“I remember when I got the episode and read it and I was like, ‘Oh, okay, we’re really getting into the mud here.’ And it was really exciting for me,” McKnight says. “Because usually, we see Chester as the guy in the chair, but there are so many other angles to [him] that I think we get to see in this episode. There’s so much more depth to him.”
The scene in which Chester confronts what something he believes could be the ghost of his father was something that McKnight was keen to get right, because of the complex and unique layers that existed within that relationship.
“Eric [Wallace, The Flash showrunner] and I had talked quite extensively last year about everything [this relationship] meant and how we’re trying to portray this relationship between a Black man and his father and all the connotations that come with those relationships historically. So, moving into this one, it was just doubling down on all of the despair Chester would be feeling.”
Back in Season 7, we saw Chester get the chance to connect with the father his younger self never understood. (Thanks, time travel!) Now, in Season 8, it seems as though he’s finally ready to wrestle with the emotional void the loss of him has left behind.
“[That scene], yeah, when I read that in the script it kept me up for a couple of nights,” McKay says. “How am I going to play this in the way that has layers of everything [he’s] going through? How do you portray that? Having to peel himself away from the situation that’s happening, his own grief and despair, and then actually stand up for himself and realize that [his feelings] are being used against him.”
That Chester ultimately saves the day by standing up for the memory of his father and the value that his love had in his life is a moving emotional moment, but one which McKnight says helps illustrate that grief is a process most of us will spend our lives figuring out how to navigate in one form or another.