The Flash: 6.01 Into the Void
The past two seasons of The Flash have consisted of poorly told stories that have struggled to incorporate a balanced tone and execute a well-rounded antagonist. They both lacked consistency in their characters and often forgot what made the show popular in the first place. While they were at least watchable, if far too long (when will they learn that 10-12 episodes would be perfect?), they stood to generate hype for the yearly Arrowverse crossover event, with this year's ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ akin to the latest Marvel Avengers team-up.
Thankfully, season six gets off to a surprisingly strong start, and aside from the lack of a Wells (Tom Cavanagh), the comedic upbeat tone is reminiscent of past successes. From the opening sequence, it’s established where the characters are physically and emotionally and does a decent job of reminding you of the aftermath of season five. The Godspeed cameo notwithstanding, the effects, action and promising new villain provided a refreshing change of pace that can hopefully be kept up with as the season progresses.
Speaking of villains, Sendhil Ramamurthy’s portrayal of Dr. Ramsey Rosso is really impressive. His presence alone lures you in; add to that an immediate sympathy towards his character, having just buried his mother, and it’s the start of an immersive arc. The amount of story involved in only the first quarter was astonishing, not to mention the differing nature of his motivations; rather than try to avenge the death of his mother, he wants to prove her wrong and simultaneously stroke his ego, which is a genius turnaround on the tiring cliché.
The character work and humour throughout was charming and created a worthy story continuation. Cisco, now having taken the Meta-cure, seems more upbeat and funny. His dialogue gives the perfect balance of seriousness and well achieved comedic timing, most notably with the use of Queen’s song ‘Flash’ which had me smiling from ear to ear. Caitlin, a character who has previously been forgotten and given little if nothing to do, finally has an arc alongside her alter ego ‘Killer Frost’, who wants to live her own life. This is a huge step in the right direction for her character.
Unfortunately it wasn’t all sunshine and daises for the season six opener. The biggest problem was the focus, or lack thereof, on the villains. There’s an interesting cameo from Godspeed, an absolutely wasted foe from last season, that’s only briefly addressed. His inclusion was frustrating; with the team stating, “It’s the fourth Godspeed we’ve faced in as many months”, but delving no further into it. Aside from the Dr Ramsey situation, the episode spent most of its time with the kid connected to a black hole. Include the Monitor cameos and it’s made increasingly unclear how it all fits together and what impact it will have on the Crisis crossover. Was it a little too much? Yes!
The crossover event later this year is something The Flash is going to have to prove it can overcome in terms of story. The marketing team are doing a phenomenal job at getting audiences excited for it, teasing new characters and cameos from different superhero iterations like Kevin Conroy and Tom Welling to name a few. While the current path for season six seems promising, it has to be able to further the current story but, also, live on after the aforementioned event.
Into the Void is an uplifting, promising beginning to season six, playing perfectly to the events that led up to it. The character work, action, special effects, costumes and most importantly humour, blended as well as could be expected, and was an all-round entertaining watch. The pacing took a hit due to the hodgepodge of villains but as a whole was well executed. While The Flash has opened strong in almost every season only to go downhill fast, the impression this episode gives, at least provides hope.