“I spent most of my life in love with a girl who was way outta my league. Now she’s my wife. Sometimes things do end up like in the movies.”
A pregnant Cecile reading minds, Barry doing his best to get an innocent man out of prison, and two members of Team Flash shrunk to the size of Ant-Man? Yes, it was a busy night in this week’s The Flash and that’s not even counting the surprise ending stinger.
Things start off with a bang when, out of the blue, Cecile’s mind-reading powers are inexplicably activated. Turns out, she had a bit of dark matter coursing within her and, similar to gestational diabetes, her pregnancy activated her telepathy. One thing I have to give this storyline is that it contained a major aspect of the episode’s comedy. The reactions by Team Flash, especially Joe (and let’s not forget Cisco’s weird obsession with Pokemon) are priceless. There’s even a callback when the couple heads to the same shrink (ha!) Barry and Iris visited when they were having issues earlier this season. Not to be the fun police, but I found it a bit disturbing that an intelligent woman like Cecile never questions her abilities. Peering into someone’s mind with reckless abandon is a violation of privacy in a major way. Sure, Cecile probably has no idea how to control it just yet but never once stepping back and realizing it’s not something she should celebrate?
As fun as Cecile’s newfound powers are, the primary arc is a two-parter. First off, Barry discovers that Dave has been imprisoned 15 years for a crime he didn’t commit. Instead of the team figuring out how to free him, Barry asks that they work on Dave’s case. It leads them to Sybert Rundin, a real piece of work who, thanks to some dwarf star alloy he stole a few months back, has gained the ability to shrink then enlarge items at will. Not only do his abilities play for some good comedy after he shrinks Ralph and Cisco but the coincidence of this episode airing the same day that the Ant-Man and the Wasp trailer went live makes for an even funnier time. There are some great moments between the characters as they deal with their super small teammates and how to ‘embiggen’ them (yes, Iris, that is a word!).
But “Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash” is not all about the laughs. There are some pretty serious moments in prison where Barry is doing his best to give Dave hope that his friends on the outside can track down Rundin and get him to confess to the crime that landed Dave in prison. Doing time for something you didn’t do probably has a way of sapping any and all hope from a person, and Dave warns Barry that hope is a dangerous thing. Being the overly optimistic guy we’ve come to know and love, Barry refuses to give up on helping Dave. It’s not until Rundin is captured and turns down every deal on the table just to allow Dave to rot in prison that Barry realizes that hope and positive beliefs don’t always turn out the way they should. For Dave though, things do work out when Barry breaks him out of prison and leaves him at the Chinese village the pair had talked about earlier in the episode.
In addition to Barry’s moments with Dave, Harry had the other serious plot arc in “Honey”. He begins the episode by trying to kick Team Flash into gear on finding a way to get Barry free. After his initial attempt to embiggen Ralph and Cisco fails, Harry is surprisingly hard on himself. It comes out that his anger and frustration is centered on his inability to one-up Devoe. He’s never had an adversary who’s intellectually bested him time and time again. The 3-inch Cisco is able to re-focus Harry, reminding the Earth-2 genius that a single failure—in this case, Devoe’s seeming victory—doesn’t define him. It gives Harry the confidence he needed and plays a big part in taking down Rundin.
So another evil meta taken down, Ralph and Cisco embiggened, Barry freeing an innocent man from having to spend another day as a prisoner for something he didn’t do, and Cecile and Joe making amends and sharing their feelings…all things considered, it seemed like the episode was ready to end on a very positive note.
And then the Warden made himself known.
All throughout the episode and Barry’s attempts to free Dave, the Warden cautioned Barry. “Everyone here is a monster” he says during the initial foray into Dave’s case. At the end, he reveals knowledge of Barry’s true identity and revisits the monster line, only this time it’s no inmate he’s referencing, rather himself. To take things further, the Warden is in a partnership with Amunet Black, aka the Blacksmith, and is ready to make a deal to sell Barry off to the mistress of metal.
- Iris has a great conversation with Cecile about her mind reading and Joe’s thoughts. “Stop focusing on what he’s thinking and find out what he’s feeling.” The morality of reading someone’s mind aside, that’s sage advice. People too often mistake thought for feeling and it’s an easy thing to do, especially when peering into someone’s mind. The truth is, we all think weird and crazy things at times, that does not mean our thoughts are everything that we are.
- While Iris has been out ahead in the leadership category this season, for the first time in a long time, she may have competition. Allowing himself to be the silent and often curmudgeon-y guy in the background, Harry was front and center, taking the lead early on in a way that reminded me of the original Wells. I’m still not sure if Harry has the disposition to be a full-time leader but he reminded us that, not only do they throw scat at you in gorilla prison but he’s not without his own leadership qualities.
- There were some great pop culture nods, what with Pokemon (“Because he’s the cutest one!”), Dr. Who, Simpsons, Lego, Shawshank references, the most meta moment had to be Iris’s line “Why does every villain in this city have a name that sounds like it came out of a comic book?” Touché, Iris, touché.
The Flash: “Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash”