This week, The Flash doubled down on a lot of the silliness that has been poking around the edges lately, but also went a little too deep the other way in a very uneven episode.
1. Not My Dibny
I know, intellectually, that ‘Ralph Dibny’ isn’t the Ralph Dibny from the comics. I hate being that guy that is constantly saying “BUT IN THE COMICS,” but making Dibny so unlikable doesn’t do much for the show. Really, it doesn’t. Making him cheap, and so Barry has to buy him coffee? That’s fine. But having him steal the tip Barry leaves for the barista? Come on now.
The show has an arc for Ralph, and we’ll dig into that more in a minute, but I don’t know why this character is more effective if he’s cartoonishly shitty. There is almost nothing enjoyable about spending time with him; he’s not charming, he’s not funny, he’s not likable. He’s essentially Jon Lovitz’s ‘Annoying Man’ character from Saturday Night Live.
Also, his costume is insane. I hope they go with him being an unmasked hero soon – it fits his ego – so he can get a real costume and not look like Tobias dressed as a pirate from the pilot of Arrested Development.
2. Council of Wells
Tom Cavanagh has now played approximately 451 versions of Harrison Wells thus far, but this week saw him playing four at the same time: Harry, German intellectual Harrison Wolfgang Wells, Texan Hugh Hefner/Matthew McConaughey H. Lothario Wells (really), and one-eyed cyborg/Mad Max Aussie Wells 2.0. Was this a hokey and a groan fest? Absolutely. Did I love it? Absolutely!
Look, for all the shit I give this show, it really knows how to have fun, and letting Tom Cavagnaw on the scenery (see what I did there?) is fun. All of this was in service of giving Team Flash a clue as to which DeVoe they are looking for, and the couple of Council of Wells scenes didn’t do that much to actually move that plot along. But it was fun, and in an episode where I had to suffer Dibny being a super creep, I am glad we had the escape of Cisco seeing Harry’s Texan schlong.
Of course, the Dibny stuff changes a bit later in the episode, when his insistence at getting the bad guy, instead of protecting the innocent, led to a little girl almost dying. This was used as a wake-up call for Ralph, who seems more focused on helping the good versus stopping the bad. And while it was, as the show often is, a little over the top, it was an effective moment for Ralph.
The problem is that it would’ve been just as effective if he weren’t a gigantic prick for the past three weeks. If Cisco was in the exact same spot, and his recklessness led to a near-death of a child, I would care. Hell, I’d care more, because I know that Cisco is a good dude. This didn’t have to be a personality changing moment to get the point across.
4. Black Bison
The ‘meta of the week’ is getting old again, even if Black Bison had a somewhat interesting backstory. Giving the metas some ethics and/or unique personality traits go a long way, but I can’t help but think that most of these episodes would be better with just a little more conversation, a little less action (sorry, Elvis).
Her effigy powers were an interesting addition to the show, as it is totally unlike anything else we’ve really seen before. Sure, it sort of limits where they are powerful (Don’t let her near the mall! The mannequins will revolt!), but it was at least something a little different.
I’m waiting for at least one of the new metas, aside from Dibny, to be not a villain, though. Is that too much to ask?
5. Afterschool special ending
While I’m glad to see Dibny do something good, and be reformed a bit, the ending of this episode was super duper corny. Ralph making skin balloon animals (oh my word, that is far more disturbing of a sentence to type than I anticipated) was creepy and cheesy, and his total attitude adjustment seemed fast and unnatural. Again, if the show had eased us into both his issues and his rehabilitation, this isn’t a big deal. But, you know how it goes.Continued below
The last scene saw Joe and Barry going to the house of DeVoe, as discerned by the Council of Wells, and we see DeVoe not in his weird headgear, but instead in a mechanical wheelchair. It is unclear if this is a past version of the character, or simply a disguise, or something else. The DeVoe story is interesting, but it has been so on the periphery thus far that it is hard to remember that it is actually the overarching plot.