Arrow Review: S3E8 – The Brave and the Bold
Tuesday night we got part 1 of the Arrow/Flash crossover and Wednesday was Part 2. You can check out my review for Arrow vs Flash here. I’ll be honest, after how excited I was at the end of that episode of The Flash, I was wondering just how Arrow could live up to that. Well, The Brave and the Bold not only lived up to the hype from Part 1 but it exceeded it.
One of the few complaints I saw from the part 1 of this crossover was that at the end there wasn’t any direct link to the fact that there would be a direct tie-in to the next episode of Arrow. That didn’t bother me because 1. I liked that Arrow vs Flash was a standalone episode and 2. I knew that it was probably written that way on purpose. And having seen this episode, its clear that they wanted Barry and his crew coming to Starling City to be unannounced. So I’m fine with how they did it.
As far as the episode, like the first part, there’s a lot to unpack and process going on in this episode. First off, I just want to say I’m glad they didn’t move Roy to the back seat this episode. I was worried that because he didn’t go to Central City with them, they might find some way to not have him suiting up this episode. Roy not making the trip to Central City makes sense but not having him in this episode would have bothered me and they didn’t do that. I also peeped two things about him in this episode:
- He’s getting himself quite an arsenal (no pun intended). He got a trick arrow with an explosive tip and when Boomerang disarmed him, he had two batons to go to work with. This makes me even happier that Oliver decided to stick by Roy and not abandon him.
- Oliver kinda hints at calling Roy “Speedy”. When Lyla asked “What’s up with you and Speedy?” she meant Barry but Oliver first thought she was talking about Roy. Yup…I noticed that.
Since I’m mentioning sidekicks, I don’t care what anyone says, Cisco is my dude. If you’re a nerd you gotta love Cisco. He speaks the stuff we all think and while he’s definitely got poor timing with some of his jokes, they’re what some of us are thinking. I can only imagine if I walked into the “Arrow Cave” I’d be trying to touch all the stuff too. By the way, how cool is it that Cisco called it the “Arrow Cave” which is what we’ve all been calling it? And he’s right, Roy’s red costume is better than Oliver’s.
Just like in Arrow vs Flash the centralized theme in this episode is the differences between Barry and Oliver I mentioned in my Flash review that this is really CW doing a Batman/Superman dynamic and it doesn’t bother me because it works. Oliver and Barry are very different. Even the cities they serve are. Oliver pointed out something we as the audience always notices but he says that Central City is sunny and Starling City is dark. But I think Oliver and Barry make a good team because each of them needs each other. Oliver has been letting his humanity slip away, particularly since Sara was killed. Barry hasn’t been really taking things as seriously as they should. One of the most interesting moments in this episode is when Roy, Felicity, Cisco and Caitlin are talking in the bar and Caitlin says that they (Barry and the others at STAR Labs) haven’t been taking this seriously. They didn’t consider the real threats to those they care about and it’s probably because dealing with metahumans makes things seem less real. Barry got that rude awakening when he saw how Oliver deals with criminals. But the flip side of this is that Barry helped Oliver see that he doesn’t have to completely lose his humanity to be a hero. I think think what also sells these scenes so well is that Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell have great chemistry together. Truth is, the casts of both these shows work well together in this mini-tv universe.
One thing I think that made this episode even better than the Flash one is that Captain Boomerang was a pretty badass villain. Nick Tarabay was pretty cool as George Harkness. I mean he broke into an ARGUS facility and took out most of the people in there, then took on Oliver and Roy at the same time. They’re definitely putting Harkness on the back burner to use again at another time and I’m okay with that. He’s a solid villain and threat not only for Oliver but for Barry as well. Let’s be honest, boomerangs come off as kind of a wack weapon even if they aren’t. But they made Harkness’ pretty bad ass. And he can accessorize them like Oliver’s arrows. While Captain Boomerang is typically a Flash villain, I like the idea of introducing him on Arrow since he’s not a metahuman. I didn't even mind his overuse of the "things always come back to haunt you" line.
If I had to find one thing to complain about I guess I could say they were a little too obvious and heavy with the foreshadowing with Lyla & Diggle. By the second time Diggle said “We’re not married” I knew by the end he’d be popping the question to Lyla. Don’t get it wrong, I’m happy for both of them though. It’s funny, their relationship reminds me of Barry & Oliver’s to be honest. Diggle keeps Lyla from going too far down the ARGUS/Waller rabbit hole and Lyla reminds Diggle the world and decisions aren’t that simple.
Because like in the episode of The Flash there are a lot of small things that I want to point out, I’m going to put a little list here to try to cover them all:
- She’s only in here for a minute but I think we see another small hint as to why Laurel takes on the mantle of Canary. When she’s talking to Captain Lance, she’s talking to him about an increase in crime that the police can’t handle. With Oliver busy taking on bigger fish, how much do you want to bet Laurel and Grant start taking on some of these smaller petty crimes?
- I love that Oliver had them add in a spot for Barry’s costume. That means we should see more meetups. I’m down. Also, love that they gave Oliver an improved suit. By the end of the episode Oliver went to being apprehensive to welcoming them as extended family. Big change from how he acted at the end of The Flash
- Harkness is on the island now with Slade but I also caught Felicity saying something about land mines. She mentioned it and said “never mind”. Makes me wonder if Oliver hasn’t made some improvements to that island prison
- Barry mentioned that he was training and using the stuff Oliver taught him. Not sure how much time has passed between these episodes but I’m hoping this means we’ll see Barry better in fights on The Flash.
- Who is currently on Task Force X aka The Suicide Squad? Lyla said they had to terminate the one group that Boomerang was on but who else might they bring in?
- Amanda Waller really is evil. This week’s flashbacks served as a look into where and why Oliver lost a bit of his humanity and learned to torture. The more I learn about what happened during those 5 years the more I’m amazed Oliver survived.
Man this was a great episode and one of the best crossovers I’ve watched. Both episodes fit the tone for their respective shows AND also gave us some great character development and moments. I was originally worried that these episodes would be gimmicks but they were anything but that. Now I’m even more hyped for both these shows and I really want to see them team up again..