8:00am PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
DC TV Watch: Why Danny Trejo Joined 'The Flash'
Welcome to The Hollywood Reporter's weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on TV. Every Friday, we round up the major twists, epic fights, new mysteries and anything else that goes down on The CW's Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Black Lightning and Fox's Gotham. This week celebrates the milestone 50th (!) edition of DC TV Watch at THR, so thanks for coming back every week over the past year to talk all things superheroes. So much has changed on all these series since this column was first born — there's even a new addition joining the ranks in 2018. So here's to all the changes coming in the next 50 columns... who knows what the DC Comics shows will look like by No. 100!
Not even a question | When The Flash showrunners announced that action legend Danny Trejo was joining The CW's superhero drama, it was the shocking casting heard 'round the internet. But according to Trejo, the decision to come onboard the series was a no-brainer. "Hell yeah!" he said with a laugh to THR along with a small group of reporters. "[It's] one of the most popular shows on TV so I immediately said yeah. It would be dumb to say no. I really enjoyed the whole [experience]. The show, the cast is unbelievable. It's like a big family up there." His first appearance as Gypsy's (Jessica Camacho) father Breacher (real name: Josh and Cynthia) came in this week's episode when he tested Cisco (Carlos Valdes) as Gypsy's boyfriend. Cisco passed the test by saving his life, and executive producer Andrew Kreisberg promised Trejo's Breacher would be back this season. "We’re working on that right now," he said, "what the next iteration of that plan is." But because Camacho is on another series this year (NBC's Taken), that "somewhat limits our ability to have her be in more episodes," Kreisberg said. "Right now, we're working on a Cisco-Breacher story that doesn't involve Gypsy." She is returning in episode nine, however, and Gypsy's relationship with Cisco "is steady and moving well," according to Kreisberg. "Cisco and Breacher are going to have a classic buddy movie [storyline]. Enemies become friends and friends become enemies."
Finally getting lighter | When Kreisberg was asked why the show feels so much lighter and funnier this season, something all The Flash showrunners have been outspoken about the past few months, he got pretty candid. "My goal for the year was that people would think I got fired and they brought somebody new on," he said with a big laugh. "I think there's a public perception that might be that we really felt like we needed to make a course correction after last season, and for us, it was really we just don't want to keep doing the same thing that we've always done. Our goal was if the previous seasons were Raiders of the Lost Ark, this season was Last Crusade where we were actually commenting on the silliness of the show and just wanting everybody to just have a good time and have it be funny. And right now, I think people are craving a little bit of that. It's a tough world, and having 42 minutes of just pure, unadulterated joy, I think, is something people are keen for."
New potential teammember | Not only did this week introduce Trejo, but Team Flash may have gotten a new member as well in the form of former dirty cop and new metahuman Ralph Dibny (Hartley Sawyer) aka Elongated Man. After a brush with death, Ralph decided to try and be a better man, as well as train with Barry (Grant Gustin) to use his newfound stretching powers for good. That doesn't mean his arrogant ways will disappear overnight, however. "The one thing we didn’t have on this show — because everybody is so likeable — is we didn’t have a jerk," Kreisberg said. "We didn’t have somebody who was just sort of 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." And Ralph's discovery of his powers will be different from Barry's season one journey. "We have an episode coming up where Ralph gets hurt and he didn’t know he could die," Kreisberg said. "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?!'" And the reason why the showrunners decided to add a new meta with stretching powers will make sense later down the line this season, probably in regards to The Thinker (Neil Sandilands) and his plan.
The missing speedster | As for Team Flash's latest exit, Kreisberg promised that Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) isn't gone for good. "Keiynan’s a regular and we will see him again," he said. "He’ll be back in [episode] seven. ... It was difficult having two speedsters on the show, just creatively and financially. There’s a lot of times where either Barry had to get knocked out so Wally could save the day, or Wally had to get knocked out so Barry could save the day, and even knocking them out, that cost a lot and also just creatively having to go through that scenario. But Wally is not gone, certainly from the Arrow-verse, and he’ll be back on Flash and more exciting stuff about Wally will be revealed as we move forward."
Clued in | Team Flash is already way further in figuring out the seasonlong mystery than they ever have before. Barry now knows the name of The Thinker, "DeVoe," and recognized it from when he heard multiple future time travelers say it to him in previous seasons. Only a few episodes in and already the identity has been revealed to the team, meaning the structure of this season is different in a big, exciting way. "One thing I think we might have done last season, we waited too long to reveal [Savitar's identity] to the audience and then we lost what I think could have been some valuable real estate exploring that," Kreisberg said. "So this season we just wanted to be cards up and reveal here's the bad guy at the end of episode one and they're going to get on him fast. The issue [is] we know who he is but how do we stop him? So 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."
