Arrow and The Flash seem to have found a winning formula, running in parallel to one another with the occasional intersection in their paths to remind us of their shared universe. “All Star Team Up” marks another crossover, but not with the characters you may expect…and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work better for it.
We start off the episode with a high-speed chase between the CCPD and some bank robbers, but with the Flash now working in tandem with Eddie and Joe, the trio make quick work of the crooks. The streets are safer, but a new threat emerges, as a young woman enters her car, only to be attacked by a swarm of bees that pour out of every crevice of the vehicle.
The woman’s name, we learn, is Lindsay Kang, and the cause of her demise? “Death by apotoxin,” aka a toxin that induces anaphylaxis (she died from bee stings). Back at the lab, the team theorizes that a new metahuman may have emerged that can control bees (aka the most random power one can get in a show where metahumans can control electricity or turn into metal), but their discussion is interrupted by the arrival of Felicity Smoak. She asks the team to go outside so they can meet the real reason she’s in Central City: Ray Palmer needing the scientific expertise of S.T.A.R. Labs to upgrade his A.T.O.M. suit. Oh dear, my period key is going to wear out, isn’t it?
We then see Eddie and Iris talking about the greatly reduced crime rate in Central City, which Eddie chalks up to dumb luck. Iris isn’t buying that, however, and she thinks Eddie is hiding something. It wouldn’t be a CW show without that interpersonal drama!
Barry and Felicity have a coffee at Jitters, where Barry vaguely expressing his concerns to Felicity. Eddie interrupts, telling Barry that he’s having difficulty lying to Iris about the whole Flash thing. He and Felicity hit it off, however, and the whole thing winds up turning into a double date, with poor Barry bemoaning being “the fifth wheel” in a group that consists of 50% former love interests. Yep, that’s the CW.
Across town, we see a portly executive entering the lobby of Folston Tech, when a mysterious blonde whispers to a buzzing bee in her hand. “Tell your sisters it’s time,” she coos, directing her attention to the aforementioned man.
Back at the lab, Ray and Cisco talk about possible enhancements to the A.T.O.M. suit, when Cisco theorizes that Ray could prevent his power supply from overheating by using a ceramic jacket. “You really are quite clever, Cisco,” Ray comments, which suddenly gives Cisco a flashback of his death at the hands of Harrison Wells…a death that Barry prevented by altering the timeline when he went back through the past. His waking nightmare is interrupted by an alarm, signaling that the bees are attacking again. Cisco sends the Flash to Folston Tech, but it’s too late: the man in the suit slumps back in his chair, dead. Unfortunately for Barry, his killers are still close by, swarming out of the corpse’s mouth and straight into our nightmares. Thanks, CW!
Barry tries to outrun the bees, but he’s trapped in the building with them. They sting him mercilessly, and he collapses. The team gets the diagnostic from Barry’s suit: he’s going into cardiac arrest. Joe arrives on the scene and attempts to give Barry CPR, but the rest of the team tells him to stand back so they can activate a defibrillator built into the suit. They shock Barry back to life (although that’s not how defibrillators work, but every show does this, so whatever) and he returns to the lab surprisingly not doing too bad for a man who was literally almost stung to death…but it seems the Flash suit had a tiny stowaway.
Barry, Ray, Felicity, Iris, and Eddie show up at a fancy French restaurant, where Iris asks how Ray managed to get reservations when the waiting list is months out. Ray’s answer: he bought the restaurant. Oh, you billionaires, just buying random things so you can get your way!
Cisco shows up at the CCPD to talk to Joe and fill him in about the victim at Rolston Tech: the man was trying to beef up the company’s robotics division. He also voices his concerns to Joe about Barry’s behavior as of late, which Joe covers for. Joe tells Cisco that Barry’s worried about the inevitable return of the Reverse Flash, which triggers another flashback for Cisco.
Back at dinner, Barry leaves the room and Felicity follows, where Barry finally opens up about Harrison Wells. Iris finally snaps, telling Eddie that she doesn’t like how he’s hiding something from her, and the whole dinner dissolves in a matter of moments. That’s our CW!
It all works out for the best, as the bee that hid in Barry’s suit is now terrorizing the lab. It hovers in front of Wells, who almost gets up out of his wheelchair (which would blow his cover), but Barry races in and captures the bee. A closer look reveals that it’s not an organic bee, but a tiny robot.
The team does further research on the two victims, and find out that they both worked at Mercury Labs where the robotic bees were being developed by one Brie Larvan (you can’t make this up, folks), who was fired when it was found out that she was trying to weaponize the robotic bees. The two victims were the people that turned her in. Wait, what?
OK, so Brie Larvan was trying to make robotic bees as weapons that she could sell to the highest bidder. This got her fired from her job. She still has the bees, which she can sell. Why bother with the vendetta, when she has the inventory and no boss? She could be the sole proprietor of her own business! I wouldn’t be plotting revenge; I’d be applying for an LLC!
Felicity confronts Barry about how he hasn’t gone to Caitlin or Cisco about Wells. Barry is afraid that if he tells Cisco and Caitlin what he thinks about Wells, it will backfire and he’ll be ostracized from the group.
Also, Iris is worried that Eddie is cheating on her, but I really don’t care because Iris is awful.
The bee back at S.T.A.R. Labs suddenly reactivates, meaning that Larvan is sending her swarm to take out another victim. They trace the signal to Mercury Labs, which means that Larvan is going to kill her old boss Tina McGee! With little time to waste, Cisco and Ray dub Larvan…wait for it…
The Bug-Eyed Bandit.
OK, I know that the Bug-Eyed Bandit was an actual Flash villain from the Silver Age (hence the lame-ass name), but that’s the best supervillain name that two geniuses can come up with? You’ve got a woman who uses robotic bees, who sits at a computer console in the middle of a hive (complete with smokers), and who has honeycomb stitched right into her wardrobe. She’s got the whole bee theme down to an art, and you go with “Bug-Eyed Bandit.” You could call her Queen Bee (or not, that’s a different DC villain), or you could use any number of painful bee puns for a name. Call her the Pollinatrix, Bumblebeast, whatever. Bug-eyed Bandit…give me a damn break.
Ray offers to run interference on the swarm and provide a distraction while Flash confronts Larvan in her hive. She sends her remaining drones after Barry, but Felicity uses her hacking skills to take control of the swarm. Ray tries to shake his own swarm, but he has no choice but to take a dunk in the ocean so that the saltwater can fry the bees’ electrical systems. Unfortunately, the water has the same effect on his A.T.O.M. suit, giving him mere moments to try and land in the S.T.A.R. Labs van.
Then, because this episode wasn’t ridiculous enough as it was, Larvan and Felicity engage in an honest-to-god hack-off, with each vying for control of the swarm. Felicity out-hacks Larvan and disables the swarm, saving Barry.
Unfortunately, a lone bee hitched a ride on the A.T.O.M. suit (seriously, again?) and Cisco takes the sting for Ray. He quickly goes into shock, but Barry races to the scene and defibrillates Cisco in the nick of time, where both Ray and Barry declare him a hero. By that logic, Macaulay Culkin in My Girl is like Oskar Schindler.
Barry talks to the now-safe Tina McGee, who reveals that there is a lot of tension between her and Wells. She explains that Wells “changed” after the accident (did he ever), and that change drove a wedge between them.
Ray and Felicity head back to Starling City, where Ray will use the technology in Larvan’s bees to enhance his suit. Iris leaves Eddie, but I don’t really care.
Barry finally calls Caitlin and Cisco to the CCPD, where he confides in them that he believes Harrison Wells is not the man that they think he is…
There was a lot of buzz over The Walking Dead’s Emily Kinney showing up on The Flash to play the Bug-Eyed Bandit (especially given the gender-swapping), but I would go so far as to say that she was wasted. She was given maybe 3 lines across the entire episode, and she certainly wasn’t built up enough as a character for her to become an ongoing threat. It stinks that she’s been reduced to little more than a casualty of the “freak of the week” format.
The episode wasn’t all bad, however. Seeing Ray and Cisco play off of each other was incredibly charming, even if it was also used as an impetus for some painful “flashbacks” for Cisco. In fact, that raises some huge questions for the character, as we’re not sure what’s going to happen to him in the wake of Barry muddling with the timeline.
Catch new episodes of The Flash Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW