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The Flash, Ep. 1.18, “All Star Team Up”: Flash Team Up Leaves Iris Behind

The Flash, Ep. 1.18, “All Star Team Up”: Flash Team Up Leaves Iris Behind

The Flash S01E18

The Flash, Episode 18 “All Star Team Up”
Written by Grainne Godfree & Kai Yu Wu
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen
Airs Tuesdays at 8pm on the CW

In “All Star Team Up”, Barry is still trying to solve the mystery of Harrison Wells.  Why is Wells helping Barry develop his powers if Wells is the Reverse-Flash?  Barry isn’t sure who he can trust, and has brought Joe’s partner Eddie into the mix.  They don’t have much time to dig further, as a series of murders by bees (cue Wicker Man memes) has the Flash racing to stop a new threat.  If he isn’t busy enough, Felicity from Arrow brings her new boyfriend and budding superhero Ray Palmer, a.k.a. The Atom, to STAR Labs for help on his super suit.  Can the two of them stop this new Queen Bee?

Whom can you trust is the core question in “All Star Team Up”.  Barry isn’t sure if he can trust Cisco and Caitlin, due to their relationship with Wells. Iris doesn’t trust Eddie because he refuses to be honest with her.  Cisco can’t trust anyone because he doesn’t understand what is happening to him. Even the main victim of the Bug-Eyed Bandit’s scheme refuses to trust Barry, due to not trusting Wells.

The odd thing about the trust issues present in this particular episode is that only Eddie is struggling with keeping Iris out of the loop.  Everyone gives his objections to keeping her in the dark a hand-wave, assuring him it is for her own good.  He is the only one to realize that keeping Iris at a distance is doing more harm than good, and he is right.

It is incredibly frustrating to see that Iris is still being treated as an outsider, more so now that Eddie knows.  It really causes the character of Iris to come across as annoying, even when she shouldn’t.  She is berating people like Eddie and her dad for keeping things from her, which she is completely right about.  She should not be this annoying, she should be used as a member of Barry’s support team.  Keeping her in the dark always forces her to be in the position of being unlikable, and it really drags down the character and her scenes in the show overall.

The Flash s1e18

Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer is an odd variation on the comic character.  Routh’s character seems to be modeled after Marvel’s Tony Stark, but without the ego and awareness.  When it is revealed he bought the restaurant for the night’s dinner, it is clear that he thinks this is what normal people do.  The other problem is in the character’s power.  The show presents the Atom as Iron Man lite; a hero in a powered suit flying around.  Comic fans will know that Atom’s power is very different, with the ability to shrink and grow at will.  Is DC changing his powers because of Marvel’s Ant-Man?  If so, why model him after Iron Man then?  Some throw-away dialogue at the end of episode has Ray starting to think smaller.  Even more curious is why a hero who has the power to shrink in the comics is taking on something like bees without a reference to his ability to shrink.  This is a very odd twist on the comics that shows no sign of where they are going with this version of Ray Palmer.

That’s not to say that Routh’s Palmer isn’t amusing.  As even Felicity states, Palmer and Barry share a lot in common.  Ray is a nice guy, and Routh has the natural charisma and boyish smile to sell that single characteristic.  While Palmer isn’t given much to do in this episode, he does manage to show he should be expanded upon, with the hope that he gets powers similar to his comic counterpart, rather than being the DC’s Iron Man.

On the villain side, this episode is pretty weak as well. Emily Kinney, recently seen as Beth on The Walking Dead, plays the Bug-Eyed Bandit, and it is unclear if she is a reference to the major DC villain Queen Bee or not.  While she is able to lay on the bee puns with the right level of silliness, she is not fleshed out. She is only presented as someone out for revenge against those who seemingly wronged her.  She lacks the manic delight of Mark Hamill’s Trickster and the over-the-top camp of Captain Cold, and comes off feeling lost in what is already a packed episode.

“All Star Team Up” is one of the weaker episodes of The Flash so far, primarily because the show continues to leave Iris behind the rest of the group.  It brings what is otherwise a fun team-up episode down.  Routh is always fun to watch, and it is never a bad thing to bring over the adorable and dorky Felicity from Arrow to spice things up.  What the show really needs at this point is to let Iris stop being left out.  She has the potential to be a great aid to Barry and the rest of the team, and it is time for her to know the truth.  It is time for Barry, and the show, to trust her.