REVIEW: The Flash S4 Ep12 “Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash”

What happens when the Mom of Team Flash develops barely explained abilities? Or when a man who can shrink things at will goes looking for trouble and Team Flash runs to the rescue? Or when Barry Allen finds a friend in a lonely stage of his life…only to ultimately lose them? Find out in this (barely) exciting, (not) thrilling, and light-as-air episode of the Flash!

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Writers: Greg Berlanti
Andrew Kreisberg
Geoff Johns
Judalina Neira
Sam Chalsen
Director: Chris Peppe

What You Need To Know:
Well, I’m going to come out here and say this episode…it felt like one of those episodes in shows that have such potential that brings down every piece of drama and importance of the previous episodes in a light, meaningless storyline with a few too many quippy jokes and not enough of what is important. Oh…wait, I think that’s because that is exactly what this episode is. Cecile is…well as I refer to her, the mom of Team Flash. She is brought out in a useless and pathetic attempt to make her matter MORE in this episode. Because, I guess, her taking on Barry’s case a failing in the previous episodes doesn’t really have an effect. Instead…she get’s powers to bring her further into the light. Typical CW, they slap a character in, make them strive for importance, show it…then give them powers in some ill-explained way in order to elevate their meaning. Not to say this episode wasn’t good for some things…like humor. I have to admit, no matter how stupid they make the comebacks or jokes, they make me laugh, so there is a plus. Then, of course, more of the weight on Barry’s shoulders in jail, which becomes somewhat intriguing in this episode.

What You Will Find Out:
So since the Flash had been imprisoned, we haven’t seen much of DeVoe or his wife. Maybe it’s intentional, maybe the writers thought shoving more useless scenes with practically useless characters were more important. Even so, all is redeemed through the simplest of ways…maybe all that is happening is under DeVoe’s hand? Who knows? Not us apparently, which I myself find to be a poor presentation of the storyline. Though this episode starts off not with the solemn Barry nor the ever-working…though not caring TOO much about Barry, Team Flash…Oh no, for it starts out with Cecile! Cecile starts us off a little wonky in this episode, I found myself just asking why, why did they choose to start off this episode with Cecile having telepathic abilities and worrying about her pregnancy. Yes, you heard that right…Cecile has telepathy, and Joe thinks she needs new pants. Pretty good start to an episode…
Yeah, no.

No matter my own thoughts, Team Flash gets right down to discovering why Cecile has these abilities. SORRY THEORISTS! It’s not the baby. Caitlin quickly shoots down the theory many fans had about Cecile when the summary for this episode hit the web. People thought the baby would be causing Cecile to have these telepathic abilities. Well, it’s not. Apparently, they are an effect the pregnancy is having on Cecile, along with a mix of “possible” energy emitted by the particle accelerator all those years ago. So there you go, she’s telepathic because, well…just because. Why did this happen? Your guess is as good as ours.

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So on the other side of this episode, not that the rousing Cecile-having-powers plot isn’t good enough, we get Barry, playing poker. This was a fun little scene I am sure they had fun filming, and I thought it was a pretty funny scene along with thinking this would show us the bonding between Big Sir, whom was named so in the previous episode but I had regretted to acknowledge, and Barry. Well, Barry cheated at the poker game. Come on, we all saw that coming. But it leads to a little one-on-one with Big Sir and the OTHER sir in the circle of prisoners. The other sir brings up the reason Big Sir was in prison, sending Big Sir off in a huff. So much for bonding, instead, straight to the criminal-sob story. I saw potential in bringing Big Sir and Barry together, a man who could have protected Barry is needed, but Barry knew he could take care of himself, and hung out with him for fun. It was a neat little relationship that really fell short when Big Sir reveals, after a supposed murder he committed, he was innocent. I felt this really took away from that big brute that Barry found, taking away the chances for Barry to help him or make him better. Maybe that is too predictable, but it happened how it happened, I suppose. Barry hears this, and realizes this man is like him, he was framed…except Barry could do something about this. We find out in a scene back-to-back to this one that Barry has contacted his one and only, Team Flash, who he expects to be able to solve the case of the man who framed Big Sir for shooting an innocent man…without any evidence pointing to anyone else.

But hey, this is a superhero drama, of course Team Flash just happens to have the man responsible for framing Big Sir plopped into their laps, when a man who can shrink things at will shrinks a new lab that is supposedly metahuman-proof and takes it without the dozens of people around the building that were watching seeing him. Joe and Team Flash make an attempt to find this character and come across a name of a man who had been accused and trialed for similar crimes committed in the past. His name, of course, sounds like any other supervillain alias, which is cleverly pointed out by Iris. A funny moment that had some sort of ironic humor to it delivered by Iris, nice. Sylbert Rundin…yes, you read that correctly, was the man, and Joe, Cisco, and Ralph go to investigate. The man has a stockpile of supposed collectible models around his apartment, which should have been somewhat of a giveaway. Putting two and two together isn’t exactly the cast’s specialty, but hey…they get him anyways. Joe asks him if he was near the building that got shrunk earlier that day, which sent the man running. Cisco and Ralph make a daring attempt to thwart the man…like they seem to be so good at doing. Oh, wait, no really. The shrinking menace catches Cisco and Ralph in his blasts of energy, and they are shrunk to about oh, I’d say four inches tall. And this is how a seemingly interesting and enticing streak of episodes dies…with the wisecracks and attention put on the two useless metas of our show! But hey, we got to see Iris step on Ralph like gum, he gets stuck to her shoe and pulled off. I made it sound really bland right then but it was a silly, comical moment that actually fit. But this little side/main plot story was brought together by the team figuring out that this man was using Dwarfstar technology (the same tech the Atom uses to shrink) as well as a mix of dark matter. And so it went on…growing less and less interesting the more that was said.

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So I feel a lot of potential was taken away from what could have been a great episode, but for some reason, the writers decided to take a turn and make this episode more of a filler episode, while also throwing away any chances of making relationships more interesting, whether between Barry and Big Sir, or Joe and Cecile. But instead of ranting about how I wish it was something else, this is a review, fanboy rant article. So we continue with Team Flash, who begins to rely heavily on Harry, him being probably the smartest out of all of Team Flash. He is struggling with the fact Barry is in jail and he can’t outsmart someone for once, but now his teammates are shrunk, and he decided he CAN do something about that. So, like the respectable, smart scientist he is, he carefully analyzes Cisco and Ralph, figuring out what was different about their molecular structure, then creates an add-on to Cisco’s beloved bazooka, and brings the two metas back to normal size again and everything was-…
Sorry, I had to stop there in case I further confused any of you. None of that happened. In fact, Harry acted VERY out of character and really unlike any scientist ever would. He relied on the hypothesis that only a certain part of Cisco and Ralph were shrunk, and the effects could be reversed. Without any proper testing or actual science going on, he tests the bazooka on the two lab rats…but nothing happens. Well, not yet. See, Harry made this thing which accidentally super-atomizes Cisco and Ralph’s blood cells, making them explode…which is then revealed by Caitlin (Yeah, nice job there Caitlin, letting them know this is what happens AFTER IT HAPPENS), and it turns out Cisco and Ralph have less than ten hours to grow back before they explode. This part is where I cringed the most during this episode. The total disregard for actual science and acting completely impulsively and out-of-character to me was a very poor move. Harry, Caitlin, even Iris who tried to get Harry to test it on something first, didn’t even find it a problem they were relying on their own ideas and thoughts of how everything would work out. But of course, there is the excuse apparently CW get’s passes for quite often, that this is a fantasy world where anything can happen and it happens to make it interesting. No, just…no. That excuse doesn’t apply to this and I was really disappointed in this whole part of the episode.

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The whole Cecile end of this endless pit of misery I actually ended up enjoying more than I thought. Cecile, while having helped discover this man who MIGHT be the man who set Big Sir up, begins worrying about Joe. This new power she has allows her to read anyone’s thought has gotten her thinking about Joe, and worrying what he thinks of her now. It’s a spontaneous, barely explained power, I think Joe has many reasons to think very negative things about it. So, Cecile does the thing any worrying woman would do…she takes Joe to a counselor. This allowed her to express why she felt the way she did, but it also reveals that Joe really doesn’t appreciate her new power. He found it intrusive and belittling of him. She could read his every thought, know his every want and secret…the things he promised to tell her anyways. He was defensive and put Cecile in the wrong of the eyes of the counselor, but all Joe wanted was to be what every man wants to be, the bigger person, able to show himself when he wants to, not have everything he was pried away by Cecile whenever she wanted.

