The Flash boss on new addition to the team
Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday's episode of The Flash. Read at your own risk!
Team Flash has added a new member to their ranks — and he's not, ahem, your typical superhero.
During Tuesday's episode of The Flash, Barry (Grant Gustin) was angry to discover that his corrupt former superior officer Ralph Dibny (Hartley Sawyer) was on the bus affected by the dark matter, and therefore has powers. Specifically, the unsavory and chauvinistic private eye can now stretch his body to the extremes, thus becoming the Elongated Man from the comics.
"Ralph in the comics is very squeaky clean — no pun intended — and a good guy," executive producer Andrew Kreisberg says of the decision to add a darker side to Dibny on the show. "The one thing we didn't have on this show — because everybody is so likable — is we didn't have a jerk. Harry [Tom Cavanagh] is a jerk in a different way, but we didn't have somebody who was just a louse, and crude, and liked to drink, and somebody who would also come in and point out how silly it is that everyone's in a superhero show."
Despite their dubious past together, Barry decides to take up training Dibny in hopes that he won't follow in the footsteps of the other two bus metas. However, Dibny is a very different hero than what we've seen in the Arrowverse before. "We have an episode coming up where Ralph gets hurt and he didn't know he could die," Kreisberg says. "So Cisco's like, 'I'm sorry, were you only doing this because you thought you were invincible?' And he's like, 'Yes! Why else would I be doing this?!' So it's interesting because it's different. As opposed to a speedster like Jesse and Wally, where they were both going on very similar trajectories to Barry, Ralph's problems and his hero's journey have different facets to it, which make it feel fresh."
Only moments after Barry offered to mentor him, Dibny provided invaluable information by dropping the name DeVoe, whom viewers know is The Thinker (Neil Sandilands), the man pulling the strings to both bring Barry out of the Speed Force and also create these new metas in one fell swoop. Barry quickly recalls the name, having heard it twice last season. "Now that they know it's DeVoe, now it's about figuring out which DeVoe it is and there'll be a confrontation sooner rather than later," Kreisberg says, stressing that they wanted to get to the reveal sooner rather than later after waiting so long to unmask Savitar last season. "It's funny, because the network and the studio were asking, 'Well, why does The Thinker allow them to know this at this point?' And we were like, 'He doesn't care.' That's the one thing that's been interesting about him — he's playing chess. I know that's a cliche to say, but in this case it's really true."
"As far as he's concerned, he's already checkmated Team Flash," Kreisberg continues, "and so he doesn't really give a s—t what they know and when they figure s—t out, because he's going to say in an upcoming episode, 'You've already lost.' So it's really about us trying to figure out how to get ahead of somebody who is playing so far ahead of you."
Now the question remains: Where is The Thinker? He seems to be in some sort of underground, high-tech bunker, but his exact location is being shrouded. "That's part of the mystery, where he is," Kreisberg says. "He is in a really cool set! But I promise you… you're going to find out a lot about what is going on in the first nine episodes."
Of course, The Thinker isn't the only villain the team is facing. Amunet Black (Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff) left a (perfectly punctuated) threatening message at Caitlin's (Danielle Panabaker) door at the close of the hour, which is teeing up next week's episode where Killer Frost comes out to play. As the show previously teased, Killer Frost had been working for Amunet at her underground black market for super villains during the hiatus. "When you meet her, you'll be like, 'Oh, yeah! That's who left that message!'" Kreisberg says. "Katee Sackhoff is so amazing in the show. What she's done and the performance that she has brought to the character is so beyond anything you'd expect from her. I think people are really going to be delighted. She is most definitely not playing Starbuck."
Next week's hour also features the bachelor and bachelorette parties for Barry and Iris (Candice Patton), for which Arrow's Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) comes to town. "We wanted to do something we had never done before," Kreisberg says. "I think it's the first episode we've ever done where Barry doesn't wear the suit. We started with the concept of, 'Wouldn't it be really funny if Barry goes for the bachelor party with the guys and [Iris] goes for a bachelorette party with the girls, and the guys end up having the worst night ever, and the girls wind up saving the city?' That was where the episode started from and then that's where it ended up."
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
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