Last week, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) travelled to the future and witnessed the Crisis—and his own death! As Barry and Iris (Candace Patton) decided to tell the rest of Team Flash what’s coming, Dr. Ramsey Rosso, aka Bloodwork (Sendhil Ramamurthy), claimed his first victim…or did he? The dead yet live as our hero and villain meet for the first time in The Flash S6E3, “Dead Man Running”!
Before the episode even starts, there’s a huge reveal. The last episode ended with the open question of what Barry and Iris are going to tell the rest of Team Flash, and the ‘Previously On’ for this episode adds a big wrinkle to that: a line of voice-over dialogue from Barry, saying “Whatever we’re gonna do, we can’t tell the team I’m gonna die.” That line was definitely not in the last episode, and it’s an incredibly important piece of new information to drop in a ‘Previously On’ section. Barry and Iris are going to lie to their friends. I’m sure this is going to go great for them.
Dawn of the Dead
The episode opens with more shady dark matter weapons dealers in a warehouse looking over a new shipment of product. They talk about their missing leader, Mitch Romero (Shawn Stewart), aka the man Rosso attacked last week. Suddenly the lights go out, and the men are picked off one by one. The final dealer standing finds the dark matter taken from all of the weapons. He turns and is attacked…by a reanimated Mitch Romero, pale-skinned and with dark red eyes. Romero’s a zombie. Get it?
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry and Iris bring the rest of Team Flash up-to-speed on The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett)’s visit, his updated death date, and what he saw in the future, minus the part where he dies. The team agrees to take the rest of the day off and come back fresh tomorrow to start working on how to change things. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) leave relatively calmly, while Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) violently throws an ice spike into the wall as she storms out.
At the Central City Police Station, Ralph, who earlier received a call from Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), is escorted into an interview room by Joe and Cecile Horton (Danielle Nicolet). There Ralph finds his mother, Debbie, (Amy Pietz), who’s been arrested for a burglary at a local pawn shop. Cecile is there in her new role as a defense attorney, and she reads from the long list of previous allegations against Debbie, and says the owner of the shop identified her as the burglar. Debbie says, while she was in the shop earlier that day, at the time of the robbery she was at the dry cleaners, which she eventually admits is a cover for an illegal gambling operation. Ralph, Debbie, and Cecile decide to head there to see if they can establish an alibi for Mrs. Dibny.
Back at the warehouse, Barry and Frost are checking out the crime scene. Barry collects a sample of a thick red liquid to analyze, while Frost makes flippant remarks about all the dismembered bodies. As Barry’s about to scold her, Frost points out the dark matter has been taken out of all the weapons. Barry asks who would kill for dark matter, and Frost indicates she knows. Later that day, at the office of Ramsey Rosso, Barry and Frost question him, Frost a bit more aggressively than Barry. Rosso’s lab has been slightly trashed, and he says that someone broke in and attacked him. Barry finds more of the thick red liquid in the lab, and surmises that the same person who attacked Rosso killed the men in the warehouse. Rosso admits he had some dark matter in his lab, but lies and says he got it from an old colleague, Ted Kord, who he snaps at Frost was actually willing to help him. Rosso offers to help Barry analyze the sample he found, which Frost objects to, but Barry accepts.
Meanwhile, at the offices of the Central City Citizen, Iris’s new intern, Allegra Garcia (Kayla Compton), comes to Iris with a story about a break-in at McCulloch Technologies from the previous night. Security camera footage reveals the burglar to be Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), whom Allegra declares to be alive again. Iris, realizing this is a new Wells from another Earth, is taken aback by the photo, and tries to wave Allegra off the story, saying she’ll take it from here.
Dead Man’s Hand
At the cleaners, Ralph, Debbie, and Cecile look for anyone to corroborate Debbie’s story. The owner of the establishment is at first unwilling to help, then agrees to hand over security footage to the trio for $5,000. Ralph suggests they might be able to earn the money, and Debbie and Cecile head for the casino in the back.
Back at Rosso’s lab, Rosso and Frost/Caitlin snipe back and forth about Rosso’s work and the nature of their relationship. Barry re-enters and shares Mitch Romero’s identity, which he’s just gotten from the CCPD. Rosso plays dumb, but Frost knows him as the head of a gun-running operation. Barry wonders aloud why Romero would rob himself and kill all of his men, before getting an alert about a break-in at Mercury Labs.
At Mercury Labs, Romero, who has taken down a pair of guards, grabs a handful of dark matter and shoves it into an open wound on his chest—the fatal wound that Rosso made last episode. The Flash and Killer Frost arrive, and Flash tries to get a pair of power-dampening cuffs on him, to no avail. Killer Frost hits Romero with a blast of cold, sending him flying out a window and down to the street. Flash freaks out, yelling at Frost that they don’t kill people, even after Frost points out that Romero got up and escaped after his fall. Barry stresses that he only has seven weeks left to teach Frost how to handle these situations, and Frost snaps back that he should be a less crappy teacher before leaving in a huff.
Back at the cleaners, Debbie (with Cecile’s empathic help) is winning at poker, while Ralph tries to sneak into the offices and steal the security footage. Ralph stretches his hand under the office door and finds a flash drive on the desk, which he grabs. Debbie goes all-in on four eights, but loses to a player with four Jacks, and the trio leaves.
