‘The Flash’ Season 1 Recap, Episode 18, ‘All-Star Team-Up’
Welcome back to Up To Speed, home of the the Flashest Recaps Alive. Here we’ll recap the latest episode of The Flash, dispense some Flash Facts and talk about what works, what doesn’t and where the series might be headed, as we try and keep up with the adventures of the fastest man alive, Barry Allen, more widely known as The Flash.
This week’s episode has a surprise visit from some Starling City citizens, Cisco and the Atom get caught in a rad bromance, Joe West gets the giggles, Barry gets the blues, and bees. So many bees. Hundreds upon thousands of the things. They're in my eyes! So let's get buzzing on episode 18, "All-Star Team-Up."
FLASHBACK: What Happened This Week
The episode opens with Eddie Thawne, Joe West and Barry Allen (in his Flash get-up) chasing after some crime guys who are driving fast, and it's making Joe furious. Seems like criminals in Central City are working overtime tonight, trying everything from bank robbery to indecent exposure. Thankfully, the Flash is there to take a big ol' bite out of crime, and now that they've inducted Eddie in to the "Let's All Lie To Iris Club," Barry can flash around with impunity. Also, Joe is straight-up giggly in this episode and it is wonderful.
Meanwhile, at Hudson University's Applied Physics & Robotics campus, Professor Lindsay Kang (no relation) gets off work, goes to start her car and OOPS she gets a face full of bees. It's like that scene in the awful Neil LaBute Wicker Man remake, only nowhere near as transcendent. If only Kang had screamed "THEY'RE IN MY EYES!"
The next morning at the crime scene, The Liar's Club discusses Professor Kang's untimely demise and Eddie mentions that she "just got tenure," which I guess the college professor equivalent of being two weeks away from retirement. Poor Professor Kang. That is seriously a messed up way to go. Joe suggests Barry bring the case to STAR Labs, but he's all shook up because he finally figured out that Harrison Wells is the Reverse Flash. Barry takes the case to STAR Labs anyway, because you don't mess with Joe West.
Turns out Prof. Kang got --- you guessed it --- stung to death by a bazillion bees, only there are no bee stingers in her body, so what's the deal? Then Felicity Smoak walks in and makes everybody go outside to meet her boyfriend, Ray Palmer, AKA The Atom, who is played by the guy from that Bryan Singer Superman movie that I guess I saw but I couldn't tell you anything that happened in it besides Superman creeping on Lois, who he had a kid with before he ran off to space. Also Parker Posey was in it, right? So this guy is the Atom and he seems kind of like a doofus. According to the intro bit, ATOM is an acronym because why wouldn't it be?
Anyway, Cisco and Ray hit it off, but when Ray tells Cisco that he wants to go by "The Atom" when he's fighting crime in the suit, Cisco does that thing where he acts like it's the dumbest name ever and only an idiot would like that name. Then there's a lot of boner/sex jokes. You know, for the kids. Barry starts acting weird, so Felicity takes him to the coffee shop to figure out what his deal is.
At the police station, Iris confronts Eddie about how he's obviously lying to her on the reg, but he just deny-deny-denies and she takes off all mad. Joe shows up and Eddie is like, "Please please please let me stop lying to your daughter," but Joe is like, "Nope."
At Jitters, Felicity's trying to figure out Barry's deal is, and he's about to tell her, but then Eddie comes in asking for lying advice, but doesn't want to spill the beans in mixed company. Barry's like, "It's cool, she knows," and Eddie, poor Eddie, says what we're all thinking, "So, everybody but Iris knows your the Flash?" And … yes. It's pretty terrible.
Meanwhile, at a posh office in Downtown
Vancouver Central City, some business scientist guy is being a jerk on his cell phone to his assistant or something, but a lady who is obviously the person behind the bee attacks because she's wearing a honeycomb-patterned jacket sics her bees on him.
At STAR Labs, Ray and Cisco try and figure out something with his Atom suit, but Ray mentions that Cisco's "really quite clever," which sets off an alternate universe flashback to when the Reverse Flash said the same thing and then squished his heart. The deja vu is interrupted by Caitlin, who has picked up a new bee attack on the police scanner. Barry's already on his way. He finds the guy in his office, all slumped back, but no bees. Oh wait, they're all inside the guy and come flying out, swarming Barry and stinging the crap out of him. Joe shows up, but Barry's already having a heart attack. Luckily, his suit has a built-in defibrillator and they manage to jump-start his heart.
Back at STAR Labs, Barry's recuperating, but he can't figure out how Cisco's directions to get out of the bee-filled offices failed him. Turns out that the schematics they had were old or some baloney, but now Barry's suspecting Cisco of being on Wells' side. Also, they mention that the defibrillator is in the suit is shot so when he has to fight bees later in the episode, the stakes will be raised. Barry, subtle as always, changes the subject and then changes his clothes for his tag-along double-date with Ray/Felicity and Eddie/Iris at some fancy schmancy French restaurant.
Cisco shows up at the police station to get some paperwork from Joe on their most recent victim. Turns out he also works in robotics. What are the odds?! Then Cisco asks Joe if he has something going on, but Joe is like, "Nope. He's totally fine." And then he mentions the Reverse Flash, which sends Cisco into Deja Vu Fugue Land and he abruptly gets up and leaves.
At the fancy restaurant, Ray is regaling them with tales about his money pit and how he likes to swim in it, and Iris is grinding an axe roughly the size and shape of her and Eddie's relationship. She really goes for it, because apparently she learned subtlety from whoever taught it to Barry. She's not happy about whatever Eddie's keeping from her and boy howdy, does she want to make sure he --- and everybody else at the dinner table --- knows it.
Then Ray goes on about how great he thinks Harrison Wells is, and Barry jumps up from the table like he was on fire. Felicity makes up an excuse to go talk to Barry. If Ray wasn't an oblivious doof, he'd probably suspect them of hooking up because they're always sneaking off together. Anyway, Barry tells Felicity that he thinks Wells is the Reverse Flash and she's like WHAAAAT?, but then Ray barges in and is like, "Hey, can you guys help me? The other two are fighting and I don't know how to do anything but talk about my suit and about how rich I am." Then Eddie and Iris have a big fight and Iris leaves.
Barry gets a text that something's wrong at STAR Labs, and we find C+C Science Factory trying to take out a stray bee with a fire extinguisher and a Nintendo Power Glove. She's spraying everything, he's blowing stuff up, and just before a bee can get Wells, Barry flashes in and catches the little stinker in a bottle, saving Wells' life.
Only guess what, nerds?!
They figure out that whoever is behind this is targeting robotics people, so Wells visits his former colleague at Mercury Labs (Get it?!), Dr. Tina McGee, to tell her that she may be next. As she despises and does not trust Harrison Wells, it doesn't go so well, though she does manage to tell them that they're looking for Bree Larvan. Larvan worked for Mercury Labs, creating little robot bees for "agricultural use," but Kang and the Bee-Mouth Guy got her fired when it turned out she was weaponizing the robo-bees.
At Jitters, Barry and Felicity chat, and Felicity gives Barry a pep talk about trusting his friends with his Wells secrets.
Barry comes home to find Iris on the couch. She thinks Eddie is cheating or something, because he's all weird and distant. Barry sticks up for Eddie, saying it's probably because he's a cop and has to deal with cop stuff all the time. So yeah, he just flat-out lies to her face some more. There is no way this will blow up in all their faces, no siree.
At STAR Labs, Caitlin and Felicity talk about boys and stuff, when the ro-bee wakes up and starts moving around. Felicity tries hacking the planet to locate the source of the transmission, but before they can find out, Wells buts in to tell them that the swarm is headed for Mercury Labs. Barry can't head there because if he gets stung, he's dead, so Ray volunteers to go there while Barry heads to the abandoned greenhouse Larvan is transmitting from.
Ray heads over and zaps the bees, drawing their attention away from McGee, who's sitting there, waiting for the bees to break thru her window and sting her to death.
At the greenhouse, Barry tries to talk to Larvan, but she goes bee-zerk and lets loose a bunch of bees on Barry. He tries to escape, but doesn't get very far before he's surrounded and about to be bee-d to death, but luckily Felicity hacks their frequency and they stop messing with him, but Larvan hacks back or something.
The Atom leads a swarm of ro-bees to the ocean (which, shouldn't that be a lake? I thought Central City was in the Midwest?) under Cisco's orders, but it messes with his suit and he has to make an emergency landing in the back of a STAR Labs van. Larvan hacks back, but Felicity's powers are too strong, and she deactivates all the bees and bee-fore you know it, the Flash has Larvan in cuffs.
Back at the STAR Labs van, C+C Science Factory and the Atom are celebrating their win when, uh-uh, Cisco jumps in front of a bee that was headed to sting Ray. Barry shows up and, using lightning generated by his super-speed hands, jump-starts Cisco's heart.
Dr. McGee shows up at STAR Labs to apologize for blowing off Joe and Barry's warnings about the Bug-Eyed Bandit, and Barry asks her about Harrison Wells. She tells us what we already knew about the guy: after his car crash, it was like he was a whole different person (because he literally was a whole different person).
At Jitters, Barry's saying goodbye to Felicity and Ray. Barry tells her he's gonna take her advice, and then Ray is like, "Hey, I stole one of these bees, and I'm gonna use the technology for my superhero suit! Isn't that great?!" Seriously, this guy is lucky he's a bazillionaire, because he's an idiot.
Meanwhile, at the police station, Iris confronts Eddie again. She says that Barry brought up some good points about why Eddie's holding stuff beck from her and that's great, but listen: either you be honest with me or I walk. So now Eddie's like, "So do I be honest with my smokin' hot girlfriend and lose the respect of Joe and Barry, or…?"
Finally, we see Barry, who has lured his friends to his grimy lab under the pretense of fake karaoke to show them his Crazy Wall and tell them that he thinks Harrison Wells is the Reverse Flash. Caitlin's like, "You're crazy. This is crazy," but Cisco tells them about his dream/nightmares and, welp, there's no turning back now.
FLASH FACTS: Random Observations
- Ray Palmer --- aka, The Atom --- was created by Julius Schwartz, Gardner Fox and Gil Kane and first appeared in Showcase #34, in 1961. A revamping on the 1940s hero, Ray Palmer was a scientist who specialized in "matter compression," and decided to try it on himself, shrinking himself down really tiny like a tiny, tiny thing. Over the years he's been revamped, retconned and replaced, but the general idea is: guy gets small, has adventures.
- This episode didn't really land for me. Part of the problem is that Ray and Felicity are sort of redundant when you already have Cisco and Caitlin, and their goofy personalities only serve to make C+C look a little dull by comparison. The other issue is that, other than that last scene with Barry telling Caitlin and Cisco that Wells is the Reverse Flash, not a lot happened to further the RevFlash background plot. We got a kinda flat villain who you know is gonna evaporate once the 44 minutes are up, and whose gimmick, while interesting, is presented in a real flat, generic way.
- Bree Larvan is a gender-swapped updating of the Atom villain The Bug-Eyed Bandit. Created by Fox and Kane again, Larvan first appeared in Atom #26 in 1966. Larvan in the comics was an inventor who created mechanical insects to steal stuff. He's a pretty cool-looking dude.
- Business Beanie™.
FLASH FORWARD: Future Happenings
Next week's episode is titled, "Who Is Harrison Wells?" and, after a season of dancing around it, it looks like we're finally gonna start to pull the thread on Eobard Thawne and the Reverse Flash. Get excited.
See you next week: Same Flash time. Same Flash channel.