We're nearing the end of the eighth season of The Flash, with the latest batch of episodes debuting amid an unprecedented time for the show's role in the larger DC multiverse. Thanks to a string of recent cancellations, The Flash is one of the last remaining shows within The CW's Arrowverse franchise, which has made its DC Comics references all the more noteworthy and unexpected. The series' most recent episode was absolutely no exception to that rule, with a storyline involving John Diggle / Spartan (David Ramsey) that could have ramifications within the broader universe — and may have included a bizarre tie to Final Crisis, one of DC's most controversial events. Spoilers for this week's episode of The Flash, "The Man in the Yellow Tie", below! Only look if you want to know!
A subplot of the episode centered around Eobard Thawne / Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanagh) being visited in his Lian Yu prison cell by John Diggle (David Ramsey). Diggle asked Thawne, with his knowledge of advanced technology, to help open the mystical box that he's been carrying around for two years, but has not been able to open. Through a series of events, Thawne teased that accepting the offer within the box would set up Diggle's destiny, and revealed that opening it would let him see his life in other universes. Diggle opened the box and witnessed what those alternate universes had to offer, as Thawne remarked that he should "drink from the Bleed Mandrakk hid within the cube."
Created by Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones, Mandrakk the Dark Monitor first debuted in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 in 2008. Also known as Dax Novu, the character was one of the first Monitors spawned after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and developed a normal life amid the Monitor civilization with his wife, Zillo Valla, and his son, Nix Uotan. Through a series of events, Novu discovered that the Monitors were leeching off of the multiverse, and was locked away after making that information public. He later banished Nix to New Earth, and was seemingly defeated by a group of Supermen, with New Earth's Superman pushing him into the Overvoid and destroying even the memory of him. The mantle of Mandrakk was later succeeded by Rox Ogama, which played out in the events of Final Crisis. Later comics further explored the notion that Mandrakk was eager to revive himself via The Bleed, the interdimensional plane between all multiverses.
While The CW's DC shows have dealt with Monitor lore in the past — with LaMonica Garrett portraying both The Monitor and The Anti-Monitor in the network's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover — the idea of Mandrakk and The Bleed being name-dropped on The Flash is definitely surprising. For one thing, it adds an interesting wrinkle to Diggle's "cosmic destiny", which fans had heavily inferred to be tied to the Green Lantern Corps. There's also the detail that Ramsey will be reprising his role as Diggle in the Season 2 finale of Superman & Lois, which will seemingly set up the main villain for Season 3. Given Mandrakk's connection to Superman in the comics — and the increasingly-prevalent theory that Superman & Lois might be set on an alternate Earth — it certainly wouldn't be out of the question for him to be that villain.
The Flash airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.