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THE FLASH “Elongated Journey into Night” Review

By on November 1, 2017

The Flash — “Elongated Journey Into Night” — Pictured (L-R): Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon and Jessica Camacho as Gypsy — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW –

 

THE FLASH “ELONGATED JOURNEY INTO NIGHT” REVIEW

 

BY JUSTIN CARTER

 

The DC Universe is full of characters who are outright off-putting and disturbing, either in concept or in the way they’re presented. Elongated Man is one such example. His ability to stretch his body has led to many a scene where one part of him is a considerable distance from the rest of him. If you search for some images, you’ll see that the results can be super messed up. Given that he’s been made sort of redundant thanks to those Fantastic 4 movies, and the fact that a guy stretching his money would be incredibly expensive for a TV show, it was more than a little surprising to hear that he would be a recurring character in this season of The Flash.

As one of the bus riders during Barry’s return from the Speed Force, Ralph Dibney (played by Hartley Sawyer) used to be a detective years ago until Barry got him kicked out for tampering with evidence. These days, he’s a private dick, scoping out cheaters and getting targeted by the mayor after Dibney blackmails him for cheating. But with the ability to stretch himself, the once dickish Ralph Dibney shall now be…a dick that can also give himself the abs he used to have before he started a donut phase. (No judgment there, Ralph.)

Fittingly for a PI who’s run afoul of a crooked mayor and can turn his body into silly putty, there’s a fun detective noir vibe going on throughout the episode. For pretty much the whole hour, Dibney even has a vocal effect that sounds like it was ripped from old crime movies. A lot of that may come from this week’s director Tom Cavanaugh, who keeps things zippy and energetic the whole way through. And more importantly, all of the humor lands, particularly in Dibney’s scenes. Sawyer plays him well, with the right kind of sympathy that sells the “dick with a heart of gold” angle the show is clearly going for, and it’s equally amusing and disgusting to see what bad luck has befallen him due to his new powers. (Immediately after he sneezes his face off, Joe barfs and admits that this is the only thing in four years to make him do so.)

Also adding to the humor is the B-plot of Cisco finally meeting Gypsy’s father, Breacher. These kind of plots are always tricky, since they usually are about overprotective dads unconvinced their daughter made the right choice with their beau, reeking of sexism and “father knows best.” That’s definitely what happens here—Gypsy, aware that this is a thing her father does, makes no effort to stop him from killing her boyfriend—but there’s two things that make it fun. Number one, Breacher is played by Danny Trejo; number two, Breacher deems that the best way to prove Cisco isn’t good enough is to hunt him for a day. It’s just ludicrous enough to elevate that well worn trope and make it seem fresh while also existing in the vein of normalcy for Cisco. (After Caitlin first meets Breacher and brings him up to the team, her questions immediately end once Barry and Joe answer with “Cisco.”) Trejo’s routine here is pretty familiar if you’ve seen…well, basically any commercial for a cable provider he’s done in the last two years, but it’s still really funny. 

Ultimately, the humor is what carries this episode. Four episodes in, and the show seems to have settled into its new groove quite nicely. Guess all they had to do was stretch their horizons. 

Additional Notes

  • I won’t apologize for that pun, just so we’re clear.  
  • HR gets little to do, since Cavanaugh is directing, but his backhanded compliments at Cisco make up for it. 
  • Dibney is going to stick around for a while, but I wouldn’t mind if he found his way over to Legends for an episode or two. 
  • “What if we call you…Plastic Man?” “That’s a dumb name.” True, but it’s not like Elongated Man is much better. 
  • Cisco finally learns Gypsy’s name, and it is…Cynthia. Breacher’s name is Josh. Really hope we meet her Mom sometime. 
  • Dibney name drops Devoe at the end, reminding Barry of the cryptic teases from late last season about him. Thinker probably didn’t see that coming. 

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