Earlier this year, rumors flew around the nerd-o-sphere (name pending) that Carlos Valdes, who plays Cisco Ramon on The CW’s The Flash, was leaving the show. The were, in fact, completely spurious, unsourced rumors — and thank goodness, because Valdes’ presence on Season 6 of the series has been a gift. Nowhere was that better on display than this week’s episode, “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach,” which finally let Team Flash’s long-tressed tech expert flex his acting muscles.
Spoilers for The Flash Season 6, Episode 5 “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach” past this point.
In the episode, Cisco not only discovers that his ex-girlfriend Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) has been murdered by a mystery assailant, due to some tech he discovers that said assailant was none other than… Cisco Ramon. This all comes in the middle of a turning point with his current girlfriend featuring the classic “oops I accidentally said I love you” conundrum, and an appearance by Breacher (Danny Trejo), the overly aggressive father of Gypsy.
It’s a lot for anyone to juggle, and it only gets more complicated when it turns out (surprise) that Gypsy was killed by another universe’s version of Cisco, a criminal who essentially sells the multiverse’s version of false passports. Cisco ultimately takes down the evil Cisco by proving he’s smarter than him, gains the trust of Breacher again, and manages to tell his new girlfriend he loves her. Heck, the episode even manages to find the time to deal with Cisco’s panic over Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) naming him new Team Flash leader in the inevitable event of his death (in the upcoming “Crisis” crossover) by creating a hilarious cartoon version of The Flash called B.A.R.I.
So hooray, all is good in the world by episode’s end, right? Well, no, because for the second week in a row The Flash lets the episode finish on a shockingly human, heart-breaking note. The episode, written by Kelly Wheeler and Joshua V. Gilbert and directed by Menhaj Huda, deals with the death of Gypsy in a real way, not letting the impact be as simple as solving a mystery and moving on. Of note, Camacho is neither dead nor gone, she’s just over on CBS starring on All Rise. But The Flash uses this as an opportunity to work the typical accidental “I love you” into something much richer. In this case, the idea that though we may break up with a partner, they’re still part of our history, our baggage.
For Cisco, this is true of Gypsy; and it’s true of Barry, too… Yes, he’ll have to move on once Barry dies (though don’t worry, it probably won’t stick), but he realizes he doesn’t have to let go completely. And in those final moments, Valdes lets us, the viewers, feel that pain with him. Not only does the actor get to play two very different versions of Cisco in the same episode, completely with his usual nerdy asides and confident snark; he also gets to portray emotion beyond his Twizzler-chomping tech nerd persona. If there was any truth to the rumor he was leaving (though there’s no indication there was), it’s great that he came back to sink his teeth into some real acting on par with what Valdes was tackling in Season 1. The show, and TV as a whole, is richer for it.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.