We're three episodes into The Flash Season 6, and so far we've seen the very beginnings of Dr. Ramsey Rosso's (Sendhil Ramamurthy) villain origin story. Although he hasn't gone full dark side yet, we can definitely see him headed in that direction. But unlike a lot of other villains The Flash has introduced, Ramsey seems to be a relatively good person on what would be a very noble mission — it's just his methods that are turning him down a path of darkness.
That aspect of his villainy will end up being the greatest challenge for Barry (Grant Gustin) and Team Flash this season. After all, it's hard to fight a villain with everything you have when you can see the good person beneath the monster.
"He's the villain, but he comes from a good place. I don't think he's out to do villainous things or to hurt people or anything like that. I think his main motivation comes from self-preservation," Sendhil Ramamurthy told TV Guide during a recent visit to the set of The Flash. "What he thinks is a logical and kind of reasonable way to go about things kind of goes out the window once he's presented with this set of circumstances that his life is in danger. It becomes all about that. He's, from his point of view, putting everything else aside to get to where he needs to get to, but if you were looking at it from the outside, it's super messed up."
"I tried to forget about that," Ramamurthy continued, "and just kind of really focus on, 'This is his need right now, and this is what he's willing to do to get it, and for him there's nothing weird about it, there's nothing devious about it, there's nothing evil about it, it's just what he needs to survive.'"
Given that Barry is going through a very similar struggle — knowing death is knocking at your door tends to put things in perspective — it's not hard to see why these two men would understand each other on a level no one else can. We even saw a hint of that understanding in Episode 3, when Ramsey realized Barry was also facing a death sentence. And that understanding will, for better or worse, create a great deal of compassion in Barry. Whether or not Ramsey proves to be deserving of that compassion is up for debate.
"He, I think for Barry at least, appeals to his heart in a way that villains of the past kind of haven't," Grant Gustin said. "And then just the nature of who he is as a villain, what his powers are, are pretty different than any of the big bads we've had on the show before... It's more adult, I will say, in the way we handle it. It's a little scarier, in a way."
"The relationship between [Barry and Ramsey] for a huge portion of the arc is really close," added Ramamurthy. "It's kind of like a brotherly thing, like an older brother, younger brother type thing. And Barry is so kindhearted and so just intrinsically good, you know, that he kind of puts blinders on."
"Barry always sees the good in others because that's what he is," he continued, "and he kind of sees everything through rose-colored glasses. In a way, it's kind of like his kryptonite a little bit, but it's also something that makes him so effective as the Flash and being a hero. But it's also like a little bit of a weakness, and Ramsey, he figures that out, and he exploits that. He exploits that and uses it to try and get what he wants."
With only eight episodes of The Flash dedicated to Ramsey's arc as Bloodwork before we head full speed toward the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, you can probably expect this journey Barry and Ramsey are on to start accelerating pretty fast from this point onward. We can only hope the outcome of Barry's final confrontation with Ramsey teaches him something worthwhile enough to avoid his own doomed fate in Crisis.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)