The Flash hits the ground running in its season opener, “Into the Void.” The episode is filled with black holes, both physical and emotional as Barry and Iris deal with the loss of their daughter, Nora. Starting just after the events of last season’s Legacy, we find Barry and Iris in S.T.A.R. Labs where they experience an unexplained power surge that destroys Nora’s last message to them in the time vault. It’s another loss for the already bereaved parents.
Jumping to four months later, we see Kamilla (Victoria Park) visiting her boyfriend Cisco at work. Cute. Kamilla asks why there is a crisis every time she visits. At least she’s been kept in the loop instead of being lied to in order to hide Barry’s identity. The girl is part of the family now! We see Barry chasing down a speedster who is, according to Cisco, the fourth version of Godspeed that Barry has had to stop. When the replica is finally stopped, he cannot speak and emits a piercing sound from his mouth. We don’t know why there are Godspeed replicas running around the city, but Barry and Cisco treat it like it’s just as all in a day’s work.
We then cut to some family time at Joe and Cecile’s house. Joe congratulates Iris on the Central City Citizen, although Iris downplays starting her own newspaper, saying she does not have strong readership numbers. Joe is encouraging of course, saying it will come with time. Cisco is enjoying the time off with Kamilla at his side, Caitlin is there but Ralph is not – he’s away, working on a missing person case (more about that later.)
Barry wants Cisco to get to work on some tech — the Mental Augmentation Chamber — which will allow Flash to speed think his way through tricky situations, but Cisco insists on protecting his work/life balance. Barry is persistent so he speeds away and back with a tablet for Cisco to begin working. While Cisco heads off, Joe asks Iris and Barry how they are feeling, and Barry explains that they are good; Nora is only temporarily gone from their lives, but they will have kids and will have her back again eventually. They are interrupted by an alert of a crime in progress. Barry speeds off. Iris asks Joe what happened to the boxes stored in his garage. He had them carted off to the dump to Iris’s dismay, so she leaves. Caitlin also says her goodbyes to comfort an old friend in medical school.
The old friend is Ramsey Rosso (Sendhil Ramamurthy) who is burying his mother after she passed away from HLH cancer. After the funeral, Caitlin speaks to him. When Ramsey grabs her hands, he remarks how cold they are and she turns away. We see a bit of Killer Frost coming out, but Caitlin forces her other person down so she can say goodbye. Ramsey invites Caitlin to join him for a cup of tea sometimes.
We next see Iris in a junk yard, looking for the boxes that Joe had carted off. She finds what she is looking for and pulls Nora’s jacket from one of the boxes. We realize that Iris is not as okay with Nora’s death as she tells everyone. Suddenly a hole appears in the sky and sucks the jacket into it and disappears.
Iris tells Barry that she was at the junk yard to follow up on a story she was working on. Cisco is also there and the traces of gamma rays tells them that they are facing a black hole and Barry wants the team to figure out how they can deal with it. Cisco thinks the task is beyond them. The amount of data they have to decipher is overwhelming; Cisco calls it a mystery wrapped up in an enigma. Cue Ralph Dibny, who shows up in a tux like James Bond. He’s just back from Opal City after rubbing Rolexes with the rich and elite in his search for the missing heiress, Sue Dearborn.
Sue Dearborn is an important character to introduce in the Flash because she is destined to become Ralph’s wife. In the comics, Sue Dibny is an important part of the Justice League, with a complicated story that goes beyond death, with Ralph always at her side. Maybe this season will include another wedding?!
Back to our story: As Caitlin begins to track the data stream for the black hole, we see ice coming out of her hands. Frost is yet again trying to come out. Ralph is concerned and suggests Caitlin take some time off. So, she goes to meet Ramsey for that cup of tea.
At Jitters, Caitlin is again trying to comfort Ramsey. He confesses that he lied at the funeral. He didn’t think his mother was brave in her fight against cancer. She gave in to it. Ramsey has come up with a possible cure, but he needs Caitlin’s help. Specifically, he needs some of the dark matter that was used to create the meta cure from Season 5. Caitlin warns that the cure could create metahumans in unsuspecting people and refuses to help. Ramsey is not pleased and huffs off. Before Caitlin can leave, another larger black hole appears. She is almost sucked into the black hole but Flash saves her.
