The Flash: Oh, no, not the bees! Not the beeeeeeeeees!
Previously on The Flash: Barry and Felicity are bros, Ray from Arrow is the Atom, Joe and Barry know Harrison is Reverse Flash, and Eddie knows Barry is the regular Flash.
A series of robberies are going down in Central City, and the police are scrambling. Eddie and Joe are chasing a perp when the third robbery is called in, but Barry is on it. He snatches up the snatchers and handcuffs them, leaving them in appropriate cars, and even relocating Eddie and Joe when needed. Basically Flash + the police are a great team, and Joe giggles a lot.
A woman is leaving the Hudson University Applied Physics & Robotics building (comic check! While HU is allegedly in New Carthage, New York (Dick Grayson attended briefly!), it’s also where half of Firestorm Martin Stein worked and seems to be in Central City in the CW-verse); another leaving employee calls her “Dr. Kang.” She gets in her car and is promptly assaulted by a bee. And then more bees. And then a whole lot of bees.
Eddie and Joe are investigating the next morning, and Barry exposits that Kang probably died from anaphylaxis from the puncture wounds all over her body, although Barry doesn’t seem to know immediately that they’re bee stings, unlike every other case so far in this show. He’s going to take a blood sample back to the Worst Lab Ever for analysis, but Joe suggests the test could get done faster at STAR Labs Stadium. Barry is reluctant, not because the police can’t outsource everything to STAR Labs, but because being around Harrison is weird. Barry wants to tell Caitlin and Cisco about their suspicions, but Joe talks him out of it because they don’t yet know where Caitlin and Cisco’s loyalties lie.
Back at STARLS, Caitlin confirms bee venom in Kang’s blood. Cisco is afraid of bees and is not interested in having anything to do with them whatsoever.
Harrison knows a weird amount about bee physiology, but it’s all just to explain that it’s strange that no dead bees were found at the scene, or stingers for that matter, plus the amount of toxin in Kang’s blood was massive. And then Felicity shows up! She apparently can just walk on into the highly secure STARLS facility, and she ushers the team outside, where they wait for Ray’s slightly awkward arrival in full Atom Man suit.
Caitlin does a workup of Ray (why?) while Cisco drools over the suit. Harrison does too, in a slightly more subdued way; Ray says it’s great, but he’s having trouble with the maintenance and thought Team Flash could put another set of eyes on the problems. Barry protests, to generally weird looks from everyone, who doesn’t see why he wouldn’t want to help Ray and Felicity. Harrison says he and Caitlin can deal with the bees while Cisco helps Ray with the suit.
At the precinct house, Iris comes by to talk to Eddie about a story she’s writing. Crime has plummeted in Central City, and she thinks the police are working with the Flash. Eddie gets all squirrelly about it, and Iris says he’s been acting withdrawn and weird. Eddie insists he’s not hiding anything, but he’s a terrible liar. Iris leaves, and Eddie tells Joe he can’t keep the secret anymore because it’s straining his relationship with Iris. But Joe thinks it’s keeping Iris safe, and as her father, his word goes. Eddie wants to know when his vote will start counting, and Joe says the most sexist thing ever uttered on this show: when he’s Iris’ husband.
As much as I enjoy Jesse L. Martin as Joe, and as wonderfully as the relationship between Joe and Barry is written on this show, the Joe-Iris relationship leaves a lot to be desired. It’s hard to tell yet if it’s intentional or incidental, but there are so many indications that Joe treats Barry and Iris completely differently: Barry left home for college, finished in (presumably) 4 years, and started work immediately while Iris lived at home and clearly went to school part-time while working at the coffee shop; Joe refused to let Iris go to the police academy (which may account for her longer college path, if her original plan was the academy); he’s shown controlling behavior about her boyfriend while only encouraging Barry’s romantic pursuits; and now he’s assuming ownership of her safety and refusing to allow another man agency over her…unless he’s her husband. And that’s some bullshit.
Felicity and Barry are having coffee, and she can tell something’s going on with him. He cautiously suggests he doesn’t want anybody else at risk, but before she can probe that cryptic statement, Eddie shows up looking for Barry. Eddie’s being super awkward, and Barry quickly reveals that it’s okay, Felicity knows about the whole Flash thing. Eddie’s wholly appropriate response? “Wow. So everyone but Iris.”
