'The Flash' Season 5 Release Date, Plot, Villain, and Everything to Know

Super-speed is a family affair in Season 5.

The CW

As The Flash dashes toward Season 5 on The CW, the show looks to explore all the typical problems that traveling through time causes when you’re a superhero. So yes, more exciting things are in store for this addicting show that’s gained a cult following since its debut in October 2014.

The Flash Season 4 Ending

The Flash Season 4 ended on the shocking revelation that the enigmatic Mystery Girl, who debuted during the “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover event and had cameos sprinkled throughout the back-half of the season, was actually Iris and Barry’s daughter from the future, Nora West-Allen.

She traveled back in time from 30 years into the future, made a “big, big mistake” and then wound up trapped in the present day. Season 5 will explore the fallout of all that and then some.

When Is The Flash Season 5 Release Date?

The Flash Season 5 will premiere on The CW on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 8 p.m. Eastern, the same day of the week and time as last season. This season will be 22 episodes.

Is There a Trailer for The Flash Season 5?

The CW released a trailer for The Flash Season 5 at San Diego Comic-Con in July, along with a trailer for Episode 1 in early September. Then the final Season 5 premiere trailer was released on October 5

The first two The Flash Season 5 trailers focus on the fallout of Nora West-Allen revealing herself in the Season 4 finale and changing her past, which is causing problems for everyone in the present day of the show. Trailers for Episode 1 indicate that the new villain Cicada will appear by episode’s end, and that Nora has studied all things “The Flash” at the Flash museum in the future.

Could that mean that future Barry is dead already? It’s starting to seem more and more likely, which would explain why Nora is so sentimental with Barry. The latest trailer even shows them hugging — probably really strange for poor Barry. We also get a glimpse of Cicada hurting Vibe’s hand and threatening Cecile in some fashion.

What Is the Plot of The Flash Season 5?

True to the set-up presented by Nora West-Allen’s arrival in Season 4, The Flash Season 5 will function a bit like Flashpoint 2.0.

When Barry went back in time to save his mother from dying in the past at the end of Season 2, he created a hazardous alternate reality, dubbed Flashpoint. Even when he tried to reverse it, the event still caused negative repercussions throughout time and space, erasing some characters from existence, inciting an alien invasion, and even spawning his greatest enemy in Savitar in the new timeline.

Nora said she had made a “big, big mistake,” and Season 5 presents the fallout of how her actions will wreak havoc on the current timeline. She interfered with the timeline, just like her father once did, and it’s going to cause tons of problems.

Here’s a relevant portion of the official synopsis of The Flash Season 5 as released by The CW ahead of Comic-Con in July.

… with the arrival of Barry and Iris’ speedster daughter, Nora, who arrived from the future admitting to having made a “big mistake,” things are anything but status quo. Will parenthood be the challenge that finally slows The Flash down?

The biggest issue for Season 5, however, will definitely be the new big bad:

Chris Klein plays Cicada in 'The Flash' Season 5.The CW

Who Is the Villain of The Flash Season 5?

The new villain in The Flash Season 5 is Cicada, alias of David Hersch, played by Chris Klein (The American Pie series, Election, We Were Soldiers). In the comics, Hersch acquires the power to absorb the life force of others by using two lightning-shaped daggers. He forms a cult dedicated to obsessing over The Flash and kills anyone saved by scarlet speedster. The TV show version, however, sounds like something a bit closer to Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming — but he’s still got the dagger.

Per Deadline, the character’s official description is as a “grizzled, blue-collar everyman whose family has been torn apart by metahumans, Cicada now seeks to exterminate the epidemic — one metahuman at a time.” (Hence the comparison to Vulture, the “blue-collar” villain of the MCU.)

Grant Gustin, who plays Barry Allen/The Flash, also confirmed to Entertainment Weekly in September that Cicada’s appearance is tied to Nora’s. “We learn pretty early on, which shouldn’t come as a huge shock, that Nora being here actually has something to do with Cicada’s arrival,” Gustin said. He also revealed that Cicada “can dampen other metahuman powers, and we don’t know at first how he’s able to do that.” The lightning bolt dagger may or may not be tied to that.

Cicada is a “blue collar metahuman,” executive producer Todd Helbing said of the villain in the same EW story, so it does sound like Cicada will be a meta-human himself rather than some zealot targetting meta-humans.

Pretty much everyone from the core cast is returning to 'The Flash' — at least in the beginning of the season, anyway.The CW

Who in The Flash Season 5 Cast Is Returning?

Series regulars include the following members of the core cast:

  • Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash
  • Candice Patton as Iris West
  • Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow
  • Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon/Vibe
  • Jesse L. Martin as Joe West

Tom Cavanagh also returns, but as a new Harrison Wells doppelgänger. Cinema Blend reports that this one’s called “Sherloque Wells,” a French detective from an alternate reality that’s tracking Cicada.

Actor Hartley Sawyer’s also been upgraded to series regular for Season 5, returning as Ralph Dibney, aka the Elongated Man. The character has seemingly grown up for the new season and will reportedly flex his top-tier detective skills rather than spend his days goofing around.

Of course, Jessica Parker Kennedy returns as Nora West-Allen, and she’s also become a series regular. The Hollywood Reporter reports that she’ll appear in every single Season 5 episode, which includes the 100th episode and the crossover that’ll introduce Batwoman (more on these things later).

