Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Flash 6x06 Review: "License to Elongate" (Division of Plot Labor) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“License to Elongate”
Original Airdate: November 19, 2019

Welcome back from that random week off, everyone! If it’s not completely obvious from the title of the episode, we have a Ralph-focused plot this time around. To balance out the focus on a relatively minor member of Team Flash, Barry partners up with Ralph while other offshoots get to handle their own things. Even Nash Wells and Allegra get to carry a plotline, which is surprising since we don’t really have a handle on either of those characters quite yet.

There seems to be an underlying theme of trust — in the self or in others — this episode that echoes the faith themes in “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach,” but to a much lesser degree and lacking that episode’s heaviness. “License to Elongate” does manage to pull through with a passably good episode, though, and an occasional focus on second string characters is turning into a necessity for this show as the cast just seems to keep growing.


Barry is still planning for when he bites the big one in Crisis, and while he has finalized his decision to make Cisco team leader in his absence, Central City still needs an actual meta to take up the reins of the Flash himself. As the only meta on the team who doesn’t occasionally slide into borderline-villainous apathy, Ralph tops Barry’s list. And, okay, Ralph does prove this episode (and has proven in times past) that being the only one left with powers besides Killer Frost isn’t all he has going for him. He does also have a capacity for leadership, good instincts in times of crisis, and surprisingly decent detective skills.

All those skills are put to work when Ralph returns to his search for Sue Dearbon in Midway City. Barry, who wants to ensure that Ralph returns for the surprise ceremony officially naming him a hero of Central City, tags along. Because this is an episode with a spy thriller pastiche, Ralph’s quest leads him to a fancy-schmancy party full of rich people looking to buy nefarious wares for nefarious deeds. Also, Barry and Ralph wear tuxedos.

When Barry is out of his usual element he seems to revert back to his dorky awkwardness of the past: he almost chokes on an appetizer, nearly gets them kicked out of the party before they can get anywhere close to finding Sue, and fails the James Bond “Surname — First name, Surname” line so hard the villain of the episode, Meister, thinks he’s named “Allen Barry.”

Ralph, meanwhile, is nailing this role as a super spy, and it’s only Barry’s fumbling that knocks the two of them off course and into a situation involving meta-dampening restraints and a laser weapon pointed at them. Barry thinks he knows better than Ralph despite this clearly being Ralph’s wheelhouse and suits up as the Flash to speed-search the whole building for Sue. That sets off Meister’s metahuman detectors and gives him the opportunity to get the jump on Barry and Ralph — thus, the whole tied-to-chairs and laser weapon thing.

In a real display of self-restraint, Ralph doesn’t lay into Barry about his inability to follow directions. Instead, he uses their imminent laser-guided doom to gently scold Barry about his failure to see his human identity as equal to his metahuman one. They could have calmly cleared the building as Barry and Ralph, but Barry couldn’t conceive of solving a problem without being the Flash. You would think this lesson would have been learned by now but, alas. Anyway, Ralph takes the lead on getting the two of them out of their predicament and they’re able to crash Meister’s evil auction, where he’s selling off the rights to a massive weapon.

Oh, and Ultraviolet is there too. You remember her? Allegra’s evil cousin who got swiped by a shady organization? I’m not sure if this employment by Meister is the answer to the shady organization or if more about that will come into play later. If it’s the former, it’s a disappointing revelation. I was expecting some back-half plot about a secret metahuman black market. Anyway, Barry (pretending to be drunk at first, and Drunk Barry — even Fake Drunk Barry — is always a delight) and Ralph fight off Ultraviolet and Meister while battling the ticking clock of Meister’s weapon firing on Central City. It’s funny how the huge missile getting aimed at a city sort of falls to the back burner in this fight, by the way.

Later, to drive home how much his friends and family love Barry Allen — not just the Flash — Ralph hijacks his own ceremony inducting him as an official Central City hero to call Barry Allen up on the stage. Once in the spotlight, Barry is rewarded with a medal of honor and a public display of how much the people around him respect and love him. Aw!

Less aw!: upon returning from the award ceremony, Ralph is attacked by a very gooey Ramsey Rosso. I almost forgot about that guy.


When the Flash is away, the... other team members... will play? That started out almost clever and sort of crumbled in the end, there, but the point is: secondary Team Flash members had their own adventures while Barry was with Ralph in Midway City. Cecile spent her time trying to help the newly-awakened Chester P. Runk finally get the girl he’s had a crush on since before he accidentally became the conduit for a series of dark matter black holes. She’s also dealing with a bit of an identity crisis, now that she’s quit being a DA and is starting her own practice as a lawyer for metahumans.

Cecile seems to be capable of pairing up with just about any character on this show and making it a winning duo, even when she’s utterly messing everything up for the people she’s meant to be helping. Also, I’m really glad we got to see more of Chester, since he’s energetic and charming while still being able to deliver more poignant beats when it matters. And when it’s clear there are no hard feelings about the Cecile-aided failure of his romantic endeavors, Chester seems to get an invite to join S.T.A.R Labs (but not Team Flash, I assume?) so I think we’ll be seeing him more in the future.

Somewhat tying into the Crisis plotline, Nash Wells spends this episode with Allegra, whose UV powers are necessary for Nash to figure out where Monitor is hiding. There’s some standard superhero struggling with her powers and the fear of turning as evil as her Ultraviolet cousin and, in his effort to assuage her fears, Nash drops the truth about Barry being the Flash. Allegra’s reaction to this is about on par with someone getting a mild spoiler to a show they were vaguely thinking about watching one day. Anyway, Allegra does lend a hand and I suppose we can assume Nash is one step closer to finding the Monitor. What the end result of that will be, I don’t know.

Other Things:

  • “No, Mr. Dibny. I expect you to die.” “Aw, come on! That line is literally from Goldfinger.” The Bond references were actually pretty fun.
  • “I love Mortal Kombat!” whispers wonderful Fake Drunk Barry to Ultraviolet, who definitely does look straight out of Mortal Kombat.
  • If anyone in this universe cared one iota about the Flash’s secret identity, I’m pretty sure putting both Barry and the Flash on TV within minutes of each other would give it away.


Post a Comment