Iris is at CCPD, looking for any leads on the mysterious black hole. She traces all the people who have robbed dumps along with those who were at Jitters to find a common denominator. She finds it in the person of Chester P. Runk, a YouTube science phenomenon with a huge personality who uses junk in his experiments. One of his videos shows him creating a black hole in his basement. Accidental genius or menace to society?
Iris goes to the hospital to speak to Chester but it’s no use. His encounter with the black hole has left him catatonic. Iris rushes off in despair, so Cecile speaks to her, asking what’s wrong. Iris confesses that she was at the dump to get Nora’s jacket because she misses her, and knows that even if she and Barry have another kid, it won’t be the Nora that they came to love. Cecile explains to Iris that she needs time to truly grieve her lost child and feel all those painful feels, without the outward façade of everything being fine.
Another black hole appears in Central City, as Iris notices Chester tapping his finger on the table. Cisco has created a stellar grenade that if thrown in the black hole might destroy it, but Iris runs into the lab saying they can’t do that because the black hole is part of Chester. She demonstrates his brain waves working only half of his brain, and the black hole activity is the other half. (I admit that I’m a bit fuzzy on the science part of this but it’s The Flash, so I’ll go with it.)
Cisco explains that they have to destroy the black hole before it swallows Central City, but now Barry won’t do it. Barry bursts out that he can’t lose another person on his watch, demonstrating that Iris isn’t the only one who is burying her grief over Nora. Barry has thrown himself into his work to mask his own feelings of loss.
The team figures out that they can put Chester in the Mental Augmentation Chamber and Barry can go into the black hole to retrieve Chester’s consciousness and maybe connect it with Chester, destroy the black hole and cure the would-be new science star. As Flash speeds off, Cisco plays a bit of the Queen song Flash on his computer saying he’s been dying to do that for years. (It’s a little cheesy, and I chuckled at the visual of Flash entering the black hole with that song playing. It was full of lights and colors and part of me hearkened back to the ’80s and the old Flash Gordon movie.)
Barry is successful reuniting Chester with his consciousness, although he wakes up from his catatonic state in the M.A.C. chamber with glowing eyes. Chester will have to stay there for a few months to recover. (Chester is also a character from the comics, but we have yet to see if he will be a hero or villain for the team. He does have a fun personality and I’m looking forward to his future appearances on the show.)
In the meantime, Ralph has figured out that Frost’s sudden appearances are due to the fact that she has not had the opportunity to live a life. Caitlin is the main personality, with Frost buried beneath. Caitlin has a brief scene where it seems like she’s talking to herself, but here she agrees to let Frost have her own life on the outside. Frost doesn’t know where to begin, but luckily Ralph is there to save the day with his Book of Ralph, Volume 2. I have a bad feeling about this.
Before the episode ends we see Ramsey experimenting on himself to try to work the cure for cancer. He injects himself with dark matter and we see the beginnings of him becoming Bloodwork, the villain with the ability to make other people’s blood burn.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Iris and Barry are discussing working through their grief over Nora together. Barry has a surprise for Iris – he retrieved her jacket from the black hole and it is now on display in the time vault. However, their tender moment is interrupted by the appearance of Monitor. He tells Barry and Iris that he destroyed Nora’s final recording because he needed to destroy their hope. Flash must die to save the lives of billions in the upcoming Crisis. Barry and Iris thought they have years before that happens, but the headline on the paper changes. Barry will disappear on December 10, 2019. Uh oh. It’s on…
Next week’s preview shows Barry taking a trip to the future to find out what happens the day after he disappears. John Wesley Shipp appears in the promo as Jay Garrick, and asks Flash what he saw. Barry replies, “Something’s coming.”
I am excited for this season! What do you think? Comment below to let us know your thoughts on this episode and your hopes for the crossover storyline, Crisis on Infinite Earths.