And we’re back to Central City! Back to the mysteries of the bus that was flooded with Dark Matter, creating a group now collectively known as the “Bus Metas”. What’s the problem of the week, and who is the new meta?
It’s Ralph Dibny! Now, for those of who who are unfamiliar, this is a comic book character who has been a prominent member of the Justice League of America for many years, is a top-notch detective, and happens to have stretchy powers, similar to Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, and Elasti-Girl from the movie The Incredibles. Also, the second stretching superhero in DC. The first being Plastic-Man.
But what makes Ralph so different from Plastic Man, or the rest of the stretching heroes? Well, truthfully, not much, as far as powers go. In the comics, he stretches. Plastic-Man has been shown to take the shape of tops, and mailboxes, and other inanimate objects (airplanes, gliders, etc). Batman even called Plastic Man one of the most powerful super humans he has ever met! He is virtually immortal, neigh invulnerable, and has no limit to how far he can stretch (bigger than the known universe!)
Elastic Man….cannot. He can stretch his limbs, yes. But there’s a limit. He can’t take strange shapes or forms, but he can take some basic ones, for a short while. All in all, he’s not quite as versatile as Plastic Man. What he has going for him,t hough, is his ability to investigate. He becomes a mainstay of the super hero community, and eventually joins the JLA.
But this is Television, and they always want to make things more interesting.
This episode starts off with Cisco and Gypsy in a cute scene where Cisco tries to find out her ‘real name’…until her father shows up! And he’s being played by none other than scary-ass actor Danny Trejo! This is Gypsy’s father, named Breacher, and he’s the best at what he does. And what he does is hunt down criminals from across the multi-dimensional universes.
Yeah, I’d be scared too! Cisco starts by showing Breacher around the STAR Labs, introducing Barry as his assistant. He respects Joe, as a lawman, but insists that STAR Labs has terrible security. Which is entirely too on-the-nose!
Barry and Joe discuss how Harry thinks there’s someone behind the scenes pulling the strings to create the Bus Metas. As they start to investigate, they find the bus driver, who could have identified all the occupants at the time of the dark matter accident, is dead. At home. Alone. Not suspicious at all, right? Barry thinks it’s worth investigating. Which uncovers an IOU from Ralph Dibny. Barry and Joe seem to already have history with Ralph, and it’s not good. Barry won’t explain it to Iris, but he tells them Ralph is a former cop, turned private investigator. The team thinks it’s a good idea to go talk to Ralph, so Joe and Barry head out.
At Ralph’s place of business, he is living the noir detective lifestyle. He seems to live in his office, has a single suit to his name, and chases cheating husbands for a living. He even hits on a client while she is crying over her philandering husband. This earns Ralph a slap, and her a huffy exit, shouldering past Barry and Joe who are walking up to the door.
Ralph is a bit of a slime. His discussion with Barry and Joe reveals he planted evidence on a murder case, and Barry busted him for it. This cost Ralph his job, his career, and his reputation. He’s angry at Barry for this reason. Barry, being the upstanding do-gooder he is (and was), has no remorse, and consistently reminds Joe (and eventually everyone) that Ralph is a dirty cop, and doesn’t deserve their trust.
Ralph plays dumb about being on the bus, and demands money from Joe and Barry. they leave disgusted, while two shady men sneak to his office from around a corner. As Joe and Barry leave, they shake down Ralph. Eventually they hang him from the top of the building. This leads to everyone finding out about Ralph’s powers, including Ralph!
— The Flash (@CW_TheFlash) November 1, 2017
Meanwhile, after some advice from Harry, Cisco takes Gypsy and Breacher to CC Jitters for some coffee. This turns out perfectly, because aliens invaded Breachers home world, and destroyed it, including coffee. He vowed he would never drink coffee again. Gypsy leaves to get him some tea, and Breacher lets Cisco know that for the next 24 hours, he will be hunting Cisco. No powers. If Cisco tries to use his powers to escape, he’ll know. He starts counting down from 10, and by 3 Cisco has run out of CC Jitters. Gypsy returns to empty seats and sighs dejectedly saying. “He’s hunting him.”
