Flash: Elongated Journey Into Night

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You thought meeting YOUR S.O.’s parents was tough…

The writers on the various CW shows have been doing a good job of going through DC Comics archives to find random and often obscure characters to bring to live action, often for the first time. This week, they use one that actually did start off as a supporting character for the Flash before going on to join the Justice League. He’s possibly one of the most popular characters ever created by mistake, but more on that later. I’m going to be “that guy” in this review a bit, because I really don’t like some of the changes they made. But, it’s still an interesting way to meet a new character in “Elongated Journey into Night.”

The show opens with Gypsy and Cicso on a date. I really like the banter between these two; they make a good couple. After we find out that Cisco still doesn’t know her actual name, there’s some entertaining conversation before their date gets a crasher. A breech opens, and a black-clad figure shows up with energy blasts flying from his hands. Turns out, in this world, Gypsy’s father is a bad-ass who goes by Breecher, and played by the always intimidating Danny Trejo.

Elsewhere in the city, Mayor Bellows is apparently running for re-election. He is playing on his past as a cop, and tries to draw Joe into the press conference. Joe both handles this badly and shows he’s not really interested in being a part of this. Barry brings Joe to his lab, much quieter now that Albert has gone back to London, and Joe is surprised to see that Barry has taken down his mother’s murder board and replaced it with a case board for the mysterious twelve new metas. They both agree that something is suspicious about how the new metas were given their powers.

Back at STAR, Breecher is less than impressed with their security, which has been an ongoing issue for the entire series. He makes a few snarky comments about most of the people, but respects Joe as a fellow lawman. Wells makes a good suggestion to Cisco about how to handle Breecher, and, as they go, tosses off a, “Have fun storming the castle.”

Caitlin comes in asking about the scary guy roaming the halls, hears “Cisco” as an explanation, and just nods and says, “Ok.” In the course of trying to figure out the secret behind the bus full of metas, they find a name Joe and Barry know: Ralph Dibny. In this version, Dibny is a former Central City cop who Joe and Barry say is dirty. In the comics, Ralph is a very good man, a Mr. Rogers type, who started off as an unwanted helper of Flash’s before eventually joining the Justice League. On a team with Batman, the World’s Greatest Detective, Ralph was an often overlooked 2nd best, which is still saying a lot. The writers who created him didn’t know DC actually owned the Quality Comics characters, including Plastic Man, so they created Elongated Man by mistake.

Joe and Barry go to visit Ralph, who is now a pretty scuzzy private investigator. They come in as he finishes pissing off a female client. There’s a lot of tension among them, and Ralph refuses to help them at all. After Joe and Ralph leave, he gets visited by some thugs, and, in the course of the incident, Ralph’s new powers emerge. Everyone, including Ralph, is freaked out.

Back at STAR, Ralph’s new stretching ability continues to freak out everyone involved, Ralph included. Joe has a particularly strong reaction to the display. Amidst all this, Joe asks who the guys on the roof were, but Ralph is a bit distracted. While this bit of chaos goes on, Cisco, Gypsy, and Breecher go to Jitters. Personally, I don’t think Breecher needs any more caffeine. They talk about how Earth 19 was attacked by the Plastoids and, among other things, coffee was wiped out on their world. When Gypsy goes to get their drinks, Breecher tells Cicso he’s going to hunt him over the next twentyfour hours, no powers allowed. It’s Breecher’s way of testing Cisco, or possibly getting rid of a boyfriend he doesn’t like. Gypsy figures out what’s going on and isn’t happy.

At STAR, Barry adds Ralph’s picture to the 12 new metas, under a heading calling them all villains, which Caitlin and Iris aren’t as sure of. Barry insists that people don’t change, which Caitlin takes exception to given her Killer Frost background. Iris does her best to cool things off between them.

Iris and Barry go to Ralph’s office to try and find any clues about, well, anything since Ralph isn’t helping. They find the place is trashed, so they’re clearly not the only ones looking for something. They also find a bomb, which Barry barely manages to vibrate them away from. Iris comments that someone hates Ralph more than Barry does.

