The new season of the Flash got off to a fairly slow start this week. Two new villains were introduced, but most of the episode seemed to centre on the sadness Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) were feeling about the loss of the future-daughter, Nora, which put a damper on everything.
Obviously it was better to show them being affected by losing Nora than not. But given that Barry was rarely in costume and action as the Flash in the episode, it did make the premiere kind of morose and draggy.
Danielle Panabaker was given more interesting things to do, as her Catlin Frost self negotiated with her Killer Frost self to share her body more often. I really enjoy both sides of double identity, and am interested to see Killer Frost try to find a sort of life for herself, which seems to be where her plot thread is heading.
Panabaker also got to lead the introduction of this season’s major villain, Ramsey Rosso. Played by Sendhil Ramamurthy, Rosso and Snow were medical students together. Rosso’s mother died from cancer, and he has been working on a cure. His discovery requires the use of dark matter, which would transform the cancer patients into metahumans. Rosso is hoping to get dark matter for his experiments from STAR Labs, but Caitlin views the cure as being as potentially dangerous as the disease itself.
I do like that Rosso’s motivation is noble in intent, and that this becomes an ethical issue, rather than just straight out villainy. And I am so glad that he is not another speedster. But once again, this meant there was a lot of heavy emotional content, and not a lot of action in his introduction.
The other villain in the episode was the Chunk, a man who gets accidentally bonded with a black hole. Brandon McKnight gave a lot of energy to the two scenes in which he wasn’t catatonic. Made me wish we had been able to see more of his vibrancy, as those scenes really enlivened the episode.
I was also intrigued by the mention of Sue Dearborn. In the finale of the last season, Ralph Dibny (Hartley Sawyer) was hired to find the missing heiress, and he reports on that adventure in this episode. In the comics, Sue would become the wife of the Elongated Man, sharing his cases and becoming a much loved character in her own right. I am eager to see her debut at some point on the show.
But honestly, I only really perked up in the last few minutes of the episode, when the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) showed up to give Barry some very bad news about the forthcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Not the greatest start to the season, but there was enough groundwork laid for me to hope it will improve.