“I’m always gonna make the decision to help the person in danger first. That’s what we do here.”
Another week, another meta. Though the primary focus of “When Harry Met Harry” is tracking down the Black Bison, a meta linked to murders involving Native American artifacts as well as one of the twelve created by Barry’s return from the Speed Force, the heart of the episode revolves around Ralph Dibny, aka the Elongated Man, discovering his inner hero.
Despite being older and ‘wiser’ than Barry as far as investigative skills go—or so he believes—Ralph is the metahuman rookie. Though their initial run-in with a criminal lowlife early on is played for laughs, it sets the tone Barry is trying to have Ralph follow. “A super hero’s first job is to protect people,” Barry reminds him. To Ralph, the most important thing is catching the bad guy. The opposing view banter between the two has been there since Dibny was introduced a few weeks ago but now their interactions are humming along. Because Ralph’s opinion of things, including himself, is so opposite of Barry’s it adds some much needed spice to the team.
But while the Ralph and Barry dynamic has a very serious turning point later on in the episode, the second half of the episode, and that from which the title comes from, sees Harry tap a few of his “friends” to help with discovering the true identity of Devoe. Cisco isn’t the only one who’s surprised to see that said friends are alternate Earth versions of Harrison Wells. Versions from Earth-12, Earth-22, and Earth-47 to be exact. I’ve always believed that Tom Cavanaugh was the most talented actor on The Flash since day one and this only strengthens my opinion. Like his previous personae, the trio that helped form the Council of Wells all have their unique personalities that, even in only a few minutes of screen time, shine in only a way that Monsieur Cavanaugh can provide.
I could spend a few more paragraphs talking up the fantastic Council of Wells and their work (more on that later) but back to the hunt for Black Bison for now. It turns out that the Black Bison is Mina Chaytan, a former professor turned activist turned meta whose primary focus has been the reclamation of Sioux artifacts for her people. Thanks to the Thinker’s plan, like Ralph and ten others, Chaytan has her own ability: to psychically animate and control inanimate objects. The power itself is pretty captivating but the Chaytan character is given such little development, especially the way she goes from fighting for a cause straight to the murdering that I lost interest in learning more about her.
Chaytan’s goal in the episode is to reunite three pieces of a Sioux artifact that make a necklace and during the confrontation between her, Barry, and Ralph for the third piece, due to Ralph’s focus on not letting her get away, a little girl is nearly killed by falling debris. It’s something as comic book fans we’ve seen before; an innocent bystander paying the price for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It also reminds us of Barry’s credo that saving the innocent comes before catching the baddies. It’s after his failure that we see the side of Ralph he’s been trying to hide behind a carefree attitude of ‘I know what I’m doing’. Turns out there’s a feeling human underneath all that organic elasticity. In a moment of naked emotional honesty, Ralph realizes that the last five years as a PI, it was about getting the dirt, not caring about anyone getting hurt. “Now I have to care about a whole city?”
“It’s a part of the job, Ralph,” Barry tells him, “maybe the most important part.” You’re bound to make mistakes and handles things wrong, Barry goes on, but the way to get through it is to “lean on the people around you.” The pep talk works as Ralph and Barry head out and, after a bit of ruckus with an animated T-Rex skeleton, defeat Black Bison, putting her in Iron Heights…which just so happens to be where the Thinker wants her.
Speaking of the Thinker, thanks to the Council of Wells, they are able to track down one Clifford Devoe. But when they pay him a visit, Mr. Devoe seems to be nothing more than an ordinary man in a wheelchair. The Thinker remains a step or two ahead of the good guys.
- Man, there is just something about Ralph Dibny that works. His relationship with Barry has evolved considerably since his introduction, though they bicker now like siblings. Even if Dibny fully embraces what it means to be a hero, he has enough warts (blurting out a woman’s measurements in this climate, Ralph?) to make for some good comedy.
- As much as the Ralph/Barry dynamic is gold, I have to say the best moments of camaraderie remains Harry and Cisco. The duo is absolutely platinum and is by far the best Cisco/Wells pairing ever seen on the show. How about Cisco providing his friend with a much needed pep talk (“Sometimes, you’re a wizard, Harry”) after pointing out that Harry needs to “start treating [himself] with some compassion.”
- I have a feeling that Ralph has a soft spot for Jurassic Park. He shot off several quotes for the movie as well as his own “For the love of Jeff Goldblum, stop!” line. His wittiness definitely helps us forget about that god-awful costume. Aesthetically speaking, that was not one of Cisco’s best creations.
The Flash: “When Harry met Harry”