At STAR, both the investigation and the debate over Ralph continue. Caitlin manages to help stabilize Ralph’s powers so he’s got some degree of control over his body again. She empathizes with him, both for suddenly getting strange powers and having a bad reputation to live down. The team finds evidence that Ralph has been in contact with the Mayor a lot, but Ralph continues to evasive about the calls and who might have blown up his office, although he seems excited about getting an insurance claim out of it.

Cisco and Breecher are continuing their high-stakes game of hide and seek. Wells is an amused, sardonic observer, although he does give Cisco some good advice. Joe and Barry go visit Mayor Bellows, who is also evasive about Ralph’s calls. Clearly, there’s something going on here. We learn the mayor has made some mistakes, and Ralph is trying to capitalize on them. This doesn’t help Barry’s bad opinion of Ralph, but we also learn the mayor isn’t exactly on the up and up, either.

Back at STAR, Ralph gets very defensive when he’s confronted with his shortcomings. We learn what Ralph did to get kicked off the force and earn such disdain from Barry and Joe. Things get heated and Barry ends up punching Ralph, which doesn’t go so well with Ralph’s powers.

Cisco leads Breecher into a trap, which goes moderately well at first. Unfortunately, Breecher has a lot of tricks up his sleeve, so things don’t go Cicso’s way, but he manages to run at least. Barry and Joe drink at Barry and Iris’ loft and talk about why Barry is so down on Ralph. It’s an interesting perspective on what the STAR crew has been doing, especially with their somewhat questionable Pipeline prison. Their chat is interrupted when the Mayor’s thugs show up and attempt a very definitive end to the investigation. They weren’t counting on Barry’s powers, and he does something right out of the memorable Quicksilver scene in Days of Future Past.

In other developments, Breecher sees pictures of Ralph, and apparently his new powers make him look like the Plastoids that attacked Breecher’s Earth. The team traces Ralph to City Hall, where he has a meeting with Bellows. It doesn’t go as expected on several fronts. Things get even more complicated when Breecher arrives and attacks Ralph, convinced he’s a Plastoid. In that mess, Bellows gets away with Joe as a hostage.

Breecher is about to kill Ralph when Cisco arrives in his Vibe gear and defends Ralph. Breecher is impressed and backs down. Barry uses Ralph’s power to reach the chopper Bellows is trying to escape in after the almost obligatory unmasking to inspire scene. Really, Barry, why are you bothering with the mask at this point? Joe is saved and finally tells the news he’s been hiding all episode: Cecile is pregnant. The team celebrates with much dancing and hugging and cigars (that’s a tradition that can die out anytime).

Breecher admits Cisco might be worthy of Gypsy after all, then gets word they need to go back home. As he goes, he reveals Gypsy’s real name, which she threatens Cisco into not using. Caitlin gets a nasty surprise when she goes home. Ralph goes back to his office and he and Barry, who fixed the place up, have a chat. Barry offers to train him, and there’s a joke about the Plastic Man name, which they won’t use. As they talk, Ralph drops a clue that lets Barry know how serious this matter of the new metas is to end the show on an ominous note.

What I liked: Caitlin defending Ralph made a lot of sense. Barry’s self-reflection about the Pipeline was something I’ve been wondering about for a while. Trejo as Breecher (Vibe’s brother in the comics) was fun to watch. I’m glad Joe shared his news with everyone. I hope they’ll be working with Ralph in the future, which would reflect his earlier appearances in the comics. I liked Wells helping Cisco.

What I didn’t: I don’t like the changes they made to Ralph here. He’s a good guy, not a bent cop, no matter how justified he thinks he was. Also, his powers won’t let him hold a chopper in place. He’s not super strong. Stretch to it, yes, effect its flight, no. I’d like to see a mayor in a hero show that isn’t a crook. Barry doesn’t need to tell everyone who he is. That’s what the mask is for, no?

It was a fun episode. And I’d say the good outweighs the bad. I’ll give it a high 3.5 out of 5.

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