Barry returns to Rosso’s lab, where Rosso presents his analysis of Romero’s blood. He says the dark matter in Romero is destroying his regular cells, and that the more dark matter Romero absorbs, the more powerful he gets. Barry notes that Romero has apparently been dead for over 24 hours, and thanks Rosso for his help. Rosso pleads with Barry allow him to observe Romero, so Rosso can try to counteract what’s happening to him. Barry reluctantly agrees.
Elsewhere, Iris and Cisco have used facial recognition to track Wells. Wells swings in on a grappling hook, taking Cisco and Iris by surprise. He pins Cisco against a wall and demands to know why they’re following him. A device on Wells’s wrist starts beeping, and he turns and moves towards Iris, saying “It’s you.” Iris introduces herself before tasing him into unconsciousness.
At Ralph’s office, he, Cecile, and Debbie review the footage they took from the casino. The footage shows Debbie leaving at 9:30, half an hour before the robbery, but Ralph looks at another camera angle, which reveals Debbie meeting Marv Pérez, a man Debbie had previously dated and whom Ralph believed to be dead, outside the casino. Apparently when Ralph was a boy, he would get attached to Debbie’s boyfriends, and when the relationships ended she would tell him that her exes had died. Ralph accuses his mother of being a liar, and tells her to get out.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, a visiting Rosso tells Barry he should be able to gene-splice Romero’s DNA with dark matter to make something that will weaken Romero long enough for arrest. He tells Barry he’ll need more supplies, and after Barry leaves, Rosso grabs a handful of dark matter containers and shoves them into his bag. Barry didn’t leave, though, having suspected Rosso was up to something. Rosso is defiant, daring Barry to try and stop him, and recognizing the look on Barry’s face as that of a person who’s accepted their impending death. Barry says he’s going to use whatever time he has left to save as many lives as he can, and challenges Rosso to do the same by helping them stop Romero. Rosso hands over his stolen dark matter and agrees, before making a comment about how difficult it must have been for Barry to tell his friends he’s dying. Later that day, Barry runs laps in the pipeline and reflects on Rosso’s words.
Back at the Central City Citizen, Harrison “Nash” Wells awakens and tells Iris and Cisco he’s on Earth-1 looking for certain particles, which seem to be emanating off of Iris. He calls the particles ‘eternium,’ saying it’s a “multiversal element.” Cisco tries to prevent him from leaving, but Nash sets off a smoke bomb and vanishes. As the smoke clears, Iris and Cisco notice Allegra outside the window, having witnessed everything. Outside, Allegra tells Iris she won’t work for a liar, and Iris pleads with Allegra to trust her and not to quit. Allegra agrees, but reminds Iris that it’s the job of journalists to tell the truth, even when it’s inconvenient.
There Will Be Blood
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry confronts Killer Frost, who is working out her aggression on a practice dummy, about what’s bothering her. Frost admits she’s scared to die in the Crisis, especially since she just started having the chance to live her own life. Barry tells her not to be afraid of what’s to come at the expense of the present, and that everyone knows they’re going to die some day, which Frost says makes her feel better. She tells Barry she wants to help stop Romero from hurting anyone else.
In another part of the facility, Rosso is attacked by Romero, who has broken into the lab. A choking Rosso tells Romero to stop, which Romero does. Rosso realizes he can control Romero, who mimics Rosso’s movements, and as Rosso tests him, Barry enters with a container of dark matter. Barry lures Romero into a pipeline cell, but Romero breaks free, taking the dark matter from Barry and jamming it into his wound. Frost freezes him in place before realizing the dark matter is fueling Romero’s rage. She tells Barry she thinks Romero will overdose on dark matter if they give it all to him, and Barry retrieves and puts all of the dark matter in S.T.A.R. Labs into Romero’s wound. In what may be the most disgusting thing this show has ever done, Romero explodes, thick red blood spraying everywhere.
Later, Barry thanks Rosso for his help, and offers to talk if he ever needs it. Meanwhile, at Ralph’s office, Debbie arrives and explains to Ralph why she lied to him for so long. After his father left, Ralph took it very hard, and Debbie didn’t want to put him through that again years later when her relationships ended. Ralph asks his mom why none of her relationships ever worked out, and she says it’s because they always wanted more than she could give. Ralph says neither he nor his mom have been open to love since his father left, and that they both need to be.
Back at Rosso’s lab, he dictates notes about having found a new cure for HLH cancer that won’t require him to steal any more dark matter. He says that healthy blood cells infused with dark matter create a new substance capable of healing all diseases. Rosso, apparently able to control this new substance, absorbs a sample of Romero’s blood into his body before saying he needs more.
That night at S.T.A.R. Labs, the team throws a birthday party for Killer Frost, who has never had one before. Frost thanks Barry for putting it together, then tells him she’s figured out from his demeanor that he’s going to die during the Crisis. Barry confesses he doesn’t know how to tell everyone, and Iris enters and says they’ll tell the team together. As the party rages inside, the two of them inform the rest of Team Flash about Barry’s impending death. Meanwhile, back in the alley where he first encountered Cisco and Iris, Nash’s eternium detector starts dinging again. He lifts a manhole cover and looks down, apparently having found what he’s looking for.
All in all, this episode raised a lot of questions. What is eternium, and what does this new Wells need it for? Did Ralph’s mom beat that robbery rap? When is Iris going to tell Allegra about the multiverse? (To be fair, if she puts it off for another seven weeks or so that one might become a moot point.) How far will Ramsey Rosso go to get what he wants? And how will the rest of Team Flash react to the news of Barry’s upcoming death? Perhaps we’ll learn the answers to these questions next week.