Review: The Flash 6×03 – “Dead Man Running”
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Director: Sarah Boyd
Writers: Lauren Barnett and Thomas Pound
Starring: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes, Danielle Panabaker, Jesse L. Martin, Daniele Nicolet, Hartley Sawyer, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Mark Sweatman, Neil Webb
Reviewed by: Jason Larouche
While Barry prepares the team for his inevitable death, a new metahuman surfaces while Ralph uncovers a family secret.
The theme of mortality and how you face it continues to dominate Barry as The Crisis nears, and it’s not just reserved for The Fastest Man Alive.
This week our hero finally meets our big bad Ramsey Rosso following reports of his associate Romero now a Dark Matter vampire. What makes for a great Flash villain is that he has to have elements of what’s affecting Barry at that moment. Sendhil has great onscreen chemistry with Grant, whether he’s working alongside him or working against him. Because Barry is motivated to sacrifice himself for the good of his loved ones, Ramsey – unaware of Barry’s ID – cannot relate nor understand. Sendhil has some great scenes this week and great emotional delivery. The writing is smart in that neither man is affected to the point that their perspective is changed after the events of this episode. Rosso’s development into [SPOILER] is given a large push by the discovery of his power. As for Barry himself, coming clean with the rest of the group has a lot to do with the next big highlight this week.
This episode shines in that Barry decides to focus on Frost in a “Training Day” fashion that doesn’t go according to plan. It’s here where we see more of the distinction between Danielle’s Caitlin and her Killer—oh, right, rebranding— her Frost persona. She provides a wide range of emotions that you haven’t seen from the character before, and it is directly linked to The Crisis. Frost asserts herself as a real person by being fearful for her life. She also shows a little of Caitlin’s empathy when Barry reveals the fully details of what Jay showed him. In many ways, she is placed in the same situation as Barry and Rosso. The only key difference is she’s the only one that changes her perspective by episode’s end. Bookending the installment with fulfilling her wish for a birthday party brought some much-needed levity plot-wise and show Frost’s fun side. It leads one to wonder how long will Caitlin let Frost have control of the wheel?
This week we also finally got to meet Tom Cavanaugh’s new Harrison Wells. Harrison NASH Wells, to be exact. Given the multiverse has 52, there’s a plethora of variations Tom can try, and they’ve been colorful thus far. This version is no different. The loss of the trademark Wells rasp is a welcome change and a callback to his original voice in season one. This Wells, although one with an agenda, seems less dark and yet tied to the coming Crisis. No, I’m not revealing names or details. The writers are clever to keep his role clandestine and his quarry mysterious. As always Tom and Carlos are comedy gold and I loved his crack about the Council of Wells. And segueing the hilarity of this situation with newcomer Alegra holding Iris to her convictions was seamless.
More of Ralph’s backstory is revealed through the situation with his mother. Juxtaposing the current Elongated Man against the life he used to know shows just how much the writers have fleshed out this character. The chemistry between Hartley and Amy, although slow, builds during the scenes that reveal what happened to those possible suitors Debbie dated. The fact that Debbie had moral ambiguity reveals a lot about Ralph’s path in life. It also added dimension to the woman that Ralph described to Barry in the fourth season. But the revelation she lied about her boyfriends deaths revealed an injured side of a usually jovial character. The seeds of who he’s destined to meet are planted at the end of their discussion on finding love. Nice name drop of Marv (Wolfman) and (George) Perez in a very creative way. FYI, it was Wolfman and Perez who penned Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1984.
I’m not sold on the color of Rosso’s “bad blood” for lack of a better word. It feels too much like Tom Hardy’s Venom. Also, the acting in the casino scene and Amy’s initial scenes Hartley scenes feel very satirical. Whether that’s meant to enhance the comedy of Ralph, I feel that it worked against this episode. They tried too hard to give him a “Mama Smoak,” and even that was a hard sell.
I give this week a 4 out of 5. The character development in the case of Frost and Rosso is working great, as is the parallel between Rosso and Barry regarding mortality. The march towards that date is gaining momentum as more are drawn into it. It’s just the need to come up with the nonsensical characters like Ralph’s mother that was not needed to give him dimension. And again based on upon Rosso’s comic book design, the aesthetic needs work.