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The Flash - All Star Team Up - Review: "What a... Episode?"


1.18 - "All Star Team Up"
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen
Written by Grainne Godfree and Kai Yu Wu
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington

Hey, Gavin here again filling in for Christopher DeBono this week.


'All Star Team Up' Review

WAS A CROSSOVER NECESSARY?

This was quite a mixed bag of an episode. Some things just seemed a little off and I wasn't totally convinced by this crossover. I loved the first Arrow and The Flash crossover earlier in the season but I'm starting to feel like this special event thing is being overused... and we're only 18 episodes in. I like me some Felicity and she was great in this episode, perhaps better than she's been in Arrow lately, but the show is still finding its story and to have her plopped in with Ray amongst all of The Flash's drama was a little bad timing. I do really like how Felicity helped though and Ray wasn't too bad either. I quite liked his dynamic with Cisco - "Bug-Eyed Bandit" - but some scenes with the Arrow-alum just didn't sit right with me. It got better by the end with Felicity having those nemesis moments with Brie until she won over her. "Boom, drop the mic." Love it. But yeah, this would have been better if it was dedicated solely to the villain and not have too much shoved into it. Like last week when there was quite a lot going on, I felt "Tricksters" were better balanced and I think I preferred it too.

THE GOOD AND THE BAD

Having said that, I really loved the beginning with Barry, Joe and Eddie working together chasing the bad guys. It was so fun to watch and it was something I wished the whole episode was like, and something I want to see more of. Caitlin was barely used but Cisco had some important moments in the episode as he could remember his death from the original timeline. I'm wondering how that's possible if the original timeline in which Harrison Wells kills Cisco didn't actually happen after all? Am I overthinking this? I read some comments that said it was convenient and it is because it's quite an easy way of convincing Cisco and Caitlin that Harrison Wells is the Reverse-Flash. At this point I don't care how easy it was to convince them though, I'm just really glad that Barry, Cisco and Caitlin are on the same page now and I kind of missed that chemistry between them the past few episodes. I liked that they were going to go to karaoke (as a recurring thing they do where we all know Barry would beat them all hands down) and I like seeing their moments in between the seriousness of the episode. I'm excited to see where we take this.

THE VILLAIN

I do love Emily Kinney and I have missed her on The Walking Dead, so her appearance as the villain-of-the-week was great. What made it interesting too, as well as the Trickster, was that she wasn't a meta-human - she was just a crazy scientist. She could control robot bees which is a little far-fetched but come on, it's The Flash. The Bug-Eyed Bandit didn't have an awful lot to do in this episode and it felt a little hard to feel any sort of connection to her backstory and why she was going after these people. The bloated-ness of the episode was due to the crossover and accommodating Felicity and Ray, so focus on the villain was pretty much sacrificed. Instead of it being an episode all about conquering this new villain, it felt more like she was just a side-storyline and more of a nuisance to the bigger arc going on. The Tricksters in the last episode had much better incorporation to the episode's plot so I do wish the Bug-Eyed Bandit was much better incorporated so I could actually immerse myself in that world. She's been defeated but I'm hoping she will come back at a later date so she can get some material she deserves and hopefully a bigger story.

EDDIE AND IRIS

Writers, please write bigger and better things for Iris and Eddie. This whole being underused thing and then what you do give them is recycled rubbish from typical teenage dramas, it's tired. I'm tired. I thought at the beginning of the episode, Eddie was going to be more hands-on with his teamwork with Barry and Joe but we circle it round to Iris and there's just nothing interesting there. The dinner date was awkward and very unnecessary in the scope of things - I mean why have one? Eddie went to Barry and Felicity about keeping secrets from Iris so why would a dinner date with a loved-up couple and a third wheel help? Iris is very stubborn which is something I like about her - she wants to uncover the truth and she won't sit back and take dishonesty. It does seem unfair on Eddie because it's not his secret to share so he's in a tight spot, but Barry's secret is really damaging his relationship with Iris. And when did Iris become someone to be controlled? I get Joe wanting to protect his daughter and whatnot, but Iris is a grown-ass woman. Can she not make up her own damn mind about something she's inevitably going to find out about anyway? What is the harm, really, in telling her when the whole cast of the show of this AND Arrow know Barry is the Flash? Where's the trust and loyalty there because the secrecy and leaving her out is only pushing her away and when she does find out, she's going to be pissed that she was left out. It will show her that she is considered the weakest character in everybody else's eyes. Iris isn't weak! Give her something to show she can handle herself. I'm wondering, is Iris going to remember Barry is the Flash from the original timeline since Cisco did?

THE CONCLUSION

I do feel a little confused about my feelings toward this episode actually. I really, really wanted to enjoy it but the crossover felt forced, the villain felt more of a nuisance and there was probably more to dislike in this episode than anything else. I don't want to come across as a hater because I love The Flash and even though I have my grievances with this episode, I always do enjoy this world and the characters. It just pains me when I see characters underused or given lacklustre material that further problematises the balancing issues this show has had lately. I still do love how Felicity helped the gang and Ray's and Cisco's connection, and the ending with Caitlin and Cisco finding out about Harrison as the Reverse-Flash was a long-time coming. It sets up some interesting things going forward and I can't wait to see all of this unravel. Again, I'm not hating on the show, but this episode should have been better but unfortunately fell a little flat. Maybe take out some of the unnecessary drama - I'm looking at you Iris/Eddie - and give more focus in developing the characters and villains and we'd have a great show. Sometimes less is more.

What did you guys think of 'All Star Team Up'? Let me know in the comments and be sure to watch the next new episode of The Flash on April 21st on The CW!



CHECK OUT MY OTHER 'THE FLASH' REVIEWS

1.12 - CRAZY FOR YOU
Caitlin decides that she and Barry need to move on from Ronnie and Iris and find new loves so she takes him for a night out at the local karaoke bar. Barry meets Linda Park, a sports reporter. Meanwhile, Cisco considers Hartley’s dangerous offer and the team searches for Shawna, a meta-human with teleportation powers, who just busted her boyfriend Clay out of Iron Heights. Henry snoops around in an attempt to help Joe.

1.17 - TRICKSTERS
A copycat killer who goes by the name “The Trickster” starts setting off bombs in Central City. In order to stop the villain, Barry and Joe meet with the original Trickster, a criminal mastermind named James Jesse, who has been imprisoned for 20 years. Things quickly go from bad to worse when the Tricksters unite and take Henry prisoner. Flashbacks to the past show how Harrison Wells came up with the idea of the particle accelerator.

About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
Award-winning author of 'Abyssal Sanctuary: Remnants of the Damned'. Gavin joined SpoilerTV on August 9, 2014 and will be reviewing 2 Broke Girls, Mistresses, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, Salem and Sleepy Hollow in the 2014-15 season. Gavin's favourite shows include Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Desperate Housewives, The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Scandal and much more. You can contact him at gavin@spoilertv.com.
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