The Flash Review: S1E8 – Arrow vs Flash
The Flash continues to do tropes better than most other shows. In this episode we get the hero vs hero trope, but it’s not only a fun ride but has a purpose.
This episode was just plain fun. Crossover episodes can seem cheap and forced but I really think the first part of this crossover did a good job of managing the differences between the two heroes. Let’s call this what it is: This is CW’s way of doing a Batman/Superman teamup. Since it started, people have been saying that Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen was a way for DC to do Batman on TV without having the heat that comes from doing such a big name character. The character of Oliver Queen on Arrow has a lot more in common with the more conservative Bruce Wayne than the typical liberal Queen we see in the comics. And I’m okay with that. Barry Allen on the other hand really represents a young, untested and untrained Clark Kent. I mean he’s even in love with a woman who is out of his league whose attention he can only seem to get when he’s in his alter ego. These characterizations really played out in this episode. When you do a crossover episode, it's important to lay out the differences between the characters. Barry & Oliver are just fundamentally different. Even the tones in their respective shows are different. The writers didn't run from that but rather played it up. And if we didn't get it on our own, they even have Joe & Dr. Wells tell Barry flat out they didn't think the Arrow was the type of hero he should be looking up to and working with. Now of course those opinions change by the end of the episode but the differences are still there. I also really liked that they used this “vs” episode to address one of the biggest flaws we’ve seen with Barry over 8 episodes which is how untrained he is. Sure, he’s the fastest man alive, but he’s cocky and actually gets his ass kicked way more than he should. Oliver pointed out Barry’s fight with Captain Cold and how Barry rushes into situations without checking out his surroundings (“It’s not like you don’t have time”). He then proves that when he distracts Barry by shooting an arrow at him and having 2 more fire and hit Barry in the back. I imagined this as the way Bruce trains his Robins; by breaking them. While we didn’t get a lot of Barry training with Oliver, I’m hoping that going forward we see Barry taking Oliver’s words to heart and start to be smarter in his fights instead of just rushing in.
The actual fight between Oliver and an out of control Barry was surprisingly good. This is how I imagine a fight between Batman and Superman. Barry was just using his speed and powers and Oliver using his experience and strategy. Let’s be honest, this wasn’t a tie. Oliver was able to neutralize Barry, he won this round. We also saw Oliver use more trick arrows in one episode than we’ve seen on his own show. He had his rope/cable arrow, tranquilizer arrow, explosive tip arrows and even arrows that can remote fire off of his motorcycle (a nice upgrade by the way). Barry showed us something new as well. I nearly lost my shit when he vibrated the horse tranquilizer Oliver shot into him out of his body. We’re one step closer to Barry vibrating through walls. I’m also glad that when Barry was “cured” that he admitted that even though he wasn’t in complete control, the anger and frustrations he felt were real, he just didn’t have control to suppress them as normal. I think that’s an important realization for this character. Even his dig at Caitlin while rude was a legit thing. She does treat Barry like he’s Ronnie and is overprotective of him. I don’t think it’s because of a romantic interest but rather she’s just doesn’t want to see another person hurt.
I only had a couple of issues with this episode and they weren’t big enough to overshadow the awesomeness of the overall episode. First off, Rainbow Raider/Prism or whatever we want to call him was underused again. Even though he was the catalyst for Barry losing control, he might have actually been used the least out of all the other villains. Even after Barry was cured, they didn’t show the actual teamup of Barry & Oliver catching him. I’m assuming we’ll get a proper teamup of Barry & Oliver in Part 2 on tonight’s Arrow. Again, this doesn’t bother me too much because it’s clear they use smaller villains on this show when they want the focus on other more important characters in an episode. The other issue I have is the whole Barry-Iris relationship. I’m actually hoping that Flash attacking Eddie ends these little Flash-Iris meetups. Barry is just way too thirsty for Iris as the Flash and it’s a bit annoying. When he hit her with the “did you break up?” I rolled my eyes. I do like what Oliver told Barry at the end though, that he needs to let Iris go because “guys like us don’t get the girl”. While I do think eventually Barry will “get the girl” for now, he needs to focus. Barry is young and dumb and so I’m allowing this to play out because I know as frustrating as it is to watch, this is how it would be in real life.
Obviously the main thing about this episode was the confrontation between Barry and Oliver but there were also a bunch of other key moments in this episode. That's why I said that this show does tropes better. They were able to cram and awful lot of small gems into this episode that I enjoyed. Here are some of those things:
- Diggles reaction to Barry having powers was hilarious. I love that Oliver and Felicity didn’t tell him because “seeing is believing.”
- Captain Singh is gay and they revealed this in the most nonchalant way ever. That’s how you know we make progress. When you have a gay Captain of a police department and you casually have him talking about how his boyfriend won’t let him eat bad food at home. The way they casually dropped this reminds me about Bioware dropped the fact that pilot Steve Cortez in Mass Effect 3 was gay. I really appreciate this. Singh isn’t the “gay Captain” he’s the Captain who “oh by the way” is gay.
- I think Wells used Gideon to figure out who Arrow was. I also like that Oliver realized something wasn’t right with Wells
- Oliver mentioning his prison on the Island. I think STAR Labs’ metahuman prison will be compromised at some point.
- Felicity in those dresses. She’s just too fine
- Captain Boomerangs boomerang vibrates and looks like it’s going to be a handful for both Oliver & Barry
- Sandra running into Oliver at the coffee shop. I tell you, these writers and the way they’re always tying things together. While I do remember Sandra from Season 2 of Arrow, I completely forgot that after Miora paid her off, she went to Central City. Oliver is still completely unaware that he has a son and I don’t’ think they threw that in there by accident. Could we see Connor at some point?
- Felicity asks Caitlin to run some blood tests to help them figure out who Sara’s killer is. This is important because a few weeks ago, someone from the show said that there would be some things learned on The Flash that affect Oliver but he wouldn’t find out until later. So that could be that his son is still around in Central City OR it could be that the group at STAR Labs find out who the killer of Sara Lance is before Oliver.
- I don’t care what anyone says, I love Cisco. His corny, well-timed jokes are hilarious to me. He threw in that Yoda quote and I was disappointed no one else laughed. Also, I like how when Barry lost control he was like “Well a cold gun sure would come in handy right about now” as a jab to Dr. Wells
- My new theory on Professor Zoom/Reverse Flash: It’s not Eddie or Wells but a relative of Eddie’ Eddie just started a taskforce to stop the Flash. I have a feeling as Barry does more and more good, this is going to put Eddie at odds with not only Iris again but the department and all of Central City. I think he’ll be disgraced and it will be one of his relatives from the future that comes back to punish Barry.
- Ronnie’s back. We get our first look at Ronnie as Firestorm and the effects looks AMAZING. I still can’t believe this is on the CW.
This was a great episode. I like that both Arrow and The Flash can stand on their own, but I think the casts on these shows work so well together, I wouldn’t mind seeing another crossover later on in the season. I only wish we got to see Diggle and Joe together. I need that in my life. Make it happen.