Honestly, we’re four weeks into the new season, and I cannot get over how impressed I am with The Flash as it continues to rebound from a rough outing last year and remind us why we love this show.
Even when The Flash isn’t particularly thrilling in its action or long-term significance, it’s still managing to deliver solid storylines that are rooted in character. While most of last season felt like the action drove the plot, this season feels very much like the characters are driving the plot. And that truly makes all the difference.
When The Flash is choosing these “metas” to focus on, it’s not just about whether they’d make a cool action sequence. It’s about the relationship that goes beyond it. We saw that specifically with Barry and Ralph’s dynamic, which goes back several years of tension and questionable morality. The Flash is capitalizing on the human moments of the show, which reminds us why we love these stories. It’s not just because of the cool powers and cool suits, it’s about the cool men and women underneath. We see their purpose.
As I said last week, it’s going to be awhile until I stop praising The Flash for its impressive rebound. How it acknowledged that it messed up last season. How it then decided to do something about it. And now look where we’re at. It really is, as the season premiere told us, The Flash Reborn.
In “Elongated Journey Into Night,” Team Flash continued their attempts to track down the remainder of the metahumans that were on that bus the day Barry returned from the Speed Force. They had no clues as to who was behind it, but they knew someone was pulling the strings. While this episode wasn’t significant in major events, it did provide Barry — in the final moments — with a major clue as to what — and who — he’s facing headed down the line.
With the way The Flash is cultivating this personal connection this season, it really feels like this has the potential to be truly great. But potential doesn’t always equate to outcome. While Zoom and Savitar seemed promising early on in the season, there was a bit of a letdown as things unfolded. It’s not just about building up the hype and suspense, it’s about maintaining it throughout. And there’s definitely a sense that The Flash can accomplish that.
Enough cannot be said about the renewed tone of this show. Season 3 was dark. Like Arrow-dark. And while that works for Arrow, it does not work for The Flash. And that’s the cool thing about these plethora of superhero shows. Each one offers a unique experience. The Flash tried to be something it wasn’t and lost itself along the way last season. But this season, it seems to have found its footing once again.
The Flash is a show that has thrived off its light tone, humor and its heart. It’s a family show for a reason. The humor is a big difference that I’m noticing this season. Not that there weren’t funny moments last season, but this season it just feels so much more organic. Because you can tell. You really can. Just like you can tell that The Flash has become the show it once was.
Now, consistency is key.
Let’s break this episode down:
Can People Really Change?
The episode raised an interesting issue regarding the metahumans created on that bus. Given the first metahuman that we met was a bad guy that tried to kill people that betrayed him, we just assumed that the rest of the metahumans were evil. But if Becky last week and Ralph this week are any indication, these are just normal people whose lives were changed and they have no idea what’s happening.
Are they “villains,” as Barry labeled them, just because they were exposed to dark matter? If they were “questionable” in the past, does that mean that they can’t change because they’re metahumans?
A lot of what we believe is formed on our beliefs and perceptions of others, even if/when they’re not entirely true. But when we believe in something, it’s pretty hard to argue against it. That was Barry for most of this episode as he let his past with Ralph — coupled with his experience with metas — cloud his judgement as he unfairly judged Ralph.
On the flip-side, you had Caitlin defending Ralph because she knows better than anyone what it feels like when you first discover you have powers and you’re terrified about what it means. We saw what happened to Caitlin last season as Killer Frost. She knows that — even if you’re not a bad person at heart — these powers can have a hold on you. While that wasn’t necessarily happening to Ralph — it was how he wasn’t in control of his elasticity of his body — Caitlin felt that twinge of familiarity. When you feel powerless and terrified.
Why couldn’t Barry understand that?
Barry and Caitlin are walking proof that having powers — being a meta — doesn’t make you evil. Sure, Caitlin struggled with it — in a very obvious way — but so did Barry. Barry’s didn’t manifest like Killer Frost, but we’ve seen how he’s abused his powers to get what he wants. And that’s just as bad.
As human beings, we’re not perfect. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all done something we’re not proud of because we felt like we had no choice. But that doesn’t make us inherently evil. It just makes us human.
Barry was quick to judge Ralph and soon learned that they’re more alike than he thought. While Barry assumed that Ralph was a crooked cop — because let’s face it, he did plant evidence — it turns out that Ralph was a good guy just trying to make sure the bad guy got caught. He could’ve and should’ve gone about it in a different way, but his intentions were good.
And honestly, we’ve all been there. Obviously not the same situation. But we’ve all done something not so good with good intentions. We’ve had to pay for it, whether it’s been at the hands of others or ourselves.
