The Flash: Flash vs. Arrow

"All this time, you've been trying to catch me – but I caught you first."

Barry’s lost his powers before, but he’s never lost his self-control. After a couple of rocky episodes, the Flash is back – with a vengeance.

Everyone’s been eagerly awaiting this crossover event with Arrow, and the writers and directors of The Flash have pulled no punches in setting up a terrific episode which explores more deeply the characters of both shows – and just plain rocks us through the ride.

The opening shows us Barry's two smiles. His first–when he drops by Iris and watches her serve coffee for a second–convinces me the whole romance thing might work. It's the first time I've seen real heat and passion in his eyes this season. But the second smile is pure bro-mance. We know Barry’s a lonely guy. The wideness of his grin when he sees Oliver is insane–you can see him thinking FUN TIME! Oliver’s in town chasing a boomerang-using criminal, but simultaneously Barry’s city is under attack by a meta-human who emanates light from his eyes which causes people to go insane and begin attacking each other. Clearly the Flash can use friends; the teams are still working on learning to trust each other, and Felicity and Barry get somewhat caught in the middle. This leads to some amazing interaction between Felicity and Dr. Wells; Cavanagh’s creepiness is just coming out all over.

Meanwhile Eddie is starting to get jealous of his competition–and Barry's delighted, though he tries to cover it up. Eddie attacks the Flash, trying to convince his boss to go after him as a dangerous criminal. Iris is infuriated.

But all this fun back and forth – which is starting to remind me of Buffy/Angel in some ways – shouldn’t mask the truly terrifying criminal who’s apparently going to be known as Prism (or the Rainbow Raider?) I was very creeped out by the scene in the bank where the customers started losing control, and I felt for the girl with the gun who almost shot someone. Well-done special effects continue when Barry goes out training with Oliver and gets his leather-clad buttocks kicked.

I began reviewing The Flash because of my love for the Arrow, and a lot of the things I have critiqued about the Flash – the overt innocence of Barry, the occasional silliness – are also made fun of by the Arrow team in this episode. I love the ‘cute names’ moment–and how Barry comes right back at Oliver with “Oh yeah? What about Deathstroke?” And while some have mocked Cisco’s geekiness, it’s done very well here with the ringside banter he shares with Diggle. Eventually, they get to the core of their true differences: Barry is an innocent hero, while Oliver is a more experienced vigilante. I think those are words and perceptions though, not necessarily truths. Barry has made mistakes and been through terrible things, and Oliver has inspired people like Roy to fight and people like the Canary to change.

I also like the fact that Oliver notices the tension and issues surrounding Barry and Iris. I screamed NO when he told Barry "Guys like us don't get the girl:" really, Oliver? Pass on your issues, much?

And at this point Barry gets infected... which leads to his attacking Joe, Eddie Thawne and, eventually, Oliver. The titular fight is extremely well done. Power versus precision, certainly! I was wondering how they’d handle the special-effects fighting of the Flash with the more stunt-based shooting style of the Arrow, but it came together like a fantastic dance.

I disagree with people who say it’s a draw; the Arrow achieved his purpose and managed to hold off the Flash long enough for the Genius Team to drive up and FAO Schwarz Barry back into normality. I loathe the metahuman of the week thing, but Roy G. Biv(olo) worked very well here as a mechanism for pushing Barry past his natural innocence… and set up several storylines for the rest of the series. Will Iris ever forgive Barry? How about Eddie? What about the police force? And isn’t it ironic that it’s the hero who winds up on the wrong side of the police force, not the vigilante?

Spoilers: FIRESTORM IS HERE! But he doesn’t seem to be totally sane… or totally good.

Bits and pieces

The "training fight" between Barry and Oliver. And Oliver shooting him in the back. Awesome.


Too many great quotes - the writers went all out in this episode.

Iris: He’s one of my three.
Barry: Three what?
Iris: My three. You know. The three men I will cheat on Eddie with.
(Who wants to bet Barry’s hoping he’s one of the other two?)

Oliver: Barry, I have been living this life for almost eight years, encountering things that you can't even fathom, and I am still alive. Not because super-speed kept me out of the ground. It was because I realized that I needed to keep learning, keep training, keep getting smarter, and until you get that, despite your good intentions, you will do more harm than good.
Barry: I finally see it. You're a little bit jealous of me, aren't you?

Iris: What has happened to you?
Flash: I feel fine.
Iris: You are not fine.
Flash: How would you know? Because you write about me? You don't know me! You don't know who I am. You never did.

(This is a crossover episode. Our review of the second part that aired on Arrow, "The Brave and the Bold" is here – go read for more yummy goodness.)


sunbunny said...

So I gave up on The Flash a few weeks ago. I don't dislike it but I'm having trouble caring about the characters, which is really my bottom line for any show. But obviously, I had to watch this and I'm so glad I did. The repartee between the teams was great and I loved Oliver being menacing to the Flash crew and Felicity "translating" it into a friendly goodbye. Could they be more married?

