“I’m never gonna leave you…even when I’m gone.”
While the team must come to terms with Barry’s soon-to-be fate, Ramsey Rosso firmly entrenches himself as the bad guy when his attempts to find a cure continue to fail.
Last week’s ending was, considering Barry’s history of keeping secrets from friends and family, a bit of a surprise when he told them about his upcoming fate. “There Will Be Blood” touches on the aftermath of that decision, with several characters—Cisco in particular—not quite embracing the idea that they’ll have to let their friend die without a fight. It’s ironic, the peace at which Barry is willing to accept his fate, much like Ramsey’s mother Rachel did. As a would-be survivor, Cisco’s reaction mirrors Ramsey’s, as he’s determined to find a solution to his best friend’s predicament.
The sheer desperation causes Cisco an out-of-character moment when he steals a bio-regenerative serum slated for Ramsey and readies it for use on Barry when the time came. Barry’s reaction is that of a disappointed father (despite their similar age), as he saw Cisco as his replacement to run Team Flash. The tension between the two runs deep throughout the night, with Barry’s motivations trying to show Cisco the difficult choices a leader must make without ever really understanding Cisco’s point of view.
One of the bigger surprises was that no one truly challenged Barry and, considering the dynamic cast of characters, it’s difficult to believe none of them asked him “What if it was us? Would you give up then?”. The simple answer to that would be no; regardless of what he may have seen, Barry would fight until the very end for those he loves.
And though Barry does exhibit wonderful traits of a leader, I’m not certain if he truly has what it takes to be a leader in the field. It sounds harsh and while sacrificing one’s self is a brave and admirable thing to do, in the theater of battle, the most difficult choice a general must make is to sacrifice those under his charge. It would have been a much more fascinating examination of his character to see if Barry would have been able to pull the trigger on someone else being sacrificed if circumstances dictated (and no, letting a resurrected Nora Allen die doesn’t count!).
Moving away from the what-if conversation, the most questionable aspect of “There Will Be Blood” is how easily Ramsey abandons all pretense of an HLH cure-all gone and embraces his inner murderer. It’s a curious decision, considering we’re only four episodes into the season though more so because Ramsey’s turn was handled with the nuance of a brick hurled through a window. There was no aching war within him to kill others to survive.
Despite the pointed shot of the DO NO HARM portion of the Hippocratic Oath, there was no real reservation for him to start slaughtering. If anything, his ease at which he goes about the killing suggests that Ramsey has always been a monster behind the medical brilliance. It’s a shame too; how much more interesting would it have been had he begun his kill streak with a bit more hesitation and reticence? Instead, he’s fully embraced that dark side and though it very well may end up being an entertaining struggle between him and Team Flash, framing him as a slightly more sympathetic character would have done wonders for his narrative arc.
Despite a few poignant misses, “There Will Be Blood” does further the Bloodwork narrative while also wrapping up any dissention the team had regarding Barry’s decision to accept his future. There are a few strong emotional beats—particularly Barry’s ending conversation with Joe—that boost up what was, from an excitement and rewatchability level—a middling episode, at best. But those quiet moments where these characters that we’ve been with for half a decade now connect, it can almost make one forget about the lost opportunities.
- A welcome treat was how much of Nash Wells we got this go-round. There’s something magnetic about this version of the character, that je ne sais quoi, if you will, that makes characters such as Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and Tony Stark so memorable. Nash’s “It” factor aside, his post-credit scene that reveals he’s tracking the Monitor changes the game. Maybe he’ll have answers Barry and the others don’t. And when one takes into account the events on tonight’s Arrow, it solidifies the fact that Mar Novu is hiding something big.
- As powerful as Barry’s conversation with Joe was—Grant Gustin and Jesse L Martin always work so well together—I was more impressed by Joe’s one-on-one with Ralph. Save for a decent arc with his mother last week, Ralph has really been a forgotten man. Giving him such a powerful moment was most deserving and Hartley Sawyer really delivered. Seeing his emotional ache makes him that much more interesting as a character and from a personal standpoint, I actually care about this Sue Dearbon case of his and how ties into his season’s arc.
- There are quite a few unanswered questions on Ramsey the bloodsucking vampire’s powers (he needs blood to survive; dude’s a vampire). His victims arising as zombified monsters before melting into puddles of goo begs the question, why were their fates so much different than Mitch Romero’s? How often will Ramsey have to feed in order to sate his blood needs? Would animals work just as well as humans or is that a non-starter? Also, subpar effects aside, watching him scale the building like Venom was not-not cool…