The Flash, ‘When Harry Met Harry’: Tone-Deaf Dibney and a Flat Villain Derail the Comedy Train

The Flash, Season 4, Episode 6, “When Harry Met Harry”

It’s amazing how quickly the world changes these days. This particular episode of The Flash has been in the can for maybe, three weeks maximum. At the time, the leering Lothario persona given to Ralph Dibney likely played very funny in the writer’s room. Given all the revelations of sexual harassment and assault that have surfaced in the entertainment industry (including within the show’s own ranks), having a character on a show that refers to women by their measurements and no one calling him out on it (it’s just Ralph, being Ralph) is tone deaf at the least, and casts a pall over the whole episode. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of The Flash:

What’s the scoop:  Barry takes Ralph out on the streets for the first time. The important lesson of the week is that it’s protecting the innocent first, then catching the bad guy. This week’s bad guy is a Native American activist who is trying to get a Sioux artifact back into the hands of its tribe. She, too, was on the bus and can bring mannequins and statues and such to life to do her bidding. Her ability made the whole villain-catching thing more difficult, but she wasn’t terribly compelling, otherwise.

Meanwhile in B-plot Land: Tom Cavanagh rarely turns down a chance to play dress-up, and the Council of Wells fit that bill perfectly. Harry gathers his brothers from other dimensional mothers to figure out who this DeVoe character is and how they can get ahead of the game to stop him. This gathering gives Cisco plenty to play off of and actually allows Cisco and Harry some quality bonding time.

Metahumans being meta:  Cisco called Harry a wizard. There was a Gandalf Harry who didn’t make the Council of Wells that included Mad Max and Hugh Hefner Harrys. Dibney dropped the old “it belongs in a museum” chestnut from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade while inside a museum.

What about the action: Perhaps Barry’s first lesson should have been “protecting your secret identity”, because Ralph and Barry made no attempts at protecting theirs when confronting a mugger … hell, Barry rushed his attacker to the hospital as Barry. One running gag was Ralph’s prototype suit that was plain looking and ill-fitting, despite being able to stretch with his powers. The gag fell flat because it played as Dick-joke McSexualharasser grabbing at his crotch all the time. Black Bison served the sole purpose of constantly creating the protect the innocent vs. catch the crook scenario. At first, Ralph goes for the glory, and a little girl is injured in the process (leading to a gross balloon animals scene later on). He finally gets it right and Barry is able to get the bad guy (in a dumb predictable way) while Ralph saves a museum guard from a T-Rex skeleton come to life.

GIF quote of the week:

What’s next: It took a minute to get the Council of Wells on the same page, but they narrow DeVoe down to a likely candidate, so Barry and Joe go to the suburbs where they are greeted not by The Thinker and Mechanic, but instead by a housewife and her wheelchair-bound older husband. We’ll dig more into that next week.

Last impressions: Ralph Dibney has been a tough character to embrace. He’s supposed to be a diamond that Barry is supposed to shape into a superhero. While it is true that Elongated Man is becoming a better hero, Ralph continues to be a misogynistic turd of a person, which will negate any growth on other fronts until that changes. Like Supergirl this week, this particular chapter is a total throwaway episode. Unlike Supergirl, which at least felt like its heart was in the right place, The Flash was more like a book report hastily compiled at the last minute after skimming the Cliff’s Notes. In other words, half-assed — which is sad because even in the deepest depths of the mopiest timeline years, at least you can tell people cared.

Craig Wack

For a weekly discussion of comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes

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