Elongated Journey Into Night came at just the right point in The Flash’s fourth season. The Tom Cavanagh-directed episode featured the right amount of goofy humor and character work to reflect the lighter tone and not treat the characters like morons. Prominently featuring one of the Justice League’s most underrated members in Elongated Man didn’t hurt either.
I was excited with the news that Hartley Sawyer was going to be playing Elongated Man. Historically, Ralph Dibny has been one of Barry Allen’s best friends and Flash’s other regular partner when Green Lantern wasn’t around. I was a little surprised the writers went a different direction with him and made him a former cop turned morally flexible private investigator. He’d probably love to meet my friend Jessica…
In a rarity for The Flash, Barry wanted nothing to do with him even after learning he was one of the passengers on the fateful bus. Ralph got elongated limbs and full control once Caitlin whipped up a special cocktail for him. I loved the Easter Egg of the Gingold in his office drawer. That was the soft drink Dibny learned could help with him become a great contortionist, but actually granted him elasticity powers in the comics. Ralph is prominently featured in one of my all-time favorite DC Comics stories, 52, but his best appearances are in Justice League.
I was hoping Ralph’s backstory would have more layers than him planting evidence because the murderer was going to get away. That doesn’t fly with the strict moral code of The Flash though I appreciated Joe calling Barry about for all the times he breaks the rules.
This was a rare case when Barry revealing his identity worked as he needed to get off his high horse and extend an olive branch to Ralph. The elongated effects will need some extra polish, but for a first go, they weren’t bad. He’s definitely a character that will need a costume quick to avoid making realistic looking stretched out skin. Sawyer immediately felt like he belonged with the cast. And as more of a detective/aspiring hero, he’ll fill a vacancy personality wise on Team Flash. At least the writers won’t have to come up with ways to make Ralph as ineffective as Wally.
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The other big subplot probably would have been silly if there were other goofy subplots occurring. Gypsy’s dad, Breacher (Danny Trejo) came to Earth-1 to size up Cisco and compare hair tips. They both have fantastic hair. The hunting sequence was a little overblown, but Trejo made it work with his deadpan delivery and Carlos Valdes seemed to have a lot of fun keeping Cisco on the run. Breacher stumbling onto the main plot felt forced, but it served the purpose of helping Vibe earn his approval.
It seemed a little weird for the team to celebrate Joe’s new baby and no one thought to call Wally or at least put him on STAR Video phone to give him the good news. Out of sight, out of mind, huh Joe? Course telling The Flash your girlfriend is pregnant in front of the murderous mayor probably wasn’t the best idea either.
I liked that the writers avoided having a Thinker appearance tonight. Barry realizing the guy who’d been manipulating events was the same Davoe he’d been forewarned about was effective enough. And yes, I completely geeked out when Ralph’s nose twitched when he smelled a mystery. That was one of the comic character’s trademarks and it was another fun nod to the source material.
Caitlin’s threatening message at her door felt kind of weak in terms of a cliffhanger. It’s not like Killer Frost needs to be losing sleep over anyone except for Firestorm and Heat Wave. And with them safely aboard the Waverider, she’s good.
Elongated Journey changed the Team Flash dynamics for the better. And with Barry knowing his adversary instead of the 3/4 mark of the season, the fun shouldn’t slow down anytime soon.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW