The Flash/Arrow Crossover Review: Who won this round?
I have a confession to make – not only was Tuesday’s episode of The Flash the first one I ever watched, but I also viewed the crossover between it and Arrow backwards. To be honest, I was hoping that I could review this week’s Arrow without seeing The Flash; not that I dislike the latter, I simply hadn’t had time to watch its first seven episodes. Unfortunately (for me, anyway), after watching “The Brave and the Bold” it was clear that wasn’t possible.
As it turns out, I’m glad I watched both. I wish I could say it was because I thoroughly enjoyed this mad romp that the writers threw together, but it’s more because it showed me what I love about Arrow versus what I don’t want to see on that show. While that may sound bad, I also have to say that it made me want to check out the rest of The Flash, if only to balance out how dark Arrow is.
“Flash vs. Arrow” began with Barry handling a bank robbery – but not just any bank robbery. In this case the thief is metahuman Roy Bivolo, who can make people insanely angry just by looking into their eyes for a moment. Of course Barry doesn’t catch Bivolo at the bank, but soon afterward they meet again, thanks to the trace on the money he stole.
The Flash seemed to be holding his own at first, but in the end, the Arrow shows up just in time to save him. While they had good reason to pay a visit to S.T.A.R. Labs, this overly convenient entrance was practically eye-roll-inducing.
What makes things worse is that it truly set the stage for the rest of the crossover. Considering the strange things Diggle has seen, his reaction to Barry’s speed was a bit over the top (especially as it was so toned down in “The Brave and the Bold”, almost as if it had never happened at all). And considering Oliver is there to ask for help with Captain Boomerang, his attitude toward Barry is abysmal. I have to say that I agree with “Angry Flash” – Oliver’s jealousy is pretty darn obvious.
Speaking of “Angry Flash”: though at first he seemed immune to Bivolo’s ‘charms’, he succumbed pretty quickly to them. This whole storyline felt rushed, to say the least, and while the effects during the fight between Flash and Arrow weren’t necessarily bad, their general execution just didn’t work.
And for a little more oomph, the writers added in a quick scene where Oliver runs into the mother of his child. I suppose they thought no visit of Oliver’s to Central City would be complete without something like this; needless to say, it felt forced.
Back in Starling City, the Arrow Team was finally catching up with Captain Boomerang…or so they thought. Instead, they end up confronting A.R.G.U.S., who’s after the same man. What ensued was a back-and-forth between Team Arrow and A.R.G.U.S. that only ended with Captain Boomerang compromising the latter’s Starling City headquarters. And of course, the Flash showed up to save the day…though Captain Boomerang did escape again.
As it turned out, he’d been after Diggle’s not-wife Lyla the whole time, and of course this brought up Harkness’s Suicide Squad involvement. Unfortunately, what would have been a meaningful plot point was overshadowed by the sheer ridiculousness of having Team Flash and Team Arrow doing everything from playing with Oliver’s equipment, over hanging out at Verdant, to visiting Captain Lance (and, by extension, Laurel, because she couldn’t be left out!).
I know that I was so distracted by all of the sidekick bonding, so it’s no wonder they seemed to be as well. Harkness was able to lure Oliver and Barry to one place, trace the phone they’d gained by torture to the newly dubbed “Arrow Cave”, and exact his revenge on Lyla.
Or so we thought. As it turned out, Lyla lives. Perhaps it’s just because I prefer the darker Arrow story lines, but I feel that this was a wasted opportunity. It would have made Diggle a single father, and losing the woman he loved could have made for some interesting character development.
Alas, that was clearly not meant to be. And while the Arrow saved the Flash from himself in the first part of this crossover, with a bit of help from the rest of the team, the Flash saved a lot of innocent people in Starling City.
Yes, they both learned from each other, and I’ll admit that these episodes elicited more than a few chuckles. But it was a lot of [slightly] eccentric characters to have in one place, and while the Team Arrow’s visit to Central City sparked interest in The Flash, I can’t say it worked the other way. Injecting a more serious note into the lives of Team Flash worked; the constant banter and overly convenient twists that they brought to the more serious Arrow did not.
How did you feel about the Flash/Arrow crossover? Do you think it worked better for one or the other?
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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