8:15am PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
DC TV Watch: 'The Flash' Producer Shoots Down Mystery Girl Theories
Welcome back to The Hollywood Reporter's weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on the small screen. 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. Note: Arrow and Supergirl did not air new episodes this week.
Mystery remains unsolved | With all of THR's theorizing over who The Flash's "mystery girl" could be, from alternate earth speedsters to time-traveling future daughters of Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton), it seems as if none of the predictions laid out have been correct. Executive producer Todd Helbing says that every theory he's seen so far about who Jessica Parker Kennedy has been playing ever since her first appearance in the "Crisis On Earth-X" crossover has "not really" been correct. "Every year there's theories all over the place about what we're doing and some of them get pretty close, some of them they hit like one part of it but they don't get other parts, so it's fun to read," he says. "I don't think anybody ever is going to guess exactly what it is." While it is possible that The Flash is going with a character not from the comics for Kennedy, it's more likely that she'll be an amalgamation of Dawn Allen, Jenni Ognats and other iconic female speedsters from the comics. The only question that remains: Will she be a descendent from Barry and Iris from the future, or is she from the present, but from Earth-3 as Jay Garrick's (John Wesley Shipp) new mentee? If Helbing says neither of those theories are totally correct, what if it was an amalgamation of those as well? That could work if Barry and Iris' future daughter time-traveled to the present to be Earth-3's new speedster when Jay retires.
Unintended consequences | Much to the delight of Iris fans everywhere, The Flash put her back on the path toward her journalism career after her temporary bout as a speedster left her craving more (especially since "we've still got that article in 2024 we've got to deal with," according to Patton). "Having Barry's powers for an episode really made her realize what she's passionate about," Patton says. "It reignited for her that she still has to find that, and that journalism is the thing that she put to the side to take up the mantle at STAR Labs, but it's still a part of her, and it's still the reason that she wakes up." Helbing adds that bringing back reporter Iris "certainly was something that we knew we wanted to get back to. This felt like the most organic time to have this reawakening." This is a good move for the series, as Iris is at her best when she not only leads Team Flash but also fulfills her own personal passion of breaking stories and fighting injustice in a more active role. One of the longest-running criticisms of The Flash has been Iris' disappearing journalism career, so it's about time to see this come back into the picture.
Return of the purple speedster? | Just because Iris had her temporary speedster powers given back to Barry by the end of this week's highly entertaining hour, that doesn't mean we won't see them again in the future. Helbing teases that fans might not see Iris in "exactly that way" again, but that idea will come back around in some way. He also notes that her purple lighting color and superhero jacket have a deeper meaning. If the reasoning behind Iris' speedster colors is rooted in the comics, that could mean that the mystery girl is indeed Jenni Ognats, and she inherited her mother's purple-and-white jacket and uses it as her speedster costume.
Makings of a new villain | If you cant beat 'em, join 'em. Harry (Tom Cavanagh), fed up with not being as smart as The Thinker, made his own version of the Thinking Cap to boost his intelligence. He managed to get the names of the remaining two bus metas, but at what price? If The Thinker was a mild-mannered college professor before the Thinking Cap turned him into a serial killing sociopath who would drug his own wife into submission, what will it do to a rage monster like Harry? Could fans get a repeat of season one with Cavanagh playing a supervillain? While Helbing smiles through a "no comment," he adds that Harry "has been struggling all season with trying to out-think somebody that's smarter than him; it's driving him nuts. It's a slippery slope of what he's willing to do to be better than this guy. It's going to have a disastrous outcome." While this does give Cavanagh, a proven character actor on the series already, another chance to shine as yet another version of Harrison Wells with an increased brain capacity, it would be redundant to have another Harrison Wells villain. Hopefully The Flash pulls back on this storyline before it's too late.
The key to success ... or failure | As for the two names Harry was able to think of, the remaining bus metas are Edwin Gauss and Janet Petty. Both come from the comics, but one has much more potential for a game-changing twist than the other. While Janet Petty is probably Null from the comics (a jewel thief who can manipulate gravity), it's Edwin Gauss who poses more of a threat to Team Flash if The Thinker gains his powers. Since The Thinker keeps retreating to his lair in a pocket dimension, Gauss' comic book powers of the ability to travel to different dimensions and opening portals to different dimensions whenever he wants is extremely important. If The Thinker kills Gauss and absorbs his powers, he won't need technology to come and go through dimensions as he pleases and will be harder to catch. On the other hand, if Team Flash manages to find Gauss first and allies him with the team, he can be the key they need to catching The Thinker on his home turf. That could be what they all need to turn the tide against The Thinker.
