With Barry in prison, it’s time for Ralph Dibny to step up and be a hero.

Ralph’s journey this season has been one of character growth. He already seems light-years away from the jerk we met way back in October. But now he has to do all he can to protect Central City without the safety net of The Flash. With Barry in prison, it’s up to Ralph and the rest of the team to keep the city safe.

At the start of the episode, Ralph’s handling business pretty well! With a bit of a Spiderman style tendency to quip as he fights, he stops a hostage-taker by letting his bomb explode in his chest, creating a cool visual effect straight out of The Mask. Of course, his success builds up his already noticeable ego. But soon, a new challenger arrives: The Trickster!

Yes, Axel Walker, after bumping into Barry at Iron Heights, is sprung by his mom, Zoey Clark. She used to be known as Prank, the one-time partner of Axel’s father, Mark Hamill’s Trickster. The actress, Corinne Bohrer, also appeared on the 1990s Flash series as the same character, just like Hamill. It’s a nice touch to bring the same actress back, keeping it in the family as it were!

So, in a bit of a strange sequence, Axel sees Ralph on TV and decides to take him on to get his name back in the limelight. You’d think he’d be more obsessed with Flash, who put him in prison, but whatever. He issues a public challenge to Ralph, one he’s only too eager to take on. Ralph’s recent victories have made him feel invincible, taking on bombs and knives no problem. But Axel squirts him with acid, significantly hurting him and leading to his retreat with Cisco’s assistance.

To finish what they’ve started, Trickster and Prank create a new game, this time with hostages, and demand Ralph come stop them. But, still reeling from his injury and the possibility of death, he bails. While Ralph may not be as sleazy as his first appearance anymore, he’s not a natural hero like Barry. He needs to be pushed to find his inherit goodness and do the right thing.

Luckily, he has just the person to visit for a pep talk. Ralph visits Barry in prison, who’s been feeling useless behind bars. He offers to break Barry out, but instead, he gets the encouragement he needs to dig deep and find the willpower to return to the fight. He takes on the two baddies, risking his life to save Cisco and Caitlin. With the help of Harry’s solution for the acid, the newly-christened Elongated Man saves the day.

Ralph’s gradual transformation into a hero has been one of the best parts of this season so far. While last week’s trial was a mess, putting The Flash in prison helps the team find new ways out of dangerous scenarios without a speedster’s help. Plus, it helped Ralph take another step forward as one of the good guys. No problems with that in my book.

Show Notes:

  • In a nice Easter Egg, Cisco pulls up a fake newspaper clipping of the 1990s Flash series, showing Hamill and Bohrer in their costumes from back in the day.
  • Pet peeve time: Barry marks the days in his cell with tally marks. But he does five straight lines in a row before moving to the next column. Uhh, no, it’s four and then one diagonally! C’mon Barry! (okay, rant over)
  • The hostage taker that Ralph stops at the beginning has very…eco-friendly requests for the cops! He asks them for a Prius and a salad. Hey, just cause you’re a criminal, doesn’t mean you can’t be green as well!
  • To force Caitlin to switch to Killer Frost, Cisco and Harry scream the name of her high school bully, Lexi LaRoche. Lots of repressed anger there!
  • At the end of the episode, Cisco and Ralph run into the same strange woman from Barry and Iris’ wedding. A peek at her notebook shows that she’s writing in the same strange language that Barry was using when he excited the Speed Force. Hmmm…..

The Super Cinco:

  1. Ralph Dibny / Elongated Man – Central City’s newest hero has quips, is media-friendly and has the elasticity to take on all manners of bad guys. Even though his injury leads to a moment of weakness, Ralph rises to the occasion to save Cisco and Caitlin, proving himself to be a true hero.
  2. Barry Allen / The Flash – Sure, Barry’s stuck in Iron Heights Prison. But that doesn’t mean he’s not helping where he can. He uses his speed to quell a prison riot, saves and befriends a fellow inmate, and gives Ralph the encouragement to overcome his fears.
  3. Harry Wells – He uses his quick thinking to find a way to chemically neutralize Trickster’s deadly acid. He does this in under an hour and gets the solution to work mere seconds before it rains down on Ralph, Cisco and Caitlin. Nice save.
  4. Iris West – Iris remains team leader for our heroes, helping out from S.T.A.R. Labs and warning Ralph against getting too cocky. She’s spending most of her time though trying to hold it together during Barry’s prison sentence, working on his appeal and visiting him every day.
  5. Cisco Ramon / Vibe He assists Ralph by breaching him to his destinations, saves Ralph’s life by interrupting Trickster’s attack, and gives him an awesome new suit. He only loses points for getting kidnapped by Trickster and Prank.