It used to be hard to pinpoint exactly which was the cheesiest episode of The Flash. So, for nothing else, thank you “Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash” for clearing that up for us.
1. Cross-company synergy
It is bonkers that on the day the Ant-Man and The Wasp trailer dropped, The Flash introduced a shrink ray. But that’s what happened, and it led to one of the dumbest episodes of the show’s run. It was still sort of fun, but impossibly dumb. It took all the worst parts of the show and crammed them into one hour. Bullshit science talk? Check. A character acting completely unlike themselves for no real reason? Yup. Ralph? Yarp.
The shrink ray stuff really isn’t that more nuts than other things on the show, especially since we have the Atom on Legends of Tomorrow, but this was presented in such an over the top way that it felt beyond the pale for the CW, a phrase that is barely possible. There weren’t even fun Kandor goofs or anything!
I’m glad that the show is calling itself on its bullshit for having this episode be 100% predicated on coincidence. It just so happens that Barry’s new prison friend just so happens to be innocent, and had been framed by the guy it just so happens to be tormenting the team at the moment. At least the writers saying “We have to address how unbearably lazy we are” is some progress for this show.
2. Cecile’s ESP
Because the show isn’t convoluted enough, it was decided to give Cecile pregnancy-induced telepathy. Why not?
It led to some really weird moments, included the oddest callback in the show’s history, where Cecile and Joe go to Barry and Iris’s therapist. I guess the writers want to give Cecile and Joe something to do, but this is just weird. Can we go back to them just being normal folks, please?
3. Harry’s issues
From a storytelling perspective, Team Flash tends to struggle without Barry as its center, which goes against conventional wisdom. You would think that removing the focal point would allow others to thrive in the spotlight, but that isn’t what is happening here. But the show is at least trying to give each character something to do (see Cecile above).
But giving Harry both the conscience of the team and confidence issues feels really off from who we know Harry to be. One of those, if handled properly, might make some sense. The cocksure genius loses his sure hand and begins to doubt himself? I’d be into that. The formerly selfish scientist decides that his friend is worth fighting for? Ok, why not. But putting both out there at the same time seems like an attempt to course correct three seasons’ worth of story, without a real payoff.
Aside from Ralph, no one is less likely to be beating the ‘we have to save Barry’ drum than Harry, unless he is doing so for some unknown reason, like he’s seen the future or something. But that wasn’t even teased – his motivation just seems to be “MY FRIEND IS IN TROUBLE,” which seems like more of a Cisco or Caitlin attitude.
Similarly, while Harry’s experiments/developments don’t always work, I’d argue his track record is likely higher than anyone else’s on the team. To see him all of a sudden lose his cockiness is totally unearned. I’m not against the show messing with Harry, I’m just against them doing it so sloppily.
4. See ya, Goldberg
First thing’s first: I would never have expected Bill Goldberg to be this decent of an actor. Trust me, he’s not doing award-winning stuff, but he more or less held his own. Good for that guy.
That said, the ending to his story seemed a little rushed. Giving Barry a pal in the clink is a good thing for the show, and we’ve barely gotten to know the character. I know that one of the essential ideas for the show is that everything must move fast, but this isn’t fast storytelling, it’s sloppy. With the end of the episode revelation, having someone else in prison on his side would’ve been interesting.Continued below
Instead, we see Barry break Big Sir out of prison and take him to a monastery he mentioned to Barry exactly once, in passing, during his Shawshank Redemption conversation from earlier. Again, the show could have made a two episode arc with Big Sir work, but it rushed, and eventually, botched it.
5. The Flash revealed
So, Barry done fucked it. By not revealing his super powers at his trial, he was sentenced to prison. Now that he’s there, he used them to break a man out of Iron Heights, further cementing his ‘villain’ status. I’m honestly surprised the show went there, as I thought it would simply take the easy way out, vis a vis Barry’s incarceration. This makes everything quite different going forward, as even if he can somehow prove his innocence for killing DeVoe, he now has ‘breaking a dude out of prison’ on his list.
This is going to be interesting.