TV REVIEW: The Flash “All Star Team Up”
By Justin Carter
The title of this week’s Flash, “All-Star Team Up,” refers to Ray Palmer and Felicity showing up in Central City for help with the ATOM suit. But the title is a bit misleading, as Barry does most of the work dealing with the villain of the week. Ray just sits back with the rest of Team Flash at STAR Labs until the end, and even then not for very long. It’s a bit of a mistake to bring Felicity and Ray to Flash’s world; Ray can alternate between being kinda endearing (he and Cisco bond, which is awesome) and kinda creepy on Arrow, but thankfully it’s more of the former here. While I do like Felicity, her “awkward-cute nerd” shtick runs a little more thinly here than it did last time around, particularly some early banter about her and Ray’s sex life, which runs just long enough to go from funny to awkward.
When I reviewed “Tricksters” last month, I noted that letting Eddie in on Barry being the Flash while keeping Iris in the dark just didn’t make sense, especially when you consider that Wells killed her partner Mason Bridge. For all Wells knows, Bridge could have easily left a copy of his work to Iris, and you’d think Joe and Barry would think to maybe let her in on the loop. But nope, she’s still in the dark as her boyfriend is brought into the inner circle for whatever reason. All of this comes to a head as Iris finally calls Eddie out on his secrets and ends up breaking things off. It’s a well-acted moment, but it had no emotional resonance with me because, well, Iris is completely in the right here.
Narratively or production wise, there’s no legitimate reason for her to not be in the know at this point. Right now, Eddie is more than allowed to override Joe’s “I’m her dad” card with the “I’m her boyfriend” card. Instead, he’s just caught between a rock and a hard place, and there’s honestly not even a reason he needed to specifically know Barry was the Flash. If you wanted me to be sad Iris and Eddie broke up, show, you didn’t do so well.
What the show did do well this week is get everyone (minus Iris, natch) on the same page regarding Wells. Caitlin and Cisco are brought into the fold at the end. While Caitlin is pretty skeptical, Cisco goes with full conviction. The memories of his death by Wells’ hands from Barry’s time traveling stint are starting to bleed over to the point where he experiences these events even while he’s awake. If this ends up being what leads to him becoming Vibe for next season, I’ll be excited.
Despite being having “All-Star” in its title, the villain this time around is definitely not. Emily Kinney, in what’s probably her first TV role since leaving Walking Dead last fall, plays a tech expert named Brie Larven (yes, seriously) who developed mechanical bees at Mercury Labs and later weaponized them to become the Bug-Eyed Bandit (named by both Ray and Cisco, in a total bro bonding moment). She’s okay in the role, even though she isn’t give all that much to do. Aside from some creepy visuals of the bees leaving the mouth of one of her victims, it’s hard to believe these things were threatening to Barry at all.
They feel like a holding pattern, as does the episode as a whole. Luckily, Flash is in a position to where it can have one so late in their season so the big stuff can kick off next week. The stuff that works and the stuff that doesn’t all merge together to create an average episode, which may be the most stinging complaint one could give a show with a consistent streak.
Ray: “I prefer the Atom.” Cisco: “Are you married to that, or…?”
There were so many bee jokes. I honestly contemplated just linking to a video of that one scene from the Wicker Man remake in place of a review.
Cisco: “Oh hell no, I do not do bees!” Same, man. Same.
Caitlin, talking about Ray and Felicity: “Oh god, there’s two of them.”
Caitlin: “Is it a bird?” Cisco: “It’s a plane.” Felicity: “It’s my boyfriend.” Brandon Routh was Superman for a while, so it technically works.
There’s something chilling about closing out the episode with a quick shot of the Reverse Flash’s red eyes. Things are going to go down these next 5 weeks.