On the D/L – Flash Vs. Arrow
The Flash Season 1 Episode 8 – “Flash Vs Arrow”
“Flash Vs Arrow” gives us what we’ve all been waiting for, the first full crossover between Arrow and The Flash. Oliver, Diggle and Felicity head to Central City to investigate a potential link to the boomerang wielding killer at the end of the previous episode of Arrow and find themselves working with Barry in tracking down a metahuman. The title proves to be very appropriate since they do come to blows by the end.
Crossovers are always fun, I can’t think of an instance where a crossover hasn’t been worthwhile in some way, even if it’s just the novelty of seeing the two characters interact. Marvel have built an entire business plan out of making movies designed to crossover with one another and are making billions as a result so there’s definitely a demand for it. The Flash and Arrow offer a similar opportunity since they share a universe and are set really close to one another so the fact that they’re taking advantage of that is just great.
I will say this, the setup doesn’t really work in giving a justifiable reason to get these characters a reason to interact. Team Arrow come to Central City because there are traces of Iron on the boomerang and Central City has a high concentration of that. As setups go it’s pretty flimsy. There’s also the fact that Captain Boomerang never actually becomes part of the plot in any way. There’s a couple of scenes where the boomerang is used as something of an ice breaker to get the characters talking but it never goes anywhere.
That being said I really didn’t care given how much fun I had with the rest of the episode. The boomerang does help illustrate the differences in attitude between Oliver and Barry. Barry’s initial reaction to the boomerang is to nerd out about it which displeases Oliver who doesn’t see why someone should admire something used to kill. It’s a quick way to introduce the central conflict of the episode and it works really well.
In essence Oliver thinks that Barry doesn’t take things seriously enough and Barry thinks that Oliver takes things too seriously. These are two extremes and there is a balance in-between that neither character has reached. It’s also interesting that Felicity’s reactions are more in line with Barry’s team suggesting that she might blend in there better in terms of similarities. Of course Oliver needs her on his team so there’s no need for her to defect to The Flash on a permanent basis.
Oliver’s observations on Barry’s hero style are really great stuff. I love that he uses his training to suggest better ways that Barry has been using his powers. It has been made clear throughout the run of this series that Barry is inexperienced in the hero department and his resolutions are often messy. This is something that Oliver directly calls him out on and suggests that Barry could assess an arena before running in since he has plenty of time to prepare himself. He proves the point by luring Barry into a simple trap that he set. This is a great use of both characters as Oliver has had years of training in how to survive and his lack of super powers has meant that his level of preparation for fights has to be extensive whereas Barry has been relying on his powers to carry him. This exchange should make Barry more effective in the future when it comes to taking on metahumans.
Another thing this training sequence highlights is that both characters are arrogant in very different ways. Oliver is justifiably arrogant as he can do everything he claims he can. He knew that he would trick Barry so therefore he was sort of entitled to boast about it where Barry is arrogant because he feels invincible due to his powers. He hasn’t earned the right to be arrogant as yet as most of his victories haven’t been through any kind of skill. Again, this exchange should help Barry head more in that direction.
This was very much the world of The Flash and Team Arrow were guests so it makes sense that some of the episode was devoted to furthering the plot threads that this series has been setting up. The Iris and Flash dynamic being one that gets plenty of attention. After very little mention from Eddie regarding his thoughts on a speedy vigilante appearing we finally find out that he doesn’t like the idea because he’s against vigilante justice. Naturally this brings in some predictable conflict on the issue between Eddie and Iris who share opposite views on the subject. Eddie has his point somewhat proven by circumstance and Iris starts to see how a man with these powers could be a danger to her.
As changes go it feels like something of a light switch moment for Iris who goes from admiration to terror really quickly. It would have been preferable if doubting him had been made more of an issue when she was held hostage and not saved rather than the majority of the legwork being done here. It does put the relationships in a different light which is very welcomed but it should have been more organic.
