On the D/L – Flash Vs. Arrow
Arrow Season 3 Episode 8 – “The Brave and the Bold”
The Flash Vs. Arrow two night crossover event concludes in “The Brave and the Bold”. Barry Allen and his team visit Starling City to help Oliver and his team take on Captain Boomerang (Nick Tarabay).
Like in the last episode the setup doesn’t work in terms of forcing these characters together. Cisco and Caitlin come to see Felicity in her office to collect the blood sample that was mentioned over in The Flash. Felicity does mention that she was just going to mail it so there was no real reason for Cisco and Caitlin to come visit. I will give the episode points for directly addressing this when Cisco said that he wanted to see their HQ. It makes complete sense for Cisco to want to make the trip for that reason and maybe Caitlin came along just to see Felicity as well as get a break from the intensity of being around Dr. Wells all day.
Flimsy excuses aside, the important thing is that Barry also comes to Starling City and we get another team up. This is handled really well with team Flash offering a commentary on how things work in Starling city and how different it is to Central City. In the same way that Oliver’s visit to Central City was him playing in the world of The Flash, this episode is very much Barry and his friends playing in their world.
As a result Barry has to agree to do things Oliver’s way and take orders from him. This produces some great moments like Barry using his abilities to tie up all of the guards before Oliver even gets inside the building. This joke is used more than once and it never wears thin. Oliver uses Barry’s speed as an asset and gets the best use out of it. He’s never had someone with powers on his team before -not counting Roy when the Mirakuru gave him super strength- so it’s cool to see that he knows how super speed can be an asset to him. It gives the viewer something of an idea of what the show might have been like had The Flash never been picked up and the characters had been moved to Arrow instead. Obviously it’s better that Barry has his own show but it’s an interesting teaser for a Green Arrow show where The Flash is a supporting character.
There’s a definite sense that the advice Oliver gave to Barry has been taken on board. He mentions that he’s been assessing areas instead of running in blind. It remains to be seen whether we’ll see any evidence of that in The Flash but if that’s the case then it adds a new skill to Barry’s ever growing list.
Over on The Flash Barry and his friends were constantly told that they don’t take what they do seriously which does seem to be somewhat ignored but this episode forces them to face the reality of how dangerous the life they lead is. When Lyla almost dies as a result of Captain Boomerang’s attack Barry, Cisco and Caitlin are faced with the notion that what they do is life and death so has very real consequences for people.
Cisco makes an interesting point about metahumans seeming a bit neater and that the situations are very much larger than life so it’s easy to get lost in the romantic notion of super powers and how cool that all is. Cisco has definitely learned how high the stakes are and what can happen if a careless attitude is taken. There have been moments on The Flash where deaths have occurred and things haven’t quite went according to plan but nothing that really affects anyone close to the characters. Lyla being near death acts as something of a reality check to them so it should be interesting to see how that plays out in The Flash.
On the other side of that it is pointed out that Oliver and his team are taking things far too seriously. Despite the high stakes there is something inherently cool about what they do. Cisco’s line about remembering they work under a nightclub illustrates that point perfectly. They shouldn’t be afraid to have a little fun with their mission as long as they never lose sight of the stakes involved.
This point is further illustrated by Barry when Oliver has one of his trademark “this is all my fault” moments. Oliver confides in Barry and tells him that he feels like his humanity is being eroded away by The Arrow persona. He’s feeling less like Oliver Queen and retreating into the vigilante side of his personality. Barry points out that Oliver’s humanity is what got him through everything that has challenged him and he wouldn’t be the hero he is if he didn’t have that humanity. The look on Oliver’s face following this discussion suggests that it had never occurred to him to think like that before that conversation.
The real strength of the episode was how Barry and Oliver generally interact throughout. In the beginning there’s comedy in the level of impatience Oliver seems to have for Barry being the way he is. Barry takes every opportunity to show off and has an air of arrogance about him that really seems to annoy Oliver. It might be something to do with the fact that Barry seems to remind Oliver of himself who isn’t a stranger to a bit of self confidence. The two characters are great and seeing them work together is a lot of fun.
