After the events in Episode 219 of The CW series The Flash, Zoom is intent on taking over the Central City of Earth-1. As a result, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Harry Wells (Tom Cavanagh) have come up with a plan to stop Zoom once and for all, but it’s so dangerous that Barry turns to both Henry (John Wesley Shipp) and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) for advice.
Following a screening of Episode 219 at the offices of The CW, actor Tom Cavanagh and executive producer Andrew Kreisberg were on hand to talk about the fallout and what’s still to come. During the interview, they spoke about the idea of recreating the particle accelerator, just how dangerous going through with it might be, Barry’s need for advice from all of his father figures, distinguishing the different versions of Wells, Killer Frost, where Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) goes from here, the reveal of the man in the iron mask, Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) powers, and just how many speedsters you can have on one show. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
Question: Another particle accelerator sounds very dangerous. How might Harry Wells approach that decision?
ANDREW KREISBERG: The next episode is about the ethicacy of doing that. Harry thinks that between his particle accelerator explosion and what he learned about what the Thawne version of Wells did, he thinks he can contain it and just get Barry his powers back. But, it’s complicated and dangerous. Everyone, including Barry, has to decide if this is the right way to go, considering the craziness that ensued last time. They’re faced with a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario because Zoom is about to release a reign of terror on the city.
Who’s to say that recreating the particle accelerator explosion will actually work?
KREISBERG: That’s part of what the next episode is about. It’s about, “Are you out of your mind? This is insanity! We’re trusting everything on Harry’s say-so that it’s going to be fine.” That’s part of what makes the next episode so exciting. And John Wesley Shipp returns, as Barry’s dad, in the next episode. There’s a great scene between Barry’s three fathers, essentially. It’s between Tom Cavanagh, John Wesley Shipp and Jesse L. Martin, where all three of them are debating what Barry should do. Not all of them have the take on it that you’d expect, and that’s what makes for such an interesting scene.
Whose reaction to Harry’s idea will surprise us the most?
KREISBERG: Probably Joe’s. Once Barry decides to do something, Joe doesn’t think he can be dissuaded from doing something. That’s the Barry that Joe has come to know and love and respect. Given what they’re up against, Joe, who’s always been so protective of Barry, surprisingly is the one who says, “Maybe we should give this a shot.”
Tom, what’s your process for distinguishing the different versions of Wells?
TOM CAVANAGH: The big picture for me is basically to antagonize our wardrobe department. There are three or four different Harrison Wells, so I’ll go, “I want Wells!,” and they’ll go, “Which Wells?” I’ll be like, “Season 1 Wells,” and they’re like, “Which Season 1 Wells? There are three of them!” My over-arching plan is to just cause stress for our wardrobe department, or for any department, really. I’m not going to pick and choose.
KREISBERG: One of the most interesting things for us, when we were writing the beginning of this season, we had a table read and Tom had cut half of his lines out. It took us a second to figure out that this Wells, this season, speaks a lot less. The Wells from last season was verbose and liked to be a showman, but this Wells doesn’t have time for people and likes to be in his head. It was a learning experience for us, as writers, that came from the other direction because Tom really created the Wells for this season.
CAVANAGH: Being given that palette rarely happens, but we had an opportunity because we killed the other guy. This new guy looks like that other guy, but apart from that, we had this palette where we could create a whole bunch of different things. I thought it would be nice, if this guy talked a lot less, he was a lot bitchier, and he was a malcontent. He had the intelligence, but his intelligence was not on display, the way Season 1 Wells’ was. His intelligence is for him, and that’s really it. He’s not a people person. He’s an antagonist. I think our show is helped by that. We have the huge season antagonist, or big bad, but then it’s nice to have a little conflict on our show. This was an opportunity to provide that, on a daily basis. This Wells just cuts to the chase. I think it’s a dangerous mission for an actor to talk about their so-called process in front of the media. That’s pretty much the last thing I want to do. But I will say that, when it comes to creating them, I just love it. I take a lot of pains to figure out what would be best for the show and for me, as an actor, to pay. I loved playing this guy who was short with people. He just had this rage in him. He was so powerful on his Earth, and yet incapable of protecting the most important person to him and that fueled everything for him.
