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The Flash Season 5 release date, plot, villain, and everything to know

Super-speed is a family affair in Season 5 of the CW superhero series.

Originally Published: 
The CW

This article about Season 5 of the superhero series The Flash was originally published on October 9, 2018 and updated on April 18, 2021 following the release of the season on The CW. Read on for the original article, with some new changes to reflect the latest updates on this topic.

As The Flash dashed toward Season 5 on The CW, the show looked to explore all the typical problems that traveling through time causes when you’re a superhero. That led to a slew of exciting things for this addicting show that’s gained a cult following since its debut in October 2014.

Here’s everything we know about Season 5 of The Flash.

How did Season 4 of The Flash end?

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 premiered on The CW on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 8 p.m. Eastern, the same day of the week and time as last season. The season ran 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.

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 functioned 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.

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.)

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 returned?

Series regulars included 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 returned, but as a new Harrison Wells doppelgänger. Cinema Blend reported that this one’s called “Sherloque Wells,” a French detective from an alternate reality that’s tracking Cicada.

Actor Hartley Sawyer’s also was upgraded to series regular for Season 5, returning as Ralph Dibney, aka the Elongated Man. The character had grown up for the new season and spent his time flexing his top-tier detective skills rather than spend his days goofing around. Danielle Nicolet’s Cecille Horton was also upped to series regular.

Of course, Jessica Parker Kennedy not only returned as Nora West-Allen, but also become a series regular, appearing in every episode. Susan Walters also reprised 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.

Previous series regular Keiynan Lonsdale only appeared as Wally West in the Season 5 premiere. This was to accommodate the character’s move to Legends of Tomorrow, and Lonsdale’s eventual departure from the Arrowverse altogether.

Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow on 'The Flash'.

The CW

Are there any new characters in The Flash Season 5?

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

Announced in August 2018, The Flash introduced 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 reported that real-life contortionist Troy James had 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 had been cast as Dr. Thomas Snow, Caitlin Snow’s father, as Season 5 explored Caitlin’s origin story as Frost.

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

The CW

Who got 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 gave 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 as first reported by TV Line there were only 22 episodes ordered for Season 5.

When was The Flash’s 100th Episode?

Season 5’s Episode 8 was the show’s 100th episode overall, and it served as the mid-season finale. The episode, titled “What’s Past is Prologue,” aired on December 4, 2018. Tom Cavanagh directed the episode, having previously directed “The Once and Future Flash” in Season 3 and “Elongated Journey Into Night” in Season 4.

The episode involved a blast from the past, as Barry and Nora traveled back through various adventures over the years to gather materials for a power dampener to use on Cicada.

When did the Batwoman Arrowverse crossover happen?

2018’s annual Arrowverse crossover event began with The Flash Season 5, Episode 9 on December 9, 2018. In the crossover, known as “Elsewords”—which spanned Arrow and Supergirl as well—the titular characters are drawn to Gotham City to confront Dr. John Deegan over his work at Arkham Asylum. The crossover was notable in that it introduced Kate Kane and Lois Lane to the Arrowverse, played by Ruby Rose and Elizabeth Tulloch.

Was The Flash renewed for Season 6?

Yes! The series was renewed for a sixth season on January 31, 2019. The season went on to premiere in October of that same year.

How can I watch The Flash Season 5?

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

Season 5 of The Flash premiered on October 9, 2018. Episodes aired on Tuesdays on The CW at Eastern.

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