This episode certainly moved the needle in a few different directions, but also stood as a nice reminder for just how fun this series can be when it’s firing on all cylinders — even with Barry Allen still stuck behind bars.
Spoilers ahead for “Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash, which aired Tuesday, Jan. 30 2018!
Hope might be a dangerous thing, but sometimes it’s the only thing left to get you through.
Barry’s prison saga continued this week as he put Team Flash on the mission to get his new friend Big Sir (Goldberg) out of prison, once he realizes he is also an innocent man locked up behind bars (between Barry, Big ,Sir and Henry Allen, the Central City justice system needs some work). Barry’s time behind bars has already been treading on some Shawshank Redemption threads, but this story leaned into it in the best possible way. Once Team Flash manages to actually catch the man who set up Big Sir, he refuses to confess, meaning Barry’s pal is still (at least legally) a guilty man.
It’s at that point Barry realizes he can still do some good outside the law, and he snatches up Big Sir and drops him off at his personal Zihuatanejo — a secluded monastery in China where he’s always dreamed of living. Barry may have let Big Sir down by not being able to reverse his case, but they both come to realize a little bit of hope isn’t a bad thing. Big Sir had forgotten what it was like to dream of a life beyond Iron Heights, and though it wasn’t the way he intended, Barry helped him escape those four walls in the end. This show has always been at its best when the glass is half full, and after the dour tone of last year, this season continues to be a breath of fresh air.
As for the other story that ate up most of the episode’s effects budget? It was a whole lot of fun, too. We’ve already seen Dibny stepping into the spotlight in Barry’s absence, and that became clearer than ever this week as the Elongated Man took the Flash’s “hero spot” in the Metahuman of the Week story alongside Cisco. We find the two heroes reduced to an inch or so, and they play up pretty much every joke you expect. Sure, it’s a gimmick episode, but it totally works. All the way down to the gumshoe gag, and Cisco breaching into the side of a coffee cup.
The action is also top-notch for a TV budget, with a few of those action scenes coming off like something you might see in Ant-Man (well, the low-budget version, but still). For a show that leans on its speedster effects, this was a welcome change in visuals.
It also shined the spotlight a bit back onto the team’s own super genius in Harry. If there’s anyone with the chops to put the pieces together when it comes to DeVoe’s nefarious plan, it’s Harrison Wells. Harry’s been working through some self-doubt in the wake of Barry’s conviction, but rolling the dice to save Dibny and Cisco in the nick of time seems to have rejuvenated his approach moving forward. Here’s hoping a breakthrough comes soon.
*Cecille’s newfound metahuman powers made for an interesting side story, and the ability to read minds is certainly an unexpected pregnancy side effect. The explanation is a little fuzzy (so she had a bit of metahuman inside her from the particle accelerator all those years ago, and being pregnant made it manifest? But it’ll go away once the baby arrives?), but it still made for a good foothold into Joe and Cecille’s relationship. It leads to a sweet moment, and you have to think there’s a plot point brewing with this, right? They’re trying to beat a super genius — having a mindreader could certainly even the odds.
*The scene where Barry cheats at cards in prison was a cool bit of effects work, even if Barry does accidentally reveal himself by zipping around Iron Heights.
*Funny little easter egg with the reference to Lord Industries, as the new mayor notes tech companies in Central City are robbed almost as much as the ones in Star City. Seriously, why would anyone put a tech firm in either of these cities at this point?
*Another good nod to the wider universe, as Iris reaches out to the Waverider and Ray Palmer while looking for incredible shrinking assistance. It’s all one big world, and they didn’t dwell on it here to make it a distraction, just made a note to remind fans It’s All Connected.
*Hey, they’re in the LEGO set from last season when Iris was supposed to die. A hilarious way to bring that thing back into the fold, and you have to wonder if they’re not just poking fun at last year’s melodrama a bit.
*So how does all this fit into DeVoe’s plan? From Big Sir to the Metahuman of the Week, he’s moving pieces around the board that Team Flash can’t even recognize yet. More than any other year, the pressure is on to make sure this thing actually pays off in a satisfyingly smart conclusion.
*Nice twist with that final scene: The warden is a bad guy after all! He catches Barry on camera and drugs him, then hauls him off to a secret wing of the prison. Why? Turns out he’s selling metahumans to Amunet Black, though you have to wonder how he thinks he can actually pull off disappearing prisoners like that — especially one with connections on the police department via Joe. But hey, guess we’ll find out next week.