REVIEW: The Flash, S6E3 – Dead Man Running

flash 603 dead man running iris cisco

In “Dead Man Running,” characters on The Flash deal with impending death in different ways. Given how emotional the first two episodes of the season were, it may come as a surprise that this one was… Not so much. Instead, Frost (Danielle Panabaker) took a petty approach to the upcoming Crisis while Ramsey (Sendhil Ramamurthy) thought about doing things Barry’s (Grant Gustin) way for ten seconds.

flash 603 dead man running ramsey

They’re dead men running, get it?

The Ramsey and Barry parallels were strong, albeit overdone, so we’ll start there. “Dead Man Running” refers to the literal walking corpse Ramsey revived with his dark matter, but it also encompasses the paths these two men take on their march towards death. Barry has already accepted that this is only way to save the world – nay, the multiverse – while Ramsey is sinking further into darkness in order to save his own skin. They confront this directly in the episode, and if it hadn’t been for the appearance of one pesky undead servant, Barry might have convinced Ramsey to give love a chance.

What at first felt like a disappointing rehash of Barry trusting the wrong person and letting him onto the team quickly turned out to be another chance to show off the Flash’s quick thinking. By bringing Ramsey into STAR Labs, Barry was able to catch him stealing dark matter and try talk some sense into him. Unfortunately, Ramsey soon realized the zombie he created last week actually responded to his commands – and that dark matter the ability to heal his HLH cells – so he’s off to collect more power by the end of “Dead Man Running.”

flash 603 dead man running frost

Frost isn’t ready to let go of Caitlin’s life…

The rest of the A plot was devoted to Frost nearly derailing her ‘killer’ rebranding upon learning she wouldn’t get to live Caitlin’s life much longer. There are a few reasons this element of The Flash didn’t work for me: one being that Panabaker’s lack of range left Frost’s meltdown feeling a little shallow. Of course, it didn’t help that the audience already knows everyone but Barry will survive, so it’s hard to have patience with her tantrum when there’s no reason for it. Finally, she’s the one with the weakest connection to Barry, so the reveal of his demise would have been much more powerful had it been in front of Cisco or Joe. On the bright side, it showed off how much Barry has grown as a teacher. It also gave the show an excuse to throw a birthday party at the end, so that we could see our characters let loose if only for half a scene.

“Dead Man Running” divvied up the rest of the episode among two other plots that, now that I think of it, could also be plays on the title. First, Allegra brought Iris (Candice Patton) a hot tip on the supposedly dead Wells (Tom Cavanagh) running around town, which Iris immediately set out to investigate with Cisco (Carlos Valdes). I’m no fan of the countless iterations of Harrisons, but this Indiana Jones knock-off is off to a good start. Not only did he bring a whiff of intrigue with his talk of Eternium and potential Sandman connections, but he also provided a source of conflict for Iris and her newest cub reporter. The only problem was that so little time was devoted to the story that it didn’t really conclude before the credits rolled.

Last but not least, Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) uncovers that his mother has been ‘killing off’ her boyfriends when they run out on her or vice versa. In the process of finding her innocent of a robbery, he and Cecile (Danielle Horton) learn that Mommy Dearest lied to Ralph every time one of her relationships ended. All because his father’s departure traumatized him as a youth, leading her to think death would be a better explanation for the lack of goodbyes. It’s a strangely conceived plot, but it’s well-executed for the most part and leaves the door open for Ralph to find love in the form of Sue Dearbon sooner rather than later.

“Dead Man Running” is something of a disappointment in comparison to the last two weeks of The Flash, but at least things are still on track for an exciting battle against Bloodwork and the epic crossover soon after. If nothing else, the new showrunner keeps proving he knows how to spread the storyline wealth and find levity without going overboard.