Barry and Oliver had more of an ethical confrontation in this episode when Barry witnesses Oliver torturing someone for information with his own eyes. Barry is understandably horrified but Oliver’s position is backed up through the flashbacks. In the flashbacks he feels squeamish about torturing someone and as a result he is too late to stop a bomb going off and killing lots of people. It doesn’t make the torture right but you can’t argue with the results. When Oliver needs information he doesn’t hesitate because he doesn’t want that to happen again. I do wonder if Barry will be faced with a situation where he’s against the clock and has to compromise his principles to get the job done.
On the same token Oliver rushes to torture to get information as a first resort but Barry’s presence shows him that there are alternatives. He can get that information other ways when he involves his friends. Barry won’t be there every week but I do wonder if he’ll seek some alternative methods.
Roy was underused as usual but the way he was included was really good. I love how he interacted with The Flash characters. He went from being annoyed at these visitors to bonding with them over the course of the episode. His reaction to seeing Barry’s super speed was great as well. I like that everyone isn’t used to it and finds it difficult to accept at first.
One of my favourite scenes in either episode was when Barry and Oliver agree to find the answer to the question of who would win in a fight between them. Both characters are so sure they’ll win for their own reasons and we are left wondering what the outcome of this is. It’s a pretty standard hero vs hero trope because if you answer that question then inevitably the fans of the character who lost are going to be annoyed. Oliver and Barry are vocalising the fan debate themselves and there’s a sense of fun about it which makes sense given that they are both in control of themselves unlike the previous episode where Barry needed to be stopped. I also like that the scene was very reminiscent of Rocky III.
The villain, Captain Boomerang was really well done. Nick Tarabay did a great job of creating a really fun and sinister antagonist. Despite his lack of super powers he was a decent match for The Flash and The Arrow. He’s a villain who plans everything quite meticulously and knows to set up some contingency plans should he be stopped. His back story was interesting as well with him being a former member of The Suicide Squad who was supposed to have been killed but survived due to a malfunctioning implant. His resentment of Lyla personally gives him plenty of suitable motivation to do what he’s doing. It’s interesting to note that if Barry hadn’t stepped in to help then a lot of people would have died when those bombs went off. It’s a little convenient that he would be involved when this problem presents itself but not distractingly so.
As with most episodes the set piece moments were fantastic. Having The Flash involved in a fairly typical Arrow story adds some great touches. His super speed brings a completely different dynamic to it and adds an extra layer of excitement. Barry’s handling of the problem of having multiple bombs at once but one one of him was particularly awesome and the fights with Captain Boomerang were visual treats in all cases. Part of me wants this sort of stuff every week but maybe seeing it sparingly is better.
I have to say that a 2 night crossover event is a really exciting prospect for me and both episodes absolutely delivered. I would have liked if both episodes were less stand alone and took full advantage of the crossover concept but what we got here was great stuff.
This episode had The Flash playing around in Oliver’s world and seeing just how serious things can get. Barry is horrified by Oliver’s methods but is able to offer something of a fresh perspective on being a hero. Both of them learn a lot from each other and become stronger people as a result. The crossover is a lot of fun but it’s also important in the development of both characters.
Barry’s presence in Starling City presents some great opportunities for his speed to be used to resolve Oliver’s typical issues in an interesting way. Visually the episode is fantastic and has some great action sequences.
Captain Boomerang was a great villain and felt like a credible threat to Barry and Oliver. It definitely needed the two of them to take him down and it was a difficult challenge the whole way.
Oliver and Barry’s interactions are great from their ethical conflict to the fun they have teaming up. There’s a great spectrum of discussions between them and it keeps things from getting stale. There was an equal portion of funny moments and serious moments to keep the dynamic fresh.