KREISBERG: Our pitch to the network and the studio was that, “Last year, you loved him, but he was evil. This year, he’s a jerk, yet he’s doing everything he’s doing because he loves his daughter more than anything in the world.” We loved that dichotomy.
CAVANAGH: In many ways, where we’re leading to in the season finale, the pay-offs are extreme.
Why did you decide to end Killer Frost’s story in this episode?
KREISBERG: We loved what Danielle [Panabaker] did with her. When we were designing this episode and we had Zoom kidnap Caitlin, it just seemed like a fun thing to do to be able to have the two of them together, and to have Caitlin experience time with her. It gave us an opportunity to deepen both characters, but ultimately, she had to go. Even she said, the only reason he had to keep her alive was that she was a living reminder of him caring about Caitlin.
What were the technical challenges of the Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost scenes?
KREISBERG: As far as the production challenges were concerned, there was obviously trickery. Everything that we send in comes back better than expected. It’s pretty seamless. The credit goes to all of these actors who take the time to very carefully delineate between the dopplegangers. This was really Danielle’s moment to shine and really show the difference between them. I’m always blown away when they act with themselves.
CAVANAGH: She put in a 17-hour day in two cells. The table read was great because there were these volleys back and forth, where the voice would change. It was Danielle talking to Danielle, but it was tremendous to watch. And then, you put her in that outfit. There’s always a lot of stuff going on, but she was phenomenal with it. She was loving every minute. It was really, really impressive to watch.
Where does Caitlin go from here?
KREISBERG: We haven’t met Caitlin’s mother yet. We got a little talk between the two women, which will probably play out in Season 3.
Can you tease anything about the man in the iron mask?
KREISBERG: Just that the answer is going to blow your mind. Honestly, the two things that I’m probably most proud of this season are Harry and the identity of the man in the mask.
Is it someone that we’ve already met?
CAVANAGH: Don’t answer that!
What are the circumstances that John Wesley Shipp comes back under?
KREISBERG: Barry reaches out to him because he’s lost his speed and he needs his dad’s advice. Barry is at a crossroads, as far as what he should or shouldn’t do. He’s being presented with a monumental decision that could not only affect or kill him, but that could kill everybody at S.T.A.R. Labs and set off another chain reaction and infect everybody in the city. The last time they took matters into their own hands, they created this whole problem with blowing a whole in the universe and opening the breaches, so they’re all a little bit gun shy. Their faith in themselves and their faith in their decision-making is a little bit lost. That’s why it’s such an interesting episode. The effect of Episode 219 on Harry is, “I know what I’ve gotta do and I’m gonna fucking do it.” Now, he’s firmly on the team and firmly on getting Barry’s speed back, and that this is the way to do it. But everyone in the group and everyone on the team is a little bit shaken and on their heels, wondering if they should take a step back. So, Barry reaches out to his dad for help and advice.
Will Cisco continue to deal better with his powers?
KREISBERG: I think he feels like he’s emotionally in a good place. We’ll see a few Spider-Man moments, where he’s trying to make it happen and it’s not happening how he wants it to. There are a few more technical issues and glitches coming up this season, but emotionally, he’s okay with taking those fledgling steps. It’s really important for us, especially with Cisco, to honor his powers and honor them growing and honor the Vibe of it all while also keeping him Cisco. That’s the balance that we’re trying to strike.
Obviously, there’s a lot of excitement about where Wally West and Jesse Wells could go, as characters. Taking that into consideration, have you thought about how many speedsters is one too many?
KREISBERG: Right now, the show is called The Flash. For the most part, Barry Allen is the only Flash. Obviously, there are expectations for both of those characters. Whether or not they’re realized is part of the enjoyment and fun of watching the show. But, it will never be Spider-Man and his amazing friends. It will always be The Flash.
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.