The Flash: 1.18 All Star Team Up
Welcome back The Flash, we have missed you. Arrow, Daredevil and even Agents Of SHIELD have been dark and gritty so we need some light to contrast the superhero gloom and doom. Fortunately, even with Felicity arriving with new boyfriend Ray Palmer and remarking "I thought Central City was supposed to be the fun one?", there was still plenty of fun to contrast the darkness.
It helped that Brandon Routh's Ray Palmer is light and infectious and probably looks more at home in The Flash then he does in Arrow. The episode really had fun with the debut of his character in the spin off, from Cicso and Ray becoming geek tech buddies in Star Labs revamping his suit, to the sexual innuendo of the performance of his Atom suit..
Also the Is it a bird, is it a plane reference? A perfect way to introduce Cisco and Caitlin to the man that was once Superman in a film universe a long time ago.
I have mentioned in my review of both shows that I am really loving the character crossovers and for Felicity, this was her third time round this season. She fits right into Star Labs just as easily as the 'Arrow cave' and she definitely had great moments this week. As a confidant, she helped Barry deal with the growing concerns over Dr Well's / the Reverse Flash's motivations and help him see that Cisco and Caitlin could be trusted with his secret, something that he finally did by the episode's end.
Along with the Atom she also got to have her fair share of the action, using her computer skills to take control of the robotic killer bees. I loved that she dubbed the Bug-Eyed Bandit her nemesis; perhaps Emily Kinney's villain could cross over to Arrow for a rematch? Testing out his new suit, we got to see the Atom in action, saving Dr. Tina McGee from a robotic bee attack; more so then his main show, this felt like the first proper glimpse of what we might see in the eventual spin-off show.
Best line of the episode also had to go to Felicity describing Ray to Caitlin. “It's kind of like I'm dating Barry, but in Oliver's body". It actually has me laughing out loud.
Of course it wasn't all the Felicity and Ray show, despite what the episode title suggested. In fact the Atom and the Flash working together barely made had any screen time in the All Star Team Up. The regulars all had their time to shine, particularly the action packed, hilarious opening where the Flash, Joe and Eddie took down crooks in a car-zipping chase and the takedown of host of robbers. You could visibly see the delight on Joe's face as he appeared in the driving seat of the baddie's car, ready to make his arrest.
Eddie too, continued his initiation until the superhero world, though the secrets he was forced to keep from Iris looked set to destroy their relationship. I'm not sure this story works so well; despite everything Joe said, keeping his daughter in the dark seems more a drawn-out plot thread just to keep the secret in play. I genuinely felt sorry for him at the end as Iris moved out because of his secrets. On one hand, Iris and Barry need to end up together. But poor Eddie is suffering. If I were him, I would tell Iris.
Though Barry had some great heroic moments - the defibrillator in the Flash suit being a particularly cool device - he definitely didn't feel like a key player in the episode as he sat back and agonised over what to do over his mentor-turned-nemesis Dr Wells. The same could be said for the episode villain; Emily Kinney of The Walking Dead fame played an evil Felicity well but she barely had enough screen time to make much of an impact. I certainly didn't get what her motivations were, or whether she was a metahuman or just a mad scientist.
Of all the characters, Cisco was best served this week, getting to be more than just the geeky guy with the quips. I'm not sure I quite got why he was having dreams about Dr Wells killing him when this took place in an alternate reality, but it did serve to bring him into the mission against the Reverse Flash. He also got to play the hero, taking a bee for Ray.
The Flash is never going to go as dark as Arrow, but things look set to take a grim turn with the investigation against Dr Wells coming to the fore. This week felt like the light-hearted calm before the storm, allowing the show to have a laugh before things really get serious. Let's just hope the show doesn't loose that sense of fun as the drama takes over.