The Flash keeps its hot streak rolling with another strong episode in Dead Man Running.
In the main subplot, Barry tries to track down a zombie-like meta who’s killing people. He told Team Flash about the pending Crisis, but not his fate. Typically we get the sledgehammer of subtlety with these subplots so it was a nice surprise how this was handled tonight. Far earlier than the norm,
Killer Frost figures Ramsey was the dark matter thief who unleashed the zombie meta. Barry wants to make use of Ramsey’s expertise, but is appropriately cautious. That pays off as he catches Ramsey trying to steal the dark matter.
This confrontation was actually pretty cool as Ramsey recognizes Barry’s tone is similar to his mother’s once she accepted she was about to die. In Ramsey — a character willing to do whatever it takes not to die — Barry is faced with an mirror adversary far different than Thawne. It’s a relatable stance as Barry has always tried to cheat death, but with the universe at stake, Barry can’t play the reckless hero. Ramsey doesn’t have that kind of concern and is just trying to stack the deck in his favor.
I was worried with Ramsey already interacting with Barry so soon, but this episode made it work allowing him to be on Barry’s radar without teasing his big bad status.
Clearly the biggest improvement this season is the writers finally understanding that the supporting characters’ lives don’t have to revolve around Barry or a season storyline. They’re people who can have goals, desires and agendas outside of Team Flash.
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That’s definitely benefited Iris the most as her work at The Central City Citizen has more meaning than a few random blog posts. Adding Allegra as the intern would have brought in yet another character without a purpose even as late as last year, but as a character largely contained in Iris’ world she’s a welcome new face. Allegra already proved her journalistic instincts as she found footage of a new Harrison Wells.
This one is more of a swashbuckling version called Harrison Nash Wells. I liked that Cisco and Iris went after him on their own while the others did their own thing. Team Flash is filled of capable characters now and the writers have removed the training wheels and are just letting them handle their own subplots.
Nash Wells is searching for Eternium, a multiverse substance consisting of fragments of The Rock of Eternity (see Shazam/Captain Marvel). Wonder if this is something The Monitor needs as well? In a nice twist, Nash Wells doesn’t want to set up shop at STAR Labs and goes on his own making for a welcome shift on the traditional new Wells dynamic.
Admittedly, I was worried with the introduction of Ralph’s mom (Amy Pietz). That was triggered from the not so fond episode killing memories of Felicity’s mom coming into town back in Arrow’s fourth season. But overall this was a nice introduction for a character in previous seasons would have passed the legal limits of character obnoxiousness in 20 minutes. Even the whole poker game while Ralph grabs the USB drive was handled well. The trick is small doses for those kind of potentially corny scenes. And this was a good use of Cecile this episode as well.
Mrs. Dibney had abandonment issues after Ralph’s father left them, which set her on a path of destructive relationships. While she thinks it’s too late for her, she wants Ralph to find happiness on his own. Assuming this leads to Ralph meeting Sue, this is going to be one of my favorite subplots this season.
Another one I’m amazed how much I’m enjoying is Frost. Maybe Caitlin had just outgrown her usefulness in the Team Flash unit as Frost feels like a much fresher character worth spending a season evolving.
She doesn’t want to die after finally getting a chance to live. Barry throwing a birthday party for her was a nice touch and I was glad the writers didn’t drag out Barry and Iris telling Team Flash about Barry’s predicted death. The conversation with Joe and Cecile is going to be tougher and warrants waiting until next week.
The Flash feels like a reinvigorated show. New showrunner Eric Wallace feels like he’s doing for The Flash what Angela Kang did for The Walking Dead — taking a decaying show and give it a new lease on life.
I’m very excited about this season and how it all will play out even after Crisis.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW