After a very villain-centric Tricksters, last night’s “All Star Team Up” scaled things down a bit in order to focus on the heroes in the second Arrow crossover episode of the season.  Considering just how much fun Brandon Routh and Emily Bett Rickards (Ray Palmer, aka The Atom, and Felicity Smoak, respectively) have with their roles, All Star Team Up was yet another example of why The Flash continues to top everyone’s favorite television show list.  In addition to the Starling City/Central City team up fun, last night’s episode of The Flash finally got down to the business of Barry bringing Caitlin and Cisco into his Wells investigation but not until he was pushed in that direction.  In other words, there was plenty of awesomeness in last night’s episode, as usual. Before we get too far, as always, spoilers ahead.

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The episode started off with the usual bad guy crime acting as a catalyst for things to come.  A swarm of bees controlled by a woman later dubbed “The Bug Eyed Bandit” by Cisco (of course) and Ray Palmer attack, leaving a murder victim behind.  As Joe and Barry begin to investigate the attack, it is very apparent that Barry has absolutely no trust in Wells (which is expected) or the other members of the STAR Labs team, Cisco and Caitin (which is a bit tragic).  Luckily, a friend from Starling City happens to drop by, who can talk some sense to the speedster.

Felicity Smoak is always a welcome addition to the cast and her boyfriend, Ray Palmer, definitely added some more levity to an already fun episode.  There may have been a few groans at the “it’s a bird, it’s a plane” bit but for the most part, there really is no doubt that the line, which was directed at Superman Return’s Brandon Routh’s character, had plenty of fanboys cracking up.  Ditto for all of the references dropped by Felicity addressing the fact that The Flash is the fun show; Arrow is the “moody, broody” show.  The two shows really couldn’t be more different and it is wonderful that this is acknowledged by the writers and, by extension, the characters.

While Cisco may not necessarily love Palmer’s superhero name, he definitely doesn’t hate the billionaire.   As a matter of fact, the Palmer/Cisco bromance (RayCo? )was one of the more wonderful things in this episode, which is saying quite a lot.  As the two brainiacs put their heads together to figure out how to make The Atom’s suit more efficient, their relationship was front and center and it is all but guaranteed that this will come into play in the future, though, whether that payoff is fleshed out in Arrow or The Flash is anyone’s guess.

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The weight of Barry’s discoveries and suspicions regarding Wells is sitting squarely on his shoulders and this does not go unnoticed, especially by Felicity.  As Barry’s friend, Smoak definitely tries to alleviate a bit of his burden, once he finally admits to her his findings, by suggesting that he speak with Cisco and Caitlin about Wells. Unfortunately, Barry isn’t quite ready to trust them completely, now that he knows just how well Harrison has hidden his more villainous side.  To Barry, everyone is a potential enemy, twisting him into a very lonely superhero indeed.

While all of this is happening, Iris has decided to pester Eddie to reveal the secret he is keeping from her.  Until now, Eddie has been a bit of a side character who really had no other purpose besides looking surprised and adding tension to the Barry/Iris situation.  With last night’s episode, however, he actually had a part to play.  Eddie has been keeping The Flash’s secret identity from Iris and in doing so, has pushed Iris away, possibly for good.  Not that this would be the worst thing in the world for Eddie.  Iris has become the most annoying character in the series and a control freak to boot.  Eddie is a police officer and as any spouse of an officer of the law would be happy to testify, police officers have a lot on their mind at any time, and there will be things that will be better left unsaid.  It comes with the territory and the several times that Iris is pushing Eddie for the information definitely pushed audiences away from Iris.  At least, the viewers that were actually on her side at this point.  The fact is that Iris has become such an unlikable character that there are no doubt many viewers who would prefer that the showrunners turn the entire source material on its head by making Iris transform into the villain Killer Frost, while making Caitlin Snow Barry’s new love interest.  Yes, this would obviously change the entire Killer Frost/Firestorm dynamic, but it wouldn’t be the first time that the series has strayed from its comic book origins.  For instance, Felicity Smoak is actually Ronnie Raymond’s (Firestorm’s) step mother.  No one was too upset by the change in Arrow to the character and I doubt anyone would shed any tears if Iris and Barry never wind up together.

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Since there wasn’t enough going on in the episode (I really need a sarcasm font), in addition to hating bees because “ain’t nobody got time for bees”, Cisco is now having “dreams” of the alternate timeline in which Wells murdered him in cold blood.  This plot point was driven home a few times but it wasn’t a main focus of the episode.  In fact, it appears that the main reason for this new chapter in Cisco’s life was to make it easy for him to believe Barry when Barry finally comes clean to him and Caitlin about his investigation into Wells. While the episode was already jam packed with plot threads, the Cisco situation actually had the man dying twice – once at the hands of Wells/Thawne/Reverse Flash and again after being stung by one of the Bug Eyed Bandit’s venomous bees, and both times, Cisco was brought back.  Considering his comic book counterpart has also died twice in the series leads many fans to wonder just how soon we will see Cisco’s superhero identity, Vibe. The answer is anyone’s guess at this point but let’s hope it’s soon.

The episode, as a whole, was absolutely wonderful.  There were plenty of laughs spread throughout and it is very apparent that the visitors from Starling City are very comfortable with their sister series’ cast and, vice versa, it is also very apparent that the visitors are more than welcome in Central City.  The actors share chemistry that is absolutely wonderful to see on screen and the shared universe in which the characters inhabit becomes stronger and more appealing with each crossover.  Let’s hope the showrunners keep it up because, damn, that is some good television.  Take a look at next week’s episode which is enigmatically entitled “Who is Harrison Wells?”.  Seriously, get me that sarcasm font, pronto.

Are you hoping to see Vibe show up soon or are you ok to stick with Cisco for now?  Are you actually a fan of Iris?  Do you feel that Eddie should cave to Iris’s ultimatum?

Category: Comics, reviews, TV

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