The Flash Review by Henry Tran

The Flash 4.04: Elongated Journey into Night

The Flash 4.04: Elongated Journey into Night

Written By:
Sterling Gates and Thomas Pound
Directed By:
Tom Cavanagh

I think this is my favorite episode of The Flash in a long time (no pun intended). It's certainly the funniest episode of the show since maybe the middle of the first season or the start of the second season. I really can't remember anymore because my thoughts of The Flash are not of individual episodes beyond some standouts over the past three seasons, but of impressions of those past seasons overall. But this was really an episode that I enjoyed from start to finish. The momentum of the main plot started to flag near the end of the episode, but did recover in time. By that end, a new status quo for the show had been established. I would normally be annoyed at or dismiss an episode like this, but things moved at a brisk pace, and the dialogue and the visuals made for some great entertainment.

 


 

My enjoyment of this episode is made all the more amazing given the fact that I knew nothing of the apparently classic Flash character Ralph Dibny (Hartley Sawyer), whose superhero alias is the Elongated Man. Dibny was also apparently mentioned way back in the first season episode "Power Outage" as one of the people killed in the particle accelerator explosion. How is he alive here? Well, this is one of the more inventive changes brought upon by Barry creating the Flashpoint timeline last season.

 

The episode made for an entertaining origin story of the Elongated Man, although he isn't called that during the episode. Team Flash is trying to find the twelve dark matter metahumans that were on the bus the day Barry got released from the Speed Force, and an I.O.U. note written by Dibny was found in the personal items of the dead (probably murdered) bus driver. Dibny used to be a Central City cop, but was kicked off the force and is now a private detective. Judging by Barry and Joe's initially distasteful reaction to Dibny's presence on the bus, there is the presumption that either man is connected to Dibny losing his job with the police department. The episode holds back on that connection until later on, when Iris badgers Barry into telling her what's going on between the two of them.

 


 

The background into the feud between Barry and Dibny involves one of the first cases Barry took as a junior CSI. Dibny was investigating a murder and it looked like the accused party was going to get away with it, so Dibny plants evidence to get a conviction. Barry called him out on it, on account of his then belief that his father was framed for the murder of his mother. Since then, Dibny has an ax to grind with Barry. The story made me sympathize a bit with Dibny, simply because the show has depicted Barry as selfish and arrogant, even while he's being a hero. But the heart of the episode is in seeing the changes that Dibny undergoes once Joe and Barry tell him about the bus incident. The exposure to the dark matter breaks Dibny down to the cellular level, allowing him to grotesquely (and most times, hilariously) stretch and contort various parts of his body. This allows for the show to depict some gut-busting imagery, such as Dibny's neck and limbs stretching to absurd lengths as he's being held upside-down from the rooftop of a building. Or stretched out in the long hallways of STAR Labs. Or his face appears to melt and his mouth detaches after he sneezes.

 

Both Dibny and Team Flash are understandably shocked at this turn of events. The series continues to make the episodic "villains" into less than viable threats, but they remain more on the fun side rather than the dark side. The Thinker, whose real name DeVoe only gets a mention in this episode from Dibny to Barry, is more than enough as the season's Big Bad. I do wonder if it's part of the Thinker's plan for Dibny to join Team Flash. There are more practical reasons for this to occur now, since Julian (who never really meshed with Team Flash last season) and Wally are absent, leaving a large opening for Dibny to fill. The Thinker's true plan has yet to reveal itself, though it's early. It will happen over time. I didn't really care for the whole conspiracy and blackmail plot that Dibny was involved in with the corrupt mayor, and that caused the episode's momentum to flag a bit, but that was resolved in a rather expedient manner so no harm, no foul.

 


 

The B-plot of the episode was more of a lark, though an enjoyable one. I'm rather ambivalent about Cisco and Gypsy's burgeoning romantic affiliation, but I can't say the same about the appearance of Gypsy's father, named Breacher (Danny Trejo). Trejo's stone cold killer face makes for a source of some great laughs, along with the plot that he suddenly wants to hunt Cisco down. It's a more extreme version of the usual "father hates his daughter's new boyfriend" trope. The subplot does unexpectedly dovetail with the A-plot in that Breacher mistakes Dibny for a "Plastoid," a being who brought destruction to his Earth. Somehow, that bought a couple of chuckles from this delightful and crackling script. A lot of this episode worked, and for once, I really hope that the show can keep things going in order to salvage whatever goodwill is left that had been squandered multiple times over the years.




Our Grade:
A-
The Good:
  • One of the funniest episodes that the series has delivered in a long time
  • Dibny’s introduction makes one wonder how complex The Thinker’s plot might be
The Bad:
  • Can the writers keep up the quality that the fourth season has delivered so far?

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

The Flash by - 11/2/2017 10:48 AM123 views

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