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Though all eyes are on the pending Crisis, new big baddie Bloodwork took a big step toward causing trouble for Team Flash this week — and we finally go to meet the latest alt-universe version of Harrison Wells.
Spoilers ahead for “Dead Man Running,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash, which aired Tuesday, October 22, 2019.
First up, let’s talk about the Flash-killing elephant in the room, aka the Crisis on Infinite Earths. We’re seven weeks out from the end of the multiverse, and Barry has quickly realized he needs to let the rest of Team Flash in on the fact that he’s not supposed to survive the latest crossover. Killer Frost has a hard time adjusting to the fact that her newly minted life might not actually last all that long, understandably, but at least now the whole crew is working the problem. She eventually rebounds after Barry throws a rave for her “first” birthday, though.
Back to the case of the week, the dark matter-infected corpse that Ramsey let loose last week goes on a rampage (the zombie cheekily named Romero), killing pretty much everything in his path on a quest to acquire more dark matter to feed his undead addiction. Ramsey actually teams up with Barry and the team to try and stop the rogue zombie, after getting busted trying to steal some of STAR Labs’ stash of dark matter. He seems to find his better angels, at least to a degree, but also uses the experience to explore more of his creepy blood-related meta power-set.
The biggest discovery? He can control these zombies he creates, though Killer Frost blows up that first one before he can really take advantage of that ability. But, I’d imagine his zombie-creating and controlling skills will come into play later in the season. A dude who can control nigh-unkillable zombies certainly makes for a capable baddie later down the stretch.
The unlikely team-up also gives Oliver and Ramsey a chance to connect, as they both realize they’re men on a ticking clock. Ramsey with his disease, and Barry with the looming Crisis. The only difference is Ramsey is counting down the days until he dies; while Barry is counting down how many days he has to live. A subtle but important distinction about perspective.
This episode also gave us our first interaction with a shiny new version of Harrison Wells, this one with the nickname “Nash.” He’s also a major change from all the versions we’ve met up to this point. He swings into the episode Indiana Jones-style, and seems to be a swash-buckling, steampunk tech-wearing adventurer in his own right. He also doesn’t think too highly of the Council of Wells. His adventuring has brought him to Earth-1 in a search for Eternium (a deep cut comic creation introduced in 1998’s Legion of Super-Heroes). In the comics, it’s a McGuffin connected to Shazam!’s power set’s origin, though I’m guessing that likely won’t be the case in the Arrowverse. Regardless, the stuff will almost certainly be powerful.
In an episode already fairly packed with action, we also got a side story digging a bit deeper into the life and times of Ralph Dibny. Turns out Ralph’s mother has a checkered past, and is accused of robbing a pawn shop. She’s innocent, though the investigation reveals a hard truth for Ralph — she’s been lying to him for years about her past boyfriends, telling him they died (as opposed to just broken up). She did this to try and save Ralph from the same type of devastation he experienced when his father left. So, instead of having to try and explain why yet another man has chosen to leave, she told Ralph they had no choice. It’s an interesting peek into Ralph’s broken childhood, and helps explain some of the trust and confidence issues he’s struggled with over the course of the series.
Next week: It’s the Halloween episode, which looks plenty scary as Bloodwork goes rogue in a creepy hospital.