Wednesday, April 15, 2015
The Flash Flop: "All Star Team Up" Is An Utter Disappointment!
The Good: Most of the acting is fine, Decent opening and ending
The Bad: Terrible writing, Awful dialogue, Craptastic villain, Scientific issues, Iris!
The Basics: Belaboring establishing the spin-off by bringing The Atom to The Flash results in a pretty lousy episode - "All Star Team Up."
As The CW follows its successful format that led to the creation of The Flash, it is preparing viewers by seeding the next heroes on its current shows. Crossing over from Arrow again, actress Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak appears in The Flash episode "All Star Team Up," this time bringing along Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer (The Atom). Unfortunately, "All Star Team Up" is hardly an impressive episode. In fact, it is easily the worst episode of the season and a pretty horrible hour of television.
Following on the heels of the disappointing episode “Tricksters” (reviewed here!), "All Star Team Up" feels like a desperate attempt to move the plot and characters in The Flash without keeping up the high level of quality the series has generally had up until this point. Between an atrociously bad arc with Iris, the obvious seeding of the next spin-off, and some dialogue so campy it would have fit better on the 1960's Batman show, "All Star Team Up" is just bad television.
While Barry helps the police in Central City clean up the streets of petty criminals who are running rampant, a scientist and professor - Lindsay Kang - is killed by bees. Joe and Barry are surprised when investigating her murder to discover that there are no bees in the car in which she was killed . . . and no stingers left in her body! The team at S.T.A.R. Labs is baffled given the amount of toxin in Kang's body and Barry is reluctant to use Dr. Wells for much of the research. Felicity Smoak arrives at S.T.A.R. Labs with Ray Palmer, who comes hoping to get aid in improving his flying super hero suit.
When bees attack another scientist in Central City, Barry Allen arrives in time to get attacked by a swarm of bees flying out of the corpse. Joe finds Allen and Cisco remotely uses the defibrillator in The Flash suit to restart Barry's heart. Following his near-death experience, Barry acts as Fifth Wheel on a double date between Palmer and Smoak and Iris and Eddie. The date ends abruptly when a bee emerges from the Flash's suit at S.T.A.R. Labs and Barry rescues Dr. Snow and Cisco. They discover the bees are robotic bees and follow the robotic bees to Mercury Labs and Dr. McGee. McGee gives up a former employee, Brie Larvan, and the Flash and Atom team up to stop Larvan from using her robotic bees to kill McGee.
"All Star Team Up" is nauseating to watch because at the core of the episode is a key scene that entirely recharacterizes Iris West as a petulant, childish woman who has no grasp on the real world or how relationships work. Iris is pissed at Eddie because she senses he is keeping a secret from her. Eddie tells her that he cannot tell her what is going on with him and Iris throws a hissy fit. The thing is, the episode is packed with contradictions that make her reaction a drastic overreaction. First, Eddie found out at the end of the prior episode, "Tricksters," that Barry is The Flash. Between that episode and this one, there does not seem to be any real change in activity that should have set Iris off. He's been busy stopping crime, but no busier than usual. Second, Iris has experience with police officers who have issues with work that cannot be solved by family members. Third, Eddie works in a career where he has to keep some secrets and Iris unrealistically pushes him for divulging information which she has to know he cannot. Fourth, Eddie reasonably states that there is nothing going on that she can help with.
Iris is pretty lousy in the date scene for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that she is pushing the issue during a date in a public setting. Iris expresses enthusiasm for going to a restaurant where she cannot even get a reservation (how was she supposed to afford eating there on a reporter's salary?!), finds that a stranger has bought out the place for the night, and then she goes out of her way to ruin the night.
The science in "All Star Team Up" is terrible as well. Cisco starts to remember things that did not occur in his timeline. Cisco starts to remember things from "Out Of Time" (reviewed here!), from the tangent timeline that exists now only in the memories of Barry Allen. Cisco's part in that should not have any plausible way of transferring into the regular timeline. Similarly, the bee attack on Cisco comes after the bees have been shut down, by a bee that had been submerged in water and shorted out . . . after it tries to attack a target it should not have recognized (Ray Palmer out of his suit looks nothing like Palmer inside the suit). In the important final scene of "All Star Team Up," Dr. Snow makes a declaration about Dr. Wells that is hugely problematic (so far in the series Snow has treated Dr. Wells and somehow fails to notice that he is not actually paralyzed); how she overlooked his lack of a medical condition now becomes a huge issue.
Emily Kinney appears as Brie Larvan and the role is terrible for her. Kinney is forced to deliver entirely campy lines that are all ridiculous catch phrases. She takes the cake for worst villain on The Flash yet.
There might be more to "All Star Team Up," but further analysis is not going to make it any better.
For other works with Emily Kinney, check out my reviews of:
The Walking Dead - Season 4
The Walking Dead - Season 3
The Walking Dead - Season 2
[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into The Flash - The Complete First Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the debut season here!
For other television reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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