Season six of The Flash is mostly about getting ready for the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Barry has more or less accepted the fact of his own death, and is trying to prepare the team for his not being around anymore. This episode, he focuses on Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man. We get a lot of James Bond jokes, more of the quest for Sue Dearbon, and Danielle (Caitlin/Killer Frost) Panabaker’s second time as a director. Even the title is a Bond nod, “License to Elongate.”
The show opens in the tunnels below the city, with Nash Wells giving his spin on the Monitor. Between what is said here and recent events on Arrow, it seems the heroes don’t have a great opinion of the mysterious cosmic being. In the first of many bad decisions this episode, Barry doesn’t listen to Nash and tries to phase through the wall blocking the Monitor’s supposed secret lair. After that fails, Nash tells them more and that he needs a special gadget and knows where to get it. Once again, there’s a reference to Eternium, which is connected to the Captain Marvel mythos in the comics.
Back at STAR Labs, one of the subplots comes to an abrupt end when Chester P Runk finishes his treatment in the lab. He talks to himself and wanders around, eventually learning that he’s believed to be dead and that Killer Frost is supposed to have been watching him today. I guess she was busy in the tunnels. In a meeting with Joe, Barry has designed a new present for Ralph, has a few other surprises planned, and has Joe in on the scheme. Ralph drops by with another hot lead on the missing Sue Dearbon, and is off to Midway City (comic book home of Hawkman and Hawkgirl for a while). Fearing this will interfere with his plans, Barry invites himself along. He almost immediately regrets it as the Fastest Man Alive has to do surveillance, and then “Suit up” in a very different manner, as he promised to follow Ralph’s lead.
They bluff their way inside, and Barry is immediately out of his depth and element. The last time these two tried to go undercover, it didn’t work out too well, and this isn’t looking that much better so far. They get some advice (and a bit more) from a random woman at the gala inside. At the Central City Citizen, intern Allegra catches Nash going through the place. The man has some real boundary issues. His high-tech gauntlet finds what he needs, although not how he expected it, and he ends up telling Allegra a lot of things the others have been keeping from her. Cecile helps Chester get some of his legal problems squared away, then babbles too much and gets involved in his personal life after revealing at least one of her own secrets.
At the party, Barry and Ralph wander around before accidentally finding their host. Ralph pulls off the sort of James Bond theme of the episode, while Barry fails horribly. Barry is definitely not keeping his promise about following Ralph’s lead. The host is Remington Meister, a play on a few Bond villain names, and I was wondering if he was linked to the Music Meister from the musical crossover with Supergirl, but that never came up. After Meister beats them at a game of chance and walks off, he alerts a masked henchwoman to be on alert. Ralph is being a slow, diligent, thorough investigator while Barry is the fidgety, bored, speedster amateur. Cecile’s next big plan is to an updated, metahuman version of Cyrano de Bergerac, which goes horribly wrong as she tries to help Chester get a date.
Returning to the tunnels again, Nash lets another big secret slip as Allegra gears up to help him and then changes her mind and runs off. Ralph does a great job of finding ways to locate what they need, while Barry makes another bad choice. Ralph also gets tasered, which is a bit odd as I’m not sure that would work on either of them, giving their powers. Then we’re back to more Bond clichés as the mystery woman is identified and Barry and Ralph are prisoners with a death trap. There’s even a threat to Central City, although it seems to have relocated from the Mid-West to Virginia. Nash talks Allegra around, and she helps him with his quest, although the results he got are not at all what he was telling the team before. Chunk makes a Star Wars reference even I find a bit nerdy as he and Cecile talk over what went wrong and he ends up encouraging her instead of the other way around.
Barry finally tells Ralph why he’s been so twitchy, and Ralph offers some insight on both of their dual identities. Between them, they manage a comedic escape from the deathtrap and Barry, again, promises to follow Ralph’s lead. Our heroes get through another Bond-like sequence, with a big fight, a bluff and distraction, a Mortal Kombat reference, and a bad girl looking on approvingly as the heroes manage a win. They wrap up the loose ends, and we get a hint that Joe and Ralph are also planning a surprise for Barry. Cecile and Chester make progress on their respective personal problems, and she makes him an offer she really doesn’t have any business doing as far as I can tell.
Nash is oddly nice to Allegra and makes a passing reference to her reminding him of someone. The big ceremony comes around, with a public appearance by two superheroes that amazingly doesn’t get attacked by villains. Elongated Man gets some public recognition, but then so does someone else who is clearly surprised. The final scene is Ralph giving Iris a tip, and then getting a very unwelcome visitor after she leaves.
What I liked: It was a nice switch seeing Ralph as the slick one and Barry as the bumbler, although he really should have known better a few times. I’m very intrigued by Nash’s ongoing operation under the city. I think Nash’s chats with Allegra are going to have some ripple effects as the season moves along. There were a lot of entertaining nods along the way.
What I didn’t: Cecile and Chester’s subplot didn’t really do anything for the story, and felt oddly tacked on. Just how common is anti-meta tech? It seems to be showing up everywhere. Cisco and Kamilla are not only not in the episode, they don’t even get mentioned, which was odd. I’m not sure the taser-like devices should have worked on either Ralph or Barry.
It was a decent episode. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. The Crisis is almost here!