Barry Allen and Ralph Digby go all James Bond in this latest episode..
It’s hard to distinguish a singular aspect that’s made this season so successful, and while it may be a plethora of differences, re-establishing the humour from season one is certainly a big one. As the title suggests, Licence to Elongate pays homage to the James Bond spy genre and is one Mini-me and laser shark away from being Austin Powers, which is never a bad thing. The charm, comedic timing and way it handles the tonal shifts, made this episode exciting and all round entertaining.
A pattern that’s emerged this season is the use of hero alter-egos, which you’d expect would get irritating. Instead, it’s invigorating to see how useful our heroes can be even when they’re not suited up. Thanks to this, Ralph was given a bigger opportunity to showcase his suave personality and ability to handle difficult situations, with or without the help of his powered friends. Barry, not the Flash, was able to bring some fantastic physical humour, the drunken scene specifically was hilarious. Blending this story into the coming Crisis on Infinite Earths arc, with Barry once again attempting to prepare not only his friends, but also the city, was very well executed.
Outside of the main plot involving Barry and Ralph, Cecile and Frost babysat the awakened Chester, who you’ll remember as the black hole guy from the opening episode. While this entire story could be considered unnecessary and a waste of time, it worked surprisingly well. Brandon McKnight who portrays Chester was incredible, his chemistry with the other cast was electric, his comedic acting hilarious, and he has made quite an impact for his first proper appearance. It has not only left room for his return but also shined a light on some otherwise forgotten characters.
Speaking of, Allegra’s little adventure with Nash Wells was something of a surprise. Nash Wells is a character who continues to amaze week after week, and this episode was no exception. His interaction with Allegra was excellent, the nonchalant way he tells her the secrets of the multiverse and the Flash’s true identity was perfect. Equally well done was Allegra’s integration. She is someone that could’ve easily been thrown in the pile of forgotten background characters, but this situation has brought a potentially interesting one to the spotlight. The idea that she is somehow linked to Wells leaves little to be desired but, given how well everything has been done so far this season, it deserves a chance to properly materialise.
After all the humour in this instalment, seeing Joe and Ralph present Barry with the medal of honour at the CCPD, still managed to capture the intended dramatic, heart-warming tone. While I find it hard to believe that the Flash will perish in the upcoming Crisis event, it’s always nice to see that the show writers treat situations as if he will, giving the story the gravity it deserves for such a huge potential sacrifice.
Previous seasons have struggled with sporadically the antagonist’s continued role on the show, ultimately making them forgetful and losing their ominous presence. The same cannot be said about Ramsey, who certainly appeared here briefly but memorably and left me for one wanting more. His dark Venom look is fantastic.
Licence to Elongate shines a bright light on the supporting characters, while continuing to plant the seeds for the crossover event in exciting ways. The character-driven story helped the pace, tones remain consistent and the writers have interjected some superb humour that was masterfully executed. Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen proved to be more than just a costumed hero, but more importantly, this episode served to remind audiences of what we came to love about The Flash in the first place.
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