The Flash: 4.11 The Elongated Knight Rises
Last episode saw Barry Allen (The Flash) found guilty of murder and sent to jail. Although it may not have been a knockout, it made me wonder how a show about The Flash could cope without him. Unfortunately what we got can only be described as two iterations of the same show. One, a comedic and somewhat enjoyable flick that we have become accustomed to over four seasons, and the other, a sour and sad drama. The two never truly meld together to make a whole coherent hour, yet individually they work.
We begin with Barry sitting in his cell while a good old fashion prison riot occurs; unable to do nothing, Barry uses his powers to put everyone back in their cells. This along with a fight sequence later on is the only small snippets you get of “The Flash”. As silly as it may have been, I liked the subtle uses reminding us he isn’t lost. Also the effects on the slow motion fight sequence were excellent.
With the Flash now out of action it seems only natural that Ralph Dibney pick up the responsibilities (should we contact Wally … nah!); this is where the major tonal inconsistencies occur. While fighting crime, Ralph is very witty and cocky, which I love, but when the scene immediately transitions into something far more serious, it’s disjointing. The villains of the week ‘The Trickster and Prank’ also didn’t help with their natural comedic demeanor that again worked in the scenes they’re in, but overall made for a jumbled mess.
Firstly, Dibney stops an over the top bank robber who has the attention of the whole police force with three hostages threatening to detonate a bomb. We learn that Dibney is able to absorb explosive blasts and he considers himself indestructible. This is until he faces the Trickster who damages his suit and causes him a great deal of pain which scares Ralph and questions his team spirit. Trickster and Prank want the “stretchy man” in order to kill him (because that’s what villains do…very badly!) and take hostages to lure him out. Scared, he goes to see Barry and gets a pep talk which, like Popeye and his spinach, gives him the strength and courage to face his foes. The biggest problem with this segment was addressing Ralph’s journey, I thought we were over this whole ‘I can’t do it’ nonsense, so this moment felt like a cheap retread of what’s already been done.
Through his constant badgering of Cisco, Ralph finally gets a new suit which looks really good, although still suffers from the recognizably obvious person, which at this point is standard with all superhero shows. He also (officially) gets his name ‘The Elongated Man’, in a very silly press interview that suited his character perfectly. I think it’s also important to give credit not only to Hartley Sawyer's performance but to the CGI (which there is a lot of in this episode), both of which were excellent and worthy of mentioning.
The time spent with Team Flash is strange; they all feel lifeless and hollow which, given the circumstances, I understand. It just wasn’t working with the main story being so upbeat and comical. Perhaps this is going to be the norm all the while Barry is locked away. Again I don’t hate it, I actually like the potential and having different tones can work, but in this instance it didn’t.
Now to Barry in prison. His scenes were very … meh! There’s no other way of putting it. Aside from a cameo (I’d be happy if it becomes more) from Bill Goldberg ( the wrestler) that helped provide some super action scenes, there is nothing to grab you emotionally. Thus far Barry’s time is being defined by what his dad did for others and how much Barry reminds the other inmates of his father. This is unimaginative and frankly unbelievable. It’s hard to say what should replace it, but for me this isn’t working.
Simply, The Elongated Knight Rises is a strange beast. Aside from the very quick mention of the DeVoe’s, there is no great reminder of the bigger mystery at hand. I hate to say it, but this was just filler that didn’t work. At the very end Ralph and Cisco get coffee at Jitters. After asking each other to pay, a mysterious girl who seemed like she perhaps had one too many coffees herself covers the bill. She returns to her table and begins drawing strange symbols similar to what we saw Barry create when he left the Speed Force. This was about as mysterious as it gets and its placement was just bizarre. Admittedly it's left me curious but I feel so deflated, at this stage if we never find out who she is I doubt I’ll care.
If they extracted the individual tones and made separate episodes around them it would work, but in its current state it’s just messy. I hold out hope next time will be better.