Susan Walters is also reprising her role as Dr. Carol Tannhauser, mother to Caitlin Snow. Early rumors indicate Season 5 will further explore Caitlin’s backstory and the true origins of her Killer Frost powers.

The Flash showrunner Todd Helbing confirmed to Newsarama in August 2018 that Keiynan Lonsdale’s Wally West would appear in the Season 5 premiere and then only two more episodes of Season 5. He did tease that Kid Flash has a “really cool” story this season, but it may or may not lead to his permanent exit from the show.

Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow on 'The Flash'.The CW

Are There Any New Characters in The Flash Season 5?

Season 5 also brings in several new characters to the show.

Announced in August, The Flash will introduce a genderbent version of the DC Comics villain Spin, as played by actress Kiana Madeira. She’s described by Deadline as “a young aspiring social media influencer who seizes the opportunity to make herself famous when she discovers there is a new hero in Central City.”

TV Insider reports that real-life contortionist Troy James has been cast as Peter Merkel, aka Rag Doll, in the fifth episode of the Season 5. This supervillain has meta-human flexibility that makes for an interesting foil to Ralph Dibny as the Elongated Man.

Entertainment Weekly also previously revealed that Kyle Secor has been cast as Dr. Thomas Snow, Caitlin Snow’s father, further indication that Season 5 will further explore Killer Frost’s origins.

Being a speedster is a family affair in 'The Flash' Season 5.The CW

Who Gets a New Costume in The Flash Season 5?

The high-tech suit Barry used as The Flash for most of Season 4 was ruined in the finale when he supersonic-punched a satellite out of the sky. But as revealed in the Season 5 trailer, Nora gives Barry his Flash Ring from the future that has a totally new suit inside.

A set photo leaked of the new costume in early August, leading to some dramatic criticism from fans. Official photos and footage released later show a costume that’s more comics-accurate than any previous suits worn on the show, with the key difference being no chin strap.

Like father, like daughter — Nora West-Allen also has her own distinct supersuit modeled after Iris West’s speedster jacket and the XS speedster costume from the comics.

Grant Gustin as Barry Allen on 'The Flash'.The CW

How Long is The Flash Season 5?

Each of The Flash’s previous four seasons reached 23 episodes, but according to TV Line there were only 22 episodes ordered for Season 5. This is a bit surprising, but it shouldn’t be any cause for concern. That just means fewer filler episodes in Season 5.

What Are the Episode Titles of The Flash Season 5?

Episode 1 — “Nora”

Unsurprising, the Season 1 premiere will focus on the revelation that the Mystery Girl was Nora West-Allen all along.

Episode 2 — “Blocked”

Considering Cicada’s ability to dampen meta-human powers, I’m confident in assuming that “Blocked” refers to that ability after the heroes try to face him.

Episode 3 — “The Death of Vibe”

This one looks like a huge spoiler, but Vibe’s death being so brazenly forecast in the episode title seems suspicious. It’s possible, even likely, that Vibe’s death is reported but Cisco Ramon survives. Either way, this corroborates an August set photo leak from Iris West actress Candice Patton, who shared an Instagram photo with a headline in the background that read “VIBE DEA—.” Showrunner Todd Helbing did say at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 that we should expect “a lot of deaths this year.”

Episode 4 — “News Flash”

Showrunner Todd Helbing told TV Line in August that Iris West is “going to do more journalism [in Season 5] than we’ve seen in quite a while.” The show loves its double entendres, especially with the episode titles, so “News Flash” probably has a lot to do with Iris reporting stories for her blog.

This is also reportedly the episode that’ll introduce the new villain Spin, who’s obsessed with social media — so that ties in even more so.

Episode 5 — “All Doll’d Up”

This one definitely references a new villain called Rag Doll, a meta-human contortionist and thief played by Troy James, who’s already been confirmed for this episode number.

Episode 6 — “The Icicle Cometh”

“The Iceman Cometh” is a 1939 play written by Eugene O’Neill, but this episode title pun probably references Killer Frost. Actress Danielle Panabaker, who plays Caitlin Snow and Killer Frost, has previously revealed that Season 5 will explore more of the character’s history, specifically how she became a meta-human.

Episode 18

Actress Danielle Panabaker is also directing an episode of The Flash this season, and she revealed that it’ll be Episode 18, which should air sometime in spring 2019.

When Is The Flash’s 100th Episode?

Season 5’s Episode 8 will be the show’s 100th episode overall, and it’ll serve as the mid-season finale, probably on Tuesday, December 4. Tom Cavanagh will direct the episode, having previously directed “The Once and Future Flash” in Season 3 and “Elongated Journey Into Night” in Season 4.

Showrunner Todd Helbing promises some kind of “big twist” for the 100th episode, but there’s very little information beyond that so far. Arrow’s 100th episode previously occurred during the “Invasion!” crossover in 2016, so fans can expect a similar spectacle celebrating five years of The Flash.

When Is the Batwoman Arrowverse Crossover Happening?

The annual crossover event, slated to introduce Ruby Rose’s Batwoman to the Arrowverse, kicks off with The Flash Season 5, Episode 9 on Sunday, December 9.

How Can I Watch The Flash Season 4 to Catch Up?

The entire back catalog of The Flash is available to watch on Netflix.

The Flash airs Tuesdays on The CW at 8 p.m. Eastern starting on October 9, 2018.