TV reviews

The Flash 4×04 – ‘Elongated Journey Into The Night’ – Episode Review

The Flash introduces another DC hero (and member of the Justice League), whilst also pitting Cisco (Carlos Valdes) against ‘the scariest person I’ve ever seen’ when Gypy’s (Jessica Camacho) father, Breacher (Danny Trejo) comes to Earth-1 for a visit.

As eagle-eyed fans may have noticed from the episode title, Elongated Journey Into The Night’ introduces a recognisable face from the comics to the television universe, Ralph Dibney, the Elongated Man, played excellently by Hartley Sawyer.

Having previously been name dropped way back in season one, this is the first time that we actually get to meet the character, one that in the books has a very strong connection to Barry Allen (Grant Gustin). We very quickly learn that despite it being Ralph’s first appearance, he and Barry actually have a back story with each other already, with Barry being responsible for Ralph being thrown off the police force. This not only means that the two characters can jump straight into a confrontational relationship, but also means that we get to see Barry question some of his own morals and the choices that he has made over the course of the series.

Ralph was thrown off the force because he planted evidence that would have led to a man going to prison for murder. It didn’t matter to Barry that this man was guilty of murder, or that he was a bad guy; to him, Ralph planting evidence was wrong and needed to be stopped. Whilst the episode begins very much on Barry’s side, it flips the argument around when Barry addresses the fact that he and the team have held meta-humans prisoner in Star Labs, without any lawful right, or trial.

This is one of the first times in the series that the characters have actually addressed that what they are doing, whilst right, might not be legal or morally correct. From here we begin to see a very different side of Ralph, one where you can see why he did what he did, and why he’d hate Barry for stopping him.

It’s a complex relationship, and one that isn’t completely solved by the end of the episode, even after Ralph finds out that Barry is the Flash and agrees to work together with him. How these two will develop over the course of the season is an intriguing prospect. This very different type of relationship and a different set of powers may go on to make the Elongated Man a better sidekick to Barry than Wally was.

The way that the episode showcases Ralph’s powers is great and leads to some brilliantly comic moments, including the first thing Joe’s (Jesse L. Martin) seen that’s made him sick. It’s also thanks to these powers that Cisco’s story is brought into the main narrative in the final act.

With the relationship between Cisco and Gypsy becoming more serious, her father, Breacher, decides that it’s a good time to travel to Earth-1 to meet his daughter’s boyfriend. Unfortunately for Cisco, Breacher appears in his bedroom right when he and Gypsy are about to have some special time. If he had arrived five minutes later, then Cisco would probably have been murdered on the spot; so small victories, I guess.

Breacher is played wonderfully by the legend that is Danny Trejo, who plays the character just as you’d expect. Deadpan and menacing throughout, Breacher is an absolute joy to watch as he terrorises Cisco, before making the decision that he’s going to hunt him.

Watching Cisco sneak around, trying to stay one step ahead of Breacher and genuinely fearing for his safety are some of the funniest moments the show has given us, and is one of the best ways it could have used its guest star. Always cast in roles where he’s there to scare people, Danny Trejo is perfect as the overprotective father.

Thankfully, Cisco manages to face his fears and stand up to Breacher in order to save Ralph in a moment that actually feels earned. We’ve see Cisco building himself up as a hero for the past two seasons, so to put his life on the line to protect someone he hardly knows is a great hero moment. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we may see Breacher again in the future, possibly showcasing him as a bad-ass ally of the team.

‘Elongated Journey Into The Night’ doesn’t feature any special villains of the week, instead choosing to focus on giving its new characters the spotlight, providing them with very strong first appearances. Mixing together dramatic moments, questions of what’s ethically right, and some genuinely great comedy moments, this is easily the best episode of season four to date.

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