With Barry in prison, Ralph steps up to take care of Central City’s villains — or at least tries to, until he gets scared — in this episode of The Flash. But when he discovers that he’s not as invincible as he thought, not even a new suit can get him to go back into the field.
Elsewhere in “The Elongated Knight Rises,” while the others try to find something to get him out of prison, Barry tries to adjust to life behind bars (which means not finding a way to break out to help the team) and meets someone who knew his father.
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The Stretchy Man’s Kryptonite Is Revealed
Ralph’s getting more and more cocky as he goes out as “The Stretchy Man,” as one reporter names him after he stops a robber with a bomb (and only gets a bit of heartburn). But as he sees it, it’s not like he can get hurt … right? Wrong!
As Ralph learns when he faces off against Axel Walker. Axel’s mother broke him out of prison with some funky pudding, and he just wants to get his father’s attention to get him back in his life, so he threatens the city and calls out its newest hero, The Stretchy Man. Axel’s exploding bouncing balls are no problem for Ralph, but his “axid,” aka acid with an ingredient X, is. He’ll heal “eventually,” Caitlin and Harry assure him (they think) as they look at his wounded knee.
Axel’s mother, Prank, was the Bonnie to Jesse’s Clyde, but she’s not as eager for a family reunion as their son is. She never wanted Axel to end up like his father and just wants the two of them to be free together … until she stops taking her meds and tells Axel that he can be the real Trickster. She’s more than happy to join him in killing.
Together, they put together a game show called “Wheel of Misfortune,” with two unfortunate hostages as the contestants. They show off their axid shower using poor Beebo as the victim, and then Beebo is no more. (Lock them up and throw away the key just for that!) If “Stretchy Man” doesn’t come down in an hour and spin the wheel, the hostages will die, they announce. However, Ralph turns down a new suit and says he can’t do it. Now that he can get hurt, he’s out.
Ralph then stretches himself into Barry’s cell and offers to break him out to fight Trickster and Prank in his place. He admits that he’s not ready to die and he’s not fearless like Barry is. The job offers up a mortality check every so often, Barry tells him and adds that he’s not fearless either. He wakes up every day in the cell feeling like there’s nothing he can do to help anyone and that terrifies him. Ralph needs to rise above his fear and save lives, which shouldn’t be a “stretch” for him. He just has to believe that he can do it.
And he needs to believe that fast because, in Ralph’s absence, Killer Frost and Cisco go to rescue the hostages only to be captured by Prank and Trickster and get tied up under the axid shower. Ralph shows up in his new suit (and with a speech inspired by Barry’s advice to “rise up”) and knocks Trickster out, but Prank pulls the lever for the axid. That’s when Ralph steps up and stretches himself over Caitlin and Cisco, but to his surprise, he’s not hurt. That’s because Harry, on the roof, neutralized the axid in time.
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Ralph does end up with a new name, and while he may not like it, the others tell him the Elongated Man is going to stick. Now it’s up to him to do whatever it takes to keep the city safe like the rest of the team does.
But something that’s not changing is Ralph not paying for his coffee. While he and Cisco argue about who’s paying at Jitters, the mysterious woman from Barry and Iris’ wedding shows up and takes care of their bill and babbles on about paying it forward and “total strangers” (meaning they’re totally not strangers). She watches them leave before returning to writing in her notebook — in symbols, the same as Barry when he returned from the speed force.
Barry Gets a Bit of Help in His New Normal
Barry and Iris have to adjust to their new normal, with him in prison and her unable to touch him, but until they find something on the DeVoes, it is what it is.
And that means that while Barry wants to help the team with the latest threat, he can’t. He’s stuck in Iron Heights, feeling useless (even though he does use his powers to help during a riot).
Barry gets some help himself when he runs into trouble with a few inmates, from a man named Big Sir, who explains later that Barry’s father helped him. It turns out Henry figured out that his appendix was about to burst and, when the prison doctor wouldn’t have made it back in time, operated on him and saved his life. Saving Barry made them even.
When Big Sir is jumped by three inmates, it’s Barry who comes to his rescue, even using his speed a bit to give him the advantage he needs to knock them out. Like father, like son, Big Sir comments. His father would be proud of him.
It turns out being in the prison isn’t so different from being out of it, Barry tells Iris during her next visit. (Except they’re not together, she reminds him. Obviously.) And thanks to his powers, he reaches through the glass separating them to take her hand.
Are you warming up to Ralph? How long do you think Barry’s going to be in prison? And who do you think that mystery girl is?
The Flash season 4 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on the CW. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of the CW)