The Flash – Season 1 Episode 18
“All Star Team Up”
Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer makes his way over from Arrow to The Flash and brings Felicity in tow as a swarm of robot bees is killing people.
Who doesn’t love a good crossover? Marvel Studios have created a multi billion dollar movie franchise out of just that notion and it’s kept comic books ticking along for decades. Having Ray Palmer appear on The Flash feels like an event because it is. It helps this universe remain large and connected while still ticking along with the arcs being developed in the shows.
Ray Palmer’s and Felicity’s appearance is somewhat incidental as Ray is only showing up to get some help with his suit but the way he and Felicity get folded into the narrative feels really natural. I like the idea that characters can come and go without dominating the story. Again it adds a sense of size to this universe.
Ray fits in perfectly to this show with his most light hearted attitude and his general nerdy outlook. His scenes with Cisco were an absolute riot to watch as they bonded immediately. Seeing them nerd out over Ray’s suit, disagree on the name and help name the villain was all pure gold.
Brandon Routh has really impressive comic timing that also helps him blend in nicely. I’ve commented that it sometimes feels like Ray’s story on Arrow feels like it belongs on a different show. Well, here is that show. He definitely feels like he belongs and is a natural fit with the rest of the cast. Of course, it’s looking likely that he will appear on the upcoming spinoff but if he were to join the cast here I wouldn’t be against the idea.
Ray’s introduction in the episode was fantastically done with the callbacks to Routh’s previous role as Superman in Superman Returns. There were other great moments like the doubling up on the double entendres with Felicity that forced Caitlin to comment on there being “two of them”. It was really laugh out loud stuff throughout.
I also liked that the episode functioned on a meta level with Felicity commenting on the differences between the two shows. She comments that it’s good to be away from the morbid stuff and expresses disappointment that team Flash seems to be all serious since Central City is supposed to be fun according to her.
One thing The Flash does well is straddle the line between comedic and serious. This episode was a great example of that with the Dr. Wells story bubbling along in the background and the pressure that’s putting on Barry who can’t act on his suspicions quite yet.
Beyond that there’s the whole Eddie and Iris thing. Ever since Eddie found out Barry’s identity it’s created a rift between him and Iris. She resents the fact that he’s obviously keeping some kind of secret from her and isn’t willing to accept it. It causes so many arguments between them and Eddie just wants to tell her but Joe won’t allow it. He plays the “I’m her father card” which puts Eddie in a difficult position. If he says nothing then he loses Iris but if he reveals Barry’s identity to her then there’s no telling what will happen.
It does seem like the secret identity has become a joke in this show though. Joe willingly calls Barry by name in front of criminals and Felicity assumes he’ll be fine with her telling Ray. Of course he isn’t bothered about it which means -as Eddie points out- that it’s only Iris who doesn’t know. I sort of see his point as not knowing who the Flash is doesn’t exactly keep her any safer. She’s still in danger a lot so I can’t see that changing too much. I do find it really mature of Eddie to not have it enter his mind that Iris might be drawn to Barry if she knows that he’s the Flash. Maybe he’s just naive but I do like that this doesn’t enter his mind.
I do think that Iris is wearing her princess crown again though. She basically expects Eddie to tell her everything about his life because people who love each other should have no secrets. I don’t agree with her here because there are things about jobs that are confidential and shouldn’t be told to anyone outside the organisation. I imagine lots of police work falls under that banner so what entitles Iris to know all about it? There are things that are bothering Eddie of course but why can’t she just let him come to her when he’s ready instead of forcing the issue? She really annoys me more each passing week.
Felicity’s presence is always welcomed and her chemistry with Barry is as strong as ever. Like the first time she appeared in the show she helps Barry sort his head out and realise who his friends are. Barry is in crisis as he’s unsure who to trust at this point. He has no idea if Cisco and Caitlin are in league with Wells or not and has no real way of knowing. Felicity encourages him to take that leap of faith and it’s just the encouragement he needed. She’s not just there to spout quips!
The villain managed to be the weakest part of the episode. It’s hard to say if Emily Kinney was any good as Brie Larvin as she had so little to work with. She was very one note and beyond being on a mission of vengeance after being fired and being fond of bee puns there’s nothing to her character. I did love the hacker battle between her and Felicity though.
I don’t see how the robot bees presented a problem for Barry as he should have had no trouble outrunning them. Having him so easily defeated didn’t really work for me. It did give the opportunity for the really cool team-up between the Flash and the Atom but I would have like to see them in costume sharing some screen time. Still seeing Ray going after the robot swarm was awesome and the hint at the upcoming shrinking powers bodes really well.
Cisco’s visions of the other timeline involving his discovery of Wells’ identity and his subsequent death really piqued my interest. I wonder how this is happening and it has forced me to slightly revise my negative opinion of how the time travel was handled. It does seem that the Cisco development in that episode has consequences after all and will be used to form the basis for the rest of the season. I like that it’s not a complete reset and I wonder if anyone else will remember anything.
Ray Palmer’s first appearance in The Flash proved to be a really fun and exciting experience.
Ray fits perfectly into this show and has such natural chemistry with Barry and Cisco. I love the immediate bromance between Cisco and Ray as they nerd out over Ray’s Atom suit and come up with villain names together. Ray is a more lighthearted character so definitely feels like he belongs here.
Similarly Felicity seems to fit in anywhere and her natural chemistry with Barry is always an entertaining watch. I like that she manages to help Barry sort his head out and take a leap of faith in trusting Cisco and Caitlin with what he’s found out about Dr. Wells. It proves to be worth the risk and Felicity is basically right as usual.
The problems that Iris and Eddie are having following Eddie knowing Barry’s identity and struggling to keep it a secret from her are handled pretty well. Iris feels that Eddie’s keeping something huge from her and doesn’t want to let it go. I do feel that she could be more understanding and wait for Eddie to come to her rather than try to force the issue. At least it gives us a break from the love triangle nonsense.
It’s a shame the villain was so poorly developed as it brought things down slightly. She just seemed to be your average quipping vengeful villain who was killing people because they wronged her in some way. It made the character so uninteresting and a swarm of killer robot bees shouldn’t have been a threat for the Flash.
I loved the Flash/Atom team up but would have liked to see them share some screen time in costume. It was the only thing missing. Despite that it was really cool seeing Ray in action. Shrinking is coming soon, I’m sure of it.
Cisco’s visions of the other timeline I did not expect. I’m glad that there are some consequences of the time travel and that they are going to inform the rest of the season. I wonder if anyone else will start to have visions.
Despite some niggling issues it was great to have Ray and Felicity in the show and it was definitely a lot of fun having these characters interact with Team Flash.