The hero’s journey for Ralph Dibny might not be the type of story you’ve come to expect on The Flash, but the addition of the lovable schlub has breathed new life into this season — and this week he got a taste of what being a superhero is all about. The good, and the bad.
Spoilers ahead for “When Harry Met Harry,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash, which aired November 14, 2017.
“A superhero’s first job is to protect people.” -Barry
Dibny has quickly become a part of Team Flash, and unlike other part-timers, Hartley Sawyer has also become one of the show’s breakout stars (read our interview with Sawyer here). The Flash folded in on itself in a vortex of sadness last year, and we already knew the creative team was looking to lighten things up this year. Dibny is turning into the perfect catalyst for a brighter, funnier, and far more fun Flash. We’ve already seen Barry try his hand at being a mentor with Wally last season, but this is nothing like that. Dibny doesn’t just have to learn to use his powers — he has to learn to actually give a crap about, well, anything.
The Metahuman of the Week this time around was the Black Bison, a Native American villain reimagined as a young woman willing to kill to recover artifacts from her Sioux tribe. Her story doesn’t get much room to breathe, but her powers do make for some insanely fun set pieces. Namely, Flash and Elongated Man vs. the fossils of a T. Rex, which is just as entertaining as it sounds. Dibny and Barry go out to stop her during an attack, and Dibny makes a decision to try and catch the baddie instead of protect the bystanders — which results in a young girl getting hurt by a falling power line. Though Dibny has mostly been comic relief to this point, this crucible forces him to reimagine his life up to that point. And more importantly, come to terms with how it’s going to change now that he’s running around in a glorified tarp fighting bad guys.
Barry finds Dibny contemplating his old life in his P.I. office, looking back on case files where all he was doing was finding the dirt and letting the pieces fall where they may. Now, he actually has to pay attention to the pieces — and more than that — take responsibility for the decisions he makes as they connect to those pieces. When Dibny looks into the eyes of that little girl, it finally becomes real for him. Barry likens it to Superhero 101 when they hilariously stop a mugger in the episode’s opening (the guy’s bullets bounce back off Dibny and the would-be robber basically shoots himself. In the butt), but gags aside, it’s refreshing to see someone from this end of the spectrum become a hero.
Barry was a great guy from the start. It wasn’t much of a leap to see him become the Flash when given his speed. But Dibny? He’s the kind of guy who stands on the edge of a knife. Without the right influence, he just as easily could’ve become a Metahuman of the Week himself. Instead, Barry is pushing him to reach his potential as a hero. He might make some missteps along the way, but Dibny seems to have finally found his purpose in working with Team Flash. He even goes a step further to actually help out the “bad” guy, mailing the artifact back to her people, effectively fulfilling her mission.
If anyone is equipped to potentially do what’s right when things get morally gray, it’s Dibny. That’s right in his wheelhouse. No word on the show’s longterm plan for Dibny (as of now, Sawyer is signed on to simply recur for this season), but there’s no doubt he’s been one of the best additions to the cast.
*The Council of Wells was positively hilarious. The fact that there are multiple version of Harrison Wells strung out across the multiverse has been a lingering gag the past few years, but it paid off in spades this week. Turns out, with Cisco pushed Harry to make friends, he did just that — with doppelgänger versions of himself from across the multiverse. So, when they need some extra brain power to track down DeVoe, they call in the Council of Wells to help crack the mystery. We meet German Wells, Wells Hefner, Wells 2.0, and an all-too-brief peek at Wells the Gray. Here’s hoping this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the council.
*We’re slowly starting to learn more and DeVoe, and as suspected, his brain power allows him to basically see the future by predicting out every possible variation of how events might play out. That’s an ability unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it’ll be interesting to see how Team Flash reacts. This isn’t just “seeing the future.” It’s predicting your next move before you’ve even thought about it. DeVoe is playing chess, and Barry is playing checkers. At least for now. The peek we get at regular-looking DeVoe is also mysterious. How long will he keep up this norm core disguise? Judging by next week’s sneak peek, he’ll be using it to cause havoc in Barry’s life.
*Dibny getting hypnotized was a great scene. Again, a testament to how they’re actually making this series fun again. Once again, The Flash is a blast.
*The line: “Nope! Don’t fight crime naked!” - Cisco
*So, really: How convenient was it that the police department was hosting a super-equipped mannequin training session at the exact moment the meta human who can control mannequins walks into the jail?
Next week: Now that Barry has come face to face with DeVoe, it looks like he’ll be sticking around.