'The Flash' Episode 1.18 "All Star Team Up" (6 out of 10) Starring Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Rick Cosnett, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Kavanaugh, and Jesse L. Martin. Guest starring Emily Bett Rickards, Brandon Routh, Amanda Pays, Emily Kinney. First broadcast April 14, 2015.
"Arrow" and "The Flash" are becoming so intertwined with plots and characters, it's hard to watch one without the other. It's like they're sharing a universe or something. And I love it. So when Felicity Smoak and Ray Palmer/Atom drop in to Central City and S.T.A.R. Labs, it's no big deal. And Felicity having told Ray the Flash's secret identity? No big deal. For geeks who love seeing their heroes working together to fight evil? That's a pretty big deal.
Most of the "action" tonight happens without masks
Atom and Felicity are in Central City looking for help from the brains at S.T.A.R. Labs. Atom's been having problems sustaining power in his A.T.O.M. (Advanced Technology mumble mumble they shouldn't have made it an acronym) suit, and they're hoping Cisco and Caitlin can help. They can, of course, and the interplay between the characters from the different series is great. You have Felicity's brains teaming up nicely with the S.T.A.R. Labs nerds, and Atom giving a few superheroey assists to the Flash. But most of the "action" in tonight's episode happens without the masks on.
In an arc of the last several episodes, Barry Allen has come to suspect, and then know, that Harrison Wells is the one who killed his mother. And that Barry was present as an adult, as the Flash. That's led him to understand time travel, to actually time travel, and distrust the man who has been his greatest mentor. He brought Detective Joe West in to help with his investigation, but has been trying to hide his (new) secret from Caitlin and Cisco. He tells Felicity, who encourages him to spread the load with Caitlin and Cisco, telling Barry that of all people, they could be trusted. And they know something's not right anyway. Of course, if Wells/Reverse Flash realizes that they know, everyone becomes a target. He all ready killed Cisco in one timeline, what's to stop him from doing it again?
Barry struggles with that on one level during the episode, and on another, watches Felicity (his almost-girlfriend from his first episodes on "Arrow" and who he still kinda has a thing for) in a happy, fulfilling relationship with Ray...and watches Iris and Eddie in a happy relationship that's falling apart as Eddie keeps Barry's secret from her. In fact, he watches it all firsthand, because they go on a triple date together. A triple date where he doesn't have a date. The very definition of a fifth wheel. Been there, my friend. And it's great. By which I mean it sucks. Eddie's only known about Barry's superpowers for one episode, but it's already tearing him up; we're watching the character unravel. Where he shares the "Thawne" name with Eobard-who-killed-original-Dr-Wells-and-stole-his-identity-and-is-now-Reverse-Flash-Thawne, I can't help but wonder if there's some nastiness ahead from Eddie. Fans who already knew the name have anticipated it for the entire season; it'll be interesting to see what happens with him.
Will we be seeing Atom shrinkage soon?
Oh yeah, there's like a supervillainy threat thing. A weak villain of the week. Villain of the weak? A mad scientist-type, Brie Larvan, wants revenge, and can control swarms of robotic bees who will sting you right to death. Investigating the first death, the team knows it's bees, after the second death, they know it's robotic bees (who sting the hell out of Barry and kill (temporarily) Cisco), and they figure out that Dr. Tina McGee of Mercury Labs is a likely target. I'm glad they're using McGee as a recurring character; she was the S.T.A.R. Labs brains for the 1990 Flash series, and it's nice to see her playing the same character again, in a slightly different scenario. (brain tangent...what if Harrison Wells is revealed as Reverse Flash, is incarcerated, and they need a new boss at S.T.A.R. Labs, and that boss will be Tina McGee ZOMG I just put it all together and I'm okay with it)(of course, they could maybe figure out who to separate Eobard Thawne and Harrison Wells, and they've done stranger things before, and I'd be okay with that too) Brie Larvan, who gets the unfortunate villain moniker "Bug-Eyed Bandit" from Cisco and Ray, becomes irrelevant and forgettable pretty quickly. But the miniaturized technology in her robotic bees moves Cisco and Ray forward in new technology for Atom. With this and the nanobots used to cure Ray a few weeks ago...will we be seeing Atom's shrinkage soon? After watching Marvels new "Ant-Man" trailer yesterday, I think CW needs to get on that, and in this season.
This was an okay episode, but it didn't do much. There were several cute moments, because I like Felicity and Ray, and I like the S.T.A.R. Labs nerds. Seeing them all together was fun. But without a massive threat that would jeopardize the entire city, why have a team-up at all? In any case, it was an episode where a lot of exposition could happen without sacrificing action...because there was no action to have. It was okay.