The Flash, Season 4, Episode 11, “The Elongated Knight Rises”
Last week while we were down with the flu, Barry was convicted of the murder of the husk of DeVoe, and did very little to put up much of a defense. Now, Barry is a week in and doing his best to maintain a low profile, but Barry’s instincts to do good and be The Flash makes that easier said than done. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of The Flash:
What’s the scoop: This is the Ralph Dibney-centered episode you didn’t ask for, but knew was coming anyway. With Barry stuck in Iron Heights, Ralph has taken center stage in the protection of Central City. He rescues hostages, absorbs bomb blasts and mugs it up for the cameras. In a plot seemingly recycled straight from an old episode of Batman: The Animated Series, Joker wannabe The Trickster (not Mark Hamill, the young one) is sprung from prison by his supervillain moll mother, Prank –- think Harley Quinn lite. In an effort to get an attaboy from his father, Trickster calls out Ralph to try to defeat him. Ralph is loving every minute of it until Trickster burns his knee with some acid, which reinvigorates Ralph’s inner coward. Trickster and Prank kidnap a couple of innocents and in another twist straight from the cartoon, create an elaborate games show set and wheel of torture in an effort to flush Ralph out of hiding. Cisco, Killer Frost and Harry try to help in Ralph’s stead, but Cisco and Frost are immediately captured, and Harry struggles to neutralize the acid. With the help of a lecture from Iris, Ralph saves the day, and even puts himself in harm’s way. After struggling to come up with a name, Ralph inadvertently dubs himself ‘Elongated Man’.
Meanwhile in B-plot Land: Barry is just trying to keep a low profile in prison, and waits every day for 1:30 p.m. when Iris comes to visit. Of course, being the new guy, Barry gets bullied by a group of prisoners. He’s helped out by a hulking prisoner who is played by former pro wrestler Bill Goldberg. Barry’s dad helped this con man back in the day by performing an emergency appendectomy, and saving his life. The guy is just trying to repay the debt by saving Barry’s life. When the prisoner is jumped, Barry swoops in and uses a little Flash power to save the day, and make a friend on the inside.
What about the action: With the heroes and villains picked for this episode, it doesn’t lend itself to mind-blowing action sequences. Barry’s subtle use of his powers to make it seem like the prisoners’ swings are missing him, and hitting each other was nice. Overall, however, the action came off as a little too cartoony, which is not unexpected when your main hero and villain are both clowns in their own way.
What’s next: In the stinger, we’re introduced or a super-perky young brunette enamored with Cisco and Ralph, and who is keeping a journal in the same strange writing Barry used when he first came out of the speed force. I think she might become significant.
Last impressions: The success or failure of this episode squarely lands on your opinion of Ralph. If you are down with recent attempts to rehab his sleazeball persona, then this episode was probably fun for you. If you aren’t a fan of Ralph, then there was a lot of eye rolling, and wondering when they’ll get back to DeVoe and clearing Barry’s name. I edge more into the latter camp. While I appreciate the attempts at keeping things light, they are centering those efforts on a character we aren’t really invested in, nor care to invest in. The fun factor could have gone up exponentially if this was a story about Cisco and Killer Frost trying to fill Barry’s shoes. Instead it was stretchy guy doing his stretchy guy things. No thanks, let’s just move on.