The big fight was really awesome, like movie-level great until they started in on the slow mo. I got the distinct impression they ran out of money at this point.

One thing that really didn't work for me was Cavanagh and Joe being all "The Arrow is a literal murderer. He's a terrible influence stay as far away from him as you can" and then ten minutes later them happily working with him to help Barry. I feel like we missed a scene (or three).

I also really like the rapport Felicity and Caitlin. No jealousy, no oneup(wo)manship, just a friendly duo trading tips on how to help their respective heroes.

Patrick said...

I LOVED this episode, it was everything I was hoping for in the crossover. I'm still not thrilled with how they're handling the Barry/Iris progression. It's like they have to make her either clueless & naive or overly stubborn in order to keep them apart, not that I actually want them together. I'd be more interested in an eventual romance with Caitlin, provided they invest the time in setting it up(especially with Firestorm on the way to potentially complicate said romance). Granted, that may be at least partially based on my longstanding mini-crush on Danielle Panabaker. :)

I was a little surprised they had Joe learn the Arrow's identity. It's one thing for civilians to know, it's another for a cop to know, considering some of the things he's done. I'm not all that surprised Wells was able to figure it out, but he's really got to learn how to dial down the creepy if he doesn't want everyone catching on that he's not who he claims to be.

Lots and lots of awesome lines in this episode, but then in the scene when Oliver hits Barry in the back with those remote-controlled bows I expected to hear a line and didn't. He told Barry he'd get show with an arrow, Barry said he wouldn't. Once he triggered those two bows, I was really expecting him to say something like "I never said WHICH arrow." Maybe it would've been a little redundant, but it still would've been funny. :)

VERY nice surprise bringing in Oliver's baby-momma! I knew that couldn't have been a throwaway flashback scene last year, and I just can't imagine that this was a one-off reunion. I have no idea what their plan might be for her & Oliver's kid, especially since the actress playing the mother has a regular gig on another show(she's "Berlin" on Defiance).

Billie Doux said...

Interestingly, I thought this Flash episode showed how good a show Arrow has become: how integrated and strong team Arrow has become in three seasons, and the contrast between the two shows (which they addressed even more extensively in the second part of the crossover on Arrow). But it also showed that The Flash is getting good, too. They're concentrating on what they're good at, which is always best.

My favorite scene was a silly one -- when the boomarang got out of control.

Did you guys notice yet another Superman movie reference when Flash asked what kind of a name, like Ralph?

Billie Doux said...

BTW, the review of the second half of the crossover that aired on Arrow will be posted this afternoon.

JRS said...

Sunbunny - I totally noticed that scene too! My students are really into the Flash, but I like the maturity of Arrow, and I can't wait until the Flash grows into it.

Billie and Patrick - thanks - you both mentioned awesome scenes I loved! Episodes like this one have so much going for them it's impossible to capture everything....

Josie Kafka said...

I'm really enjoying The Flash, but I realized after this two-part crossover that how I enjoy it and how I enjoy Arrow are distinct emotions: The Flash is spectacle. I feel pure delight in watching Barry Allen's glee. I like the light-hearted tone, since I watch so much moody stuff. But the character I connect most with is Iris's dad. Everyone else feels so young!

On Arrow, it's the opposite: less delight, more connection. I think that's why I liked these crossovers so much. It was a great balance of different elements.

sunbunny said...

Josie - Joe is why I stayed with the show for as long as I did. I grew up watching L&O reruns and it was so nice to have Jesse L. Martin back on tv. :)

Anonymous said...

I liked it when Oliver pointed out how creepy Wells is.

Jess Lynde said...

I enjoyed the fight scenes this week, and I liked the clashing philosophies and tones even more. I love Barry's exuberance, but he definitely could stand to learn a thing or two from the Arrow about maturity and not rushing in without fully assessing your environment and situation. The whole "whammy" situation could have been easily avoided, if he had just waited for backup!

However, I'm glad the way things fell out mean that Iris and the Flash are on the outs, because I couldn't take much more of his awful cheesy flirting with her. These last few episodes, my husband and I have been groaning out loud any time Iris and the Flash have a scene together. I'm gonna enjoy the separation while it lasts, because I'm guessing the plan is for Barry to "get the girl" somewhere down the line. Hopefully, it is a long way down the line. Or, in the meantime, maybe they could find someone better for him to fall for.

Mallena said...

I'm late to the Arrow/Flash party, so I don't comment much. However, this two part crossover was the best episode of Flash that I have seen so far. So many funny moments had me laughing out loud. The chemistry between all the cast members in the two shows makes me want to give a high five to everyone who cast this show. I just wish they had cast Laurel and Iris differently. No offence to the actresses who are probably nice people, but those two just don't do anything for me. Maybe they get better? I'm only watching on Netflix, so it's going to be a long time until I get season 2 of Flash. Sigh.