Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 4 - Elongated Journey Into Night

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


The search for the rest of the twelve new metahumans leads Barry to an encounter with an old nemesis - a dirty cop turned private eye named Ralph Dibny. Meanwhile, Cisco is horrified to discover that Gypsy's father has come from Earth 19 to meet him and goes somewhere past horrified when Breacher decides to hunt him for sport.


The film Predator (Cisco being hunted by Breacher and deciding to take the fight to him rather than evading him) and The Flash comics of John Broome (character of Elongated Man).


Ralph Dibny was identified as one of the people killed by The STAR Labs particle accelerator explosion in 107. We find out in this episode that Ralph is alive and well. (Unlikely as it is, there could be two men named Ralph Dibny in Central City)

You'd expect the thugs dangling Ralph upside over the roof-ledge to have some kind of reaction to his legs stretching as Ralph slowly starts to sink down the side of the building. Like, say, letting go of his legs in shock?


While not given much to do but stand around and look menacing, Danny Trejo does that better than anyone and proves an effective presence as Breacher.

Hartley Sawyer instantly engages the audience with his performance as Ralph Dibny.


Tom Cavanagh nails it again with his direction.

The script for this episode is witty and full of a lot of good lines. It also does a good job of balancing the various subplots.

The SFX work for Barry getting his fist stuck in Ralph Dibny's face is well executed.

While the slow-motion effects for when Barry uses his powers are par for the course at this point, the scene in which Barry stops Mayor Bellows' thugs is one of the better ones in recent memory.

Flash Facts

This episode is the first of Season Four to feature a new opening narration by Barry.

This episode was direct by Harry Wells actor Tom Cavanagh.

The episode title is a pun on the Eugene O'Neil play Long Day's Journey Into Night. Considered the best of O'Neil's plays, it won The Tony Award and The Pulitzer Prize. As the title suggests, the play focuses upon one long day in the life of the dysfunctional Tyrone family, whom O'Neil modeled upon is own parents and brother.

Breacher is a new character unique to the DCTVU. He is played by veteran tough-guy actor Danny Trejo, who is perhaps most famous for playing the title role in the Machete films. 

When Cisco leaves with Breacher, Harry tells him to "have fun storming the castle". This is a reference to a line from the movie The Princess Bride.

Ralph Dibny is known to comics fans the world over as The World Famous Elongated Man. He first appeared in The Flash #112 (May 1960) and was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, with input from editor Julius Schwartz. A gangly geek and class-clown as a child, young Ralph came to admire contortionists, who used their own lengthy bodies to great advantage. Ralph came to wonder if there was some x-factor that made body-benders the way they are. His research led to the discovery that many contortionists drank the same obscure brand of fruit cola - Gingold. Using his chemistry skills, Ralph made an elixir from the essence of the gingo fruit plant, which gave him the power to stretch his limbs to superhuman lengths!

Ralph is notable as a superhero in several respects. He was the first superhero to reveal his identity to the public, following the events of The Flash #115. He was also the first superhero to marry his love interest, though Sue Dearborn's first appearance in the comics came on her and Ralph's honeymoon in The Flash #119! Finally, Ralph's powers originally broke the post-Crisis rules regarding the metagene as Ralph was shown to have a metagene but still needed to take his Gingold elixir to use his powers. This was eventually explained by writer Mark Waid (apparently using material from the website Dibny Dirty) by suggesting that Ralph's stretching powers were an unintended side-effect of Ralph's real metahuman power - an immunity to the allergic effects of gingo fruit!

The DCTVU version of Ralph Dibny is a private investigator and was apparently a CCPD cop before being kicked off the force. As a young CSI, Barry Allen proved that Dibny faked evidence and planted a murder weapon in order to secure a conviction. The comic-book version of Ralph Dibny was never a cop and was an honest, fair-minded man who would never fake evidence to convict an innocent man for the sake of his own glory.

Unlike his comic-book counterpart, who was known for looking tall, skinny and goofy, Iris describes Ralph as "handsome in a square-jawed, Oliver Queen sort of way."

