The Flash’s fourth episode (“Elongated Journey Into Night”) was hilarious, charming, and surprisingly heartfelt. It centers around a former colleague of Barry and Joe, Ralph Dibny, who planted evidence and is currently a PI. Think of him as Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura, if Ventura were more neurotic and less bizarre. Hartley Sawyer took this role and made it his own. The writing was snappy as ever, and the witty dialogue and comedic angles (the goons hanging Dibny off the roof, only to have him stretch to the ground—his face coming apart with a sneeze) were excellently employed.
The episode gives up The Princess Bride quotes (“Have fun stormin’ the castle!” Guys, this means Harry has seen the movie), Barry telling Joe he is glowing so much that he looks like a Lite Brite (I laughed—it was nice to see the gender roles a little bent there, becausethat’s not a phrase typically used to describe a man), and Dibny’s horrified, quizzical, “I’m Silly Putty?” and his “I look like a Hemsworth!” (I snorted. Thor, always.) The writing was really spot on, so kudos to both the writers.
The whole plotline with the mayor (the blackmail, the goons, the kidnapping of Joe) didn’t have a whole lot of depth, but it didn’t really need to. It served as the backdrop for the deeper arc of personal growth. Barry immediately condemns Dibny (“Good people don’t destroy lives and call it noble. You were dirty then, you’re dirty now. Live with that.”), but he learns to see beyond it. Caitlin sticking up for Dibny was also an unexpected and nice touch. I also laughed about the Oliver Queen quips. First of all, accurate. Stephen Amell is definitely gorgeous, objectively speaking. Second of all, it was lovely to see Caitlin and Iris interact and have a laugh together.
Obviously, we have to talk about Danny Trejo showing up as Gypsy’s (Cynthia!) dad, Breacher (Josh!). He had some memorable lines, delivered in that gruff way only Trejo can manage (“You’re a dead man!” “This facility is poorly guarded.” “I’ll never drink coffee again.” And the kicker: “I hate you, but I respect you.”). His deadpan menace is always a pleasure. It was particularly well-employed here, allowing Cisco to shine. It was also a great way to show Cisco and Harry’s tumultuous, but loving, friendship. (Oh, and Cavanagh directed the episode!) When Cisco intervened and protected Dibny it was badass, honestly. It could’ve come across as pandering or cheesy. But Carlos Valdes really sold it, with a quiet, steely strength that I hope we see more of. In short, I dig this Vibe.
Like everything else this season, Dibny being on the bus was engineered by a single man we now know as DeVoe. It was interesting to see that piece click into the puzzle. This season reads like a slow, careful burn—populated by fantastic humor and good character develop. That makes me very happy. Not as happy, I think, as the Flash gang dancing around with cigars, after Joe spills about the pregnancy. Confessing on the helicopter was hilarious. I’m a blurter in odd circumstances, so that rang pretty true to me. I was curious how everyone would take it, but it was nice to see a bit of unbridled joy thrown into the mix.
Was Joe hiding those cigars at the lab somewhere? Is there a secret stash of party items? Martini glasses and cocktail shakers? Inquiring minds need to know, Team Flash.