The Flash: License to Elongate

"The name's Allen. Barry Allen."

By nature I love brevity: The Flash attempts to engage in some light, campy fun - at exactly the wrong time. Don't make a habit of this, guys.

Don't get me wrong, I like pastiche and homage episodes as much as the next guy. I enjoy Doctor Who for precisely that reason. But The Flash is not Doctor Who (no matter how many times Chester fiddles with a sonic wrench), and more importantly, its premise gives it absolutely no reason to do pastiche and homage. Other shows, like Who, have a premise that lends itself to visiting interesting other worlds. When this show does it, the other world feels out of place. Besides, I would really prefer we get moving to the serious stuff. Again, I like that this show is fun. That's why I enjoy it more than Arrow even though from a mere quality standpoint Arrow produces better material more consistently. But we're ramping up to the Crisis, and we've been steadily descending into heavier and heavier episodes as we go on. To yank us out of that now for a lighthearted James Bond adventure feels wrong.

It also doesn't do the Bond pastiche/homage (I'm still not sure which this is) particularly well from a writer's standpoint. Usually, characters in an episode like this either intentionally play into the tropes or intentionally play against them. Instead, 'License to Elongate' tries to have Ralph do both, going full 'Dibny. Ralph Dibny' in one scene and then complaining that the villain used a line directly from a James Bond film in the next. This could've been pulled off by having Ralph play into the tropes and having Barry play against them, but instead Barry just kind of poorly mirrors whatever Ralph is doing. It's like two different writers were hired to write a Flash episode in the Bond style, and one of them took over from the other halfway through.

That said, I appreciated seeing some more detective work from Ralph, and I can't wait until we finally get to Sue. The message about Barry being just as important as the Flash was a good one for Barry to learn at this stage, but I felt it was somewhat poorly communicated and it could have been a lot more intertwined with the story.

Meanwhile, Chester finally got out of his cage, and it was... interesting. I don't mind him, but I'm sure many people find him just as irritating as Frost seems to. The bit at the end from Cecile seemed to indicate that they're grooming him for a larger role on the show, which will undoubtedly tick some folks off. Although, as I've said, I can tolerate him, I really hope he doesn't come on as a regular, especially not to replace anybody that we have right now. Oh, and speaking of Cecile, we learned she was abruptly booted from her position as DA following the events of 'A Flash of the Lightning.' Obviously, that puts her in a bit of a difficult position as she now has to get her legal practice off the ground without any new money coming in. Of course, Joe is the Police Captain, and also nobody on the CW ever deals with financial trouble, so she'll be fine.

A bit more promising was Allegra's adventure with Nash Wells. Boy, he really doesn't care about anything other than his own goals, does he? He even says that it would be bad if the general public knew about the multiverse, while in the middle of telling a reporter about the multiverse in exchange for a favor. This kind of incredible apathy towards anything other than his current ends could be very dangerous for Team Flash, as evidenced by the fact that he told Allegra who the Flash was offhand and without even a single backward glance. It's also clear that he has some kind of background with a doppelgänger of Allegra's, so this will almost certainly continue to play out over the next few episodes. I'll have a better handle on what I think of this Wells once he starts to come into better focus.

There were some things I liked about this episode, though it doesn't sound like it much. The performances were solid, and I laughed at many of the Bond bits. Danielle Panabaker gets her second director's credit, the first being last season's 'Godspeed.' Panabaker handles it well, keeping her camera moving fluidly to maintain a good pace. It looks like nearly all of it was shot handheld to accomplish this, an interesting choice that you wouldn't notice if you weren't looking at the direction.

Running Plot Threads:

-Nash appears to be finally ready to enter that cave of his. How much do you want to bet he won't actually do it until the end of the next episode?

-Elongated Man now has a very comic-inspired symbol on his chest, and the Flash named him the next protector of Central City.

-Ultraviolet appeared again, and so did Allegra, but they didn't interact. I suspect there will be a meeting between the two at some point in the future.

-Cecile's practice is now open for business.

Pensees:

-Seriously, nobody on the CW ever deals with monetary problems. Like, I know Ralph is a PI, and Barry is a CSI with the Police Department, but where the heck are Cisco and Caitlin making a living? And don't tell me S.T.A.R. Labs employs them, because S.T.A.R. Labs has not done anything public or even slightly marketable for years.

-Central City is located in basically the exact place Richmond, Virginia is in our world, at least according to the Ring of Fire's map.

-Also, why did Meister type in 'Central City' rather than the actual coordinates of the city? Is it that hard to find the coordinates of Richmond, VA? (No, it's not. Google is your friend.)

-How did Barry and Ralph both get into the VIP lounge with January Galore's one ticket?

-Victoria Vale, more commonly known as Vicki Vale, is a comic book character and love interest to Batman. She also appeared in Tim Burton's Batman (1989).

-Could Cecile have possibly picked a blander logo for her firm?

-Looks like a confrontation between Bloodwork and Team Flash is imminent, perhaps with Ralph's life on the line.

Quotes:

Ralph: "The name's Dibny. Ralph Dibny."
Barry: "Allen. Barry-"
Meister: "Well, nice to meet you, Allen Barry and Ralph Dibny."

Ralph: "Do you expect me to talk?"
Meister: "No, Mr. Dibny. I expect you to die."
Ralph: "Come one. That one's literally from Goldfinger."

3 out of 6 out-of-control lasers.

--
CoramDeo is way too invested in filmmaking techniques.

No comments: