order to effectively be The Flash. When a killer robot that absorbs meta powers starts destroying the city, the guys head to Earth-38 to get Kara’s help, and to see if reality has been effected there as well. And so Superman and Supergirl return with them to Earth-1 to fight this new threat.
The second hour is the Arrow episode, though it feels more like a Batwoman backdoor pilot as the majority of it takes place in Gotham City. The red skies and odd lightning have followed Oliver and Barry to Star City. Cisco vibes to see the meeting where The Monitor handed the book to Dr. John Deegan and notices the Wayne Enterprises building in the background. So the team heads to Gotham City to find Deegan and get the book so they can restore reality. There they cross paths with Kate Kane (Ruby Rose), cousin of Bruce Wayne, who warns them to leave the city. There is a breakout at Arkham Asylum, and a masked Batwoman arrives to help the group.
The third/final hour is the Supegirl episode. The Monitor had given the book back to Dr. John Deegan, demanding that he really shake things up this time. Oliver and Barry become a bank-robbing duo known as the Trigger Twins. All of their family and friends have also had their reality altered. Meanwhile, Deegan has tuned himself into an all-powerful, black-suited, evil version of Superman and has locked up Kara so she can’t use her powers against him. So Barry and Oliver enlist the help of Cisco, who is now a bank-robbing gangster, to retrieve the real Superman from Earth-38 to help save the day.
All 22 episodes of the show’s fifth season (plus the 2 additional cross-over episodes) are split across four Blu-ray discs. The release provides a solid video and audio presentation. The picture looks excellent and captures the special effects, colors and sights of Central City (both present and future) beautifully. The audio track provides clear dialogue and an immersive viewing experience. The discs are packed in a multi-disc HD keepcase with a cardboard slipcase. Inside is a sheet with digital copy redemption instructions as well as an episode guide insert.
The bonus material consists of over 30 minutes of deleted scenes, an 8-minute gag reel, an 11 minute featurette about Killer Frost, and three longer-form featurettes that encompass many of the DC TV shows. While these common features are quite well done, they will likely be included on all of this year’s DC TV Blu-ray releases, so they will be repetitive for those who collect all of these shows, and some of the material may not be of great interest to those who don’t follow all of the DC superhero series. That said, I can see the benefit from a production standpoint of creating one common set of bonus material (besides deleted scenes, gag reels and the odd show-specific feature)—plus they make good promotional material to help sell some of these other shows to folks who may not already be watching them.
- All 22 episodes of the fifth season, plus 2 full crossover episodes:
Disc 1: “Nora”, “Blocked”, “The Death of Vibe”, “News Flash”, “All Doll’d Up”, “The Icicle Cometh”
Disc 2: “O Come, All Ye Thankful”, “What’s Past Is Prologue”, “Elseworlds: Hour One”, “Elseworlds: Hour Two”, “Elseworlds: Hour Three”, “The Flash & The Furious”
Disc 3: “Seeing Red”, “Memorabilia”, “Goldfaced”, “Cause and XS”, “King Shark VS Gorilla Grodd”, “Failure Is an Orphan”
Disc 4: “Time Bomb”, “Godspeed”, “Snow Pack”, “Gone Rogue”, “The Girl with the Red Lightning”, “Legacy”
- 1080p / Widescreen 1.78:1
- Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH
- Digital HD copy of the episodes redeemable via Vudu.
The code was not yet redeemable at the time of this review, but it is highly likely that the digital version will only include the first hour of the crossover, The Flash episode, and not all three parts.
- Deleted Scenes (32:36)
Collection of 23 deleted scenes, found on the discs with their related episodes.
- Disc 1: 7 scenes from “Nora”, “Blocked”, “The Death of Vibe”, “News Flash” & “All Doll’d Up”, (9:42)
- Disc 2: 4 scenes from “O Come, All Ye Thankful” & “Elseworlds: Hour One” (3:22)
- Disc 3: 7 scenes from “Seeing Red”, “Goldfaced” & “Failure Is an Orphan” (11:07)
- Disc 4: 5 scenes from “Time Bomb”, “Gone Rogue” & “Legacy” (8:25)
- The Evolution of Killer Frost (11:31)
Executive producers Todd Helbing & Eric Wallace and star Danielle Panabaker (“Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost”) talk about the evolution of the psychopathic Killer Frost from the comics to the kinder, more-conflicted version of the character in the TV show. They also discuss the journey of the character this season, from discovering her origin, to finding a way for Caitlin and Killer Frost to co-exist.
- Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2018 (1:00:59)
The cast and creators of four of the DC TV shows visit San Diego Comic-Con 2018. Includes interviews with the stars from the press line and at autograph signings, and clips from the shows’ Q&A panels. Participants include Supergirl (executive producers Robert Rovner, Jessica Queller & Sarah Schechter, Katie McGrath, Mehcad Brooks, Chyler Leigh, Melissa Benoist, David Harewood, Jesse Rath & Nicole Maines), Arrow (executive producer Beth Schwartz and stars Rick Gonzalez, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Colton Haynes, Echo Kellum, Juliana Harkavy, and Stephen Amell), Black Lightning (EP Mara Brock Akil, director Salim Akil, and stars James Remar, Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones, Nafessa Williams, Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Christine Adams & Damon Gupton), The Flash (executive producer Todd Helbing and stars Danielle Nicolet, Hartley Sawyer, Danielle Panabaker, Tom Cavanaugh, Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes & Jessica Parker-Kennedy), and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (executive producers Keno Shimizu & Phil Klemmer, and stars Jes Macallan, Matt Ryan, Nick Zano, Maisie Richardon-Sellers, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Dominic Purcell, Tala Ashe, Courtney Ford & Adam Tsekhman).
- Inside the Crossover: Elseworlds (45:01)
Host Hector Navarro sits down with the showrunners of the series to discuss the process of planning and executing this epic cross-over event. Also includes behind-the-scenes footage, and cutaway segments with interviews with DC Entertainment folks who discuss how the original comics dealt with alternate realities in the Elseworlds stories. Participants include executive producers Beth Schwartz (Arrow), Todd Helbing (The Flash), Caroline Dries (Batwoman) & Robert Rovner (Supegirl), consulting producer Marc Guggenheim, and from DC Entertainment, animation creative director Mike Carlin, co-publisher Dan Didio, co-creator of Batman: The Animated Series Bruce Timm, Warner Bros. Animation screenwriters Alan Burnett & Heath Corson, and Mad Ghost Productions writer/producer Geoff Johns.
- Villains: Modes of Persuasion (38:05)
The cast and creators of various DC TV series, including Gotham, Krypton, The Flash, Arrow & Supergirl, discuss the rationale and pathos behind the various shows’ villains, and how these characters are often the heroes of their own stories. Participants include Supergirl executive producer Robert Rovner, Krypton executive producer David Goyer, Gotham executive producer John Stephens, licensed clinical psychologist Andrea Letamendi Ph.D., Gotham staff writer Seth Boston, Arrow consulting producer Marc Guggenheim, Arrow producer Oscar Balderrama, The Flash executive producer Todd Helbing, and Gotham actors Robin Lord Taylor (“Oswald Cobblepot”), Cory Michael Smith (“Edward Nygma”) & Ben McKenzie (“James Gordon”).
- The Flash Season 5 Gag Reel (8:00)
This gag reel finds the cast dancing, flubbing their lines (often followed by bleeped cursing), making each other laugh, and just having fun on set.
Digital: (Redemption deadline 9/30/2020)
Bonus material is spread across all of the discs.
The Flash continues to be one of my favorite parts of the DC TV superhero lineup. The fifth season offers an interesting big bad and villains-of-the-week, while also giving the main characters a chance to grow. Nora is a fun addition to Team Flash as she encompassing the same high level of enthusiasm and excitement as her father. Warner Bros.’ Blu-ray release looks and sounds great, and contains a nice selection of bonus material, though some of it is duplicated across all of this year’s DC superhero releases. The Blu-ray release also contains all three parts of the fun Elseworlds crossover event. This is an easy recommendation for fans or potential new fans—I don’t think it’s necessary to have seen the previous four seasons in order to enjoy this latest one.