Last year, The Flash was hit with a shocking casting shakeup when Hartley Sawyer was fired from the series due to offensive social media posts. At the time, fans were left wondering how the series would handle Sawyer's character as Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man had become an important part of Team Flash. Then, last summer, series showrunner Eric Wallace revealed that the role would be recast for a brief appearance in Season 7 in order to tie up loose ends and write the character out of the series for the immediate future while also concluding Sue Dearbon's (Natalie Dreyfuss) story as well. Now, in this week's episode, "Mother", that promised resolution arrives. Here's how they did it.
Warning: Spoilers for this week's episode of The Flash, "Mother", below.
As Eva McCulloch's Mirror duplicates begin to take over Central City, Sue Dearbon's "parents" show up at the police station. Before Joe West can talk to them, however, he's pulled aside by an officer who turns out to be Sue in disguise. She lets him know that something weird is going on and those people aren't her parents, and Joe is able to put two and two together. As the Mirror duplicate situation intensifies and at the suggestion of Team Flash, the city goes into a semi-blackout to help prevent Eva from body-snatching more people.
A bit later, an injured Sue shows up at STAR Labs with an extremely melty Ralph. As she explains, that blackout and the associated distraction caused by Eva's invasion end up prompting Ralph to break into McCulloch Technologies seeking evidence to clear Sue's name. He's inside the facility when Eva blows it up and while he survives the blast, the temperature of it was high enough to melt him. Team Flash is her only hope to help him and so they put him in the BCU chamber -- the same place they put Chester when he went all black hole last season -- to put him back together.
At the end of the episode, Ralph is a bit better (though his face is fully obscured in a full head mask that Barry jokes reminds him of Daft Punk) but still has a few days to go before he'll be fine. There's a bit of joking between Ralph and the team -- his voice changed by the helmet -- and the team offers Sue a place with them permanently. Sue politely declines; she and Ralph are going to continue their work dealing with organizations like the now-defunct Black Hole.
The situation wraps up Ralph's storyline and sends him and Sue off on new adventures in a way that allows the show to continue forward without them, something that Wallace teased last year.
"In order to wrap that up, which we're going to do at the top of season 7, Ralph has to be part of that," Wallace added. "Now thank goodness, Ralph is a guy who can change faces and his appearance in many ways. Without giving any spoilers away, there are a couple of ways that we can have Elongated Man still appear in at least one episode this season to wrap that storyline up, that gets us what we need and still allows fans to say goodbye to the character, at least for the indefinite future."
What do you think about how The Flash handled Ralph's departure? Let us know in the comments.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.