‘The Flash’ Showrunner Explains Team Flash Absences With ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ Logic

In The Flash Season 6, the members of Team Flash have found themselves tacking lots of separate missions, whether individually or in smaller groups. They have also faced serious threats without the full strength of the team. Some absences have been written into the scripts, but others have gone totally ignored and unexplained.

Finally, the showrunner, Eric Wallace, has provided insights into the thinking behind those glaring gaps that have become more common during the current season than ever before.

[Spoiler warning: The following article contains details about The Flash Season 6.]

Team Flash has been pulled in different directions

Various Flash allies have appeared to be missing in action during critical events of The Flash Season 6. Cisco’s extended leave was written into the show as the character’s mission to catalog all of the metahumans on Earth-Prime. But it seemed odd that the character would leave town during such a vital rebuilding phase after Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Ralph also missed out on some action during the season, presumably because he was on the trail of socialite and thief, Sue Dearbon. Caitlin, aka Frost, has also disappeared from the show, seemingly during random episodes with little or no explanation at all.

Most notably, Frost was absent from season 6 episode 16, “So Long and Goodnight.” With Barry’s powers dwindling and Joe and Cecile facing a life-threatening circumstance, it was baffling that Frost didn’t show up to provide backup.

The events of “So Long and Goodnight” resulted in yet another storyline-dictated character absence. Joe left town for parts unknown to enter the witness protection program until Carver and Black Hole can be neutralized.

‘The Flash’ showrunner, Eric Wallace, dishes on character absences

The frequent absences of The Flash’s main players spur questions about the stability of Team Flash and the actors who play them. Luckily, Wallace stepped in to explain. The showrunner told CBR this about Jessie L. Martin, who plays Joe:

“Don’t worry! Joe is gonna be back. He did not leave the show permanently. We love Jessie [L. Martin]. In fact, one of my favorite Jesse moments is coming up in a couple of episodes from now. But don’t worry, Jesse will be back.”

When speaking with CBR, Wallace went on to address why certain characters are missing from particular episodes of the show. This is how he explained the overall model for season 6:

What we do on the show a lot, is we’re a six-season show going into our seventh season. So, we have eight series regulars. That’s a lot to feed, narratively speaking. Plus, those people have been working for six years really hard.

One of the things that I wanted to do and institute in season 6, when I came in, was use what I call the Star Trek: [The Next Generation] model. Sometimes it’s Riker’s episode, and so he shines, but maybe Worf isn’t even in it. Or sometimes, it’s a Worf episode and there’s not much Troy going on or not much Dr. Crusher. Then sometimes it’s all Dr. Crusher or it’s all Troy.

It doesn’t mean those other characters are gone! It just means, quite frankly, a hardworking actor is getting some well-earned rest that allows us, when they do come back, to really focus in on their story.

Eric Wallace to CBR

Read more: ‘The Flash’: Grant Gustin Shared a Behind-The-Scenes Stunt That Probably Won’t Air Until Season 7