We open on the next search for the last bus-Meta, Edwin Gauss, who seems to have disappeared from the accident. It turns out he can make his own pocket dimensions to travel as he wishes. He was off the grid before he received his powers, so it makes sense why they manifested as such. He’s a generous guy, who happily goes with Barry and Ralph once he is told of DeVoe’s plans.
While the team plans their next attack, Ralph and Barry get stuck in disagreement on whether they will kill DeVoe, or just incapacitate him. We’re familiar with Barry’s passive stance, but Ralph feels Clifford should be killed, as he wants to take Ralph’s life and wouldn’t let them live if it came to it. The conversation briefly ends with Ralph storming off, but Iris encourages Barry to reach out to him. After cooling off, he tries talking to Ralph with a much kinder approach.
Ralph responds well and opens up; he cares too much about the team to let Clifford be a threat. It’s not about his own life, it’s about those who he has built a family with. While Ralph has been an annoying addition to the team, seeing him open up makes me realize I’ve grown attached. He’s learned so much from Barry and wants to be a good guy like him, even if he hasn’t always been given the opportunity.
The sweet moment is short lived as Team Flash plans their takedown of Clifford. It’s supposed to be a sneak attack with the aid of Edwin’s powers: jump into his lair and take him down with a special weapon. Instead, they fall right into his plans and Clifford shows up at Star Labs. Those left behind, Harry, Iris, Joe, and Ralph, are forced to defend themselves as everyone else has been effectively cut off. As everyone splits off for their own fight, one of the more exciting pair-offs is Joe and the Samuroid. We hardly get to see him in action, but Joe takes little damage over something that gave the team a lot of trouble at the start of this mess.
Ralph is forced to take on Clifford by himself, and after absorbing the rest of the bus-Metas, it seems impossible he’ll be able to do it on his own. Surprisingly, he manages it! He took an imprint of the weapon developed for DeVoe with his body and uses it to knock Clifford down long enough to handcuff him. Ralph lets him live, and by the time Barry returns it all seems too easy of an ending.
As the two congratulate each other, Clifford reveals that Ralph never turned the handcuffs on to disable his powers and makes his move. In a painfully slow transfer, Ralph is no more as Clifford enters his body. Barry is faced with another failure, and Clifford is victorious in achieving everything he wanted.
I shouldn’t be surprised; Barry’s fighting style has been to rely on luck and not face the reality that he had been playing into Clifford’s plan this whole time.
While the team is physically okay, they are still must deal with the ramifications of Clifford’s visit. Caitlin has lost Killer Frost after being touched by Clifford, and Harry used too much dark matter in his cap, frying his brain beyond use. With Ralph gone, there isn’t much hope left for the team to tackle DeVoe before he wraps up his plan for Central City.
As a long time viewer, I’m used to Team Flash letting us down at a critical period. They’ve been pretty lucky at recovering in the last moment, but I don’t think they can come back from this. Losing Ralph hurts; he didn’t deserve to go as he did, just because of the team’s flaws.