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The stakes are as high as ever on The Flash in Season 4 thanks to the introduction of The Thinker as the latest supervillain. Team Flash has only scored a couple of victories against The Thinker throughout the entire season, and he's been getting stronger now that he's absorbing the powers of the bus metas he created. The good news for the good guys is that they managed to expand Team Flash in Season 4 with the addition of Ralph Dibny, a.k.a. Elongated Man. This new hero can stretch himself to impossible lengths and even use his powers to temporarily shapeshift into other people.
According to actor Hartley Sawyer, Elongated Man also has some non-metahuman qualities that could be key in battling bad guys. Sawyer recently spoke with CinemaBlend about The Flash, and he had this to say about what sets Elongated Man apart from the rest of the team:
That's one of the great things about Ralph is that he doesn't think like everyone else thinks, so he does things that sometimes nobody expects. You know, somebody like The Mechanic... who didn't plan for this. Because he's always shooting from the hip a bit but he knows where he wants to go with it. So I think he just kind of makes these things up as he goes and sometimes also has a plan. It's a different kind of plan than anybody else would have, so I think a lot of people are surprised by that. Like, 'Oh, didn't see that one coming!'...You never know what he's gonna do exactly.
The Thinker has been able to consistently defeat Team Flash so far in Season 4 due to his ability to predict everything that his opponents will do long before they do it. With the help of The Mechanic, The Thinker has been ten steps ahead of Barry and Co. from almost the very beginning, and most of their wins against him are due to his hubris rather than their strategies. Elongated Man could be the variable in the Thinker vs. Flash equation that turns the battle in favor of the good guys. Ralph's goals are often the same as the rest of Team Flash, but his methods are markedly different. If even Ralph doesn't know what he plans to do as he makes things up along the way, how could The Thinker possibly predict him?
The Flash has already set a precedent for Elongated Man changing the game for Team Flash. His ability to shapeshift is what enabled them to spring Barry from prison. He impersonated none other than Clifford DeVoe, who was supposed to be very dead, given that Barry was convicted of his murder. The Mechanic was clearly shocked when she saw what looked like the living body of her husband stroll into a courtroom to exonerate Barry, which is a sign that Ralph's powers can make him a wild card as much as his personality quirks.
The downside to Ralph having key advantages on The Thinker is that The Thinker has every reason to go after Ralph sooner rather than later. He's been targeting the bus metas he created, and Ralph is one of those bus metas. Even if he hadn't become Elongated Man and joined Team Flash, Ralph would have found himself the target of The Thinker at some point. Now that he's a viable threat to the supervillain, he may find himself in a lot of danger.
Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 14 of The Flash Season 4. Ralph sadly has even more motivation to take out The Thinker after the events of the latest episode. After quickly becoming smitten with the music-playing bus meta named Izzy, Ralph tried his hardest to keep her safe. Sadly, Izzy was killed by The Thinker, who transferred his consciousness into her body and now has full use of her abilities. Losing Izzy prompted Ralph to swear vengeance on The Thinker. He may not deliver quite as much humor now that he's on a mission to avenge Izzy, but his determination to take down the Thinker combined with his status as a wild card could mean that he's the biggest threat to the bad guys out of all the heroes on Team Flash. We can only hope that the "buddy system" on Team Flash will keep him safe.
You can see more of Hartley Sawyer as Ralph Dibny in new episodes of The Flash on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Some new villains are on the way to complicate things even further for Team Flash, so there should be plenty of action in store in the rest of Season 4. For your additional viewing options, be sure to take a look at our midseason TV premiere guide and our 2018 Netflix premiere schedule.