This The Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 4 Episode 12
“Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash” didn’t have to be any good. I was a little worried when I saw the preview, and wondered how they were going to justify a “filler” episode right when the stakes need to start getting higher for the show as we pass the halfway point.
So the fact that I wasn’t just wrong, but I was dead wrong was a thrill. While “Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash” is unlikely to land on my “best of” lists for the year, it is excactly what you’d want from an episode with a premise like this. It’s almost constantly charming without ever being cloying or worse. It even advanced Barry’s prison story well beyond just “Barry is off the board because he’s in jail.” Hell, I’m just glad they gave us a good reason for why Ray Palmer couldn’t be involved in the episode.
Even though the last two episodes didn’t really thrill me, I do think that we’ve finally settled into what feels like the right balance between the joke-a-minute feel of the early episodes this season and one that feels appropriate for a show where the stakes now include the very real possibility that our title character will never see the outside of a jail cell again. Well, OK, we know he will, but I’m impressed that we’ve now gone two full episodes with no Barry-in-costume action, and it looks like we’re likely to go one more.
There was a real rhythm to this episode that I couldn’t put my finger on, though. Iris worrying about Barry and then cutting straight to the card game was genuinely hilarious, as was the contrast between the new mayor’s almost Daffy Duck-esque delivery of “I hate this city” and former Mayor Bellows in the clink with Barry and Big Sir. Lines like “you’re no less annoying at that size” and Harry’s clearly traumatized description of Gorilla City prisons were right on point, too. It all felt effortless, which is a far cry from the word “forced” that I kept throwing around earlier this season.
Hell, even our virtually useless villain-of-the-week was fun, and worth it for his ridiculous “parachute out the window” escape alone.
My one real issue is this whole Cecile-has-powers thing. After that fun opening scene, that got old real fast, and it really feels like some lazy shorthand to give some depth to her relationship with Joe, considering all they’re going through during this stressful time. Honestly, I feel like it had the opposite effect.
On the other hand, the warden’s willingness to turn Barry over to Amunet Black feels very much like we now have a light at the end of the tunnel for the whole Barry in prison thing. There’s no way this ends well for the warden, and it seems unlikely that they’re able to throw Barry back in a cell for any length of time after.
All this and a genuine happy ending for Big Sir. I’ll confess, that got to me a little. I think it says more about Bill Goldberg’s screen presence and charisma than it does about how much we actually know about Big Sir, but I’ll take it. And the fact that Barry took a chance and did right by someone who did right by him (and his dad) and ended up paying a price for it feels a lot more authentic to me than his stubborn refusal to mount any kind of defense of himself in “Trial of the Flash.”
– Big Sir’s real name here is David P. Ratchett, thankfully. In the comics, I shit you not, it is Doofus P. Ratchett.
– I rather liked Sylbert Rundine, known as Dwarfstar in the comics. He was created by Gail Simone and John Byrne in the notoriously underrated All-New Atom comic series in 2006. Seriously, it’s a fun, breezy superhero read. But the Dwarfstar of the comics is a lot more dangerous than the guy we met tonight.
– Nice to see former mayor Tony Bellows back. You may remember him from the original Flash TV series starring John Wesley Shipp. Tina McGee’s Mercury Labs makes an appearance as well, just to tie things up a little neater.
– I will never not get crazy excited whenever we get to Kord Industries. I’m still hoping they give us Ted one of these days.
– Kinda funny that they used the “shrink and steal the whole building” gimmick the same day that the trailer for Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp does the very same thing.
– Sketchy warden’s password was 1-0-5-2. The shows in general have been leaning less heavily on the 52 theme lately, but it’s still notable when it pops up.
I might not be around for next week’s review, so if that happens, you’ll be left in the capable gloved hands of one of the other Legends of Den of Geek, whether it’s Kayti Burt, Jim Dandy, or Delia Harrington remains to be seen. If you miss me that much, you can always find me on Twitter.