“I can’t change what has happened between us in the past but I can offer you a chance to change what happens in our future.”
A father who’s not a fan of his daughter’s dating partners and a former detective who finds himself with some unwanted issues of elongation…it may sound like the start of some crude joke but instead, it’s a pivotal chapter in Season Four of The Flash.
“Have you seen his face? The guy’s killed people with that face. I’m not even joking, Gypsy said that literally happened.”
When we first pan past The Matrix poster and catch Gypsy and Cisco in the middle of bedroom talk and hints of more, we know things aren’t going to remain this chill for long. Enter Breacher, Gypsy’s boss and, more frightening, her dad. While no dad would appreciate catching a guy in his daughter’s bed, very few would channel their inner predator and hunt said man. More than that, none have Breacher’s powers or skills in the hunt. Though in truth, his greatest power may be his inability to be charmed by the adorable geek that is Cisco Ramon. This dynamic makes for wonderful fun as the more lighthearted aspect of this week’s episode. The back-and-forth between Cisco and Danny Trejo’s Breacher was not only well done but it was a necessary narration choice as the primary focus was on the more serious story arc of Ralph Dibny.
“People don’t change.”
At first glance, Dibny’s character is that oddball with a sarcastic wit and a pretty scummy persona (trying to take advantage of a wife who just found out her hubby was cheating is pretty low). But it’s Barry’s disgust at the first mention of Dibny that hints at a more serious circumstance. Turns out that Barry’s the reason Dibny’s no longer a detective. In a murder case that eerily parallels Barry’s own experience, a man killed his wife but, with no murder weapon, was close to getting off. Unable to abide that, Dibny fabricated evidence and lied under oath, only to be outted by a junior CSI Barry. Suffice to say, neither man shares a high opinion of the other though that doesn’t stop Team Flash from helping Dibny when his powers of elasticity come to the forefront. The first moments of putting Dibny back together again absolutely play for the comic relief it should be but, as The Flash often does (and very well I might add), the conflict between Barry and Dibny is no joking matter.
It’s always a good thing when we see someone like Barry, who is generally open towards people being their best selves have such an overt prejudice against someone who is clearly affected by his new physical abilities. Though Dibny’s previous actions do not paint him as a sympathetic figure, even I felt bad for the guy knowing he was completely lost. For Barry though, it takes Caitlin to remind our hero exactly what Dibny’s going through.
“Because I know what it’s like to suddenly find yourself with extraordinary powers and be totally freaked out by it. And so do you for that matter. You and I both woke in this lab once knowing our lives would never be the same. So how about you give the guy a little sympathy.”
Even after Caitlin’s frustrated words, Barry refuses to give Dibny the benefit of the doubt. In a very poignant confrontation, Dibny blames Barry for his screwed up life, pointing out everything that Barry has now versus the crap life of an unsuccessful private investigator. Dibny admits that his actions, while illegal, were better than letting a murderer get away. “Good people don’t destroy lives and call it noble,” Barry says, “you were dirty then, you’re dirty now. Live with that.” Rarely do we see Barry in such a sanctimonious position but thankfully it doesn’t last as later on he and Joe have a chat where Barry questions his opinion on Dibny as well as all the metas they have locked up in the Pipeline or Iron Heights over the years.
“Show me I was wrong about you. You said you were a good cop. Be one, right now.”
Of course, there are ancillary parts of the story that lead to Dibny and Barry working together. This includes the fact that Dibny was blackmailing Mayor Bellows for some extra-marital indiscretions. Initially, it looks like a guy taking advantage of a good man’s mistake but it’s not long before we see that Mayor Bellows is not a good dude, willing to murder Dibny, Barry, and Joe to keep things quiet. We all know that the mayor will go down but it’s particularly cool to see Barry and Dibny work together to save Joe. More than that though, Barry and Ralph Dibny have a cool one-on-one where, much like he’s removed the weight of his mother’s death from his shoulders, Barry makes the decision to move forward with Dibny and no longer allow the past to color his opinion of what the man can become.
It’s especially important now that Dibny offers Barry a single name, one that led him on the trail of the mayor in the first place: DeVoe.
- There were so many good moments in this episode. The Barry/Dibny storyline was so fleshed out and important that it overshadowed the wonderful B-side Cisco/Breacher events. Part of me wishes that these events would have been divided between two different episodes but, from a thematic point of view, the two meshed pretty well.
- Easter Eggs galore! One reason I have so much fun with The Flash is every episode is chock full of pop culture and comic book goodness. From The Matrix poster, Barry comparing Joe’s glow to a Lite Brite all the way to Cisco’s Predator and Die Hard references, not to mention several comic Easter Eggs (Earth-48, Plastoids, Barry’s suggestion of the name ‘Plastic Man’ and a handful out of my comic book wheelhouse) “Elongated Journey” was a geek lover’s dream.
- Of course, there’s also the unseen elephant in Caitlin’s life: Amunet Black. Coming home to see “We miss you. Come back soon” carved on your door isn’t something that fills you with the warm and fuzzies. Add to the fact that the DeVoe business is about to pick up, all the fun we’ve had so far will probably be put on hold as the seriousness of Team Flash’s adversary comes to the fore.
- The cat’s out of the bag. Joe and Cecile’s future sprog is on everyone’s mind now and Gypsy’s real name is…Cynthia? Okay, that’s not bad but who would’ve guess that her dad’s name was Josh!