THE FLASH Season 1, Episode 8 'Flash vs. Arrow'

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Pollard

Let’s face it, we all love a good crossover when done correctly. Whether it’s good guys teaming up or good guys butting heads, the thought of seeing two heroes or group of heroes existing in the same panels or on the same screen is always likely to grab the interest of long-time comic book fans. Whether it’s Spider-Man and The Punisher, Wolverine and Deadpool, the Avengers and Justice League, the Avengers and X-Men, Green Arrow and Green Lantern, or, most famously of all, Batman and Superman, there’s something infinitely engaging about such events. Now The Flash and Arrow are getting in on the act, with a two-part crossover starting with this very episode.

So what could possibly cause The Arrow (Stephen Amell) to step into the same streets as The Flash (Grant Gustin)? Essentially, the recent arrival of a boomerang-wielding villain in Starling City is a hefty part of the reason for the Emerald Archer’s Central City arrival. As it just so happens, though, there is also the presence of Ray G. Bivolo (Paul Anthony) running amok in Central City and causing havoc. Better known in the comic book world as Rainbow Raider, Bivolo has the power to spread rage to those he comes in contact with, including an opening bank job. With The Flash in the middle of taking down this colour-based wrong ‘un, that hooded Queen chap turns up on the scene and fires off a few arrows for good measure.

Let’s face it, the use of Captain Boomerang (Nick Tarabay - unseen in this episode) is merely an excuse to have the The Flash and The Arrow share some screen time. And whilst it could just feel like a merely shoehorned story to accomplish such a feat, Flash vs Arrow actually feels natural… not to mention hugely enjoyable. In fairness, you had us once Cisco (Carlos Valdes) made a Star Wars reference, but when The Arrow joined the party we had a grin as wide as Barry Allen’s. Stephen Amell’s deadpan delivery as Oliver Queen shooting down the idea of “codenames” and terms like “meta-human” whilst doing his best to be the Obi-Wan Kenobi to Barry Allen’s Luke Skywalker is great to watch. The seriousness of Oliver Queen (much like the tone of his show) matched with the childlike-energy of Barry (much like the tone of his show) makes for a unique and fun dynamic, although it never strays too far into fun or allows itself to become too hammed-up. Regardless of Barry’s impressive powers, Oliver is out to bring him back down to earth and to make him realise how vulnerable he still is. And this is before things even get to that fight.

Yes, with The Flash seemingly affected by Rainbow Raider Bivolo’s powers, the good guy Flash that Iris (Candice Patton) has been banging the drum about to Eddie (Rick Cosnett) goes firmly out of the window. Even worse, the raged-fuelled Flash locates Eddie and attacks him. Eek! All in front of Barry’s favourite wet dream, Iris. Double eek! The Arrow, of course, turns up just in the nick of time and the superhero pair partake in the battle that we’ve all been waiting for: Flash vs Arrow!

As the two heroes are butting heads, we get to see Team Arrow (who have come along for the ride) discussing the fisticuffs with Team Flash, with Diggle (David Ramsey) championing The Arrow’s experience whilst Cisco excitedly plays up the super-speed angle. We get a truly great action scene, and it is fantastic to see Grant Gustin sink his teeth into the darker side of Barry Allen, who becomes too big for his shiny red boots. As the two battle, we get something that is part learning curve, part cock-measuring contest, as Barry has the superpowers that Oliver Queen will never have, whilst Ollie has the good looks, charm and attention of the ladies (most noticeably Iris West) that Barry will never have. Barry even rips on Oliver for the whole (cheesy yet impressive) salmon ladder training that he does. And whilst there are elements of humour at times between the two heroes, it’s with Diggle that Flash vs Arrow’s best lines lie. So often the serious, no-nonsense member of Team Arrow, Digg is absolutely dumfounded with Barry Allen’s powers. As such, Ramsey is pitch-perfect in delivering several lines of comedy gold that will have you genuinely laughing out loud (apparently the kids call these LOLs, right?).

Away from the fun of Flash vs Arrow, there are some darker moments on show as well. Tom Cavanagh’s nosey Harrison Wells wants to know who The Arrow really is. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), of course, opts to protect Oliver’s secret but Wells being, well, a super genius who is possibly a time-traveller and/or can see into/is from the future, soon works out who’s under the hood. And as the episode comes to a close, Oliver mummers a line that so many of us have been saying since The Flash started – that there is definitely something about Harrison Wells that doesn’t sit right. Still, Felicity leaves some samples with S.T.A.R. Labs in the hope of finding the killer of Sara Lance (Caity Lotz). Elsewhere, there’s some world-changing news coming up at some point for Oliver Queen as an old face rears her head. Remember back during Season 2’s Seeing Red there was a girl shown in a flashback who the young Ollie had gotten pregnant? She was paid-off by Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) and never seen again. Wrong, for here she turns up in a Central City coffee shop and we witness a phone call with her child. Nothing was said, but all fingers point to Oliver being the father. The question is, when will the trigger get pulled on this particular arc? We’ll have to wait and see. Whilst the idea of Oliver Queen becoming a parent at this stage of the show doesn’t sit all that well with us, we’ve got faith that if and when the show does go with that angle, they’ll deliver the goods.

Also delivering the goods must be the coffee shop where Iris works. Is that the only one in Central City or do they just do wonderful things with their beans? Seriously, everyone who passes through Central seems to drop in for a beverage. It’s nearly as popular as The Talon from Smallville at this point! But whilst Iris is clearly delivering the piping-hot goods, Central City PD are about to deliver their own task force on The Flash after his moment of madness and his attack on Eddie. Our Scarlet Speedster is soon to be public enemy #1 and he’s now also on Iris’ shit-list. That said, the Iris thing is likely for the best, especially given the advice that Oliver gave to Barry about how a love life is essentially a non-possibility in their line of work.

Flash vs Arrow delivers exactly what fans of both shows were hoping for. It all ends in a handshake and plenty of nodding heads, not to mention apparently a draw (we totally think that The Arrow would win if things went a little longer), and The Flash seemingly has another hero on his horizon as the show’s closing minutes gave us our first look at the totally-not-dead Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell)… or should we say Firestorm!


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0 #3 Paul Mount 2015-01-11 19:51
Hmmmm. I'm not sure 'catching the bad guy' can really be a minor plot point, can it? I know this is a teen CW show but surely the meat of the episode isn't really Barry moping over Iris and Iris throwing a strop over Barry? The aching problem with this show is that it's becoming worryingly evident that the Flash's powers are really a bit dull. How exactly do you 'super speed' someone to prison? And if that's all there is to his battles then it doesn't really make for a terribly exciting or imaginative show.
0 #2 Andrew Pollard 2015-01-11 13:55
Minor plot points don't matter, do they? Fancy that! I'm taking it that The Flash super-sped the bad guy to prison so that the show was able to get to the meat of the episode.
0 #1 Paul Mount 2015-01-10 18:39
Just watched this episode. Hang on...did I miss something? After their little tussle Flash and Arrow decide to team up to catch the bad guy. Next scene...bad guy's being locked up. Er...what's that all about??

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