This week's episode of The Flash seems to have dropped a surprising reference to the classic Batman character Vicki Vale - or did it? Season 6 of CW's hit series about the Scarlet Speedster has been primarily setting up the upcoming Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover. With the Flash prophecized to die according to the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett), Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) has been busy preparing the members of Team Flash for a future without him.
In The Flash season 6, episode 8, "License to Elongate", Barry and Ralph Dibney (Hartley Sawyer) went to a James Bond-inspired mission to Midway City to investigate the Sue Dearborn missing persons case. This required attending a black-tie gala to dig up some intel but prior to that, the Elongated Man caught his mentor the Flash up on some key details about the last time Sue was seen in public. According to reconnaissance photos Ralph acquired as a private investigator, right before she vanished, Sue Dearborn was last seen in Milan three weeks prior wearing a one-of-a-kind dress by fashion designer Victoria Veil - but was this The Flash shouting out to the existence of Vicki Vale in the Arrowverse?
The subtitles of "License to Elongate" spelled the fashion designer's name as "Victoria Veil" but phonetically, this name drop sounded an awful lot like a reference to Vicki Vale and it's natural that fans would assume The Flash is talking about the Gotham photojournalist. Vicki Vale was introduced in Batman comics in 1948 and she's been an on-and-off love interest of Bruce Wayne. The most well-known incarnation of Vicki Vale was Kim Basinger's portrayal of her in Tim Burton's Batman 1989, where she once again became the romantic foil to Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) before she was kidnapped by the Joker (Jack Nicholson).
Despite being a damsel-in-distress in Batman's third act, Vicki Vale was introduced as a highly-respected photojournalist whose gritty photos from a war zone in Corto Maltese made it to the cover of Time Magazine. Vale then specifically came to Gotham City to learn the truth about the mysterious Batman and she teamed up with Gotham Globe reporter Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl). However, Kim Basinger didn't return for the sequel, Batman Returns, and Vicki was only briefly mentioned by Bruce Wayne as an ex-girlfriend who left him to his new love interest, Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer).
Different iterations of Vicki Vale have appeared in DC Comics over the decades and the character has also appeared in animation and other media like video games. However, Basinger is, thus far, the only actress who has played Vicki Vale in live-action. In Gotham, Jamie Chung played Vicki's aunt Valerie Vale, who was also a reporter working for the Gotham Gazette. Valerie was also an ex-girlfriend of James Gordon (Ben McKenzie).
Considering that Vicki Vale is as well-known for being a news photographer in the DC Universe as Lois Lane is for being a reporter, it's a little strange that The Flash would name drop Vicki Vale but change both the spelling of her last name and her career into a famous fashion designer - this seems to indicate that "Victoria Veil" may not be the same character, hence spelling her surname differently. And yet, there is definitely some mileage to get from name-dropping Vicki Vale, especially with Batwoman now integrating Batman's mythology into the Arrowverse.
Since "Victoria Veil" was only mentioned and not seen, that could mean that just like Julia Pennyworth, the daughter of Alfred the butler, Vicki Vale the photojournalist could be properly introduced on Batwoman in the future and The Flash just name-dropped someone with a similar name as a tease to set the stage.
The Flash airs Tuesdays @ 8pm on The CW.