REVIEW: The Flash S4E12, ‘Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash’

The Flash opts for another filler episode this week with ‘Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash,’ and while it’s just as enjoyable as last week’s entry, the lack of forward movement can start to grate at times. That being said, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Cecile’s (guest star Danielle Nicolet) relationship gets some much needed focus thanks to a humorous plot convenience. In fact, everyone on Team Flash is given a moment or two to shine while Barry (Grant Gustin) continues to pursue his quest for justice from within Iron Heights.

Before getting into the more lighthearted portion of the evening, there is something that needs to be said about Barry’s storyline right now. There’s all the usual complaints about how he should be able to get himself out, or that the team should at least be tracking the curiously absent Devoes, but I’m more worried about a different aspect. Whether by accident or design, The Flash has dealt with several men wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit, and ‘Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash’ introduces its third with Big Sir’s revelation that he is innocent. The only problem is that all three men are white when in fact it is Black and Latino men who are disproportionately incarcerated, whether it be for crimes they didn’t commit or for minor infractions that would slide otherwise. Henry and Barry are a part of the story that can’t change, but despite Goldberg’s endearing performance I can’t help but feel that the episode could have made more of a statement (without having to say anything at all) with a different casting choice.

That aside, Barry once again shows off his heroic side even when he’s powerless to take action himself. His interest in Big Sir’s case may stem in part from nostalgia about his father, but it’s clear that he would go the extra mile for anyone who needed it. ‘Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash’ also does a nice job of letting Barry acclimate to his prison surroundings without extending the melodrama more than necessary. And much like Iris was his window to the outside world last episode, Joe took on that role this week in a way that both felt natural and helped move the metahuman of the week plot along. In fact, connecting the stories through the same meta strengthens the episode and covers for the the villain (who is actually The Atom’s nemesis) not being all that special in his own right. And while Barry’s eternal optimism bites him in the butt somewhat, it also reminds the audience of why he’s a hero in the first – not to mention that it sets the Thinker story back in motion by the final scene.

The most exciting part about Sylbert Rundine is what he does to Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Ralph (Hartley Sawyer), who wind up as miniature figures for a good chunk of ‘Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash.’ And while The Flash doesn’t mine as much comedy as it could from this predicament, there are still some great bits such as Iris (Candice Patton) stepping on a bite-size Ralph, and Cisco learning just how long breaching takes when you’re two inches tall. What was more surprising, though, was how the situation led to some deep introspection for Harry (Tom Cavanagh). The generally sour-faced scientist was even moodier than ever, but this time it was with good cause: he was holding himself responsible for not figuring out a way to save Barry, and now he had only made matters worse with his tiny teammates.  He and Cisco even take a break from their constant bickering to actually work on the problem at hand, which is a nice change of pace and a reminder that the show does heartfelt humor better than than it does slapstick.

The final story of the night had to do with Cecile’s pregnancy, which gives her the dark matter version of gestational diabetes and makes her able to read minds. Joe is pretty shaken up by this new development, and we’re treated to a healthy dose of Martin’s patented give-me-death face as well as another delightful cameo from Dr. Sharon Finkle. But what starts off as yet another excuse to wring more laughs from the audience does become a serious and mature discussion between two adults in love by the end of the episode, and Cecile once again proves why she’s just the kind of woman Joe needs in his life. However, I was left wondering how on Earth her temporary telepathy didn’t connect back to Devoe – especially considering that he is inhabiting the body of a telepath. Perhaps her ability was merely a one-off for this week, but it’s another example of The Flash not tying as much of the season together as they could.

Despite the slow progress of Barry’s prison arc and the disappearance of the Devoes, ‘Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash’ was a fun detour that balanced many different plots rather adeptly.

Rating: 4/5

Reviewer: Tatiana Hullender (@myrcellasear)

The Flash airs Tuesdays on the CW at 8/7c in the US.

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