The Flash, Season 1, Episode 8, “Flash vs. Arrow”
Written by Ben Sokolowski & Brooke Eikmeier
Directed by Glen Winter
Airs Tuesdays at 8pm ET on the CW
We’ve already seen plenty of exchanges between The Flash and Arrow since Barry Allen first debuted in “The Scientist”, but this episode marked the first major crossover between the two shows. The writers focused a great deal on the sheer entertainment in seeing these two heroes square off, and the end result is a fun, lighthearted, action packed adventure that knows exactly what it wants to be and executes it well. As DC and Warner Bros. prep Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice to kick-start their interconnected big-screen universe, “The Flash vs. Arrow” proves their small screen worlds are miles ahead of the game.
The formula when it comes to superhero crossovers is pretty familiar at this point in time. Based on the title alone, we knew Oliver and Barry would do battle, but I didn’t expect Ollie to embark on a mission to pass along some vigilante wisdom to his younger and less experienced crime-fighting colleague. Barry learns a few important lessons about not depending solely on his powers and more importantly, to think twice before rushing into danger. The plot begins with the appearance of another Central City metahuman, Roy G. Bivolo a.k.a. Prism, acting as the catalyst to spark a showdown between the two heroes. Bivolo (or The Rainbow Raider, as he is called in the comic) has the power to somewhat take control of someone’s feelings and make them run riot and hurt those around them. It’s only a matter of time before he turns his attention on Barry; and although at first, his powers seem to have no effect on Barry, emotions of anger and jealousy soon take over the Scarlett Speedster. Some might say Prism is yet another Flash rogue who doesn’t receive the attention he deserves. I disagree. The Rainbow Raider was never really an interesting villain in the comic and I honestly don’t think his silly prisma beam and rainbow bridge powers would work well on the small screen. Clearly Ben Sokolowski & Brooke Eikmeier who wrote this episode also agree since we don’t even get to see Barry and Ollie team up to defeat the villain. One minute they’re duking it out, the next Prism is being locked away in the metahuman cell. Yes, tonight’s metahuman never amounts to anything more than a plot device, but that’s fine by me because without him, we wouldn’t have the epic fight scene between Flash and Arrow. Even more interesting is how they completely skip over the more important villain teased tonight. It turns out Oliver Queen and his team came into town with the hope of enlisting the assistance of STAR Labs in analyzing a high-tech boomerang found at a crime scene – and thus setting us up for tomorrow night’s Arrow, in which the legendary Captain Boomerang will make his first appearance. Some viewers may find it disappointing that the writers focused on delivering a standalone story rather than taking advantage of the crossover format, but not me. Personally I respect their decision in telling a story that could stand on its own.
The Flash and the Arrow’s fight is perfectly staged and rendered. It doesn’t seem like a fair fight at first since the Flash has super-powers and Arrow doesn’t, but it quickly becomes clear Arrow has enough tricks up his sleeve to stand his ground. Each hero appears to have a slight edge at various times and the juxtaposition between Cisco and Diggle placing bets makes it even more satisfying to watch. It’s well-choreographed indeed and I loved watching Oliver use his gadgets at full force (I especially like how Oliver shoots Barry with a tranquilizer arrow, and Barry uses his powers to shoot the opiate out of his bloodstream). In the end, Cisco declares it a draw.
For the unfamiliar; in the comics, Barry and Oliver have had their fair share of quarrels over the years. Despite the fact that both characters have been members of the Justice League of America, the two have never seen eye-to-eye in terms of ideology and crime-fighting ethics. The conversation between Wells and Joe highlights the main differences between The Flash and Arrow – and by that I mean both the characters and the shows. The Arrow’s legacy will forever be overshadowed by his past mistakes in killing his enemies, whereas The Flash is seen as a true hero and has quickly become a source of inspiration. Arrow, while not without its lighter moments, is a dark and often violent series – the kind in which a vigilante like the Arrow could exist. Green Arrow functions in many ways as an archery-themed analogue of the very popular Batman so like Gotham, Starling City is a crime-ridden nightmare. Arrow is dark and grim whereas The Flash takes an opposite approach, finding joy in Barry’s willingness to always do the right thing. As I mentioned in my review last week, Barry loves being The Flash and while not without his demons, he’s not the tortured, brooding type who believes his powers to be a curse. So while it is great to see some tension between Team Flash and Team Arrow this week, my major concern coming into tonight’s episode was the clashing tones of the two shows. Thankfully the writers stayed true to the series and kept everything for the most part light.
– Ricky D
It’s understandable that the Arrow’s appearance in Central City makes Joe worry but Wells and his team seem slightly hypocritical with their views on Arrow considering that they’ve taken the law into their own hands as well.
Eddie has become a more direct threat to Barry now that his anti-Flash task force has been approved.
Now that Iris has also turned against her former superhero idol, I wonder what the writers will do with her character?
Cisco nicknames Bivolo “Prism,” which is actually an entirely different DC character.
Caitlin gets it right with Rainbow Raider.
Ronnie Raymond is name-checked a couple times tonight, so it isn’t a big surprise that we finally get to see Firestorm at the end.
Oliver: “That’s not gonna work out for you and you need to let her go, for both of your sakes. Guys like us don’t get the girl.”
Oliver: “I have a prison like this. It’s in a nearly inhospitable island off the China Sea, but this works, too.”
Oliver: “Oh no. Not here. We’re here to train.”
Barry: “What? Like Rocky?”
Harrison: Mr. Queen, I met your father once, at a charity event. One of the things we spoke of was you. I think he’d be very proud of the man you’ve become.
David Ramsey, who plays Diggle, steals the spotlight in this episode.
We find out Iris will cheat on Eddie with three guys, one of which is Oliver Queen.
Felicity asked Caitlin to help her break down the DNA from Canary’s murder.
Oliver: “We can talk about you giving your enemies silly code names later.”
Barry: “You mean like over coffee with Deathstroke and The Huntress?”
Diggle: “I had a cousin who was struck by lightning once. He just developed a stutter.”
Barry: “Jealousy’s probably a new emotion for you.”
Oliver: “There’s something off about that guy.”
I love how Felicity’s blouse catches fire while Barry is carrying her to the lab.
Last but not least, there was a lot of attention paid to the humour this week. Everything from Diggle’s reaction to witnessing Barry’s powers – to Iris admitting Ollie is one of her “three” – to Wells using his knowledge of the future to uncover the Arrow’s identity, works like a charm.
Diggle and Cisco steal the spotlight this week and provide a healthy dose of comedic relief throughout the episode.
I love how Diggle and Cisco become stand-ins for the audience as they debate over which hero will win the fight.
The episode begins with one of Barry’s best inner monologues:
“Everyone on this planet, at some point in their lives, has had a major case of the feelz; Those days when your heart is just too small to hold the big things you’re feeling. Today is one of those days. We think of our emotions like they’re these unique, personal phenomena—that no one has ever felt what we have felt. There is a basis in science for every emotion we feel… As a scientist, I know there’s nothing magical about what makes us feel something for someone else, and then I see her smile [At this point, he’s standing outside of Jitters watching Iris]… Man, that cannot be science.”