The second part of The CW’s Arrow and The Flash crossover (and the first of the UK's two-part, back-to-back Arrow mid-season finale) sees the action switching to Starling City, to Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) neck of the woods.
Continuing the thread of Arrow’s last episode and of the first part of this crossover, Captain Boomerang (Nick Tarabay) is at the centre on the action here. After fleeting appearances from the character so far, we get to see Boomerang, or Digger Harkness as he’s generally referred to, showing just why he’s such a threat as well as getting to find out just why he’s so narked at the world. Turns out he was an A.R.G.U.S. agent who went rogue and so was dumped in with the Suicide Squid. That means a bomb was implanted in his neck, which just so happened to have been detonated. At least that was the plan. The bomb didn’t go off at all, but the intent was there, giving Harkness a mighty, meaty grudge against A.R.G.U.S. and those involved in the organisation – conveniently such as Diggle’s (David Ramsay) other half, Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson).
The element of Arrow/The Flash crossover here seems a little forced initially, as initial reasoning for featuring The Flash’s crew is simply because Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) “want to see the Arrowcave” and its wonderful toys. There’s also the cheeky drop-in of the term Arrowmobile by the ever-likable Cisco and his childlike enthusiasm for the world he finds himself in. Then much like how The Arrow turned up to help The Flash take down a bad guy in Arrow vs. Flash, the Scarlet Speedster’s arrival in Starling City is to repay the favour when The Arrow is having it put to him by Captain Boomerang. But stepping away from the glitz and glamour of a jazzy superhero crossover, it’s refreshing to see Captain Boomerang portrayed how he is here. Long-time comic book fans will know Boomerang as nothing more than a C-list villain at best. Here he gets to be, quite simply, a genuine badass.
With the cock-measuring left behind in Arrow vs. Flash, this second part of The CW’s crossover focusses more on the team-up element of things. There’s even time for a few more laughs along the way, with a particular highlight being Barry Allen getting to have a go on Oliver’s famous salmon ladder. There is the tease of another kick off between the two heroes, mind, although it’s more of a heated exchange of views when Barry disagrees with some of Oliver’s methods. And by some of Oliver’s methods, we mean torture. Now the first season of Arrow saw the then-Hood think nothing of killing those who had failed his city, so torture was almost second-nature for the Emerald Archer at certain points in time. We also get a convenient showing of Oliver learning the twisted benefits of torture back in the Hong Kong flashbacks, with Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) encouraging the young Master Queen to obtain certain information by whatever means it takes.
What really stands out in The Brave and the Bold is how Arrow goes on as usual. It doesn’t feel like the episode is focussed all around The Flash’s arrival in Starling City, more like The Flash just happened to drop by whilst life in Starling carried on regardless, complete with Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) mistakenly referring to Barry as Bart Allen in a nice nod that will bring a smile to long-time Flash fans. You really get the feeling that Barry Allen has truly stepped into the world of Oliver Queen. Similarly, The Brave and the Bold also pushes the idea that The Flash really is this world’s Superman to The Arrow’s Batman, with Central City serving as Metropolis to Starling City’s Gotham.
When all is said and done, The Brave and the Bold is one of the more ‘feel good’ episodes of Arrow (well, bar the whole torture thing), and the events of the crossover are all nicely wrapped up, with this part of the two-parter feeling very much like a proper team effort from not just Barry and Oliver but from the rest of Team Arrow and Team Flash. That said, Colton Haynes’ Roy Harper didn’t particularly do much bar have an impressively dopey-looking expression on his face when Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), Caitlin and Cisco were coming up with an idea to save the day. Roy’s input of “we’re running out of time” didn’t quite make the cut amongst the technical ramblings of the rest.
The inclusion of The Flash here seems a perfect fit, much like how The Arrow’s appearance in Central City felt natural, as Barry’s words cause Oliver to question himself and his world. There’s also the realisation from Cisco and Caitlin, relative newcomers to his hero malarkey, that maybe they have too much of a fun outlook on things, that saving the day and stopping bad guys is a serious business. How that plays out in The Flash remains to be seen, but hopefully it’s something that has a ripple effect on that show rather than just being a few throwaway moments in this episode of Arrow. Central to all of this is Captain Boomerang, and it’s great to see a villain taking such a vital role in the episode in comparison to how the Rainbow Raider was used in the first part of this crossover. And as mentioned, Boomerang is portrayed wonderfully and made to feel like a genuine badass – something that can rarely be said about the character in other mediums.
Despite seemingly sowing up the meat of the crossover by the time this episode comes to a close, there’s still a few nods to the future. Firstly, The Arrow has got himself some shiny new duds, as made by S.T.A.R. Labs. Whilst Oliver will be patrolling the streets of Starling City in an improved outfit, are we the only ones who can see the Russian mob playing a heavy part in next season’s flashbacks? The first two seasons were on ‘the island,’ this season is centred on Hong Kong, but we’ve got a feeling that next year could very well see the action move to Russia with Anatoli Knyazev, aka the KGBeast. You heard it here first.
Right, now let’s get the action back to finding Sara Lance’s (Caity Lotz) killer and introducing us properly to The Demon’s Head, Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable). With the next episode being the mid-season finale, there's certainly fireworks brewing. For the review of that episode, The Climb, be sure to click here.
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