How The Flash is preparing Ralph for Sue Dibny's long-awaited debut
Warning: The following contains spoilers from tonight’s episode of The Flash, “Dead Man Running.” Read at your own risk!
Even though we won’t meet Sue Dearborn, the DC Comics character who is destined to marry Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man (Hartley Sawyer), until the back half of season 6, The Flash is already taking steps to prepare Ralph for her long-awaited arrival.
In Tuesday night’s episode, the infinitely flexible private investigator had an enlightening encounter with his mother Debbie (Amy Pietz), who is scared of getting hurt and doesn’t believe she’s cut out for joy or opening herself up to another person. Although Ralph was saddened to hear his mom say this, it also helped him realize that wasn’t true for him. For Sawyer, this was a big step in the right direction — that direction being toward Sue Dearborn.
“We’ve been building up to this idea that Ralph wants something in his life that’s romantic and serious,” Sawyer tells EW. “I think he’s finally getting to a point where he’s getting ready for that, and I think this is a big piece of that. With her saying that she’s not open to joy right now and she’s not open to love, he truly realizes that he is. So, I think that gives him a new sense of confidence and a new lease on life.”
This is great news for comics fans who have been clamoring for Ralph to meet Sue since the former was added to the show in season 4. In the pages of DC Comics, it’s nearly impossible to talk about Elongated Man without also talking about Sue. For many years, the couple was inseparable. Wherever Ralph went on a case, Sue was right there working it with him (up until her controversial death in 2004). However, The Flash had to wait to introduce her because they knew they had to earn that relationship, especially since the character was initially introduced a sleazy and unheroic mess.
“Since I started playing Ralph, the number one question has probably always been, ‘Where’s Sue? What about Sue?’ We did talk early on in season 4, because I brought that up, and the plan had always been all roads lead to Sue and we’re going to get there, but he has to be ready for that, because that’s such a serious relationship in comics and a big relationship,” says Sawyer. “I can’t see the guy he was in season 4 meeting Sue Dearborn and that becoming what you know it needs to become.”
With that in mind, The Flash waited until season 5 to tease Sue’s arrival. In the finale, Ralph started working on a mysterious case involving someone named Dearborn, and in the season 6 premiere, we learned that the case took him all over the country (and taught him the correct pronunciation of yacht). Ralph will continue investigating the case as the season progresses and in anticipation of Sue’s arrival in the back half of season 6 (a.k.a. “Graphic Novel #2).
“We have to solve the mystery of where is Sue exactly, what’s she doing, and more importantly, why?” The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace told EW in July. “It’s a season-long mystery that is going to take a twist in the back half. And when we finally do meet Sue, she might not be the woman that Ralph is expecting.”
Sawyer adds, “We’re going to be planting a lot of seeds that are going to be paid off in the back half that are regarding Sue and regarding a whole bunch of things. It’s a really cool way that this season is being structured in that viewers are going to see in the first eight, nine, 10 episodes, a lot of these things that we pepper in and things that made seem like throwaways are going to come around in the back half and they’re going to be major pieces of what actually occurs. Some of that happens with Sue. There’s one [episode] coming up in a few weeks that I’m very, very excited about where it’s going to very heavy on following the Sue Dearborn case.”
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.