Much like at the start of this episode, Ralph and Barry did start off with an antagonistic relationship in the comics, though they quickly became fast friends. In The Flash #112, Barry became jealous of the attention that Elongated Man - a new superhero in Central City - was getting. When he discovered Elongated Man at the scene of a crime, he jumped to conclusions and began trying to fight him. Ralph revealed his secret identity and the source of his powers to The Flash, saying that he was a detective in his secret identity and that he had been follow the criminals. The two teamed up to bring the criminals to justice and were both named Central City's "Man Of The Year".

The client Ralph is speaking to when we first see him is named Mrs. Broome. This is a nod to John Broome - the comic writer who created Ralph Dibny.

Ralph drops his famous catchphrase from the comics - "I smell a mystery" - when Joe and Barry ask him if he was on the 405 bus four weeks earlier and he asks why they need to know. In the comics, whenever Ralph uncovered a clue or a case, he would wiggle his nose and say "I smell a mystery." At the end of the episode, he says the line again - this time wiggling his nose.

When Barry and Iris are searching Ralph's office, Barry opens Ralph's desk drawer. In addition to several half-eaten donuts, the drawer contains a bottle of something called Gingold, the label of which boasts "Pure Gingo Extract". This is a nod to the soda and the fruit that were originally the source of Ralph's stretching powers in the comics.

There is another nod to the original source of Ralph's powers in the comics when, in response to Caitlin asking him to drink the solution she made to stabilize his body, Ralph says that he does not just drink stuff without knowing what it is.

Breacher says that the creatures who destroyed his planet were known as The Plastoids. While creatures called Plastoids do exist in the DC Comics Universe, they are not aliens - they were the robotic minions of a villain called The Molder, who fought Batman and Plastic Man in Brave And The Bold #76 (February 1968). Plastoid is also the name of a robot built to kill Daredevil in the Marvel Comics universe. Plastoid is also the name of the substance used to make Stormtrooper armor in the Star Wars Universe.

Gypsy's first name is revealed to be Cynthia. In the original comics, Gypsy's full name was Cynthia Reynolds.

When Ralph asks Barry for a superhero code name, Barry suggests Plastic Man. Ralph dismisses this as the dumbest name he's ever heard. In the comics, Plastic Man is another superhero who is frequently compared to Ralph Dibny, though Plastic Man is a pure metamorph (i.e. shape-changer) whereas Ralph only has the power of elasticity. The effective difference is like that between a wad of Play-Doh and a Stretch Armstrong figure.


Harry says that the dark matter has polymerized every cell of Ralph Dibny's body, basically elasticizing. He further says that they have formed unbreakable bonds at the atomic level, so they can stretch forever, much like Silly Putty.

Lorazepam is a medication used to treat sleep and anxiety disorders. Caitlin says it is amazing what 50 milliliters of it converted into an aerosol form can do after she uses it to sedate Ralph Dibny.

Caitlin says she thinks she can stabilize Ralph's condition given a DNA sample from before he was exposed to dark matter.

Caitlin introduces a stabilizing enzyme that resets Ralph's body to its default shape through vulcanization. Or, in plain English, his body restored itself through a process like muscle memory. This allows Ralph to reshape his body to before he developed a beer gut and give himself abs.

The serum Caitlin gives Ralph is made up of sulfur, zinc oxide and steric acid and cross-links Ralph's polymerized cells.

Cisco uses an anti-vibrational force-field with an oscillating power grid to trap Breacher. It's the same design he used to hold The Reverse Flash.

Dialogue Triumphs

Barry Allen: (voice-over) My name is Barry Allen and I am The Fastest Man Alive. To the outside world, I'm an ordinary forensic scientist. But secretly, with the help of my friends at STAR Labs, I fight crime and find other metahumans like me. But I became lost in time. It took everything in my friends' power to bring me back, and in doing so our world was opened up to new threats. And I am the only one fast enough to stop them. I am... The Flash!

(Barry looks at Joe and smiles.)
Joe: What?!
Barry: I don't know! This morning. You're like... glowing.
Joe: (defensively) What do you mean "glowing"?
Barry: I just mean, like, you've got like... a warmth about you. Like a Lite-Brite.
Joe: (annoyed) There's no warmth, no glow and I ain't no damn Lite-Brite. You're wasting time. STAR Labs.
Barry: Glowing and irritable.

(Brecher is introduced to Harry.)
Breacher: You look like someone I once sent my daughter to kill.
Harry: (deadpan) I get that a lot.

Harry: What is wrong with you?
Cisco: Have you seen his face?! That guy has killed people with that face! I'm not even joking! Gypsy said that literally happened!
Harry:  You want his approval?
Cisco: Yes, I want his approval! He's my girlfriend's father!
Harry: Of course. Cisco. Listen. You're a fine, upstanding, smart, well-groomed young man! Any father would be happy to have you date his daughter, except me. Can't date my daughter. Allright? Can't date Jesse. Jesse is off limits. 
Cisco: Went for the complement. Did not stick the landing.

Ralph: I promised there wasn't a single case I couldn't crack. And a promise made is a promise kept.
(Ralph spins around dramatically in his chair and throws an envelope down on his desk.)
Ralph: Dibny detects... your husband didn't die in that plane crash, Mrs. Broome.
Mrs. Broome: He didn't? Then where is he?
Ralph: Well, that brings us to the difficult part. Turns out he got remarried and moved to Minnesota. Has two kids now. (chuckles before turning thoughtful) Twins... in The Twin Cities.
(Mrs. Broome looks at the pictures in the envelope and starts crying.)
Ralph: Oh, oh, oh. Hey, hey hey.
(Ralph gets up and comes to stand behind Mrs. Broome.)
Ralph: No, no, no, no, no. Don't. Don't cry for that jerk. He doesn't deserve it! The sun still shines! The birds, they still chirp! (sweetly) Chirp!  Chirp!
(Ralph starts rubbing Mrs. Broome's shoulders comfortingly as he speaks.)
Ralph: Mrs. Broome, you are a very attractive woman. And you will find someone else. Someone who will hold you. Someone who will... wipe away those tears. (pauses) Do you like shrimp?
(Cut to the hallway, where Barry and Joe have just walked up. We here an audible slap as Ralph yells in pain. Mrs. Broome walks out angrily a moment later, pushing past Barry.)
Barry: Uh-
Joe: This is definitely his place.

(Harry has just explained what happened to Ralph's body because of The Dark Matter.)
Like Silly Putty?
Harry: Like Silly Putty.
Ralph: (nervously) I'm Silly Putty?
Caitlin and Barry: No.
(Ralph looks to Harry.)
Harry: Kinda.
Ralph: (angrily) I'm Silly Putty?!

(Breacher announces his intention to hunt Cisco.)
Cisco: Do you do this with all her boyfriends?
Breacher: I hunted her last one, yes.
Cisco: Where is he now?
Breacher: I don't know.
Cisco: (hopeful) He got away?
Breacher: I don't know where you go when you die.

Barry: What's your business with Mayor Bellows?
Ralph: Nothing. Just calling to tell him what a swell job I think he's doing.
Barry: 15 times?!
Ralph: (knowingly) 12 of those were butt-dials.

Ralph: I'm gonna stay here. Stretch my legs.

(Caitlin enters the lab where Ralph's sick bed is located.)
Ralph: I farted. I'm not sure everything is still where it's supposed to be down there.
Caitlin: Drink this.
Ralph: What is it? I don't just drink stuff. (flirtatiously) My body is a temple.
Caitlin: Clearly. Drink it.
Ralph:  I want to know what it is.
Caitlin: It's 17% alcohol.
Ralph: (grabbing the beaker) You should have led with that, sister!

