The CW’s The Flash returned Tuesday with S6E1, “Into the Void.” After years spent fighting rogue speedsters, serial killers, and super-geniuses, the latest season has the team preparing to square off against a villain who’s out to destroy death itself. The premiere brought viewers up to speed on where our heroes have been during the break, and introduced the foe they’re set to face.
Note: Spoilers ahead for The Flash Season 6 Episode 1, “Into the Void”
He’ll Save Every One Of Us
The episode begins shortly after the events of last season’s finale, with Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candace Patton) at S.T.A.R. Labs and still reeling from the sudden erasure from the timeline of their time-traveling daughter, Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy). A power surge hits the facility, and Barry and Iris trace it back to the time vault, where they find the message Nora left for them just as it burns itself out. Is the timeline reset simply erasing the vestiges of its former self?
Four months later, The Flash is in hot pursuit of evil speedster Godspeed. Barry takes down the speedster easily, but upon unmasking him, Godspeed can only make what Cisco (Carlos Valdes) calls ‘modem noises’. Cisco also remarks that this is the fourth such Godspeed they’ve encountered in as many months. Godspeed was originally faced in the future by Nora last season—is this another timeline ripple?
We then head to a cookout at the home of Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and Cecile Horton (Danielle Nicolet). Barry, Iris, Cisco, his girlfriend Camilla (Victoria Park), and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) all arrive and gather around the table, and everyone is having a great time. We learn that Iris’s newspaper, the Central City Citizen, has now gained tens of thousands of followers, and that the absent Ralph Dibny (Hartley Sawyer) is out of the country working a missing persons case. Joe asks Barry and Iris how they’re handling things four months after losing Nora, and they both seem fine with it, though Barry seems obsessed with work, particularly the MAC, a new invention Cisco is working on to increase Barry’s brain processing speed. After a tense conversation, Cisco storms off, and Barry gets a CCPD alert and speeds away to help. Joe mentions to Iris that he finally threw some stuff away from the garage, which upsets Iris, and she too leaves. Caitlin also leaves, as she has somewhere else she needs to be.
That other place to be is the funeral of Ramsey Rosso’s (Sendhil Ramamurthy) mother. After the funeral, during which Rosso gave a fiery speech about the unfairness of death, Caitlin talks with him and he invites her to get coffee. While they’re talking, Caitlin starts to lose control and turn into Killer Frost, but she’s able to pull it together, and agrees to meet up later.
That evening at the city dump, Iris digs through trash to find the stuff Joe threw away. She finds the box quickly and opens it to reveal the jacket that, in the future, Nora would wear as XS. As Iris holds the jacket, a black hole opens, sucking in a bunch of debris from the dump, as well as Nora’s jacket (and nearly Iris as well). Just as quickly, the black hole closes.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry is making the case to Cisco and Caitlin that they need to track the black hole somehow, which neither of them is on-board with. As they’re talking, a tuxedo-wearing Ralph enters. His missing persons case, the search for one Sue Dearbon, has had him working undercover in Opal City, hence the fancy threads. While they chat Caitlin again apparently loses control of Killer Frost, who freezes the terminal keyboard.
He’s A Miracle
Later that day, Caitlin meets Rosso for coffee at Jitters. What initially seems like a friendly catch-up turns into Rosso telling Caitlin he has developed a cure for cancer, which is what killed his mother. The only hitch is that the cure requires dark matter, which he knows Caitlin has access to at S.T.A.R. Labs. Caitlin refuses, warning that the dark matter could turn any test subjects into metahumans, and an upset Rosso storms out. Suddenly Jitters begins to shake, the windows shatter, and another black hole opens up outside of the coffee shop, this time bigger than the last one. Caitlin tries to get Killer Frost to come out to help, but Frost refuses, and Caitlin and everyone else in the shop are eventually saved by The Flash before the black hole closes up on its own.
Back at the lab, Iris has uncovered who might be behind the random black holes: Chester P. Runk, a former physicist who was caught old stealing lab equipment from the junkyard. The team watches a YouTube video of Runk’s in which he shows off a gravitational wave emitter that he built using trash from the junkyard. Runk turns on the machine, and a black hole opens up in front of him, which he did not intend to happen. He touches the black hole, and as he does the video cuts out. Iris sets off to find Runk. The rest of the team disperses, and Ralph talks with Caitlin about the problems she’s been having with Killer Frost. Caitlin says the last time something like this happened was right after her dad died.
Meanwhile, Rosso meets with a shady character back in the cemetery where his mother is buried. He purchases a case from the person, opening it up to reveal some sort of weapon. He does all of this literally on top of his mother’s grave, so he’s definitely got it all together.
Iris, joined by Cecile, finds Runk at Central City Hospital, in a catatonic state. Unable to get him to respond, Iris leaves but is stopped by Cecile, who takes this opportunity to talk to her about what’s wrong. Iris tells Cecile she misses Nora every day, and even though she knows they’ll see her again, it won’t be the same Nora. Cecile calls Iris out for trying to avoid the grieving process, and as they’re talking Iris figures something out about Runk, who is tapping his finger on a tabletop. The cadence of the tapping matches the flare of the corona around the black hole that’s being shown on a nearby TV.
Iris races back to S.T.A.R. Labs and tells everyone that she thinks the black hole is connected to Runk somehow, and Caitlin says she believes Runk actually is the black hole, as his brain patterns match up with the patterns of the black hole’s energy fluctuations.
As the team tries to figure out how to fix Runk, Ralph sends Caitlin an SOS that he needs Frost ASAP. When Frost arrives, Ralph confronts her about her outbursts, saying that he doesn’t think she’s afraid of dying, but rather that she’s afraid of living. Frost shares Caitlin’s memories, she says, but she doesn’t have any memories of her own, and Ralph suggests that she and Caitlin work something out. Meanwhile Barry and Iris talk about the conversation she had earlier with Cecile, and about how they’re dealing with losing Nora. Iris confesses to Barry that she was at the junkyard to retrieve Nora’s jacket, and he confesses that he’s been throwing himself into his work to try to run away from his grief. They agree that they need to lean on each other more in order to get through this, as there aren’t exactly support groups for parents who lost their grown children from the future.
King Of The Impossible
Suddenly an alarm goes off: another black hole has opened up above Central City, and this one threatens to destroy large chunks of it. Barry believes he can run into the black hole and wibbly wobbly speedy weedy use his lightning to attract the essence of Runk’s consciousness. In order to contain the consciousness for transport, they’ll use future wiring from one of Nora’s old gauntlets and run it through Barry’s suit. Cisco says they can use the MAC to put Runk back in his body, and everyone takes off to do their jobs, with Ralph and Killer Frost headed out to help the CCPD protect the civilians.
With everyone in place, and Barry preparing to run headlong into a black hole, Cisco cues up Queen’s Flash Gordon theme. The Flash runs vertical circles around the black hole before diving in. After a long 10 seconds or so, he comes bursting back out of the black hole, surrounded by energy. Barry races back to S.T.A.R. Labs, where Runk is waiting in the MAC, and reunites Runk’s consciousness with his body. Runk wakes up and seems back to normal, though later Caitlin says he will have to stay there for up to six weeks to ensure all of his molecules have stabilized.
Later, Caitlin and Killer Frost hash things out, with Caitlin offering to let Frost ‘drive’ every now and then. As far as scenes of someone talking to themself go, this one was nice. Ralph then offers to life-coach Killer Frost, which is sure to go well for everyone.
Meanwhile, we find Rosso in his lab. The weapon he bought is fueled by dark matter, which he removes and adds to the serum he’s developed. Rosso, it turns out, has the same cancer marker that his mother did, so he injects himself with the cure. At first it works, with signs of the marker disappearing from his blood…but then something goes wrong, and Rosso starts to mutate, his arm turning into a thick liquid. Rosso screams.
Savior of the Universe
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry and Iris are talking about how they’re going to get through the loss of Nora. Barry says the thing that kept him going while he was in the black hole was knowing what he had to lose if he didn’t come back, and he leads Iris to the time vault where he reveals Nora’s jacket, which he retrieved from the black hole while he was in there. As they remember their daughter, the lights go out, and The Monitor appears. He reveals that he was the one who destroyed Nora’s message, as a way to discourage Barry from hoping that he could survive the coming crisis. He then reveals that the date of Barry’s disappearance has changed to December 10th, 2019, and that there’s no way anyone can stop it. “In order for billions to survive this coming crisis,” The Monitor intones, “The Flash must die.”
All in all, this was a stellar episode of The Flash, with some truly thrilling action and all the heart viewers have come to know and love about the series. How will Team Flash handle the news of Barry’s impending demise? And what’s the deal with the Godspeeds? We’ll find out next week!