Hartley Sawyer’s firing from The Flash last year dealt with the actor’s history of revolting misogynistic and racist attitudes, but also left the problem of how to deal with the character’s exit on the show, along with Sue, whose presence was closely linked to his. A resolution to the situation was finally revealed in last night’s episode, though.
The abrupt departure of Ralph and Sue was paid lip service in the season premiere by Cecile stating they had gone underground after Eva framed Sue for Carver’s death, but it wasn’t enough of a send-off for the Elongated Man. Unlike Julian Albert/Dr. Alchemy, who never really had much of a place in the group and was unceremoniously ditched after the Savitar arc was concluded, Ralph had become an integral member of Team Flash, and so something less offhand was required.
Sue comes back into things by alerting the team to Eva’s mirror duplicates taking over Central City, and a blackout is put in place to prevent the casting of reflections and her army increasing. This gives Ralph the opportunity to break into McCulloch Technologies to search for evidence to clear Sue’s name and he’s caught in the explosion when Eva blows it up, the intense heat of the blast melting his rubbery form.
After being restored at S.T.A.R. Labs at the end of the episode, his face is obscured by a helmet to heal him and transmit an artificial voice, disguising him being portrayed by an anonymous extra. And although Sue is offered a place on the team, she declines, stating that she and Ralph have work to do, taking down organizations like Black Hole that prey on the vulnerable, and they part on good terms.
It’s not a perfect end, but it fits in the context of the world established on The Flash and allows the show to move on from a situation it would likely rather forget about.