(Ralph has just handed Mayor Bellows the pictures he has of him cheating on his wife. Bellows holds up a briefcase full of money which Ralph regards for a moment before shaking his head.)
Ralph: Keep the money.
Mayor Bellows: What?
Ralph: I take it back.
Mayor Bellows: Take it back?
Ralph: I take my blackmail back.
Mayor Bellows: Is this some kind of trick?!
Ralph: I'm not dirty. And I don't want any part of this anymore. (pauses) And don't you forget, I can tie you to that bomb that you had your goons plant in my office. So if you don't walk away, I will go to the cops.
Mayor Bellows: That's still blackmail.
Ralph:No, it's not!
Mayor Bellows: Yes, it is. You're telling me that if I don't give you this money, you won't go to the cops.
Ralph: Okay! Fine! I am blackmailing you into not being blackmailed.


Breacher is a metahuman from Earth 19 with the same powers as Gypsy and Vibe. He is also Gypsy's father.

Mayor Anthony Bellows was formerly a police officer in the CCPD and is running for reelection.  He was last seen in 117.

Barry took down his chart regarding his mother's case - partly because it was solved and partly because he needed space to start charting the dozen metahumans created when he exited The Speed Force.

The driver of the bus died at some point in the last three weeks, drowned in his own bathtub.

Cisco tells Breacher that Barry is his personal assistant in a bid to impress him. He does tell the truth about Joe West being a cop and Breacher says that he can respect Joe as a fellow lawman.

Breacher refers to the events of 311 and Gypsy being sent to kill HR Wells.

The bus driver had an IOU for $5 written on the business card of Ralph Dibny - Private Investigator in his wallet.

The date Barry escaped The Speed Force is confirmed as 10/10/17.

Both Iris and Caitlin think Oliver Queen is hot.

The bus hit by the Dark Matter wave was Bus 405.

Barry exited The Speed Force at around noon.

Ralph Dibny has not spoken to Joe West or Barry Allen in five years.

For the first time in four years of dealing with the strange as a cop fighting metahumans, Joe West finally throws up at the sight of Ralph Dibny's face after sneezing and stretching his face.

Breacher's pet name for Gypsy is "petal".

Breacher makes reference to the fact that Earth 19 has no coffee due to the coffee bean plants being destroyed during an invasion by "the worst, most evil creatures in the multiverse." He says he has sworn never to drink coffee again. He does, however, drink tea.

Breacher names Marla The Dark Lord, Soolunga of Sheerdra and The Sand People of Scar as the worst breach criminals he has hunted across reality.

Barry confirms that he was the reason Ralph Dibny was kicked out of the CCPD as it was Barry's examining the evidence Dibny used to secure a murder conviction that proved it was fake.

Barry is able to phase himself and Iris through the floor of Dibny's office just before a bomb goes off.

Breacher has a knife which he took from a hunter-killer from Earth 48 which is capable of cutting through Cisco's force-field.

Breacher mistakes Ralph Dibny for a Plastoid - an alien race responsible for nearly destroying Earth 19.

Breacher declares that while he hates Cisco, he does respect him as a warrior and considers him worthy of his daughter in spite of that fact.

Gypsy's real first name is Cynthia.

Breacher's real first name is Josh.

Joe tells the rest of Team Flash the news about Cecilia being pregnant.

Caitlin finds a message scrawled on her apartment door - "We Miss You. Come Back Soon."

Ralph agrees to let Barry train him in using his powers.

Ralph reveals that a man named DeVoe hired him over the phone to investigate Mayor Bellows. This causes Barry to remember his talk with Abra Kadrabra in 318 and his talk with Savitar in 323 regarding an enemy named DeVoe who Barry hadn't met yet.

The Fridge Factor

Iris' freaking out over a stretched leg in the hallway at STAR Labs really seems insulting given everything she's encountered before that is far more disturbing.

The Boomerang Factor

Circumstances are manipulated so that neither Cisco nor Barry can save Joe from Mayor Bellows without Ralph helping so that Ralph can be given a "big damn hero" moment.

The Bottom Line

It's contrived at times. It's silly at others. It's the best episode so-far this season. Probably one of the ten strongest episodes of The Flash ever.

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