As The CW and fans ready themselves for the season finales of “The Flash” and “Arrow”, we still have a few episodes left and Tuesday night was an “All Star Team Up” of sorts for our heroes in Central City. Guest starring “Arrow” cast members Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak and newcomer Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer, The CW have managed to, yet again, create an entertaining and fun crossover in the spirit of the connected stories featured in our weekly DC comic books. We’ve seen Marvel work on their cinematic universe and “It’s all connected” stories since 2008 on film and while many have worried over DC’s approach, “The Flash” season one and “Arrow” season three have been strong arguments for Team DC’s vision for their “multiverse” as Geoff Johns puts it. “All Star Team Up”, the title of last night’s episode borrows the name from the classic series header and presents a lighter take on superheroes, quite different from last week’s “Marvel’s Daredevil” and CW’s other DC property found in “Arrow.” As season one of “The Flash” has grown into a series watched fondly by an enthusiastic audience made up of new and old fans alike, it comes across in many ways as the closest to seeing Superman on the small screen, since “Arrow” is the closest to his friend/sometimes rival, but always the World’s Finest – Batman! “All Star Team Up” furthers the nods while also enhancing the legacy and high quality we’ve come to expect from “The Flash” and is a top episode. It also guest stars The Walking Dead alum, Emily Kinney as this week’s baddie so that’s reason enough to watch.
Make no mistake that The Flash is a super hero. The CW series have managed to recreate their success with “Arrow” and find a hit in one of the main Justice League members. Unlike “Arrow”, he’s far from being dark and broody as Felicity remarks while out with Barry Allen. The Flash enjoys what he does and believes in making a difference by using his abilities for the greater good. He’s an optimist; certainly cocky at times, but always believes and trusts in his fellow Central City residents. He embodies the family friendly and good-natured qualities as the Man of Steel, but embodies more of the down to earth characteristics of your friendly neighborhood wall crawler. (Yes, a comparison to Marvel. I know.) In the opening scene of “All Star Team Up”, we watch as Barry foils three attempted robberies and one flasher which is shown off-screen. He loves being The Flash and Grant Gustin really embodies the Scarlet Speedster in every scene. After a fast night of crime fighting with the help of Det. Joe West and recent confidante and ally Eddie Thawne, it would seem as if their work is done.
Meanwhile, a woman is killed by a swarm of bees while in her car. Barry, Joe, and Eddie arrive to investigate and Joe is still unsure of how much Barry could trust S.T.A.R. Labs. While both of them have reasoned that Wells is the Reverse Flash, they do remain uncertain about Cisco and Caitlin. They eventually do consult with S.T.A.R. but Barry remains very edgy when dealing with his friends. It’s learned that it was a metahuman controlling the bees that killed the woman earlier on, but before any more on this matter is addressed, Felicity arrives. Unfortunately for Barry, she’s not alone as she’s brought her new boyfriend who needs their help. Making for a fun introduction to Brandon Routh as The A.T.O.M. Caitlin asks “Is that a bird?” to which Cisco responds “I think it’s a plane.” It’s a nice, breezy, and lighthearted scene which works for “The Flash” as we all understand Brandon Routh was the title character in 2006’s “Superman Returns.” Brandon Routh is a welcome addition to “Arrow” and spin-off series “The Flash.” He’s more than welcome by this fan to be back at work within the DC playground and he makes for a great version of an Iron Man like character if Clark Kent put on the suit instead of Tony Stark. (Second Marvel comparison for those that are counting.) While Routh and Emily Bett Rickards feel like they are better suited for the tone of “The Flash” more so than “Arrow” this is exactly why these guest appearances are so fun and the spin-off series starring Routh and several other DC alumni will be one show you won’t want to miss!
While Team Flash look into a second murder of a man named Bill Carlyle at Folston Tech, Barry comes face to face with The Bug Eyed Bandit‘s swarm of bees. He goes into cardiac arrest, but S.T.A.R. Labs manage to save his life. This only adds to his doubt and insecurities over those at S.T.A.R. and if he could really trust them. This leads Barry to eventually tell Felicity when they go out to eat at a restaurant Ray takes both of them, along with Eddie and Iris to. In a Bruce Wayne like way, Ray bought out the restaurant so they could all enjoy a private dinner. Sadly, the dinner does not go as planned as Barry’s obsession with Wells gets the better of him. On a side note, Felicity makes mention of Oliver contemplating joining the League of Assassins and Laurel being the Black Canary which hint that this episode takes place at some point close to the last few episodes of “Arrow.”
When Wells and Joe head to Mercury Labs, the same laboratory Wells used to have ties to, they learn that Brie Larvan, The Bug Eyed Bandit had her career halted after she was fired. She’s out for revenge and in many ways like an evil Felicity, she is amazingly talented with computers and highly skilled as she’s developed mechanical bees that she controls. Not much else is known about her and while Emily Kinney’s debut as The Bug Eyed Bandit is never fully developed, it is fun to see her duel with Felicity. I’m sure Kinney will be used again as is the nature of this series, but for now, seeing The Flash and A.T.O.M. together makes for the real scene stealing moments of “All Star Team Up.”
“The Flash” have employed the usage of fan-favorite after credit scenes since its pilot episode and last night was no different. Throughout the episode, Cisco is plagued with memories of sorts that call back to when Wells revealed himself as the Reverse Flash and killed him. This happened in the episode “Out of Time” which we covered here, and makes for an interesting development for not only Cisco, but for the series handling of time-travel. Since the moment happened in a time that was eventually erased, why does Cisco remember being killed and having a deadly interaction that arguably never happened? For now, it leads to Cisco and Caitlin learning that Det. Joe West and Barry are investigating Wells and believe him to be the murderer of Nora Allen. It will be fun to see this play out and it looks like next week’s episode will return its focus on Wells/Thawne as the Reverse Flash. And don’t forget, you could never have too much of Tom Cavanaugh on “The Flash”!
“All Star Team Up” gets four out of five stars. “The Flash” airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on The CW. Check your local listings.