“Elongated Journey Into Night” Review of THE FLASH S4 Ep4

One of my favorite DC characters, from the Silver Age on, has been Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man. Yes, that’s a mouthful of a hero name, but still an amazing character. Tonight, Ralph Dibny enters the TV world of THE FLASH in an episode directed by Tom Cavanagh. So, how long can I “stretch” this intro (pun intended)? Let’s get to the review, right after the jump!


NOTE: This review is being posted before THE FLASH airs in the Pacific Time Zone USA. If you haven’t seen the show yet, STOP HERE and come back later. You’ll be glad you did!

There are two major storylines here, with the amazing Danny Trejo guest starring as Gypsy’s father, known as Breacher.  Let’s just say that Breacher doesn’t care for anyone who dates his daughter…and he has a deadly way of dealing with them. Much of the episode involves Breacher’s 24 hour-long hunt of Cisco, and it adds a lot of hilarious moments to the episode.

Equal to that in fun factor are the special effects they give our Mr. Dibny. His stretching is taken to amazing lengths (pun not completely intended), and these moments give Joe West some of the best lines of the show (“Four years of seeing this stuff and I finally puked”).  Ralph was on the bus that was hit by dark matter, and he now stretches without any control – until Caitlin devises a formula that allows him to snap back into shape.  As for Ralph’s backstory in this iteration of himself…

Ralph is a cop who went too far when Barry was a rookie. Ralph faked evidence in a murder case, thinking it was the only way from keeping a murderer from walking. Barry exposed the lie and Ralph was kicked off the force. He became a two-bit private eye, and quite the creepy character. As it turns out, he’s even blackmailing the Mayor of Central City…and that’s where the real danger turns up.

The Mayor is crooked – and he’s after Dibny…and later after the lives of Barry and Joe as well. In the end, both storylines come together as Flash tries to save Ralph and Joe from the Mayor. Dibny has decided he no longer wants to blackmail anyone…he wants to be honest again. The timing couldn’t have been worse, because the Mayor isn’t the only one who wants to kill him…Breacher steps in to kill Ralph!

Breacher has mistaken Ralph Dibny for the Plastoids that ravaged his home world. He is only stopped by Cisco, who shows up to defend his friends. After Breacher stands down, Ralph becomes the hero of the day, helping Flash to stop the Mayor and to save Joe.

As the show winds down, Barry offers to help train Ralph to use his powers…and Cisco has a code name for him…no, not Elongated Man (as much as I like that name). Instead, we get…Plastic Man!

NOTES: We have a few notes here…

  • There are some elements of both the classic Elongated Man and Plastic Man characters in this show, with Ralph starting out as not such a good guy. As a long-time fan of the Dibny’s (Ralph and Sue), I was pretty worried about how this would turn out, but in the end Ralph’s better nature showed through.  While i wish they would use “Elongated Man”, I can understand for TV purposes why they went with “Plastic Man” instead…mostly..
  • A sub-plot for the episode was the news that Joe and Cecile are expecting. There were lots of “you are glowing” lines thrown at Joe, but they held off until the very end when Joe was saved from a near-death situation.  Following that…
  • The way the pregnancy was announced to the rest of the team was handled beautifully – quick montage of the celebration of the team allowed the fun to shine through.
  • Danny Trejo was awesome – but what else would you expect?
  • Cynthia? Gypsy’s real name is Cynthia? Lots of fun had with that reveal.
  • And…we finally get the name DeVoe. The Thinker has been pulling strings all along, and Barry is just starting to put the clues together with that name being mentioned.

SUMMARY: Tonight’s show gave long time DC fans a great character (and even the famous nose twitch at the end)…along with Danny Trejo in a role perfectly made for him. Tom Cavanagh’s directing was spot-on, with a wonderful script and some fantastic acting. This is a 10/10 for me…what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!


7 thoughts on ““Elongated Journey Into Night” Review of THE FLASH S4 Ep4

  1. wbanks

    I thought they did a great job with Ralph, particularly the part where Barry, in coming to terms with Ralph’s past, has to confront the fact that he and team flash spent the last year committing a number of serious crimes.
    Now, how long do I have to wait until we get “Ralph Dibny: Private Dick” the series? Or at least some solo episodes?

  2. Christopher Schmitt

    A couple of things to add to the review:

    * Cisco pulls out the machete as a weapon against Gypsy’s father, played by Danny Trejo, which was a nice nod to the actor’s famous character.
    * The current Flash show once again pulls another character from the 90s show. Officer Tony Bellows from the 90s The Flash series is now the Mayor in this Flash series.

  3. golddragon71

    I gotta say having watched it again today that Hartley Sawyer has a very “young Jim Carrey” vibe about him.
    (thinking primarily of Carrey’s Stanley Ipkiss in The Mask)

    I have to point out Chris though that Mayor Bellows has already appeared in the first and second seasons.
    in season One he was in The Tricksters. The Trickster and his son held up the Mayor’s fundraiser
    In season 2 he was in The man Who Saved Central City acting as the master of ceremonies at Flash Appreciation Day before Atom Smasher attacked.

  4. Rob

    I thought that Barry came up with the name Plastic Man which Ralph didn’t like and Barry said that Cisco comes up with the names and Ralph agreed Barry shouldn’t choose names.

    Therefore, if my memory is correct, Cisco didn’t choose the name (and was just a fun nod to Plastic Man) and I have a feeling it won’t stick.

    1. Nick!

      Yep. This.

      Considering the episode was titled “Elongated Journey into Night”, they will likely use the Elongated Man name. Maybe not right away, but eventually.

  5. Cyril Morong

    Great episode. Thanks for the summary and analysis.
    Good to see E-man since he teamed up with Flash fairly often back in the 60s
    Did anyone freeze frame when Iris opened Ralph’s desk drawer? There was a bottle of Gingold, the soda that Ralph drank in the comics in the 1960s. He got his stretching ability back then from the gingo plant.
    Also, when he is held out the window by the two bad cops (when they first discover he can stretch) that reminds me of a scene or panel from a 60s comic (will check later to see if I can find it)
    I’m so glad they did the nose twitch when he smelled a mystery


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