Some mysteries remain | But where is DeVoe located in his crazy, technical chair? "I think that's part of the mystery, where he is," Kreisberg teased. "He is in a really cool set! We want to preserve that. But I promise you you're going to find out a lot about what is going on in the first nine episodes. It's not going to be a you've got to wait until March to know what the hell is going on."
Burnt bridges | Caitlin's (Danielle Panabaker) past is coming back to haunt her in the next episode, as her old boss Amunet Black aka Blacksmith (Katee Sackhoff) left her an ominous message on her door at the end of this week's hour. Seems as if the metahumans didn't leave things on good terms after Killer Frost stopped working for her when Caitlin got her powers under control. "You might remember at the end of the first episode, we got the hint that she was working for Amunet Black, who you will meet in the next episode," Kreisberg said. "And that [note] was just Katee Sackhoff saying 'Remember me? I'll be back.' And that's episode five, so, we don't set up a lot of mysteries that don't get paid off right away. I think people are really gonna be delighted. She is most definitely not playing Starbuck."
Legends of Tomorrow
And baby makes ... one less team member | Now viewers may have a few more clues as to how Victor Garber is getting written off of the Arrow-verse show. The series regular's exit from Legends of Tomorrow was recently confirmed, and his character, Stein's, daughter just had a baby (named Ronnie, after Stein's first Firestorm partner). His current partner Jax (Franz Drameh) knows how much Stein's family means to him, so he decided at the end of this week's episode to figure out a way to break up Firestorm with Ray (Brandon Routh), thereby giving Stein an easy out of the team. That will lead to one of three possible outcomes: they figure out a way to separate the two psychically linked men for good, they figure out a way to swap someone else in for Stein to keep Firestorm going, or they accidentally end up killing Stein and/or Jax in their efforts.
Villain unmasked | No surprise here: Michael Emerson's mystery character was finally revealed in this week's episode as evil hacker Cayden James (which THR guessed as soon as his casting was announced!). In his first appearance, he tried to destroy the internet. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) stopped him just in time, but his plans run much deeper than that. He basically used Felicity to gain access to a firewall and not leave any digital traces of his own hacking, so she did the work for him and he'll get none of the blame for whatever he's trying to do next. Also, it was revealed that he was the one who saved Black Siren (Katie Cassidy) from dying on Lian Yu, and they're working in some kind of partnership. At least Felicity is working to make the word Helix associated with something good moving forward, as she decided to name her and Curtis' (Echo Kellum) new startup Helix Dynamics and figure out a way to mass produce her miracle spinal chord implant and help the world in a legit way, not just from the shadows.
Turning evil | Despite how normal and loving Samantha Arias (Odette Annable) seems now, she's destined for villainy. Not only is her comic book history and future as Worldkiller Reign well known by viewers, The CW revealed a first look at her Reign costume already, meaning her transformation into a big bad isn't that far away. And based on the last scene of this week's episode, where Sam all of a sudden noticed Kryptonian writing all over her body (before it vanished) and hallucinated (?) a visit from a mysterious cloaked figure in her bathroom, her transformation is going to be a creepy, scary one.
Finally! | In all the times Kara (Melissa Benoist) confronts someone as both Supergirl and Kara Danvers, it's laughable how few people recognize it's the same person minus a pair of glasses. So far, only Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) and Supergirl-worshipping cult leader Thomas Coville (Chad Lowe) have been able to state the obvious. Finally, someone remarked on how dumb a pair of glasses is as a disguise!
Hello, Bruce Wayne, billionaire party boy | Bruce (David Mazouz) has been working on his daily disguise persona for a while now, but it was this week's episode that truly saw him become Bruce Wayne, billionaire partying playboy. He made some age-appropriate friends and impressed them by buying a nightclub just to get in, and then he tried to fit in with them by drinking himself into a stupor. But is he giving in to his disguise too much? The weight of guilt from causing Ra's al Ghul (Alexander Siddig) to kill an innocent boy is clearly still affecting him, resulting in Bruce pushing Alfred (Sean Pertwee) away. His actions are beginning to take a toll on his conscience.
A new day | But on the other hand, thankfully things are starting to look up in Gotham as Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is finally turning the tide in the GCPD and loosening Penguin's (Robin Lord Taylor) grip on the city. One of Gordon's fellow cops that he saved from Professor Pyg's (Michael Cerveris) attack decided to stop accepting Penguin's Pax Penguina licenses for crime. It's small, but it's meaningful, especially since Bullock (Donal Logue) seems to be slipping back into his old, bad habits.
Gotham airs Thursdays on Fox. Supergirl airs Mondays, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow air Tuesdays, Arrow airs Thursdays; and Black Lightning will premiere midseason, all on The CW.