Back at STAR Labs, the rest of the team is working on how to restore Ralph back to normal. Not only are his legs stretched out, but one arm has been stretched, and due to a sneeze, his face has basically fallen off. As always, the resident doctor of meta-biology, Caitlin, thinks she can return him to his normal looking state. Harry explains his entire cellular structure has been ‘plasticized’, and can stretch with virtually no limit, and no damage. he says Ralph is kind of like Silly-Putty.
In order to restore his cells back to their previous shape, Caitlin needs DNA from before Ralph was transformed by the dark matter. Off go Barry and Iris to his place of business. They find some hairs on a hairbrush, as well as Ralph’s Donut Drawer(TM). They discuss how Barry found out Ralph planted evidence on a murder case, and how Barry had to bust him, because not only did Ralph plant evidence, but he committed perjury! No matter what, he doesn’t trust Ralph. Once a dirty cop, always a dirty cop.
Along with donuts in Ralph’s Donut Drawer(TM) was a small easter egg, a bottle of Gingold, which is how he gets his powers in the comic books. Love those hidden gems!
Along with the Donut Drawer(TM), Iris finds a bomb! Barry saves them (of course), and they ponder who would wanted to blow up Ralph?
That’s what they ask Ralph himself, back at STAR Labs. But Ralph tells them after 5 years of chasing low-lifes in back alleys, and taking photos of husbands cheating on wives, he probably has a long list of people who want to kill him. Joe and Barry confront him with evidence he has been in contact with the mayor….15 times just yesterday, right before he was dropped off a building and had his office bombed.
Caitlin enters, and gets Ralph to drink her new concoction. This is going to help him get his normal shape back, using muscle memory. After a few seconds, Ralph’s limbs all stretch back to normal (though his face had returned to normal previously, without anyone’s help. No one says anything about that.), and he even uses his new powers to get firm abs (instead of the six pack from his donut lifestyle). He exclaims “I look like a Hemsworth!” I laughed when watching the show, and tweets from the actor playing Ralph that it was a line that Danielle Panabaker suggested.
Hemsworth line was a brilliant suggestion by @dpanabaker – I cannot take any credit
— Hartley Sawyer (@TheBigHTonight) November 1, 2017
So, nice going Danielle!
At City Hall, Joe and Barry talk to the mayor. We know the mayor likes Joe, because of a press conference earlier in the episode, where he called out Joe as one of the cities top cops (which makes sense, cause he works with The Flash!). So getting an audience was pretty easy. They go to a spare office, and ask in confidence about Ralph. The Mayor tells them Ralph is blackmailing him, which is why he was calling so often. They were negotiating a final price. Right after he talks to Barry and Joe, the mayor tells his two thugs to get back his poctures from Dibny, and get rid of the two cops (Joe and Barry). His thugs, it turns out, are the ones who bombed the office, and held Ralph off the building. Clearly, the mayor is much dirtier than Joe and Barry realize!
Joe and Barry confront Ralph (who is redressed, and ready to leave), about blackmailing the Mayor. Barry gets mad, and punches Ralph in the face…and Ralph’s face just absorbs the punch, and Barry’s fist! It’s an odd visual, and well done by the visual effects crew.
Cisco is still running from Breacher, and sets up a trap. He uses his hologram to get Breacher into a forcefield, where he assumes Breacher will be stuck until the end of the 24 hour chase. Breacher, who has years of hunting down (and killing) criminals on other worlds, uses a knife to slice through the force field. And the chase is back on!
The emotional story shifts back to Barry and the crew at Joe’s home discussing Ralph, and how his actions were not so different from the last 4 seasons of The Flash. Barry even reminds them that they now imprison metas without a trial! So, ultimately, they convince Barry to give Ralph a second chance, and see if he deserves help. Barry finally admits that perhaps Ralph deserves a second chance.
As they talk the doorbell rings, and the two thugs are now dressed as cops. Joe recognizes them from “The Mayors detail” and they say they just have some questions. Barry turns his back, and they draw their guns and shoot at Barry and Joe. Of course, Barry shifts into speed mode, and plucks the bullets from the air, and knocks out the guards, before any damage can be done. Joe “never gets tired of that.” I can’t blame him!
Breacher meanwhile, sees video footage of Ralph, stuck elongated, and calls him a “Plastoid”, one of the aliens that destroyed his home world (and took away coffee from them!). He gives up the chase on Cisco, and starts hunting the Plastoid aka Ralph!
Ralph, meanwhile, has contacted the Mayor, and is ready to come clean and stop blackmailing him. The Mayor is confused, when Ralph threatens to go to the cops if the Mayor ever reveals that Ralph tried to blackmail him. So, essentially, he’s blackmailing the Mayor NOT to reveal he DIDN’T blackmail him before. Ralph refuses the money, gives the Mayor his photos, and tries to leave. As he tries to leave, the Mayor shoots him. Ralph absorbs the bullet, like he did Barry’s hand earlier, and lives. Barry flashes in and ‘saves’ Ralph, and then the two immediately get attacked by Breacher.
Barry tries to explain that Ralph isn’t a Plastoid, buy Breacher is having none of it, and just starts blasting the two of them. Barry, for some reason, is unable to stop him or reach fast enough to stop being shot. Even though a scene earlier, he was able to do so without an issue. Weird.
Joe shows up on scene, as Breacher keeps blasting Barry and Ralph, and gets taken hostage by the Mayor, at gunpoint.
Finally, Vibe shows up, in full regalia. He stands above Ralph, saying that Ralph is innocent, and not a Plastoid, and that he, Vibe, will stop him, Breacher, from harming him, Ralph. Breacher is impressed, and backs off.
This allows Barry to give an inspiring speech to Ralph, reveal his secret identity (of course) and convince him to help catch the helicopter flying away with Joe and the Mayor. Vibe can’t breach to it, it would shred the helicopter. Barry can’t run to it, because he can’t get enough speed to jump far enough to catch it. They need RALPH! And, in a very cool scene, Ralph throws his own hand to catch the helicopter!
— The Flash (@CW_TheFlash) November 1, 2017
This gives Barry something to run along, and he zips up Ralph’s arm into the helicopter, where he easily disarms the Mayor, to Joe’s relief.
That’s when Joe tells Barry he’s going to be a father again. Cut to commercial.
In coming back from commercial, it’s cigars and dancing for everyone. It’s a very joyous scene, and one the characters deserve after all the crud they deal with.
Breacher tells Cisco he hates him, but respects him, while Gypsy says she’ll just have to love Cisco for both of them. And this is where Cisco learns Gyspy’s real name is Cynthia, and her father is Josh. Not nearly as mysterious or badass as Gypsy and Josh, but she reminds him that he’ll get nothing from her if he calls her that. He plays along, of course, calling her Gypsy.
Ralph show sup at his office, which is completely repaired. Barry is sitting in the dark, waiting for Ralph to show, so when the lights go on, Barry is sitting there, and tells him he cleaned up the office (and bought all new furniture and file cabinets, I guess). Ralph is upset, because now he doesn’t get insurance money, he doesn’t get the blackmail money, he basically needs money immediately. Barry then offers him a job!
If Ralph allows Barry and his team to study Ralph’s powers, Barry will train him in how to use them. I’m not sure, exactly, how that is a PAYING job, but it is a job! He even gets to say his catchphrase “I smell a mystery” while his nose twitches. I was wondering if he would get to do it, and it did, right at the end.
So it seems Elongated Man is joining the team, even if only temporarily. It’ll be interesting to see his creepy/slimy personality interacting with the team. And in a final moment, Barry finally pieces together the name DeVoe as his mysterious opponent.
What did you think?
Watch the full episode here:
Here’s the trailer for next week “Girls Night Out”
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