The fourth season of the American television series The Flash, which is based on the DC Comics character Barry Allen / Flash, follows a crime scene investigator with superhuman speed who fights criminals, including others who have also gained superhuman abilities. It is set in the Arrowverse, sharing continuity with the other television series of the universe, and is a spin-off of Arrow. The season is produced by Berlanti Productions, Warner Bros. Television, and DC Entertainment, with Andrew Kreisberg and Todd Helbing serving as showrunners.
The season was ordered in January 2017, and filming began that July. Grant Gustin stars as Barry, with principal cast members Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Keiynan Lonsdale, Tom Cavanagh, and Jesse L. Martin also returning from previous seasons, and are joined by Neil Sandilands.
The fourth season began airing on October 10, 2017, on The CW.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.
|70||1||"The Flash Reborn"||Glen Winter||Story by : Andrew Kreisberg
Teleplay by : Todd Helbing & Eric Wallace
|October 10, 2017||T27.13401||2.84|
|Iris has been aiding Team Flash in Central City for six months, but refusing to grieve Barry. A flying Samurai with superpowers appears in Central City, threatening to destroy the city if the real Flash does not face him. Cisco reveals he has formulated a way to bring back Barry without destabilizing the Speed Force, and tracks down Caitlin for help. Against Iris' direction, Team Flash successfully returns Barry, who appears rambling random statements and continually writing symbols on walls. Wally engages the Samurai, but is defeated. Cisco deciphers Barry's writings and finds an apparently meaningless sentence. In an attempt to recover Barry's memories, Iris gives herself up to the Samurai. The plan works and Barry speeds away, rescuing Iris and defeating the Samurai, who is revealed to be a robot. Caitlin rejoins Team Flash, but is revealed to have been working for a mobster called Amunet at the bar, while also continuing to prevent the Killer Frost personality from emerging. The "Samuroid" is revealed to have been controlled by The Thinker, whose plan was to draw out the Flash for his next schemes.|
|71||2||"Mixed Signals"||Alexandra La Roche||Jonathan Butler & Gabriel Garza||October 17, 2017||T27.13402||2.54|
|When Barry, Joe, and Cisco report to a crime scene, they discover remnants of a mysterious code. Cisco presents Barry with a technologically advanced suit, intended to facilitate his activities. He tests it out, trying to save someone from a haywire car, caused by metahuman Ramsey Deacon. Gypsy arrives on Earth 1 for a date with Cisco, who is forced to cancel it so as to focus on Deacon. Acting on a suggestion from Caitlin, Iris signs her and Barry up for couples therapy to sort out their relationship. Deacon kidnaps a witness, who was previously a member of a tech team who sold him out of his idea. Barry and Wally go to save him, but Deacon uses his abilities to send Barry's suit haywire. On Iris's instructions, Barry throws lightning at himself, shorting out his suit. He then incapacitates Deacon, who is locked up in the meta wing of Iron Heights, revealed to be part of the Thinker's plan. Cisco finally goes out with Gypsy. Wondering how Deacon gained his powers being absent during the particle accelerator incident, Barry and Joe learn from Deacon that there are "others".|
|72||3||"Luck Be a Lady"||Armen V. Kevorkian||Sam Chalsen & Judalina Neira||October 24, 2017||TBA||TBD|
|73||4||"Elongated Journey Into Night"||Tom Cavanagh||Sterling Gates & Thomas Pound||October 31, 2017||TBA||TBD|
|74||5||"Girls Night Out"||Laura Belsey||Lauren Certo & Kristen Kim||November 7, 2017||TBA||TBD|
The series was renewed for a fourth season on January 8, 2017, earlier than usual for the series. Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said on this, "The great thing about our dear friends at The CW and Mark Pedowitz picking the shows up as early as they did has allowed us to start building the schedules for next season." In May 2017, it was announced that Aaron Helbing would not return as an executive producer for season four, with only Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Sarah Schechter, and Todd Helbing returning from previous seasons.