It’s Felicity who offers most of the advice on lying to everyone you know, though, telling Eddie to think of it as protecting Iris. Eddie has heard that one before, but she suggests that maybe they just need to do something fun together. She wants them all (plus Ray) to go to dinner that night. So Barry gets to be the awkward fifth wheel? That’ll be great.
A man walks into the lobby of an office building, blabbering into his phone about dinner reservations and being watched by a blonde in glasses and gloves. She speaks to the bee in her fist to “tell her sisters it’s time,” and the bee takes off. Hey, worker bees accurately depicted as female in the media! I guarantee you Ant-Man’s gonna fuck that up (worker ants: also female).
At STARLS, Cisco and Ray are musing about the power cells in the Atom suit’s belts, and Cisco thinks insulating them with a ceramic compound could lower the operating temperature and up the efficiency. Ray likes the idea and calls Cisco clever—and Cisco gets a sudden vision of similar words coming from Harrison: right before Harrison hand-stabs him, in the future-that-didn’t-happen.
Caitlin calls them upstairs because the bees are back! They ping Barry, and he and Eddie both take off. Barry reaches Folston Tech to find the man already dead, but he doesn’t see the bees–until the bees come flying out of the dead guy’s mouth, surrounding Barry. He panics, asking how to get out of the building, and Cisco gives him directions. He gets trapped at the end of a corridor, though, surrounded by the bees. Joe and Eddie arrive as he runs outside, still swarmed. You’re telling me those bees kept up with him? He couldn’t outrun a swarm of bees? What the fuck, show.
Anyway, anaphylaxis, cardiac arrest, blah, blah. Luckily, there’s a defibrillator built into the suit, so they remotely give him a couple jolts and he comes out of it. Does…does that work for anaphylaxis? I mean, I don’t think the anaphylactic shock is just over because they normalized his heartbeat.
Back at STARLS, Barry is fine, but he didn’t get out of the building in time because Cisco’s directions were wrong. Cisco claims the building’s schematics weren’t up to date, but the whole thing is kind of awkward (really? Barry can’t get out of a building by himself?) and meant to cast doubt on Cisco’s agenda regarding Harrison and Barry. Anyway, Barry, Felicity, and Ray head off to dinner, and we see a remaining bee buzzing around STARLS.
At the French restaurant where they’re dining, the Team Flash trio meet up with Eddie and Iris. The maître d’ greets them in French (is that a real thing that happens in Midwestern American cities?) and they head back to…an empty dining room, because Ray has bought out the entire restaurant for the evening. Nice.
Back at the precinct house, Cisco comes in to see Joe, and Joe hands over a file on the second bee victim, expositing that he was a recent robotics hire at Folston Tech. Cisco sees the connection between him and Kang, but Cisco’s actually there to talk about Barry. Cisco thinks something’s going on because Barry is terrible at hiding things, and Joe blandly talks about Barry’s focus and his worry about the Reverse Flash. Cisco remembers the not-future again, briefly, but he shrugs it off and heads out.
At the restaurant, Ray and Felicity comment that they met at work, which triggers a profoundly awkward conversation that’s really a fight about how Eddie and Iris can’t communicate. Even the first course can’t fix things, because Ray starts talking about how Harrison is his hero, so Barry runs for air. Felicity checks on him, and Eddie and Iris start fighting more and bail. Good times! But at least Barry tells Felicity that Harrison is a bad guy.
Back at STARLS, the bee is wreaking havoc, while Cisco tries to take it out with a fire extinguisher. It considers stinging Harrison–who considers moving super fast–but Barry arrives just in time to catch it in a jar and save the day (and Harrison’s cover). When they put it under the scope, they discover that the bee isn’t a bee, but a tiny, bee-shaped robot. Controlled by the blonde woman we saw earlier. Felicity cross-references the two victims and finds that they both worked at Mercury Labs.
Harrison, Joe, and Barry go to see our old tachyon buddy Tina McGee at Mercury Labs, and she exposits that the victims reported the blonde woman–Brie Larvan (comic check! Bertram Larvan, a.k.a. Bug-Eyed Bandit, is an Atom villain who invented robot insects for pest control, and also crime)–for weaponizing the robotic bees she was working on. Tina fired Brie, so she’s likely to be on the hit list. Joe offers to keep her safe, but after the whole incident with the tachyon and Reverse Flash, Tina isn’t interested in their help.