But there’s this misconception that people cannot change. Because it’s entirely possible. It doesn’t mean that everyone changes, but the potential to is within reach of all. It’s all a matter of what the individual decides.
We saw how Ralph fell into a hole of desperation and found himself doing things he’d never imagined, including blackmail just to make ends meet. But we also saw him get a chance at redemption. And he took it. The first step.
So can people change? Absolutely. Both for the better and the worse.
Cisco Meets Daddy
I cannot gush enough but my satisfaction in seeing Cisco get a focal storyline involving his personal life this season. We’ve been waiting so desperately for Cisco to get some lovin’ — cause that boy deserves it — and we’re shipping Cisco and Gypsy so hard.
This episode was an opportunity to really let the humor fly in introducing Gypsy’s father into the picture. And his first scene defined the night — explosive, hilarious, and a bit terrifying. Pretty much, epic.
Like any father, Breacher didn’t think Cisco — nor any boy — was good enough for his daughter. So he’d try to chase him away. Because he’s hella intimidating. But also hella entertaining. Breacher was “hunting” — no lie — Cisco throughout this episode. He figured that Cisco could prove his worth if he could manage to outlast Breacher for 24 hours — without his powers.
Harry reminded Cisco that he has another power not involved in breaching — his intelligence. And I’ll be damned if I didn’t fist pump at that. Say it with me, INTELLIGENCE IS A SUPER POWER.
So Cisco used his intelligence to outwit Breacher. Nearly. But let’s be honest, Cisco was like a felon on the run for most of the hour.
The defining moment for Breacher came when Cisco stood up to him to protect Ralph, who had done nothing wrong and didn’t deserve to be obliterated at the hands of Breacher. Breacher saw how Cisco stood up for and protected Ralph, and there was a sense of respect there.
Sure, Breacher might still hate Cisco — he is dating his daughter — but he respects him. And that’s pretty much as close to a seal of approval as you’re going to get.
What’s Davoe’s Plan?
Well, I have to admit that I’m surprised that Team Flash “picked up” on the interference of this mystery someone in terms of creating the metahumans and knowing that something is afoot. Granted, they didn’t have any leads for most of the episode as to who it could be.
Each week, we’re getting to see a new meta that was seemingly created by The Thinker, and we’re wondering exactly what the plan is, exactly. Aside from the first guy — who killed and attempted to kill those that betrayed him — the other two metas weren’t exactly murderers. They were normal people that just had crazy, unexplainable things happen to them. Considering Davoe knows what he’s doing — and he’s planned this — what’s the plan with these metahumans? Is he going to use them as weapons? Or is it something else entirely?
Davoe is content with these metas ending up where they need to be for whatever reason that may be. There’s a plan here. We just don’t know exactly what it is. It continues to be a giant puzzle that’ll hopefully become more clear as we progress through the season.
Davoe is called The Thinker for a reason. Clearly, he’s intellectually superior. And that’s not to say Barry isn’t, because he certainly is even not as The Flash. But he’s certainly going to test Barry this season. Luckily, Barry has a lead as to who is behind these metas. But is that part of the plan, too?
7 Things About “Elongated Journey Into Night”
- Not going to lie, The Flash can be cheesy at times, but when it’s working there’s really no problem with it. That’s what it seems to do best. It can get away with a metahuman whose arms and legs and face are like jello. Because it was damn enjoyable. And not super dark.
- I’ve gotta say, I loved the dynamic between Barry and Ralph. Enemies turned mutual acquaintances that might one day become friends. They’ve both undergone something similar in these powers. And they’re both men that want to do the right thing. Even when they don’t always do the right thing.
- Can we talk about that scene where Joe, Barry, Iris, and Caitlin were celebrating the news that he’s going to be a father again? Because that moment was littered with feels. It’s a reminder that, yes, this is a show about a superhero. But it’s also about the man underneath the suit, as well as the people in his life.
- Can we talk about how it’s canonically confirmed that everyone things Oliver Queen is hot as hell. Because, duh, he is. Iris and Caitlin fangirling over Felicity’s man. Love it.
- God, I didn’t realize just how much I missed Cisco and Harry’s dynamic last season than episodes like this where it’s on full display. They have such an amazing rapport and such great comedic timing that it’s just a joy to watch.
- The dynamic between Cisco and Gypsy’s father was a thing of beauty. It was both ridiculous and hysterical at the same time. And compelling the entire time. This dad just wanted the very best for his little girl. And she’s found it in Cisco.
- Could we be seeing Killer Frost again…very soon?
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.