I really liked seeing Iris gush over Oliver. It was a really funny scene and Barry’s jealousy was nicely done. It’s easy to see how he would be jealous of Oliver who -to Barry- can have anything he wants in his civilian identity as well as when he’s The Arrow. Oliver’s complete lack of interest in Iris was well played as well.
Oliver’s outside perspective does raise some interesting things. His observations on how Barry lives his life and how his team functions provide a new perspective on this as well as kick-starts some development into them working better together. I also loved that he immediately saw that something was amiss with Dr. Wells.
It’s clear that this episode was built to accommodate those who watch both shows. I can understand the reasons for this but it does prevent the episode from fully rising to the potential. There’s no indication that this story will continue on Arrow the very next day and there’s a scene that will have non Arrow viewers scratching their heads. It seems that they tried to have it both ways and managed to make a somewhat awkward hybrid of the two ideas. I would personally have preferred if it hadn’t pandered to the world of The Flash quite so much but I’m biased as I watch both shows.
Another thing I loved about this episode was Diggle’s reaction to seeing Barry’s powers. I have often wondered how the Arrow characters would react to seeing super powers and I wasn’t disappointed here. Diggle is a man who has seem some crazy stuff but it’s all been believably crazy. He’s able to accept super strength but Barry’s powers are something very different. The scene where Cisco and Diggle had an all too typical comic book fan discussion over who would win in a fight was great too. There was an immaturity to the discussion as both of them have a personal connection to their hero.
When Barry and Oliver do fight it is awesome. The conceit to get them fighting is that the metahuman foe is able to amplify anger in people he encounters which has a massive effect on Barry and causes him to be dangerous. This works really well as there was no real reason to have them fight otherwise. They were at odds sure but they never seemed to hate one another.
Oliver’s skill against Barry’s powers proves to be an exciting bout. Oliver more than holds his own and mostly has Barry on the defensive as he takes advantage of Barry being too angry to think straight. Barry does prove to be formidable but ultimately Oliver shows that skill, patience and preparation are powerful assets in battle. It was great to watch and wasn’t cut at all short like I feared it might be.
Wrapping up the episode was somewhat awkwardly handled. Oliver and Barry have a big team up moment then it cuts to the metahuman being locked up without us seeing them catch him. It’s like an entire scene was cut depicting this. Between this and the above mentioned lack of indication that the story will continue in Arrow it felt like a really clumsy ending.
In general the villain Prism (Patrick Sabongui) is a plot device which means he gets absolutely no character development. His only function is to make Barry go on a rampage and doesn’t appear any more than required to further this plot. I didn’t have a problem with this as the crossover was the core of this episode but it is another example of a poorly handled villain. Interesting note that Cisco naming him Prism is incorrect as Prism is a completely different character. Caitlin naming him The Rainbow Raider is actually the right one. Not sure why this happened but most people probably won’t notice.
I’ve rambled a lot above so I’ll keep this summary short. If I had to sum up this episode in 4 words, those would be “Damn this was fun”.
Oliver and Barry have a great dynamic and their conflict being skill vs. power works really well. Oliver’s training played against Barry’s reckless nature and over reliance on his abilities is nicely done and culminates in a fantastic fight between the characters at the end.
The other characters are nicely used with particular note given to Diggle’s disbelief at seeing Barry’s powers in action. It’s a great reaction for someone not used to this and allows the “who would win” discussion between Diggle and Cisco to happen.
I do wish the show had made more of an effort to take advantage of the fact that both shows exist instead of pandering so heavily to people who only watch The Flash. It does result in a couple of awkward scenes such as a lack of indication that the story is due to continue in Arrow and a flimsy set up involving a boomerang murder weapon that goes nowhere in this episode. Similarly the metahuman Prism is completely undeveloped acting more as an obstacle than a character.
I have to add that none of this bothered me as I had so much fun with the crossover. It was a fun ride and any issues I had with it really didn’t disrupt my enjoyment.