Back at the coffee shop, Barry fills in Felicity on what they found, while Ray and Cisco go to work on the suit. She really wants to talk about Barry’s paranoia, though, and advises him to trust Cisco and Caitlin, because they’re his friends and surely they won’t turn out to be supervillains later or anything. Felicity tells about her first interactions with Oliver, when he’d ask her to do the weird stuff (not that weird stuff), and even though she knew he was lying about the reasons, she’d do it anyway because she has magical powers allowing her to see the character of everyone she meets, I guess.
At the West home, Iris is hanging out on the couch, because she’s fighting with Eddie. Barry comes home, and it’s thankfully not weird; instead he gives her a pep talk on how Eddie might see things at work that he doesn’t want to talk about, and it’s not fair that she insist he talk about them. Also Barry’s sure he’s not cheating on her. Iris appreciates his attempts to have Eddie’s back, but she thinks that communication is too important to explain away with manpain.
Back at STARLS, Felicity tells Caitlin that dating Ray is like dating Barry in Oliver’s body, which…is pretty apt, actually, when the bee starts showing signs of life. Felicity starts tracing the wireless signal, and they find out the bees are headed to Mercury Labs.
At Mercury Labs, the bee swarm forms a silhouette of Brie’s face outside Tina’s window, which is super creepy, and asks her if she can come in. Team Flash scrambles resistance–and Cisco and Ray name Brie “Bug-Eyed Bandit”–but they worry that the defibrillator in Barry’s suit is fried from his last run-in with the robo-bees. Have these people never heard of epinephrine? I mean, I have like three EpiPens lying around my house; they’re welcome to throw one in a pouch. Anyway, they realize the bees can’t sting Ray through his suit, so he heads out to protect Tina while Barry tries to track down Brie. I’m sure she doesn’t have any bees where she is!
Atom takes off with Caitlin and Cisco following in the van to monitor the upgrades Cisco made to the suit. Meanwhile, Brie is whining at Tina for shutting down her research program just because Brie was planning to kill people with bees! The bees begin to penetrate the glass, but Felicity messes with the wireless signal to get the bees to zero in on Ray instead. Atom leads them away from Mercury Labs. Meanwhile, Flash heads to the source of the bees, which is of course filled with more bees. Barry runs, and the bees, apparently, can keep up. It’s weird; I don’t see how we’re supposed to find this threatening to Barry’s safety.
Ray takes the bees over the lake, and then flies underwater; it fries the bees, but his suit is compromised too, so Ray sort of crash-lands in the back of the van. Very cute.
Felicity and Brie have a little hack war with bee control, but of course Felicity comes out on top, so the bees drop dead. There is, however, still a bee on Ray’s suit. As it zooms for Ray, Cisco intercepts it, and it stings him. We’ve already established that unlike real bees, robo-bees don’t die when they sting, so it could still kill all three of them, but apparently it’s got robo-bee shit to do and leaves. Because again, nobody has heard of a goddamned EPIPEN, Cisco passes out. Barry gets there in time, though, and jolts Cisco with the speed force, because that’s a thing he can do now. Of course, it works.
At the Worst Lab Ever, Tina stops by to apologize for not trusting the police on Brie. Barry takes the opportunity to ask about why there’s so much tension between Tina and Harrison. She says that after Harrison’s wife Tess died, Harrison became a completely different person (because he was a completely different person), and they drifted apart.
Barry sends off Felicity and Ray with coffee. He says hopes that Ray figures out his suit, but Ray already has: he says he just has to go smaller. YAY HINTS THAT ATOM’S SIZE POWERS WILL HAPPPPPEN.
At the Worst Lab Ever, Caitlin and Cisco come by to head to karaoke, except that they’re not going to karaoke. Barry and Joe break the news that they’ve figured out Harrison’s secret. Caitlin is immediately disbelieving, and she turns to Cisco for support, but…well. Cisco’s been having dreams, and flashbacks, to things that never happened. To a death he didn’t die. And to Harrison Wells as the Reverse Flash.