Danielle Panabaker & ‘The Flash’ EP Break Down ‘License to Elongate’

License to Elongate
Spoiler Alert
Katie Yu/The CW

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Flash Season 6 Episode 6, “License to Elongate.”]

Season 6 is a serious one for The Flash as its lead character, Barry Allen aka The Flash (Grant Gustin) is destined to die!

In tonight’s episode, the show took a break from the upcoming heavy story coming and told a more light-hearted tale that had Barry and Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) embarking on a James Bond-escapade as they tried to take down villain Remington Meister (Carlo Rota) who tried to auction off a powerful weapon, capable of destroying entire cities.

The episode, “License to Elongate,” was directed by series regular Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin/Killer Frost), who, along with executive producer/showrunner Eric Wallace, spoke with reporters to dissect the episode and preview a bit what’s head. TV Insider was on the scene. Read on for the scoop!

On how directing was different this time

Danielle Panabaker: “I was a little more confident for sure having done this before. Each episode of The Flash has its own flavor. This episode, I got to play with James Bond homages and it was really fun. There were fewer special effects than in the last episode I directed.”

(Katie Yu/The CW)

On how long it takes to direct and shoot an episode

Panabaker: “When you break it down, it takes almost two weeks to shoot an episode. Each day has its own challenge. Act Five was a big sequence, but I prepared it out in four parts. When you break it down like that, it ends up being less complicated that I [originally] made it out to be in my head.”

Eric Wallace: “From my perspective, one of the most complex scenes in terms of the edit room was the one where we had three people – Barry, Ralph, and Remington – talking. I’m a James Bond fanatic. In case you haven’t figured that out with the introduction of the Remington mystery.”

Panabaker: “That scene had the dynamic between Ralph and Remington and they’re having this banter and then, there’s Barry who’s a bit of a fish out of water. Physically, he’s in the middle between them. It was fun. The boys were having so much fun with it. It became so easy. You’re not having to pull anything out of anyone. They’re giving so much so freely.”

Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, Carlo Rota as Remington Meister and Hartley Sawyer as Dibny (Katie Yu/The CW)

On Barry not usually being the one to screw up the plan

Panabaker: “Grant is so incredibly talented. Particularly, this season, as we prepare for ‘Crisis,’ we haven’t seen a ton of levity. But we did in this episode such as when Barry [reacted] to the terribly tasting hors d’oeuvres in order to lean into the comedy. That was fun for him. There were stunts he did that I had not intended on him doing at all. He got up on stage and said, ‘I can do that.’ I said, ‘that’s not up to me!’ On set, as a director, I encourage the actors to have fun. It’s hard to kill your darlings [in the edit room when you have to omit scenes for time]. I could have had a seven-minute montage with Chester. I cut it down, but I can’t decide what goes away.”

On if we’ll see more of January Galore (Rebecca Roberts)

Wallace: “No guarantees [nodding] – you didn’t hear that from me! You actually might see quite a few people from this episode again. We deliberately did a fun episode before we go to our two-part shows leading to the midseason finale. Next week’s episode is not kid-friendly so we said let’s do something fun for this week. It was a very actor/chemistry-heavy episode with Grant and Hartley out of costume. We thought let’s give Danielle the fun episode to direct. She is a terrific director. I can say that with confidence because I saw her in action. She was so prepared. She knew exactly what she was doing – shot construction, working with the D.P. (director of photographer), working with the actors, having things [already] cut in her head. I would not be surprised to see her directing many more episodes.”

On Chester’s (Brandon McKnight) future

Wallace: “We love him. Brandon is a delightful person. I was watching when we shot [an earlier episode] in which he just lays in a bed the whole time or taps [his fingers]. I’m up there watching and he’s lying in the bed. I said, ‘Do you want us to swap you out [with a stand-in]?’ He said, ‘No, I want to keep it real!’ I said, ‘You go, bro! I like you! We’re going to bring you back!’”

Panabaker: “[Brandon] is so funny and he’s a team player who is open to trying new things.”

Wallace: “He’s a great ‘audience identification character’ because it’s all new for him. We’re a sixth season show and we need someone who this is all fresh and exciting to. We’re working it out in the writers’ room [now]. He’s come out of this black hole, but what does he look like when he’s facing a bigger challenge.”

On seeing Caitlin’s mother, Carla(Susan Walters) again

Wallace: “The answer to that is yes, without question [she’ll be back].

Panabaker: “She’s great!”

Hartley Sawyer as Dibny (Katie Yu/The CW)

On a The Elongated Man/Ralph Dibny-centric episode

Wallace: “We’re shooting that episode right now. It’ll pick up directly from this.”

Panabaker: “This season has been about has been about giving all the different characters their own moment. Episode 5 was really Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) episode. We have such a talented ensemble. It’s been great to see everyone get their moment.”

On why Danielle is such a great director for The Flash

Wallace: “When we have a director like Danielle, it’s wonderful because she knows the history of the show. Yes, as an actress she’s brilliant, but she has the ‘sense memory’ of this show in her DNA. That’s invaluable.”

On who might be Caitlin and/or Frost’s One True Pairing

Panabaker: “Personally, I think Caitlin’s One True Pairing was Ronnie [Raymond, Robbie Amell]. I still hold out hope he didn’t die in the particle accelerator explosion — even though I’m pretty sure he did. I just love Robbie and I love that character and I feel like they are meant to be together. As for Frost, do we even know that she has an OTP? Let’s be honest. I can see Caitlin marrying Ronnie and living happily ever after. Do we see that for Killer Frost? I don’t think so. It would be something fun to explore.”

Wallace: “It’s a running joke in the writers’ room that always gets cut and that is Frost has a wild crush on the Judd Nelson character from The Breakfast Club. At some point, we’ll get that in.”

On the characters dealing with knowing they may lose Barry

Wallace: “We’ve had to pay a ton of attention and be honest in the writing. My mother passed away two years ago and this season is very much about seeing the pain that Ramsey (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is dealing with – it’s what I’ve been dealing with … We’ve talked a lot in the writers’ room about dealing with grief and loss. It’s so universal. Obviously, Grant’s not going anywhere, but we still have to honor those emotions that are going on. We’ve taken our own personal baggage and said, ‘Let’s let these characters be honest with one another.’ Especially, as we build up to ‘Crisis,’ which is a life and death event, and one that we are playing very realistically. Or as much as you can when your lead character is wearing a red onesie.”

The Flash, Tuesdays, 8/7c, The CW