Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of The Flash. Read at your own risk!
Who’s to blame for the new influx of metahumans in Central City? It turns out, it’s Team Flash!
When a second metahuman appears in town in as many weeks, the team investigates how they gained their powers, uncovering that Barry’s exit from the Speed Force unleashed dark matter that hit a nearby bus. Yes, there’s a literal bus full of people who now have powers that the team will have to hunt down.
“Obviously, we all feel responsible,” Candice Patton tells EW. “We took Barry out of the Speed Force and because of that, we have this bus filled with metahumans, and now it’s our responsibility to find out who these people are, track them down, and keep the city safe. Iris feels like these metahumans are victims themselves. They didn’t ask for this. We did this, and it’s our responsibility to help them and find them and keep the city safe, so there’s a moral dilemma of going after these metahumans, but also having compassion for the fact that they didn’t ask for this, and it’s our fault, really.”
It’s for that very reason that this turn of events strikes a chord with Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) in particular. “That’s a very sensitive topic,” Panabaker says. “She is someone who most recently has been affected by powers and certainly didn’t ask for it and certainly doesn’t love all of the ramifications that came with these powers, so I think she is very sensitive to what they’ve done to these people and how they’ve changed their lives.”
“It’s kind of weird, because in contrast to previous seasons, where Barry is usually left to hold himself accountable for mistakes that he’s made, such as was the case in Flashpoint, this season, conversely, is about how Team Flash has to hold themselves accountable for something that they did,” Carlos Valdes adds, noting that Cisco is far less remorseful for their actions considering they unleashed the dark matter for good reason. “In his point of view, that’s something that they needed to do — they had no choice, they had to bring Barry back. The city was not doing great, even though Kid Flash and Vibe were trying to combat all the crime that was going on at the city, ultimately, they couldn’t do it without Barry. So that was something that they needed to do, and the repercussions of opening that breach, they’re more of a welcome challenge, really. You take a risk and you do what you need to do, and you deal with the repercussions as they come.”
Of all people, however, Barry is the least perturbed about this new development in the wake of his rebirth from the Speed Force. “The rest of the team’s a little bit more bummed out about it than he is,” Gustin says. “It’s like, ‘This is our fault, we pulled you out of the Speed Force and because of that, we’ve created all these metahumans,’ and Barry really quickly brushes it off and is like, ‘No, we can’t blame anyone. It happened, but we’ve got to focus on just finding them and seeing if they’re bad or what their deal is.’ That’s what’s been nice about Barry this year. It’s not like, ‘Oh God, what are we going to do?!’ He’s a little more even-keeled and level-headed.”
The number of metas totals 12, which is the same amount of metas The Thinker has been hunting down. Hence, the viewers are first to realize The Thinker used Team Flash to create these new metas for as yet unknown reasons, and it’s not long before Team Flash suspects that there’s someone pulling the strings — they just don’t know who yet. But like Harry (Tom Cavanagh) was the first of the team to put together the puzzle pieces, expect him to make headway on that front in an upcoming episode thanks to some, ahem, friends.
Suffice it to say, not all of the 12 will be bad, but certainly the first two metas the team has faced have used their powers for evil or selfish reasons. “I’m just like, ‘Can’t we create 12 good guys so we don’t have to work so hard?'” Jesse L. Martin jokes. “But I guess there wouldn’t be a show if there weren’t constant bad guys.”
In next week’s episode, Barry will encounter an old nemesis named Ralph Dibny (Hartley Sawyer). If that name sounds familiar, that’s because Ralph Dibny is known in the comics as the Elongated Man, a fast-talking private investigator with skills that rival those of Batman. As teased before the season began, after he discovers he has the power to stretch his body to any shape or form, Dibny uses his new abilities to help Team Flash solve one of Central City’s greatest mysteries. Presumably that means he’ll be helping them track down The Thinker, but not everyone is a fan of Ralph, especially considering his past with Barry.
“This is a guy who was at CCPD when Barry was just starting out as a CSI and they didn’t have a great relationship at all,” Gustin teases. “It’s the first time since Barry comes out of the Speed Force that we see him go back to being blinded by his hatred for this guy and he’s not really happy-go-lucky. He just wants to get Ralph and put him away.”
The team will concur, with Patton and Valdes both using adjectives like seedy and sleazy to describe Ralph. Panabaker, however, is a bit torn. “Personally, I’m thrilled,” the actress says. “I’ve known Hartley for a long time, and I’m so excited to have him as a part of Team Flash. But how does Team Flash feel about him? That’s a different story. Dibny and Barry Allen actually have a history together, and so both Barry and Joe are actually a little hesitant about having Ralph around at all to begin with, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the dynamic of Ralph Dibny’s character fits in into Team Flash.”
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.