The rules of time travel on ‘The Flash’ make less sense the more we learn about them, and this week’s episode title ‘All Star Team Up’ perhaps implies a more epic crossover than we actually get, but this is still a super-entertaining episode of the series.
Barry may have found his mojo as The Flash. As Central City experiences a rash of robberies, he actually has a great deal of fun nabbing all the criminals and finding creative ways to use his super-speed. He even, dare I say it, may have finally figured out that he can simply run up and grab the guns out of the hands of armed baddies before they have a chance to use them. With that skill mastered, I should hope that villains Captain Cold and Heat Wave (who don’t appear here, but I want to mention them anyway) prove to be a totally ineffectual threat whenever they turn up again.
The Arrow’s gal-pal Felicity Smoak pays another visit to Central City. (She can’t stay away, can she?) This time, she brings along her new boyfriend, billionaire businessman and ‘Iron Man’ wannabe Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh, former Superman), who fights crime in Starling City wearing a high-tech flying exosuit. The suit is having some problems with overheating, and Felicity hoped that the brilliant Dr. Wells could take a look at it. Even though he still hasn’t told his closest friends, and even though Joe West had just lectured him about how important it is that they play their cards close to their vests for now, Barry wastes little time confiding in Felicity that he has suspicions about Wells.
Before that drama gets too far, a new threat emerges in town. Someone is killing off robotics scientists using swarms of bees. How odd. While investigating this, Barry gets swarmed by the bugs. He tries to outrun them, but a distracted Cisco (more on this shortly) gives him bad directions to navigate the building. The bees sting Barry repeatedly, sending him into cardiac arrest. Fortunately, his suit has a built-in defibrillator that the team can operate remotely to revive him. Cisco feels terrible about dropping the ball the way he did.
Barry recovers one of the bees after the attack. Of course, it’s actually a tiny robot. Barry and Joe trace it to Mercury Labs, whose CEO Tina McGee (Amanda Pays) promptly informs them that it’s the work of disgruntled ex-employee Brie Larvan (Emily Kinney, late of ‘The Walking Dead’). Cisco and Ray simultaneously dub her the “Bug-Eyed Bandit,” just because she wears glasses or something. She neither has bug-eyes nor is a bandit.
Larvan sends her robo-bees after McGee next. Ray volunteers to attack the swarm with his A.T.O.M. suit (that’s what he calls it) and lure the bugs away while Barry searches for the Bandit. Felicity hops on a computer and does her magic hacking thing to try to gain control over the bees, but Larvan detects her and hacks right back at her. They hack and hack at each other, mashing away at their computer keyboards, until Barry finds Larvan. She has yet another swarm of bees attack him, but Felicity eventually manages to hack the best and turns off all the bees. Barry swiftly captures the Bandit.
However, one bee is somehow still functional, and is apparently more intelligent than the others. It shoots straight toward Ray, until Cisco blocks it and takes the sting instead. He also goes into cardiac arrest, but Barry is able to create static electricity by rubbing his gloves together at super-speed. He shocks Cisco back to life.
In the aftermath of all this, McGee tells Barry that Wells has seemingly had a major personality change ever since his wife died, which confirms some of Barry’s suspicions. Barry and Joe finally bring Cisco and Caitlin into their little cabal and tell them everything they know about Wells. Caitlin is skeptical, but Cisco believes. All through the episode, he’s been having flashback visions of Wells murdering him in the lab. How that’s possible isn’t explained. I guess the timelines are colliding or something. I think we just have to accept that it’s not going to make sense so we can move on.
As usual, the least interesting parts of the episode focus on Iris, who’s even more irritating than ever here. Her boyfriend Eddie now knows Barry’s secret and is part of the team, but doesn’t like lying to Iris. Barry and Joe nonetheless insist that he must. Iris, unfortunately, can sense that he’s keeping something from her, and spends the whole episode being really catty and nasty to him. She thinks he’s cheating on her, so she storms out and moves back in with her dad. She threatens Eddie that she’ll break up with him if he doesn’t tell her all his secrets. If you ask me, he should consider this an opportunity to free himself and take her up on that offer.
Despite some quibbles about logic, the bits with Iris, and the villain’s groan-worthy reliance on insect puns, this is just a really fun episode that also makes major progress in setting up the inevitable conflict between Wells and the rest of the team.