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It was, at best, a suitable discovery that Joe didn’t feel like that anymore, that Cecile was sort of breaking him down. Hey, I am all for a relationship going through struggles, but I only wish it wasn’t all based around such random events that really seem like a desperate struggle to make Joe and Cecile relevant. Nevertheless, Cecile finds that with great power, come great responsibility. She doesn’t need to know what Joe is thinking, she needs to ask how he is feeling.
And of course, Joe opens up to his fiance’, after of course, she opens up many awkward feelings she had herself in a speech. Cecile asks, even after her little weird thoughts are brought out if Joe thinks she’d think any less of him if she knew what he felt. Joe didn’t, he just wanted that sense of superiority that everyone wants to have, that sense of freedom in their own mind, but willing to share when he wanted to. He loves Cecile, and he shows it. Is it a gag-inducing, soap opera type love that really should be treated with more respect? Heck yes. But it really isn’t useful to complain about what is out of our hands, all I can do is hope the writers see their mistakes…hopefully, sooner rather than later.”

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Barry gets word that his friends were tracking down the man who framed Big Sir, again speculating that that was him. Barry trusts them and tells Big Sir the news, but Big Sir isn’t necessarily happy about it. Barry worked to get Big Sir this opportunity, but all this did was shoot him down. He had been imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, told that he lied when trying to explain the truth. Hope wasn’t what strived in Big Sir’s life, but Barry knew hope was all that a person should strive on. Having faith that things can get better, things don’t have to be the way they appear forever. Whether it takes a few years, or seventeen, like Barry’s father, had to wait, justice has a way of finding the innocent and relieving them of their burdens. Big Sir stated that this isn’t a movie, and the ending isn’t always like the movie ending, where everything works out. I am going, to be honest, and say I wish Big Sir had stuck around longer, maybe even truly committed that crime. It would have brought this dark character that the Allen’s seemed to have a soft spot for, and Big Sir them. It would have brought drama to the whole imprisoned Barry story, giving him a chance to help in stronger ways than ever before. While he didn’t help in therapeutic ways though, he did help Big Sir find hope again, hope that he’d be freed. Big Sir had a dream, to go to a beautiful village in China, where it was secluded and quiet. It really made this character sound a bit too much like a big teddy bear, but if that’s what it takes, then so be it.

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Harry failed, which they tried so hard to make interesting and a moment for the character. Mini-Cisco, while mini-Ralph is taking a bathroom break with Caitlin…yeah, that sounded as awkward as it was, sees the failure in his friend. Harry brings himself down, calling himself stupid. Stupid for taking action before thinking, stupid for not being able to figure out what DeVoe was up to, just stupid. Cisco heard that and blasts him with a mini-vibe. Cisco couldn’t believe what his friend was saying because if anyone wasn’t stupid, it was Harry. He had done so much for the team, but everyone makes mistakes, even if they are stupid, idiotic, not thought out ones. Harry realizes the truth in Cisco’s words…then realizes something. Something, if he had taken the time to earlier, he would have figured out. It wasn’t just their bodies that were shrunk, it was the entirety of their molecular and atomical structure. Only a complete reversal of energy taken from them could be reapplied and make them grow back again. They needed to find the man, whom Cisco anonymously names Dwarfstar, and get him to not only un-shrink the two metas but confess his crimes to get Big Sir out of prison.

All goes according to plan, which seemed like it was done so easily. Dwarfstar had been spotted at an airforce facility, ready to make a break out of Star City, stealing a derigable…how inconspicuous. Harry and Iris rush to the facility, both with very big-sized guns and determination across their faces. Cisco and Ralph rode in on a drone, very comically, and the little battle began. Dwarfstar began flinging small items, “embiggening” them, as Harry would say. Iris pretty much just dodged these flying cars and trucks, then disappeared. Harry knew that Dwarfstar wasn’t interested in shrinking anyone, so he had to get him interested. After Cisco and Ralph are caught off-guard and blasted down from their drone, Harry decided enough was enough. He takes a blaster to Dwarfstar, prodding him, getting him angry. Dwarfstar decided enough was enough, and blasts Harry. Oddly enough, Harry guess he would have aimed for his chest I guess, so the blast hit him…but not really. Cisco and Ralph sat in his shirt pocket, awaiting the blast. Finally, the blast hit, and they grew. How Harry knew that he’d be hit exactly at that point in the chest was apparentely not important. Dwarfstar, baffled, is caught by surprise by Iris who jumps out from nowhere and shoots an electrifying collar onto his neck. Joe arrives right on cue, and Team Flash surround Dwarfstar. They tell him to confess his crimes, and the set-up of Big Sir. With a laugh, Dwarfstar declines, saying he’d rather rot. But wait…why? He was offered so much by the D.A. supposedly, asking for a confession to get Big Sir out…but he declines? Why did he want Big Sir in jail so badly? Hm…maybe…

Well, Barry recieves this news, and is burdened with telling Big Sir. Barry asks for forgiveness for giving flase hope, hoping Big Sir wuld understand…and of course, he did. He found out what hope felt like again, afte ryears of thinking the worst. Barry helped him, even if there was truly no hope left anymore, he had gotten a taste of it again. Why to be happy with that doesn’t exactly make any sense, but again…it’s a tv show, so apparentely things not making sense is okay.

