By Taylor Gibson

The Stretchy Man

It’s a well known fact that Barry is in jail – at least for the immediate future. So, Barry anxiously sits in his cell as a full-blown riot has broken out. To quell the pandemonium,  Barry zips around and places the prisoners back in their cells.

Joe responds to a bank heist where the robber makes demands for a fuel-efficient Prius, a private jet, and a low-calorie salad – a list that greatly confuses Joe. While negotiating, Ralph slips in,  frees the hostages, and confronts the robber before realizing he doesn’t have a superhero name. While continuing to make small talk, Ralph snatches the bomb and basically ingests the explosion with his stretchy ability. Back at Star Labs, Iris [kinda] tears into Ralph because she knows the explosion could’ve been much worse, but he shrugs off the warning with sarcasm, much like he did his post-heroism news interview.

Prison Break

Barry strolls through the prison courtyard and gets confronted by a prisoner, Axel Walker, who makes small talk while eating pudding as Barry incessantly watches the clock. Barry doesn’t care much for conversation, so he walks away, but trips and damages the shoes of a prison top dog. A fight is bound to ensue, but Warden Wolfe enters the courtyard before things pop off to inform Barry a visitor awaits.

Barry’s excitement peaks as he sits to speak with Iris. The conversation starts off well with light-hearted jokes, but Iris’ sadness/loneliness shines through before she leaves. Meanwhile, Axel gets sick and is taken for medical assistance. Once downstairs, a nurse tranquilizes the guard carrying Axel before revealing herself as his mother.

Joe heads to Iron Heights and to investigate Axel’s escape. While talking to Warden Wolfe he sees Barry mopping the floor and obtains permission to speak with Barry while Wolfe gathers security footage. Joe takes the nurse’s photo back to Star Labs and Team Flash identifies her as Zoey Clark, also known as Prank. The crew theorizes Prank’s plans, identifies Axel as the Trickster, and starts seeking their whereabouts.

Prank takes Axel to the remnants of a Clark’s Toy Factory. Axel asks about his father, so Zoey tells him his dad is a total deadbeat and tries to manipulate Axel to see things her way. Axel doesn’t go for it and wants to perform a big trick to get his dad’s attention.

Unlikely Alliance
While lifting weights, Barry gets confronted by the prison gang leader about the mud on his shoes. Not much conversation happens because one of the leader’s henchmen pulls out a knife and tries to shank Barry. A burly prisoner steps to Barry’s defense and knocks the thugs out.

Barry returns to the courtyard and approaches his ally from earlier to ask why he helped. The man simply said “because your dad helped me” and walks away.

The Trickster Returns
The Trickster hijacks broadcast outlets to explosively alert Central City of his return. He demands a showdown with the Stretchy Man or more explosions will ensue. Cisco breaches Ralph to the Trickster’s location, and Ralph initially makes the Trickster’s tricks look like child’s play –  that is until he is burned by acid. Ralph panics, so Cisco returns and breaches Ralph to safety so Caitlin can doctor him.

Disappointed that he didn’t make a [complete] mockery of Stretchy Man, Axel returns to the toy factory and is consoled by his mother. After his spirits heighten, they begin putting together a new plan/trick. Shortly after, the Tricker takes over city broadcast [again] to introduce a new game – the Wheel of Misfortune. Once again they summon the Stretchy Man to appear within the hour or they will burn hostages with axid – Axel’s acid. Cisco hands Ralph a pocket-sized, newly constructed suit, but Ralph cowardly declines at the thought of encountering axid again.

A Favor for a Favor

Ralph leaves Star labs and stretches into Barry’s cell. He wants to break Barry out of jail and reveals his fear of facing the Trickster again. Barry declines breaking out, but [instead] offers a strong bode of confidence to Ralph’s heroic capabilities. Ralph leaves as Barry and the other prisoners are uncaged for an hour. It comes as no surprise Barry goes directly to the ally who helped him earlier to gather more info. The man tells Barry that Henry saved his life by removing his appendix when prison doctors weren’t on shift. They split ways and the man, called Big Sir, gets jumped by a few thugs.

Barry hears the ruckus and returns to help Big Sir. A couple of thugs charge at Barry, but he activates his speed and performs a sequences where he takes 2 enemies and rearranges them to attack each other. He then deals with the prison gang leader and saves Big Sir.

Let My Friends Go
Team Flash prepares to take Axel and his mother down. Harry will neutralize the axid but needs the help of Cisco and the Ice Queen – who arrives once Cisco and Harry yell at Caitlin to summon Killer Frost. For some reason, Cisco and Frost thought they could just waltz in and free the unidentified hostages. Much to their chagrin, they were cuffed because Prank and the Trickster switched places with them.

The Trickster and Prank take control of the airwaves to spin the wheel of Misfortune and determine the fates of Cisco and Killer Frost. Ralph enters and gets into action after a heartfelt soliloquy by using himself as a human slingshot to dropkick the Trickster. Prank pulls a lever to release the axid shower on Cisco and Frost, so Ralph stretches and covers them from their demise, but Harry was able to neutralize the solution just in the nick of time. Joe and CCPD apprehend the two villains and Ralph proceeds to do another interview, which results in him being nicknamed the Elongated Man.

Happy Ending? – Or Nah?
Barry speaks with Big Sir, who is really named Dave, and finds that he has a new friend in prison. Iris pays Barry another visit and expresses she would like to feel Barry’s touch, so he phases through the glass partition to hold her hand while the security camera pivots away.

As usual, all is not well that ends well. Cisco and Ralph grab coffee from Jitters but discover neither of them is in position to pay. A pretty girl steps forward to slap twenty dollars on the counter before making awkward conversation. Cisco and Ralph leave, so she quickly makes some symbolic notations in a journal. I know this doesn’t sound super threatening, but Flash fans know better than to overlook this as something trivial. At least, for now, Central City is safe thanks to Ralph’s heroics, but one can’t help but wonder what significance those notations will carry next episode. For answers to this question and more, be sure to tune in next Tuesday at 8 to Atlanta’s CW!

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