As The CW’s Flash starts to dig into the meat of its fourth season, the series is looking to redefine itself with new alliances, new dynamics, and a Big Bad unlike anything the team has faced before — and at least for now, it’s all coming up Barry Allen.
Spoilers ahead for “Elongated Journey Into Night,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash, which aired Tuesday, October 31, 2017!
“Good people don’t destroy lives and call it noble.” - Barry Allen
Barry had the opportunity to look into a mirror in this one, and instead of just turning the latest Metahuman of the Week into another cut-and-dried baddie, we found a burgeoning hero in the gray area that is Ralph Dibny.
Dibny, aka the Elongated Man, finally made his long-hyped debut to the Arrowverse. His emergence was tied to the 12 new metahumans created when Barry returned from his stint in the Speed Force prison in the season opener, which neatly explains why he’s never popped up until now. The writers included some built-in history between Barry and Dibny, with the reveal that Barry was actually responsible for getting Dibny kicked out of the Central City PD after Barry exposed him for planting evidence in a case. But, after spending a few seasons locking metahumans up in his basement without trial or recourse, Barry has actually learned to appreciate that maybe black and white doesn’t always hold all the answers.
Hartley Sawyer brings a down-on-his-luck charm to Dibny in this episode, and it’s easy to see why the writers wanted to bring him in as a foil for Barry. After a dour third season, this year is all about centering the series back to the more lighthearted adventures that made it such a hit in the first place — and giving Barry a funny, snarky new recruit to train looks to be the perfect catalyst. It’s a new dynamic and, more importantly, a dynamic we haven’t really seen before in this series. Despite Barry’s grudge, Dibny isn’t a bad guy all around. He’s fallen on hard times and made some compromised decisions along the way. But it all started because he did something wrong for what he felt were the right reasons. A sentiment Barry comes to realize he can certainly relate to, after spending the past few years as a superpower vigilante.
Barry has to reconcile an old grudge with the new realization that Dibny isn’t all that different from him at his core. Just because Barry sees himself as a hero, that doesn’t mean everything he’s done was right. There’s even the gray area of Barry’s push to expose Dibny early in his career. In reference to Dibny’s attempt to blackmail the mayor, Barry notes that good men don’t destroy lives and call it noble. But … isn’t that exactly what Barry did to Dibny in the first place? Sure, it was legally justified, but both men were simply doing what they felt was right. How many times has Barry bent the rules in recent years? Heck, he’s broken the rules of time and space a few times — that’s certainly a bit more serious than propping up a case against an accused killer, right?
Dibny is expected to stick around for at least part of the season, and judging by what we saw in “Elongated Journey Into Night,” he should be a welcome presence on Team Arrow. With the abrupt departure of Julian in the off-season, and Kid-Flash hitting the road on a mission of self-discovery, it’s the perfect time to shake up the makeup of Team Flash.
*Considering how often these metahumans turn into villains, it’s refreshing to see a guy like Dibny actually decide to do some good with his abilities. Sure, you have to keep churning out baddies, but not everyone who gets powers is going to immediately start robbing banks, right?
*Cisco has a Matrix poster in his bedroom. Because he really is cool enough to pull that off.
*Danny Trejo’s introduction as Gypsy’s father, Breacher, was a welcome, insanely fun B-story to keep this week rolling. He decides to drop in to get a look at his daughter’s new man, and is less than impressed with Cisco. So he decides to hunt him. To the death, apparently, to test out his mettle. Cisco sneaks around STAR Labs for a while, but when push comes to shove, he stands up to Breacher and earns his respect. Perfect casting, and perfect execution.
*It was breezed over, but Barry has finally taken down the photos from his decade-long investigation into his mother’s death. We’ve been told Barry came out of the Speed Force with a weight lifted when it comes to emotional baggage, and this is a huge step. He’s finally moving past his mother’s death to become, well, whoever he is destined to be now that he’s processed that trauma.
*Barry finally realizes who is pulling the strings thanks to Dibny: DeVoe, aka The Thinker. DeVoe is the one who put Dibny on this path to intersect with Barry, and though we don’t know his plan yet, it certainly seems to be playing out exactly as he wants.
*Harry and Cisco continue to be one of the best duos in this ensemble. Seeing his pep talk devolve into a diatribe about why Cisco can’t date Jesse was solid gold.
*Cisco and Gypsy are the power couple we deserve.
*The line: “Four years of seeing this stuff and I finally puked.” - Joe
*So, it turns out the mayor of Central City is one shady dude. Maybe this sister city scandal will help Mayor Oliver Queen’s approval ratings over in Star City?
*The line: “Everyone else gets struck by lightning and dies, and you get superpowers? I like the Flash! Now I have to hate the Flash!” - Dibny
*Nice to see them let the cat out of the bag quickly in regard to Cecile’s pregnancy. It should make for an interesting subplot, and there was no point in stringing that out in secret. Cigars for all!
Next week: The bachelor and bachelorette parties do not go as planned. But, ooh! Felicity comes to town!