By Mario Wario
Warning: this article contains light spoilers for season 4, episode 4 of The Flash.
Another week, another episode keeping the lighthearted formula going, even with Danny Trejo guest starring as Breacher. Also making his debut, is Hartley Sawyer as Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man, doing his best in stretching the main plot as far as he can (pun intended). With Tom Cavanagh directing, “Elongated Journey into Night” had the right ingredients to create a decent episode.
I believe that Cavanagh probably had a good time directing Trejo, and who wouldn’t? Trejo looks like a fun guy with whom to interact, regardless of his onscreen roles. Sure, you never see him acting differently; he is always this tough dude with whom you shouldn’t mess around. Yet he finds a way to be funny. Just look at the current rounds of commercials airing lately with him in it–Trejo wearing a blond wig: priceless! Adding Trejo to The Flash series gives audiences a chance to see this actor create havoc in the Arrowverse for our enjoyment. And it works, due to Trejo being awesome.
Before showing up, it looked like things were going quite well for the super-powered couple of Cisco and Gypsy. They were at Cisco’s apartment trying to have a relaxing night together. But I must say that I did enjoy seeing that Matrix poster hanging on the wall for nostalgia purposes. It’s just too bad that her dad, Breacher, damaged it when he interrupted the two that night. He came through a breach and began going after Cisco until Gypsy told him to stop by yelling, ‘Daddy!’. This, of course, lead to Cisco going on a mission to impress Gypsy’s dad and get his approval to date his daughter. So let the games begin!
Unsurprisingly, Cisco did his best to impress Trejo’s character by letting him move freely/have a tour of S.T.A.R. Labs. Later, he took Breacher and Gypsy to that popular coffee stop but that backfired. The drink only reminded Breacher of an event from his own universe, where his planet was invaded and destroyed. However, he was just looking for another reason to kill Cisco. Yet through trial and error, these two do become respectful of each other after a series of events. These parts provide a satisfying character development for Cisco, as he finally stands up to this terrifying dad. That said, having Breacher around did not provide anything to the main story as the episode went on. But the chemistry between him and Cisco, and their skirmishes, did provide great theater. Overall, I will let this pass.
As for Ralph, his power is similar to Stretch Armstrong because of his stretching abilities. He can also withstand many attacks, such as surviving an incoming bullet head on. But what I found unoriginal was when the episode presented Ralph as a so-so private detective with a troubled past and having money problems as well. This is a plot device that has been used many times already on other TV shows. This background lead to Ralph blackmailing the city’s mayor, who was really the main bad guy. Performance wise, I thought Sawyer did ok with the part he was given.
Oh, Barry and Ralph, neither are a fan of each other. Basically, a few years ago, Ralph faked some evidence to solve a murder case that they both were investigating. Barry was able to discover what Ralph did, so Sawyer’s character got fired from the police force. This onscreen rivalry between the two did feel forced at times, regardless of helping the plot move along. That said, I liked the confrontation scene between the two at S.T.A.R. Labs, as they both were explaining why they dislike each other. This was fine character development for the two. Now, unlike with Breacher, Ralph did add something to the main storyline by providing a name (DeVoe) to Barry, which resulted in flashbacks of past episodes. He had heard that name before, so things are slowly heating up for this part of the story. No Thinker appearance, by the way.
Meanwhile, taking a page from Spider-Man 2, Barry did take off his mask in front of Ralph (giving him that ‘you can do anything’ speech to save the day) when confronting the bad mayor and his goons. Nothing wrong in doing that, just it was another rehash that fans have seen before.
Focusing on the special effects in the episode, they were not pretty. It was really problematic when Ralph was using his powers. So hopefully that gets better later on, but the first episode of this season had this problem, too.
Finally, Grant Gustin and the rest of the crew all did a fine job (as always) with their performances, when being goofy, when being serious, and when keeping the humor flowing along. Rather surprisingly, the action was really tame and Cecile never showed up, which I found to be very weird. She is pregnant with Joe’s kid, but (thankfully) Team Flash found out about the news without her being there. This led to a celebration, but as we all know; this happy moment won’t last forever.
So, while “Elongated Journey into Night” presented nothing risky, it was still fun to watch. The two guests provided some entertainment value to the episode, but it was Trejo that saved the day.
Want to talk about this episode some more? Just click here to see the TV discussion thread on the FoCC forum.