Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 18 - Lose Yourself

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



Plot

With the discovery of the final Bus Meta, Team Flash may have a way to get into The Thinker's pocket-dimension hideaway. This leads Ralph to considering crossing a dangerous line in the bid to stop him, as Joe becomes concerned about an increasingly erratic Harry.


Influences

Return of the Jedi (the whole idea of beating the bad guy by not killing him, Ralph's "you already saved me." line to Barry.


Goofs

Barry's talk about there always being a better way than killing your enemies comes off as rather hypocritical given that every single one of his confrontations with his major enemies to date has ended because of someone else killing them.  Reverse Flash in Season One?  Eddie Thawne killed himself to erase him from history... for all the good it did. Zoom? Killed by Time Wraiths after Barry attracted them by creating a Time Remnant who killed himself. Savitar? Iris West straight up shot him!

The green-screen effect of Ralph running from the dinosaur skeleton is of very poor quality.


Performances

This is Hartley Sawyer's best turn yet as Ralph Dibny. I could quite happily watch a spin-off centered around him instead of another season of The Flash at this point. Naturally, this is the point at which they kill him off.


Artistry

The final shot of an empty glass on Ralph's desk is a powerful one.


Flash Facts


The title of the episode comes from the title of a song by Eminem.

Ralph makes reference to being able to use his powers to go to the bathroom without leaving the couch. While Ralph Dibny in the comics wasn't quite so lazy, he did stretch his neck to continue talking to his wife in another room while he was using the bathroom... much to her disgust.

Edwin Gauss a.k.a. The Folded Man first appeared in The Flash Vol. 2 #153 (October 1999). Considered the greatest mind of his generation, Gauss was a physics major at MIT determined to prove Albert Einstein's theories regarding The Unified Field Theory correct. Using resources stolen from tech billionaire Norman Bridges, Gauss constructed a suit that enabled him to fold space-time around him, transforming himself into a two-dimensional or four-dimensional state. This enabled him to become invisible to three-dimensional beings by flattening himself or becoming impossible to surprise as he can see in all directions in his fourth dimensional state. He was also able to teleport through space at will. 

The DCTVU version of Edwin Gauss is a metahuman with the same powers as his comic-book counterpart. He was something of a hippie who appeared to be high when he paid for Ralph Dibny's fare on their bus, speaking of walking paths in colorful terms.

Gauss describes The Thinker as "this bald dude in a Professor X floaty chair." This is a nod to Professor X aka Charles Xavier - the wheelchair-bound leader of Marvel Comics' X-Men.

Ralph makes a reference to Marvel Comics' Thor, referring to Barry as "Thor, Son of Odin" after Barry beats him up.


Technobabble


Cisco designed a new scanner that detects dark matter anomalies.

Edwin Gauss' residual dark matter signature on the bus suggests that he was there one second and gone the next.

Harry builds a sonic scepter - a tuning fork that replicates the powers of Izzy Bowin. Harry claims to have laser-shaved it down to the last angstrom. The best part about it is that since it is non-electronic, it cannot be influenced by Kilgore's powers.

Harry scripted a sub-routine on the pocket-dimension predictor that he thinks will enable them to predict where DeVoe will appear next.

Caitlin says she thinks she has determined what triggers her transformation into Killer Frost.  When her body enters a fight-or-flight state, catecholamines (aka The Stress Hormone) are released into her system. Analyzing her brain chemistry, Caitlin determined that the dark matter reservoirs in her body were primarily focused around her adrenal glands. Guessing that adrenaline triggers her transformation, Caitlin can now give herself a shot of epinephrine to trigger it without Cisco or Harry trying to upset her.

Cisco says that Gauss' powers have given him access to his own pocket dimension. Every pocket dimension is unique unto itself. He guesses that DeVoe needs Gauss' power so he won't be dependent on his chair to create his own safe space anymore.

By simply tracking the two lanes of identifiers, cross-referencing the fluctuation migration patterns and the temporal displacement in the energy app, Harry is able to create a map of Edwin Gauss' pocket dimension activity.

Harry has a set of quantum decryption keys he can use to unravel any sort of hacked code.

Iris has an explosive concealed in her earring which she had Cisco make for emergencies. She uses it to blow the sealed door out of the lab.

The Mechanic fights with some kind of electrified katana.

Null's powers could be used to increase the pull of gravity as well as negating it. The Thinker uses her powers to make The Flash weigh as much as a cement truck, rendering him unable to stand.


Dialogue Triumphs


(After Ralph suggests killing DeVoe.) 
Barry: Ralph, you think we're going to kill DeVoe?
Ralph: The way you're saying that makes me think I'm supposed to say no?

Ralph: Uh, thanks.
Edwin: (bowing his head) Namaste, hermano.
Ralph: (cringing) Nama-stay in the back of the bus.
Edwin: (laughs) Funny fat dude.

Caitlin: (reading Killer Frost's note) Thanks for the badass new jacket. I got some blood on it. Don't worry!  It's not ours.
(Caitlin chuckles as Iris looks disturbed.)
Caitlin:
 (composing herself) I guess her humor is sort of an acquired taste.

(Team Flash stands ready as a portal opens, expecting DeVoe to emerge. Instead, a funny looking man with long hair clad in a robe, slippers, pajama pants and an over-sized T-shirt emerges. He is whistling happily and moves to a mailbox, placing something inside it. The team just look to each other as Barry finally decides to speak.)
The Flash:
Edwin Gauss?
(Gauss spins around, startled and falls backward, another portal opening, which he disappears into.)

Cisco: I'm sorry, but that's too big even for your britches, Harry.
Harry: My britches are plenty big, okay? I fill my britches!
(Barry blinks at this. Caitlin looks at Ralph as if to say "Are you going to comment on that?")

Ralph: Unwashed flower child? Have you seen this man?
(Ralph holds up a picture of Edwin Gauss)
Hippie:
Nope. I've seen the soul that belongs to this man. (laughs) Dude's aura is a trip!
Barry: Wait, so you know Edwin Gauss?
Hippie: Sure do. Round here we call him "The Folded Man"!
Caitlin: Folded Man?
Hippie: He is everywhere... and nowhere. (shrugs) But mostly he's around here.

Barry: Look, I know you're worried about DeVoe. About what he might do to you. But there are some lines we can't cross-
Ralph: Wow. You really don't know as much as you think you do, Rookie.
Barry: I know what killing DeVoe would do to you. You would be throwing away everything you've done to become a better man, to become a hero. You've got to realize that!
Ralph: You... are a moron.
Barry: Ralph-
Ralph: I am not afraid of DeVoe! Or what he might do to me. I am afraid of what he might do to you... and Iris. And Caitlin. And Cisco. Joe. Harry. Cecile. DeVoe has taken out everyone who has gotten in his way. And Team Flash? It will always be in his way.
Barry: (in realization) This was never about protecting yourself...
Ralph: I know that killing DeVoe would mean throwing away everything I've done to become a hero. But aside from my mom, this team is the only family that I have ever had. And I would throw myself into a furnace to keep them safe. (determined) DeVoe cannot have them. They are mine.
Barry: What about what we want?  You may not care about losing who you've become, but we do. We like hero Ralph. (sighs) Please don't take him away from us.

The Thinker: You are no threat for an intellect of my magnitude.
Ralph: Please. Everyone I fight is smarter than me, but no bad guy has beaten me yet.

The Thinker: You were born for me, Mr. Dibny. And now, you will die for me.
Ralph: (pained) You! First!
(Ralph grunts and rips open his jacket, revealing the weird pattern of the Sonic Scepter embossed in his chest. Ralph pulls it out and stares DeVoe down.)
The Thinker: What is that?
Ralph: A big ol' fork, to shove up your-
(Ralph strikes the ground and aims the fork, sending DeVoe flying into the wall.)

(DeVoe begins to download his brain into Ralph's body.)
Barry: Ralph! Fight it! Alright?! Fight it!  I'll save you!
Ralph: (quietly) You already did, Barry.


Dialogue Disasters


Continuity


Ralph remembers Edwin Gauss from the bus ride, though he lies about paying for his fare. In truth, Edwin paid for him.

Caitlin is now communicating with Killer Frost through notes.

Edwin Gauss has no college history or known addresses - just a couple of backpacking photos from an old message board from the dial-up era of the Internet.

Barry, Ralph and Caitlin track one of Gauss' portals to a hippie commune.

Caitlin is stabbed by The Samuraoid from 401, shortly after she, Barry and Ralph locate Edwin Gauss.

Ralph refers to the events of 413 and how DeVoe easily broke into a maximum security facility.

Gauss likes spicy ranch Pringles.

Gauss accidentally found a way into DeVoe's lair the second time he used his powers.

Joe confronts Harry about his use of the Thinking Cap and how the way he is acting reminds Joe of his wife, Francine, and how she acted when she was using drugs.

The Thinker attacks Ralph with the animated dinosaur skeleton from 406, shrunk down by Dwarfstar's powers and released into The Pipeline.

The Mechanic refers to her conversation with Iris in 410 about what they were each willing to do for their husbands.

The Mechanic is revealed to be an accomplished sword fighter, capable of parrying multiple blasts from Iris' energy gun.

Harry has been revealed to have been using Gideon in The Time Vault to power his Thinking Cap with Dark Matter.

By the time Ralph wins free of the dinosaur, it is revealed that The Thinker has absorbed Melting Point, Null and The Folded Man.

Joe takes out the Samuaroid robot.

Iris impales herself on The Mechanic's sword to grab hold of her and trigger the teleporter on DeVoe's chair.

Ralph does not kill The Thinker despite having the chance to do so. Unfortunately, Ralph still screws up making sure the power-dampening cuffs he put on The Thinker activated properly.

The Thinker is able to use The Folder Man's powers to open a portal to absorb Cisco's vibe blasts and redirect them back at him.

The Thinker uses Melting Point's power to take away Caitlin's powers, effectively killing Killer Frost.

The Thinker now has the power of all 12 Bus Metas, except for Meltdown, and his mind resides in Ralph Dibny's body.

Barry goes to pack up Ralph's office - a chore he does alone and at regular speed.

With Ralph's powers, not only is DeVoe now immune to the effect absorbing multiple superpowers has on his body, he is also able to shape-shift himself to resemble his old self.

The Thinker now has a container full of dark matter, taken from The Time Vault thanks to Harry's tapping into it to fuel his Thinking Cap, which he will use for the next stage of his plan.


The Bottom Line


For all the complaints that people have about The Legends being a bunch of screw ups, I think Team Flash has them beat at this point. There's a lot of powerful moments here and some great acting but that still doesn't negate Barry's hypocrisy or the fact that I'd gleefully see Iris die to get Ralph or Izzy or Hazard back. I suppose that is a complement to the writing team that I feel such passion for minor characters who were created to die, but damn it I thought we'd at least see Ralph survive all of this. Funny how for all of the jokes that were added to this season, it seems to be the most joyless exercise yet.

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