8:15am PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
DC TV Watch: Did 'The Flash' Reveal Season 6's Big Bad?
Welcome back to The Hollywood Reporter's weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on the small screen. Every Saturday, 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, THR breaks down all the epic moments from this week's outings of The Flash, Supergirl, Arrow, Black Lightning and Gotham.
Before we get into the nitty gritty from all the new episodes that aired this week, The CW granted early renewals for all its DC TV series — Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Black Lightning. Not a bad way to end the week! Now, on to the shows ...
The big news: The Flash again may have teased the direction it is heading with its villain, but this time the implications are huge. Is Red Death coming to the Arrow-verse?!
What it means: When Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) took a trip into Nora's (Jessica Parker Kennedy) memories, they saw a glimpse of the future Flash Museum. In the villains exhibit, there was a video detailing just how high of a body count Cicada (Chris Klein) left in his wake, and how The Flash never was able to stop him after he disappeared. Cicada was then compared to Zoom (Teddy Sears) and Red Death, a name that's never been heard or even referenced in passing on this show before. And taking into account The Flash's penchant for name-dropping its future villains in seemingly offhand moments, this means that Red Death will probably be the next big bad.
So why is this such big news? Because Red Death is — get this — an evil Batman with Flash powers. Created back in 2017 in a larger crossover series DC Metal by Scott Snyder and Greg Capulo, an evil group of Batmen with different powers pertaining to each member of the Justice League joined together to plunge the multiverse into darkness. Red Death, the Batman from Earth-52, became corrupted over time and gave in to the worst of Bruce Wayne's fears after losing too many Robin sidekicks. He then became fused with The Flash and gained his speed force powers. He's deadly and doesn't have a conscience.
The closest the Arrow-verse has gotten to Batman was Oliver (Stephen Amell) saying the name "Bruce Wayne" during a press conference and then with his cousin Batwoman's (Ruby Rose) introduction in this year's massive crossover. But could the first time that Bruce Wayne arrives in the Arrow-verse actually be an alternate version of himself on The Flash?! Now that would be an epic direction to take next season. Red Death on top of Crisis on Infinite Earths? Could the Arrow-verse even handle that much insanity in the same year?
Other noteworthy moments: While Nora was able to keep her alliance with Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanagh) a secret from her parents during their trip into her memories, it seems as if Sherloque (also Cavanagh) pieced all the clues together in this week's episode. Will he immediately reveal the truth to the rest of Team Flash, or does he have another trick up his sleeve? He seems like he'd be more interested in a quid pro quo trade of information instead of just showing his cards right away. Could the casting of one of his ex-wives (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) mean he's in more financial trouble than he's let on? Is he going to try to extort Nora for money?
The big news: Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) finally began to embrace her destiny as the superhero Dreamer, while Supergirl handled the story of TV's first trans superhero with incredible sensitivity and aplomb.
What it means: As Nia and Kara (Melissa Benoist) traveled to Nia's hometown to visit her family, secrets finally came out. Nia's older sister believed she would be the female of the family to inherit the future dreaming powers, but after their mother died suddenly and Nia couldn't stop it even after she dreamed it, her sister lashed out. She insulted the thing that would hurt Nia the most: the legitimacy of her womanhood and how the powers were supposed to go to the daughter of the family. It was an incredibly heartbreaking moment to see Nia's biggest ally in her journey as a trans woman attack the part of her she always supported. And thankfully Supergirl didn't conclude this tricky story in just one episode. Nia and her sister's issues were not resolved by episode's end, and that's real. This is heavier and more complicated than anything Supergirl has tackled before.
But the beautiful side of Nia's story is how she was the one gifted with her family's powers. As a trans woman, getting the powers passed down to females is another wonderful validation of Nia's identity. Having her superheroism journey tied into her identity as a trans woman and have each story service the other is an incredible way of pushing inclusivity forward not only in the comic book genre, but also on TV as a whole. And with Kara revealing her identity as Supergirl to Nia at the end of the episode to bond and help Nia see that she's not alone in the world, it's clear that this is only the beginning of the story.
Other noteworthy moments: Brainy (Jesse Rath) acting like a frat bro to interrogate persons of interest was a series highlight. More of the AI trying to fit into human culture, please!
The big news: Oliver and Emiko (Sea Shimooka) moved forward in their new relationship in a relatively quiet episode.
What it means: After Oliver was forced to publicly come clean about his father's murder pre-suicide on the life raft all those years ago, Emiko was finally convinced that Oliver was not their father. By owning the sins of their flawed father, Oliver proved that he was worth trusting. Does this mean we'll see two Green Arrows working together to solve the murder of Emiko's mother?
Other noteworthy moments: Elsewhere in the episode, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) continued to bond with a brilliant wine night scene that was tragically cut short by some drama haunting Laurel. Once they dealt with her "stalker" (or so they thought, as Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) got a similar creepy message by the end of the hour), Felicity helped break Laurel's walls down by getting her to talk about her father's death. This friendship is surprisingly becoming one of the best parts of this show.
The big news: Khalil (Jordan Calloway) finally succumbed to his brutal spinal injuries and died in the hospital surrounded by his loved ones and the Pierce family.
What it means: Tobias Whale (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III) made an enemy of the Pierce family before with his actions. But now that he's got Jefferson (Cress Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain) gunning for him out of revenge for giving Khalil a slow, painful and tragic death, his days are certainly numbered. With Calloway as a series regular, however, is he truly gone from the show? Or will he be resurrected in some way in the future? Crazier things (and resurrections) have happened on this show.
Other noteworthy moments: Henderson (Damon Gupton) is finally in on all the Team Black Lightning family secrets. He's met Gambi (James Remar), he's been to the Lightning Lair and he's officially on board with everything. This revelation felt earned because of how long it's taken to get to this point, and the friendship between Jefferson and Henderson has always been grounded in reality.
The big news: Bane (Shane West) arrived in Gotham, and he's definitely not the good guy ally Jim Gordon (Ben Mckenzie) thought he would be.
What it means: All those blackouts that Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) has been having? That's thanks to Bane ... er, Eduardo Durance for now, hiring Hugo Strange (BD Wong) to implant a chip in his brain so he can be controlled. Durance made Nygma bomb Haven as a way to drive out all the criminals in Gotham and start picking them off one by one. Gordon refused to comply with his old army buddy's sinister orders, and their friendship quickly turned to rivalry. That didn't take long! How this will play into Durance becoming Bane has yet to be determined but he's not far off from villain territory as of now.
Other noteworthy moments: The Joker lives! Jeremiah (Cameron Monaghan) somehow survived all those stab wounds and is alive and well. Maybe not quite well, but he certainly was not worse for the wear in this week's episode. He's still putting into motion plans to mess with Bruce (David Mazouz) that involve two people with fresh facial reconstruction surgery. Could those be lookalikes for his murdered parents?
Arrow's milestone 150th episode airs next week, and the series takes a swing with the structure by framing it like a documentary about Star City's vigilantes narrated by Kelsey Grammer called The Hood and the Rise of Vigilantes.
Note: Supergirl airs Sundays; Arrow and Black Lightning air Mondays; The Flash airs Tuesdays; and Legends of Tomorrow returns in April on The CW. Gotham airs Thursdays on Fox.