Catching Up: The Flash Episode 404, "Elongated Journey Into Night

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Flash 404, Elongated Journey Into Night

I recently spoke with someone who had given up THE FLASH after last season.  I had urged this person to give Season 4 a try because they were really getting it right this time.

"Elongated Journey Into Night" is no exception. The writers, stepping away from the "wicked speedster of the year" theme and the "Barry just isn't fast enough" macguffin have finally hit their groove and are hitting the show on all cylinders.

The episode opens with Cisco (CARLOS VALDES) having an intimate moment with Gypsy (JESSICA CAMACHO) which gets interrupted by a scary-looking breacher (DANNY TREJO). His name, appropriately enough, is Breacher -- but Gypsy prefers to call him "Daddy."

While Cisco deals with that, Team Flash tries to locate the remaining passengers who were on the bus that got hit by the dark matter wave when Barry (GRANT GUSTIN) was pulled out of the Speed Force. They locate a name on an IOU that strikes a chord with both Barry and Joe West (JESSE L MARTIN): Ralph Dibney. Turns out Ralph (HARTLEY SAWYER) was a former cop who went "dirty" and Barry has a personal grudge against him.

Dibney now runs a private investigator's office, tracking down unfaithful husbands and eating donuts. He's not forthcoming with any information when Barry and Joe show up asking about the bus. Immediately after, he's visited by two goons who try to shake him down -- literally. Like, off the side of a building. They're holding his ankles as Joe and Barry walk out -- and see his legs begin to stretch several stories. Yep, Ralph was definitely on the bus.

Taking advice from Harry Wells (TOM CAVANAGH), Cisco decides to take Breacher to coffee so they can talk and get to know each other. Breacher has other ideas: he's going to hunt Cisco for the next 24 hours. No powers from either of them. Good luck, Cisco.

Ralph is brought to S.T.A.R. Labs, where he learns that Barry's charmed life continues as he's now engaged to Iris (CANDICE PATTON). Harry and Caitlin (DANIELLE PANABAKER) examine his cells and determine they've become completely elastic; they can stretch to unknowable limits without breaking. Unfortunately for Ralph, he's having a little trouble pulling himself together -- again, literally. Until Caitlin comes up with a formula to improve his "muscle memory" so that they can return to a normal shape when Ralph is at rest. Finally Ralph's luck is turning, as his memory goes back beyond the donut diet, and he gets his flat stomach back.

Yep, things are looking up for Ralph now. Well, not counting the fact that he was trying to shake down Mayor Anthony Bellows (VITO D'AMBROSIA, a FLASH 1990 alum who portrayed Officer Tony Bellows on the series), who is the one sending the goons to kill him and blow up his office. Oh, and there's the fact that Breacher, still hunting Vibe, mistakes Ralph for one of the creatures that invaded and destroyed his own Earth! There's the first inter-company shout-out here, as Earth-616 (aka The Marvel Universe) gets a reference. Turns out the creatures that invaded Breacher and Gypsy's Earth were called "Plastoids." (Might be worth a Google.)

I've been waiting anxiously for the appearance of Ralph Dibney ever since IMDb listed that he would be showing up. And while the "former dirty cop" aspect was a bit of a stretch (oh, I kill myself), the redemption makes up for it, and the personality is spot on. And if there's any lingering doubt, in the close of the episode Ralph drops a name on Barry he hasn't heard in a while: DeVoe. This prompts Barry to recall flashbacks with Abra Kadabra and Savitar, both of whom mentioned DeVoe in his future. Ralph realizes the name means something to Barry and smells a mystery -- and we get the classic nose-twitch that Elongated Man would always get in the comics!

Oh, and Joe tells the team that he's going to be a father.

But just to end things on a more somber note, Caitlin returns home to find a note on her door (again, I can't say this enough, literally). Looks like her past is starting to catch up with her.

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0