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‘The Flash’ Review/Recap: “Flash vs. Arrow”

Adam Reynoso ‘15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell in The Flash episode "Flash vs. Arrow." Photo Credit: Diyah Pera /The CW.
Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell in The Flash episode “Flash vs. Arrow.” Photo Credit: Diyah Pera /The CW.

Ever since The Flash was picked up to series last spring, one of the most anticipated events was the eventual crossover between The Flash and Arrow. And after months of hype and build up, the first part of the two nights truly delivered an action-packed episode, that also made some movement on two specific plot points in both shows.

The episode starts with the villain of the week, Roy G. Bivolo (Paul Anthony), also known as the Rainbow Raider, as named by Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) robbing a bank by using his abilities. His powers allow him to make people see red and have the color send his victims into violent fits of rage. After Barry (Grant Gustin) shows up, Roy gets away as the people at the bank are attacking each other. After catching up to Roy as he’s turned an officer against Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), the Arrow (Stephen Amell) shows up and saves them. Fans of both shows had to have really enjoyed how both shows’ music cues came into play in this sequence.

The Arrow team, including Oliver, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), and Diggle (David Ramsey), are all in tow as they’re trying to track down the murderer whose weapon of choice is a nifty boomerang. While they’re in town, they decide to help Barry and his team out with their own metahuman and right from their introduction The Flash’s world, is TV gold. Both Oliver and Felicity have seen what Barry can do and were prepared for it, so it was appropriate that Diggle had the funniest reaction to Barry’s super speed. Specifically when he mentions how his cousin got struck by lightning and just developed a stutter.

Danielle Panabaker, Emily Bett Rickards and Tom Cavanagh in The Flash episode "Flash vs. Arrow." Photo Credit: Diyah Pera /The CW.
Danielle Panabaker, Emily Bett Rickards and Tom Cavanagh in The Flash episode “Flash vs. Arrow.” Photo Credit: Diyah Pera /The CW.

But it wasn’t just the reaction to Barry, as much as it was the interaction between the two teams. Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and Joe both thought the Arrow was a bad influence for Barry. Wells even tried to get Felicity to reveal his identity in a tense, suspicious scene that only showed how little anyone really knows the doctor. Felicity and Oliver both left the episode with an uneasy feeling about Wells. Once Wells announced that Oliver was the Arrow, it led to the typical fanboy moment from Cisco (Carlos Valdes), as well an argument about who would win in a fight. Felicity fit right into the STAR Labs team and showed how both shows really lacked female friendships, something Caitlin pointed out (Bonus points for Caitlin and Felicity passing the Bechdel test). And of course, Iris (Candice Patton) was drooling over Oliver and noted how he was on her list of guys she was allowed to cheat with.

The biggest interactions, though, came in the moments between Oliver and Barry. Oliver really wanted to train Barry and show him that it’s not just about what he can do, but it’s also about being precise. These moments really highlighted how different the characters, and the shows, are. As Oliver mentioned, he’s spent eight years doing this and Barry’s still new to the hero thing.

Of course, the hour’s biggest moment was the battle between a rage-controlled Flash and the Arrow. The showdown intertwined the two shows’ fighting style into something that was beyond what both shows had done before. For Flash, it meant really getting physical and using everything he had. He ran up a building, vibrated a dose of horse tranquilizer out of his system, and came after the Arrow from all directions, punching him multiple times. Arrow, of course, had to think smart and it was more about slowing Barry down, even if it meant shooting Barry with a few arrows. The entire sequence was a spectacle that elevated both shows to new levels.

Grant Gustin in The Flash episode "Flash vs. Arrow." Photo Credit: Diyah Pera /The CW.
Grant Gustin in The Flash episode “Flash vs. Arrow.” Photo Credit: Diyah Pera /The CW.

In an episode that’s meant to really show these two contrasting heroes, it’s clear that the villain’s going to get lost in the rest of the story. Even though they did catch him off screen, it was more about the clash of these two heroes instead of the pursuit of the Rainbow Raider. Elsewhere, Eddie got the approval to assemble a task force to apprehend the Flash after a violent run in with the scarlet speedster. Iris decided to push the Flash away after seeing him in his raged up state. One of the plot points that seemed to have disappeared on Arrow finally popped back up when Oliver ran into a nameless ex-flame (Anna Hopkins). After the run in, she made a phone call to her and Oliver’s child, who’s name she also didn’t reveal. Lastly, in the tag at the end, a group of guys find a guy on the side of the road and let him know he picked the wrong place to be. After taunting him and asking why he’s shaking and if he’s cold, the man stands up and says he’s not cold, but hot and reveals to be Caitlin’s thought to be dead fiancé, Ronnie (Robbie Amell), who immediately bursts his hands and head into flames and going full on Firestorm.

For fans of the comics and both shows, the episode proves to be full of treats. It had a nice balance between both teams and it allowed Arrow characters to get a taste of a superpowered world. It also made The Flash’s team realize they still need to learn a few things, especially Barry. But it allowed both sets of characters to learn from each other and work together as a stronger team. If next fall’s Supergirl on CBS is in fact a part of this DC universe, this team could only get bigger.

Overall Episode Grade: A

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