THE FLASH Sees Stars

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Episode 118 “All Star Team Up”

[Photos: Cate Cameron/The CW]

This week’s episodes of both The Flash and Arrow put the Atom front and center, probably to get people used to the idea of Ray Palmer being front and center of his own show, and to also prove that his character will work as part of either show.

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Caitlin: “Is that a bird?”

Cisco: “It’s a plane.”

Felicity: “It’s my boyfriend.”

 

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And with that, Felicity Smoak returns to her roots as the funny one. On both shows. Really, The Flash still allows Felicity to be Felicity, where Arrow has her acting very dark and moody and it just doesn’t fit her character at all.

At. All.

 

Ray is the same way — a little creepy, but really puppy-dog enthusiastic an eager, and as he’s written, he’s a much better fit for The Flash. Plus, he and Felicity are both experts at stumbling into double entendres this week.

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The villain of the week: Brie Larvan, also known as the “Bug-Eyed Bandit” (courtesy of Cisco and Ray tag-teaming the name). Larvan, who’s based on Bertram Larvan (the first Bug-Eyed Bandit, who debuted in 1996 on the cover of Atom #26), is out for revenge against her former colleagues — all robotics experts who worked with her at Mercury Labs under the supervision of Dr. Tina McGee.

Larvan was working on robotic bees for an agricultural project, and was the only one on the team to venture into weaponization experiments, for which she was fired. This, of course, means she has to take her revenge. Because that’s what evil villains do. And as evil villains go, she’s not very well fleshed-out and multi-dimensional. But for this episode, none of that is really needed much because Larvan is only a means to an end. Her miniature robot killer bees give Ray the inspiration he needs to start moving in the direction his Iron Ray suit should be going — smaller.

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Larvan also gives us an excuse to bring Dr. McGee back, and for her to make a connection with Barry after he and Joe come with Dr. Wells to warn her about the imminent attack. McGee ignores the warning, mainly because it’s coming from Wells, but after Larvan’s attack she comes to Barry with an apology, and that gives Barry an opening to ask about her association with Wells. She gives us a rather clunky piece of exposition (two, actually, with her identification of Larvan) that gives Barry the idea that Wells is actually not Wells.

It’s a suspicion he can’t discuss with Caitlin or Cisco, mainly because he’s at the point where he doesn’t know who’s trustworthy. Felicity picks up on his unease and tries to get him to open up about what’s bugging him. “And don’t say it’s a bad time. Oliver might be joining the League of Assassins, Laurel’s the Black Canary, and Thea’s training with Malcolm, so I know about bad times.”

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Cisco, meanwhile, is connecting pretty easily with Ray as they work on fixing the Iron Ray suit’s power consumption problem. Two kids in the candy store, they are.  Caitlin: “What is it with billionaires being superheroes?” And while Cisco helps Ray, Felicity helps Team Flash with their bee problem, and along the way she gets to toss out Felicity-isms.

“She’s good. She’s like my nemesis. I’ve never had a nemesis before. I kind of like it.”

“Mama’s been away from a keyboard for far too long.”

These lines are significant in that they acknowledge the fact that she’s not been in her most effective role as Oracle on Arrow (come on, we know it’s only a matter of time…), and even if she never takes on that persona, that’s the job she does best, and with this season tearing into Olicity and ripping Team Arrow apart in the aftermath of Oliver Queen’s death, Felicity has just been written… wrong. Off-balance.

The hack challenge between Felicity and Larvan is a little short, but that’s mostly because Larvan isn’t being set up as anything other than a means to an end — getting Dr. McGee to reveal one little bit to Barry. This takes us one step closer to the impending confrontation between Barry and Wells/Thawne. Hopefully, Barry will fare better than Cisco did…

Cisco had better watch out, too, as he’s now died twice on this show. This time Cisco stepped in front of a killer robot bee that was about to attack Ray. Barry uses vibrations to resuscitate Cisco. So now vibes have killed him (in that timeline that never happened), and vibes have also brought him back to life.

(Remember, Cisco Ramon is the DC Comics hero Vibe.)

And did that other timeline not happen? Because every now and again, someone will say something to trigger a flashback (flash-sideways?) into that day that got erased. Cisco remembers his confrontation with Wells. He remembers Wells killing him.

This will become the wedge that falls between Cisco and Caitlin, as she seems reluctant to even entertain the notion that Wells could be the Reverse-Flash. And although we’ll have more in the next episode, it’s easy to predict this disagreement is the first building block to the arrival of Killer Frost by the end of the season (which Danielle Panabaker confirmed at a recent convention appearance).

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And I’m not even going to bother with Eddie and Iris. She’s being written as a petulant brat, and Eddie looks to be on the “friends+woman=enemy” path where his failed relationship with Iris will somehow be Barry’s fault and this will lead somehow to Eobard Thawne wanting to kill the Flash for some reason.

I will say that the whole “Keep it a secret from Iris” bit is just stupid at this point. Everyone knows Barry Allen is the Flash… except Iris. And how exactly is she in any less danger? She’s already the daughter of a prominent police officer. And now she’s a reporter. Granted, she’s not an intrepid reporter from a major metropolitan newspaper, but I bet she’ll get into a scrape or two before she retires. It’s just silly for her to be the only one who doesn’t know his secret.

In the end, Iris gives Eddie an ultimatum, Ray ends up with a robot bee to study, and Barry’s investigation of Wells puts Caitlin and Cisco front and center for a showdown they might not completely survive.

 

[Show web site at CW]     [Previous Recap: “Tricksters”]

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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