This episode ends with Barry, stuck again where he longed to be away from. A cell, sitting, watching a video camera. But Barry had something on his mind this time, he had something that he needed to do. This moment gives us a taste of what we think might be Barry running. But he doesn’t succumb to the temptation, he instead does a favor for his friend. In the seconds that the security camera turns away, Barry rushes out of his cell, grabing Big Sir…and running him to that small, secluded village he spoke of. Birds chirping and trees swaying in the mist, as Big Sir now stood in the middle of this nice place. A note in his hand he noticed, and opened it. It read, “Sometimes we DO get the movie ending.” Barry got to help his friend, and return back to his cell seconds later, safe and sound.
Or was he?

Barry loves pudding, as we see through the few episodes, he is usally slurping down a pudding cup. He had just finished one, when the warden walks up to his cell. Wondering what this visit was for, Barry soon learns the warden wasn’t who he appeared to be. Big Sir was missing, and thanks to a secret camera the Warden hid next to Barry’s cell…Barry was caught. Barry begins to stumble, as the warden shows him the picture he caught of Barry flashing out of the prison. Barry looks around, holding his head, wondering what was happening. The warden had drugged his pudding!!! This moment had me just like whaaaaat? Barry falls to the ground, blacking out. Immediately, we get to see two men carrying Barry into a code-locking cell in a very blue place. The doors slam shut, as the warden reaches for his phone, and make a call. To our surprise, the warden was working for DeVo-…oh wait, hang on, noep nevermind, it’s Amunet. The warden had captured the Flash and Barry Allen, and he was looking to do business with Amunet, when the episode ends.

What Just Happened?:
So we get an episode filled with random moments and spastic storytelling. Even the Barry and Big Sir moments seemed rushed and ill-timed. But we see a different turn. The warden captures the Flash…and now plans to do a deal with Amunet? It doesn’t exactly add up to make any sense at all, but I am forgetting the important realization amde by Harry and Team Flash. Harry points out how it was all so perfectly timed. The man who had put Barry’s new friend in prison randomly comes out of the shadows, keeps Team Flash busy trying to locate him instead of helping Barry. Then of course, how easily he was captured, and the fact he refused to admit his crime. Harry pointed out how it all fell into place, oddly. Whether he is grasping at straws or the scarcely seen DeVoe is planning this all out accordingly. Seeing as we haven’t seen DeVoe or his wife at all, this accusation doesn’t really have any proof behind it. I wish we could see some more of DeVoe, if this all truly is his plan, and some sort of hints that he IS doing all of this, because without him here it just sounds like Team Flash is either very VERY smart at deducing this with no evidence, or DeVoe is just predictable now and doesn’t even have to show his face or say anything for us to suspect he is up to something. All in all, it’s an interesting motive, keeping us wondering if this all is just crappy storytelling or DeVoe wants us to think that. It’s an interesting way of playing this all out, there are two possibilities and neither can be confirmed until DeVoe himself finishes what he has planned, so it keeps audiences wondering.

Rating: 6/10
Final Thoughts:
This episode wasn’t the best, in fact I’d deem it the worst so far. It was bland, not interesting in any way, and tried too hard. Though it was nice to see Barry finding a way to help his friend, it still served as a weak side-story to an already uninteresting plot. Hopefully next week we will get back into the swing of things, but with the way the writers have been doing things, I am guessing I am going to remained two-sided for a while, liking half of the episodes but not the other due to lack of character support or plot explanations or intriguing moments. This season has been one of my favorite, but of course, every season has those few episodes that are just duds. Coincidence was a large part of this episode, maybe all is supposed to be going this way, making us think it is just uninteresting side material. But until it is revealed whether it is or not, I have to remain not happy about this week’s episode.

The Flash airs on the CW Network on Tuesday nights. Check your local listings for times.

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