When Ralph Dibny showed up in The Flash episode, "Elongated Journey Into Night," he was more of a zero than a hero. According to comic book lore, Barry and Ralph (aka Elongated Man) were iconic allies and the best of friends. Dibny’s impressive detective skills even rivaled those of Batman.
However, The Flash’s incarnation finds Dibny as a disgruntled former CCPD officer who lost his job after planting evidence. He consequently became a private investigator with a huge chip on his shoulder and considers Barry his super-nemesis.
Barry and Dibny crossed paths again – and butted heads – while working the same case. In the process, they determined something bizarre about Dibny. When Barry exited the speed force in the season-four premiere, people on a bus were exposed to dark matter particles and gained metahuman abilities. A horrified Dibny discovers he was one of them. He can now stretch his body into any shape or form.
In this week’s episode, "When Harry Met Harry," Barry takes Dibny under his wing for a crash course in super-heroics – one with humorous and disastrous results. During a visit to The Flash set last week, actor Hartley Sawyer previewed Dibny’s snazzy new costume and the tough lesson his character learns.
Talk about wearing the suit in the upcoming episode.
Hartley Sawyer: The first suit that I get? The grey suit? It's a little hard to get into, but it's fun to wear, actually. It does not leave much to the imagination, but putting it on is fun and it lends itself to a lot of comedy.
Does it feel like pajamas?
A little bit, although I don't think I've ever worn a onesie that I can remember. But, now I need to go get one because that was really great. It was comfortable. Slept it in a few times.
Does the suit go through an evolution?
Yes, it does go through an evolution. He will get a better suit. A different suit. Maybe not better. It's very, very different.
Barry takes Ralph out to teach him about being a superhero. What kind of learning curve does he experience?
The learning curve from zero to hero is a pretty big one. It takes most of the episode for him to get there. It's tricky because Ralph was not a bad guy, but has just gone on this path. And, so, coming back from that has been tricky. And, also, kind of the animosity with Barry has been tricky for him, too, but it's given us a lot of opportunities to play off of that. And just now getting these powers, it's sort of like winning the lottery, like "I'll buy an island, I'll do this, I'll do that." It's like, "Whoa, but take it easy." It's learning that there's risks that come with that too.
How does Ralph fare against his first meta in this episode?
It does not go exactly how Dibny thought it would go. It's difficult for him. I think the first few encounters he has with metahumans, he thinks it's going to be a lot easier than it is. And it proves a lot more challenging. And I think the real fallout there from that is the aspect of the girl. He's thinking "How hard can this be? I'll just save the day. It's fine I've got the bad guy." And sometimes there's a cost to that.