The Flash Season 6 Premiere Highlights the Real Crisis: Keeping Hope Alive in the Face of Grief
In The Flash fifth season finale, Barry and Iris lost their daughter from the future, Nora played by Jessica Parker Kennedy. In the opening of this next season, time has passed but both Grant Gustin’s and Candice Patton’s characters are in denial. The Flash season 6 premiere teases the big Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover, but the main story is about the balance between hope and grief. The storytellers spread this message over three storylines in The Flash season 6 premiere. The first came from the metahuman-of-the-week: a man who somehow became a part of a black hole. The second story to focus on this was Iris’s story, and to a lesser extent Barry’s, showing how the two were not dealing with Nora’s death.
Finally, the C-story dealt with the weird split-personality relationship between Danielle Panabaker’s Caitlin Snow and Killer Frost. We also finally meet Sendhil Ramamurthy’s character, Ramsey Rosso who becomes the villain Bloodwork. He has a history with Caitlin, and we know from The Flash season 6 trailer that he will eventually get close to Barry as well, possibly learning his identity. Though, even Cisco’s new girlfriend knows Barry is the Flash, so he’s pretty terrible at the secret identity thing.
The Flash Season 6 Premiere Shows Grief Manifesting in Different Ways for Barry and Iris
Image via CW
Of the two of them, Iris seems to be taking Nora’s death the hardest. This makes sense because Nora and her relationship started out fraught but mended with time. Yet, The Flash season 6 premiere starts with a classic “immediately stop the bad guy” sequence. We see Barry take down Godspeed, a character from the comics with a striking white suit. Teased last season, the Godspeed Barry takes down is some kind of brainless human automaton. This is obviously a set-up for later in the season, as this show likes to have multiple “big bad” characters in play at once. What’s interesting comes after Barry stops the faux speedster. We see him being even more positive than usual, which is saying something for this character. Later in the episode, we learn that this is how Barry manifests his grief. If he keeps running, maybe he can stay ahead of the pain.
Iris, however, expresses her grief in a different way, at least at the end of the episode. In the beginning, like Barry, she hides her grief. Only, she does a worse job at it than her husband. Iris wears her disappointment on her face, but Barry is so wrapped up in his own avoidance he doesn’t notice. There are subtle indicators here, but Barry and Iris may be starting to keep secrets from each other (again). The Flash eschewed the television axiom that a “one true couple” should be kept apart to create dramatic tension. The inclusion of Iris as Barry’s “better half” works in this series, so perhaps they will deal with their grief together. Of course, with the Crisis looming and potential timeline changes on the way, their relationship dynamic might change. It would be a bad call, I think, but the show’s strength is its handling of characters’ relationships.
The Looming Crisis Doesn’t Loom So Much, Yet
Image via screengrab
Without spoiling things, there is merely a tease of the upcoming CW Crossover event. The Crisis On Infinite Earths may be officially five episodes involving six CW series, but the entire first half of the Arrowverse seasons (save for Black Lightning, who will only crossover during Crisis) will be dedicated to it. The final season of Arrow especially will tell that story, using the cosmic powers of the Monitor to facilitate Oliver Queen’s journey to the end. He shows up in this episode, but not in a major way. My guess is that the various Arrowverse shows will feature small teases to the crossover in the first weeks. A few of the series may devote an episode or two to something that will eventually be relevant. The Crisis crossover is the biggest event the Arrowverse ever tried to pull off, so it’s safe to assume it will span more than just the five episodes before their winter break.
Or course, Barry Allen has a big role to play in it, as The Flash teased the titular character’s disappearance during a “crisis” in the pilot episode. Interestingly, since Barry’s timeline ended up changed by the Reverse-Flash in that first season, the math checks out. Barry faced the Crisis in 2024, about five years after becoming the Flash. At the start of season six, Barry has been the Flash for about five years. Still, as we mentioned, the Flash of 2024 is still technically out there. If Barry is forced to make the same sacrifice his comics counterpart did, perhaps it won’t be our Barry. It’s also possible that Oliver Queen would make the heroic gesture to sacrifice himself for his friend. Whatever happens, big changes are on the way.
Sendhil Ramamurthy Debuts as Bloodwork and He’s Perfect for the Role
Image via CW
During The Flash season 6 premiere, a friend who keeps their social media accounts private wrote: “Mohinder injecting himself with things is never a good idea.” This is obviously a reference to Ramamurthy’s character Mohinder on Tim Kring’s Heroes. During the run of that show, his doctor/scientist character often injected himself and others with a variety of sci-fi medicines. As a scientist in The Flash, Ramamurthy’s Ramsey Rosso hopes to save human lives. He has a history with Caitlin, and he comes to her with a plan to cure a particularly deadly form of cancer. He came to her because the metahuman cure from the last season of the show is apparently public knowledge. This is interesting because such a “cure” should create a moral dilemma for a world plagued by metahumans. Perhaps the presence of the Flash staves that off, but if anything happens to him during the Crisis, that could be a good place for drama.
Ramsey, who producers confirmed will become a version of Bloodwork, starts out in a rough place. Because Team Flash is so pure, he almost certainly will find his way into their inner circle. The show often features friends of Team Flash maliciously betraying them. What makes Ramamurthy so exciting in this role is that, as evidenced by Mohinder, he excels at playing the bad guy who isn’t overly bad. He will assuredly betray the team, but hopefully if will be a crisis of ideology rather than a moustache-twirling villain-style plan.
What did you like best about The Flash season 6 premiere? Share your favorite highlights and theories about where things are headed in the comments below.
Featured image via CW
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.