THE FLASH S4x04 – ELONGATED JOURNEY INTO NIGHT

On this week’s episode of The Flash, the team runs into another recently-created meta. But Barry has a personal history with this newcomer. Can they set their differences aside? It’s a long shot!

This season’s villains of the week have been pretty good so far, though only last week’s lady luck really stood out. But it’s also nice when the show does something a bit different. On that note, allow me to introduce Ralph Dibny to The Flash! For you comic book fans out there, I’m sure you were able to guess where this episode was going as soon as his name came up.

That’s right, the Dark Matter from the bus caused Ralph’s body to essentially turn to Silly Putty. A good portion of this episode deals with him learning how to use his powers, as to be expected for our future Elongated Man. But this isn’t your typical hero origin story. For starters, Barry and Ralph really, really don’t like each other. When Barry was a rookie with the CCPD, he worked a case where Ralph forged evidence so he could be a hero. Barry busted him and he was thrown off the force. Since then, Ralph’s been working as a seedy private eye, seemingly straight out of a 1940s gumshoe tale. I mean, they go all out with this. He gets slapped by a woman he tries to woo; the music is all jazzy and noir-y and he gets hung off a building by two goons. It’s amazing.

While his condition lines him up for treatment at S.T.A.R. Labs, especially since he can’t control his powers, Barry is dragging his feet over their past. They’ve dealt with people who’ve bent the law before, but there’s more to it than that. Barry knows that Team Flash has broken several laws in their heroics over the last few years. They lock up metahumans without a trial. Plus, all that messing with time travel. Barry wonders if Ralph was similar, a good man who wanted to do the right thing, even if it didn’t fit the rule of law. It’s another sign of a more mature Barry, one who can reflect and learn from his own mistakes. This is another refreshing course correction for this season.

Barry takes a chance and asks Ralph to help save Joe, who was captured by the Mayor that Ralph was blackmailing, though he backs off that scheme. Afterwards, Barry invites Ralph to join Team Flash and offers to train him to be a hero. Hartley Sawyer does a great job with the character, bringing a ton of humor along with a touch of pathos that makes it all click. He’ll be a welcome addition to the team.

There’s another fantastic new character that shows up in this episode, Gypsy’s father, Breacher. He’s played by Danny Trejo and that’s really all you need to know, cause it’s Danny Trejo and he’s always awesome. He takes the tough-loving father to the extreme, literally hunting down Cisco to prove his worth as a suitor for Gypsy. Cisco asks if he hunted Gypsy’s last boyfriend. He did. When Cisco asks where that guy went, Breacher deadpans “I don’t know where you go when you die.” This is both terrifying for Cisco and hilarious for everyone watching. Trejo is simply the best. As they get caught up in the Elongated Man story, Cisco’s heroics win Breacher over, even though he still hates him. Here’s hoping Trejo gets a recurring guest role on the show, because I can watch him and Cisco interact all day.

Show Notes:

  • After being kidnapped by the Mayor and rescued by the combined efforts of Barry and Ralph, Joe spills the beans about Cecil’s pregnancy. Looks like he shook those nerves off. He glowingly tells the team, letting the celebrations commence.
  • Well, celebratory for most of our heroes. Someone leaves a message for Caitlin at her place: “We miss you. Come back soon.”
  • The special effects for Ralph’s stretching range from decent to awful. But regardless of quality, before Ralph can control his powers, they get some really messed up body horror shots in there.
  • Ralph only investigated the Mayor at the behest of a tip from DeVoe, The Thinker’s alias. Barry remembers that name. Now he has an idea of who they’re up against.
  • Harry says that any father would be happy for Cisco to date his daughter…except him. As Cisco says, went for the compliment, didn’t stick the landing.

 The Super Cinco

  1. Cisco Ramon / Vibe – His relationship with Gypsy is going swimmingly, until her father shows up. Cisco uses everything he’s got to try and work things out with Breacher, from being a good host to trying to be a good opponent in combat. Finally, it takes him helping with the Ralph case and being a good hero to win Breacher’s trust.
  2. Barry Allen / The Flash – He starts off with some bad personal history with Ralph, losing some points for arguing against helping him. But Barry manages some actual self-reflection and growth, seeing that his actions aren’t 100% lawful either. By the end, he offers Ralph a spot on the team.
  3. Ralph Dibny / Elongated Man – Welcome Ralph to the rankings! He starts off as a jerk and a bit of a sleazy guy. Barry thought he was crooked, but he just wanted to do the right thing, even if the law wouldn’t allow it. By the end, he helps rescue Joe and proves to be one of the good guys.
  4. Joe West – He helps Barry work through his issues with Ralph, talking it out together with beer instead of hallway scenes. At the same time, Joe internally works through the surprise pregnancy of Cecil, ending the episode with the happy announcement.
  5. Harry Wells – Harry tries to help Cisco with some decent advice, but it doesn’t really work on Breacher. Otherwise, he seems content to hang back, not contributing much to either the Ralph or Cisco storylines.