I stopped watching The Flash regularly when it became too mopey, but I finally caught up with it this week, with the in-CWTCDCU introduction of Elongated Man. Flawed though the episode may be, “Elongated Journey Into Night” showcases the gradual return to the comic-book tone that made the first season so appealing.

Title: “Elongated Journey Into Night”

Directed by Tom Cavanagh
Written by Sterling Gates and Thomas Pound

Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash
Hartley Sawyer as Ralph Dibny / Elongated Man
Candice Patton as Iris West
Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon / Vibe
Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West
Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow
Jessica Camacho as Cynthia/Gypsy
Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harry Wells
Danny Trejo as Breacher
Peter Chao as Millennial
Vito D’Ambrosio as Mayor Anthony Bellows
Kim Engelbrecht as The Mechanic
Jason Bell as thug
Neil Sandilands as Clifford DeVoe / The Thinker

Premise

While Cisco runs into trouble with his new girlfriend’s father, Barry and Joe’s case brings them up against a certain private detective who has recently developed metahuman powers.

High Points

This episode recaptures the essence of Silver Age Flash, updating and transmogrifying it for a twenty-first century TV audience. Not all of the expected qualities will appeal to all viewers– some of “Elongated Journey…” is downright silly and a little forced. Nevertheless, The Flash has always worked best when it revels in its comic-book origins.

Low Points

Cisco’s game-playing with Breacher goes too far over the top, even for this show, but Trejo plays it for laughs, and the storyline ultimately serves a purpose.

The helicopter would have been halfway across the city by the time Barry and Ralph finished their discussion.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 Elongated Man had to turn up on The Flash, and they’ve taken an original approach to the character. Dibny has a new origin story, and a less pleasant demeanor than his comic-book counterpart. However, they’ve clearly started him into becoming a more familiar version of the character.

I await Sue’s arrival. Elongated Man without Sue is Plastic Man Lite.1

Effects: 4/6 Ralph’s powers stretch the budget. They’re passable, but obviously CGI—much like everything else in this show. Even the explosion and fire at the office look like inexpensive computer effects.

Acting: 5/6 Acting varies, but Sawyer makes a good Dibny.

Danny Trejo’s role is predictable and his plot, downright goofy, but he plays the comedic part well.

Story: 4/6 The episode relied heavily on comic-book plot contrivances.

Emotional Response: 5/6 Ralph twitches his nose when he smells a mystery.

Production: 5/6

Overall: 5/6 When done right, The Flash can be the best of the CW DCU series, less silly than Legends of Tomorrow, but not as dark and faux-realistic as Arrow.

In total, “Elongated Journey into Night” receives 30/42

Notes

1. John Broome, Carmine Infantino, and Julius Schwartz all participated in the creation of Ralph Dibny. Although accounts vary, it seems plausible that the character wouldn’t exist– at least, not under this name– if anyone had realized that DC had acquired the rights to Plastic Man some years earlier. Infantino has both fueled and flatly denied this claim. Never mind. Ralph’s a very different take on the stretchy-character, a blend of superhero with The Thin Man, and one of the first comic-book superheroes to (1) marry and work with his love-interest and (2) reveal his secret identity. He has helped many heroes and been a member of the Justice League, but his connection with the Flash may be the most-recognized.