Tonight on The Flash, Barry Allen and the rest of his team are reeling from the death of Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, who was killed by The Thinker in last week's episode.
That's not a process that will end anytime soon, according to showrubber Todd Helbing.
"We knew from day one that we wanted to bring in a character who, there was some responsibility from Barry for where this guy ended up in getting kicked off the force, and they didn't really care for each other, and he could kind of create this hero," Helbing told ComicBook.com. "He brought him into the team, he started training him. There was that whole evolution right before he lost him and that will propel Barry emotionally for the rest of the season.
While the characters are feeling it, the cast themselves are not (at least as much); Helbing said that he had explained the plot to everyone in advance, and that Sawyer himself knew how long Ralph would last before getting the job.
For the characters, though, it is a visceral shock; while they have suffered losses before, this is the first time an actual member of Team Flash has died.
"That's what we set out to do from the beginning," Helbing admitted. "We made a conscious choice to not just have them deal with it in episode 19 and then they move on and everything's fine. This is something that they're all dealing with in different ways, and when it comes out emotionally for them happens at different times. In episode 22, it all sort of comes to a head. It's a team loss, it's not a Barry loss. Ralph was one of the team members. Barry trained him, yes, but when Barry was in jail, the team was training him. Everyone is invested in this guy, and it' was nice to play that out over multiple episodes and not just brush past it."
With that in mind, we asked whether Barry's trip to jail following "The Trial of The Flash" was actually designed to bring the team closer together with Elongated Man.
"That's exactly right; that's what we wanted to do," Helbing said. "It was a chance to get Barry to have a storyline that was fully on his own with Big Sur, but it was also a chance to get the team to connect with Ralph in a way that they couldn't if Barry was there."
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.