Review: The Flash: ‘All Star Team Up’

Dear DC – Okay, I said before you guys had convinced me to check out Arrow, you didn’t need to kick me in the backside to get on it.

Which is my admittedly somewhat roundabout way of saying, while I have issues with their films, I am liking how DC has been branching and connecting its television universe.

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This week the crossover came from another hero Arrow brought into the continuity paying a visit to Central City – Ray Palmer, AKA The Atom (Brandon Routh, proving actually pretty funny with this).

Which is part of the reason I looked at this and didn’t think ‘another crossover?’ Yes, it’s visiting cast from Arrow again (and honestly, for her part, Felicity blends in with everyone here well enough that’s welcome any time), but Ray is so different from Oliver, that teaming him up with Barry is going to create an entirely different feel to an episode.

The result of which means this isn’t quite as serious as the prior crossover, and leads to some more fun bits of interaction. The big winner in this case being the shared scenes of Cisco and Palmer geeking out as they try to solve the technical failings of Ray’s suit. It’s not something that necessarily adds to the episode, but it’s just a fun thing to keep the story moving.

If anyone had said this time five years ago that I'd be happy to see Brandon Routh in a DC production, I'd have smacked them for lying. Joke's on me.

If anyone had said this time five years ago that I’d be happy to see Brandon Routh in a DC production, I’d have smacked them for lying.
Joke’s on me.

That said, besides the fun, the crossover does serve a purpose in the long run of the story – by bringing in Felicity as a trusted outsider, the show finally has another voice for Barry to echo his concerns about bringing his STAR Labs colleagues into the Wells investigation to. Even though it’s not front and center this week, the show is still keeping its arcing story moving forward.

To this end, a further reveal from Cisco does raise some questions about the earlier time travel incidents that occurred. The fact he is now experiencing echoes of the former timeline has me wondering how much else of that timeline may somehow come back. It’s possible his is an isolated incident thanks to both his death and the involvement of Wells, but in the meantime, its several raised questions about the repercussions of this rewritten timeline that it will be interesting to see explored more from here.

That said, the interesting stuff is all kind of side material this week. The main storyline is admittedly not quite as fascinating by comparison. It does put a bit more of a technological spin on the ‘power of the week’ antagonist gimmick, but it’s also still a pretty bog-standard ‘individual wants revenge against a larger group’ that the incident at the start of this season have been enabling in droves.

I will admittedly give Kinney a few extra points for embracing more of the 'comic book villain' mannerisms with her role without going too overkill. Let's face it, when you've got a theme, a little of that goes a long way.

I will admittedly give Kinney a few extra points for embracing more of the ‘comic book villain’ mannerisms with her role without going too overkill. Let’s face it, when you’ve got a theme, a little of that goes a long way.

I’m not going to hold this too much against them for it on this one since a lot of the rest of this episode is progressing storylines, but when it’s the main front and center story, it does come across as a bit weak by comparison. It’s not all bad at least – there’s a couple of good bits in the dialogue and the action in the last act is up there on the show’s better moments – but it feels like it could be more.

All in all, this is a pretty good week for the series. Not one of their finest, but it provides a good taste of the wider DC TV continuity, gives a lot of good moments for character interaction, and lays out just enough lines to yield interesting revelations for the weeks to come.

Also, while I like that the show's getting Eddie more involved with Barry's secret, the 'keeping Iris in the dark' thing is getting old fast.

Also, while I like that the show’s getting Eddie more involved with Barry’s secret, the ‘keeping Iris in the dark’ thing is getting old fast.

Speaking of, it seems the overarcing story will be back in the limelight next week with Who Is Harrison Wells?

Till then.

Pros:

-Some great headway made on the overall plot of the series this week

-Fun interactions with the visiting cast and our regulars

Cons:

-I see the logic on not telling Iris, but it’s a story that’s wearing out its welcome rather quickly

-The antagonist of the week story’s not bad, but it does feel weak compared to what’s happening around it

Rating: 3.5/5

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Guyinthe3rdrow

This is what happens when a man takes a degree in English and the excessive analytic skills therein and chooses to use them for... ...is this evil? I'm not sure. But there are monsters and potentially robots, so there's potential for evil. ...we'll get back to you on that.

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