In March 2017, Kreisberg confirmed that the main villain for the fourth season would not be a speedster, like the previous three seasons. Executive producers Aaron and Todd Helbing also mentioned that there would be less time travel in the season, with Aaron saying, "We like playing with the timelines and the different time periods and future and past. For now, I think we’re going to focus on the present." In June 2017, Clifford DeVoe / The Thinker was reported to be the main antagonist of the season. He was first hinted in the third season episode "Abra Kadabra" when the titular villain mentions him among the Flash's greatest enemies, and again in the season finale "Finish Line" when Savitar mentions facing DeVoe but states that the Flash has not dealt with him yet. At the series' San Diego Comic-Con panel, the speculation was confirmed, with Todd Helbing saying, "With three Speedsters in a row, this year it's the fastest man alive against the fastest mind alive." He added that the writers were "making a conscious effort this year to get the fun quotient back up".
Regarding the possibility of Wally West taking on the mantle of the Flash in Barry's absence, Keiynan Lonsdale said that "It's not something that's on my radar. I feel as though there is so much story to tell and Wally has so much growing to do... We need to see how these character realistically get to where they are headed for." With the action picking up six months after season three, Kid Flash and Vibe are left to protect Central City, with Carlos Valdes saying "the team is sort of clutching at straws to keep the city together,... there is a unanimous feeling amongst the remaining members that it's just not the same without Barry... So in light of that, Cisco does whatever it takes to get his friends back." Valdes also confirmed the return of Cisco's more lighthearted joking manner. Candice Patton explained Iris West's larger role within Team Flash as "a way of distracting herself," adding that "[Iris] is forced to deal with that anger and resentment and abandonment by kind of focusing on protecting Central City... We're seeing a very different Iris, almost a very hardened Iris." Kreisberg also hinted at some major growth for Iris this season, and noted that "the season premiere is all about Iris and Cisco, not Barry".
In July 2017, Sterling Gates, DC Comics comic book writer, joined as a member of the fourth season's writing staff. At the Television Critics Association press tour in August 2017, Pedowitz stated that the fourth season of The Flash is "going to try to find the lightness... of the Barry Allen of the first two seasons," and said that the show was likely "done with Speedster villains". Later in the month, Kreisberg confirmed the return of Harry Wells from Earth-2, saying that "season 4 for Harry is really realizing what he's missing in his life and what it is he needs to become a better, more complete person, and so he's going to be going on a fairly epic emotional journey this season that is tied to The Thinker's plan," in addition to confirming the introduction of a new version of the Wells character.
In September 2017, Helbing noted "There's a lot of love in the air this season," and compared Barry and Iris' reunion to "somebody going off to war for six months and coming back. There's a lot that Iris experienced that Barry didn't when he was gone, and it's really [about] the fun and the emotional component of making up that time when they weren't together." Helbing also explained that the Speed Force "let [Barry] deal with all of the baggage [from the past three seasons]. When he comes out, he's sort of left that all behind." That month, Kreisberg also confirmed that Barry and Iris will be getting married this season, while also revealing that the pair will be going to couples therapy since "[they] keep comically clashing inadvertently because [both are] used to being in charge, and so they wind up going... to work through it." He added, "The two of them with the therapist is some of the funniest stuff we have ever done on this show, but it also leads to a deepening of their relationship."
Main cast members Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Keiynan Lonsdale, Tom Cavanagh, and Jesse L. Martin return from previous seasons as Barry Allen / The Flash, Iris West, Caitlin Snow / Killer Frost, Cisco Ramon / Vibe, Wally West / Kid Flash, Harrison Wells, and Joe West, respectively. Cavanagh will portray Harry Wells from Earth-2 at the start of the season, without ruling out the possibility of introducing another incarnation of the Wells character later on. Teasing the arrival of a new Harrison Wells, Cavanagh said, "We're going to start with Harry and then find a way, I think, to try and get a different version of Wells in there, be it some version of Harry or whatnot as the season's gaps present themselves." Also returning from earlier in the series are Jessica Camacho as Gypsy, and Anne Dudek as Tracy Brand. Tom Felton, who joined the cast as Julian Albert in the third season, was revealed not to be returning to the series, although there is a possibility he could return if the storyline demanded it and Felton's availability permits. Julian's absence will be addressed "pretty quickly — there's a reason why he's no longer with the team," said Helbing. Kreisberg also confirmed that he had put on hold the planned return of Violett Beane as Jesse Quick due to the high number of speedsters on the show, but did not rule out a possible return in the future. Britne Oldford, who previously appeared as Shawna Baez / Peek-a-Boo in the first season and the web series The Chronicles of Cisco, will reprise her role in the season premiere.
In July 2017, Neil Sandilands was announced to be cast as Clifford DeVoe, a metahuman genius who embarks on a seasonlong battle with the Flash in order to fix all that he deems wrong with humanity; while Kim Engelbrecht was announced as The Mechanic, Devoe's right hand and a highly intelligent engineer who designs devices for him; and Danny Trejo as Breacher, a bounty hunter from Earth-19 and the father of Gypsy. Also in June, the series was looking to cast a role that "should put the visual effects department to the test", with the role later revealed to be Ralph Dibny / Elongated Man, a metahuman with the ability to stretch his body to superhuman lengths and sizes. Hartley Sawyer was cast in the recurring role that July as the fast-talking private investigator who after discovering his abilities will help Team Flash solve one of Central City's greatest mysteries. The character was previously mentioned in the first season, as one of the fourteen people who seemingly died as a result of the particle accelerator explosion. The next month, Katee Sackhoff was announced in the recurring role of Amunet Black / Blacksmith, who operates an underground black market of metahuman supervillains.
In May 2017, The CW president Mark Pedowitz officially announced plans for a four-show Arrowverse crossover event, crossing over episodes of the television series Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow. The crossover will begin with Supergirl and a special airing of Arrow on November 27, 2017, and conclude on The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow on November 28. In August 2017, Berlanti noted that it would be "a big life event for a few different people" that would bring them all together for the crossover, adding "There are many life events that happen." Emily Bett Rickards will appear as Felicity Smoak in the fifth episode of the season.
In July 2017, cast from the series appeared at San Diego Comic-Con International to promote the season, where exclusive footage was shown. During the panel, a trailer for the season was shown, with James Whitbrook at io9 feeling that despite the "grim" tone, there was "some fun signs of the team coming together to protect the city without [Barry],... Sprinkle in a few wacky things, like, say a goddamn Samuroid ripped straight from the comics, and ladies and gents, you've got a good season of The Flash lined up." Ben Pearson with /Film felt seeing Iris West deal with the absence of Barry was "a nice change of pace for that character", but anticipated that "Barry [would] be back two or three episodes in at the latest." Collider.com's Allison Keene also noted Iris "getting an actual storyline" with Barry gone, and similarly presumed that he "[would] be back in the fold by the end of the first episode" alike to Flashpoint in the third season. She added, "There are some new foes, lots of action, plenty of tech — it’s great!"
|1||"The Flash Reborn"||October 10, 2017||1.1/4||2.84||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|2||"Mixed Signals"||October 17, 2017||0.9/4||2.54||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|3||"Luck Be a Lady"||October 24, 2017||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|4||"Elongated Journey Into Night"||October 31, 2017||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
Reviewing the first two episodes of the season, Allison Keene writing for Collider.com, felt the premiere "wipes the slate clean, fixing a lot of the issues that plagued the end of the last season, and setting up a much more toned-down storyline. Most importantly, it's brought back some fun." She added that with a "streamlined team," the core characters now have time to interact and have meaningful plot lines. On the second episode, Keene described it as "truly a delight" with the show taking "the time to focus on character relationships, and not just romantic relationships" and each character "feeling like a refreshed version of themselves, with new narrative purpose". She also highlighted the setup of The Thinker "as an Alchemy-like villain who manipulates evil metas into the Flash's path as part of some kind of masterplan", saying "The Flash is a series that truly works best as a procedural, with the team finding creative ways to bring down Villains of the Week."
With so many speedsters present in the season finale, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg decided to put a hold on Violett Beane's planned return as Jesse Quick. "But she has been such a great addition to the show," Kreisberg says. "We'll see what happens in Season 4."