When lightning strikes | Black Lightning just began telling the story of how Jefferson's (Cress Williams) eldest daughter Anissa (Nafessa Williams) got her powers as Thunder, but the series is wasting no time in telling Jennifer's (China Anne McClain) as well. By the end of this week's episode, the younger Pierce daughter, scared at how she destroyed her phone with fire from her hands, immediately went to Anissa to confess what was happening. But the way that Black Lightning is going to explore Jennifer's blossoming Lightning powers "will be different" from Anissa's journey so far, according to series star Williams. "It will be different because she comes at them from a different perspective," he says. "If you separate powers, you already see a difference in personality types and what's important to them, between Anissa and Jennifer. Once powers are introduced to that, they also subsequently take different roads and have different reactions to it." Just like in the comics, Jennifer shorts out technology that she touches. In the source material, that makes her an outcast among other teenagers, since she's unable to use a phone or computer or the internet without destroying it. A teen girl without the ability to text her friends is definitely not what Jennifer had in mind for high school experience. Already dealing with bullying at school because her father is the principal, Jennifer is about to see her life get much, much more difficult, especially if The CW's series follows her comic book destiny closely, as she is never able to fully control her powers, even when fighting with the Justice Society of America. But by immediately going to her sister for help, she'll at least be clued in to the Black Lightning secret much quicker than Anissa was.
Legends of Tomorrow
Not a strong start | Is Legends of Tomorrow doomed to repeat The Flash's mistakes with Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale)? Ever since Wally West joined the Legends on the Waverider, he's been exponentially happier than he ever was on The Flash. He truly seems like a kid in a candy store now that he's allowed to shine as the only speedster on the superhero team. But all throughout this week's episode, he was chastised for using his super speed to get something the team needed ... even though it saved them hours of wasted time and effort and risking lives. Everyone constantly acted annoyed when Wally achieved something in only seconds and without breaking a sweat. He was even lectured by Nate (Nick Zano) and Zari (Tala Ashe) about when the "appropriate" time to use his speed is, which makes no sense. If the Legends aren't going to use Kid Flash's abilities, is he just destined to hang around the background again like he did on The Flash? The character was finally being used in an exciting and entertaining way for the first time, only for his new series to essentially clip his wings. What purpose does that serve? If Legends doesn't want to suffer from The Flash's former Kid Flash issues, it should just let Wally do what he does best and not stifle that.
Another MacGuffin | When Legends first introduced the idea of a mysterious sixth totem to defeat Mallus, the possibilities were endless to build on Amaya's (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and Zari's magical totems, connecting them in an unexpected way. But in a one-off story about a young Elvis Presley, the death totem was discovered and obtained in an underwhelming fashion this week. That totem's history had no connection with the others, and seemed positively random compared to the five others. With the power to raise the dead, hopefully that ends up bringing things full circle and connecting with any one of the Legends, as they've all lost loved ones. Bringing back someone from the dead with the totem could give this storyline much-needed emotional weight.
Beginning of the end | While Gotham's pre-Batman versions of Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) have always enjoyed a very close friendship, this week's episode marked a turning point in their relationship. For the first time, Bruce came face to face with Gordon while dressed in all black and wearing a mask, fighting bad guys as a proto Batman. Gordon, not knowing it was Bruce under the mask, shot him. Bruce was wearing a bulletproof vest so he was fine, but he chose to run away from Gordon and not reveal his identity. Later when Alfred (Sean Pertwee) was patching him up, Bruce told him he wasn't sure why he didn't reveal himself to Gordon. But something fundamental has shifted between the two friends, and that moment will forever change their dynamic. Comic book fans know that Bruce never reveals his identity of Batman to Gordon in the source material, and Gotham is now bringing that story to life for the first time in a very real way. Bruce and Alfred are now going to consciously work outside of the law and around Gordon without bringing him into their inner circle. Whether that means Bruce will now act toward Gordon in only his hard-partying playboy jerk persona is yet to be seen, but either way, Gordon will be able to tell that something has changed in their relationship for the worse. Big things are happening.
Catfight | Two other former friends also came face-to-face in this week's episode, but in a much more underwhelming way. Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (Camren Bicondova) and Ivy Pepper aka Poison Ivy (Peyton List) were about to fight in what seemed like an epic subversion of their alliance from the comic books, but one throat grab later the two ladies ended their "fight" in a stalemate. The feeling of potential and promise unfulfilled was immense after this scene ended, and it seemed like Gotham could have done much more to bring this iconic relationship to new heights. Hopefully this was just a pause on their toxic dynamic and more is coming down the line as the season finale approaches. But watching two infamous Batman villains just stare and throw threats at each other without actually doing anything was not compelling TV.
Gotham airs Thursdays on Fox. Legends of Tomorrow airs Mondays; The Flash and Black Lightning air Tuesdays; Arrow airs Thursdays; and Supergirl returns Monday, April 16, all on The CW.