Spoilers below for the latest episode of The Flash, "Elongated Journey Into Night."
There's no denying that The Flash has been as goofy and fun as it's ever been in Season 4, and the potential for madcap mayhem was stretched to new lengths with the introduction of Hartley Sawyer's Ralph "Elongated Man" Dibney. And while it might seem like this is the kind of wild metahuman that would only show up once a season, Elongated Man is a character that the Flash creative team was extremely pumped to introduce in more of a full-fledged capacity. Here's how executive producer Andrew Kreisberg put it during a recent press screening that CinemaBlend attended.
Every once in a while, somebody would it bring it up as sort of an episodic thing, and we thought that he was sort of too big a deal, but what we really wanted to do was, it's Season 4, and shows can get stale. So we really wanted to bring somebody in and then really have it feel like something new and something different and something that you hadn't seen a lot of on television. And not just his skill set, but also that character.
It's definitely true that there are very few TV shows out there with main characters whose bodies are able to stretch and mold quite like Elongated Man can -- that moment where Barry's punch gets fully enveloped by Ralph's face was pure magic -- and that makes sense, considering there are few shows out there where that kind of behavior fits in. But this is The Flash, after all, and this episode also featured Danny Trejo playing an over-protective dad from another Earth. So the lines of reality are blurry to say the least.
And I love the fact that THIS is the kind of character The Flash can introduce in Season 4, where other shows might bring in a never-mentioned family member or a new love interest to mix things up. That's not the case with Ralph Dibney, who entered the story as one of those fateful bus riders whose chemical makeup was altered, and someone who also had a history with Barry. (He was a slightly dirty cop that Barry helped get booted from CCPD.) That could have been its own mini-arc that lasted a few weeks, but The Flash brought them both back to square one by the end of the episode, and Barry basically offered Ralph a Golden Ticket into Team Flash.
So while the S.T.A.R. Labs crew may be missing out on Wally West's heroic efforts -- here's how Andrew Kreisberg explained Kid Flash's absence -- at least they're getting the exponentially more interesting stretchy-powers of Elongated Man for the foreseeable future. And Andrew Kreisberg really wants Ralph to be the kind of character who can become a fan favorite even after a later-season introduction.
You know, shows that have seven years or eight years or nine years, they always have that new character come in around Season 3 or Season 4 or 5 that helps take you through their way. Obviously they're not similar characters, but you know, thinking about like Faith on Buffy. That was sort of our hope for Ralph.
Here's hoping we can watch Elongated Man help Barry in taking on The Thinker and Katee Sackhoff's new villain at some point this season, however the hell that's meant to happen. We'll be waiting for it every Tuesday night on The CW at 8:00 p.m. ET. Be sure to head to our fall TV premiere schedule to see all the other weird shows coming to the small screen in the near future.