In part two of the Arrow/Flash crossover event, the story continues though now we’re in The Arrow universe and the tables are somewhat turned. This time it’s not Barry dealing with his own demons and Oliver teaching Barry a lesson about handling extra-ordinariness with some class and humility, it’s about Barry reminding Oliver of the humanity within him which comes from the Oliver heart beating inside the Arrow ribcage.
“The Brave and the Bold” is the perfect mixture of humor, thoughtfulness and acrobatics amidst angst brought on by the bad behavior of super criminals of the character’s own making. What do I mean by that? Lyla herself, Diggle’s non-wife (which we are reminded of throughout the episode) has brought this reign of holly terror upon herself because of a questionable call she made years ago to kill off a bunch of human assets when a plan went terribly wrong. At the end of this installment of Arrow, lessons have been learned, a proposal has been made, the bad guy has been stapled to a pillar and Barry and Oliver are back on good terms.
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Guess Who’s Coming to Starling City
The Flash‘s Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) drop in at Queen Consolidated to pick up the DNA left on an arrow that killed Sara Lance. That DNA promises to lead Team Arrow to Sara’s assassin, whose identity remains one of the great mysteries that just might remain unsolved until we return from the fall hiatus that begins next week. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when the Arrow fairies are plotting this reveal.
Caitlin and Cisco arrive wide-eyed and gagging and lay eyes on the Arrow toys, and sit their butts in the Arrowmobile. The comedic delivery of their awe, which continues through half of the episode, is well-timed and delivered without appearing campy or overly mature. What helps this is the self-identifying realization by Cisco and Caitlin later during the episode that their own reality seems more like a game than the harsh truths they are witnessing in Starling City. Somehow the existence of super humans in The Flash universe clarifies good and evil for Team Barry. The scene with Cisco, Caitlin, Roy and Felicity echoes the more somber and sobering reality being experienced by Barry/Flash as he watches Oliver in action in his own element.
Boomerang is Back to Kick Lyla in the Ass
Oiver, Diggle and Roy are in pursuit of a bomber who is also wanted by the tools at A.R.G.U.S. They tell Arrow and Arsenal to bugger off, to which Oliver responds, “Like hell, I will,” which actually comes out sounding more like, “Whatever. Let’s go, Arsenal,” and they leave to regroup with their cohorts.
Moments later Digger ‘Boomerang’ Harkness is at A.R.G.U.S. slicing up the place at the exact same moment Diggle is there quizzing Lyla about the mysterious bomber. Boomerang, you will recall, is that gorgeous villain played by the charmingly-accented Nick Tarabay, who sliced up a bad guy in the final five seconds of “Draw Back Your Bow.”
Note: In “The Brave and the Bold,” when Harkness throws the first boomerang at the A.R.G.U.S. guard, I half expect the metal weapon to return to Harkness with the guard’s severed head attached to it. *Shiver*
So, all hell breaks loose around Diggle and Lyla and I’m wondering how this guy is managing not to cut off his own hands at the wrists when he catches those boomerangs. Arrow and Arsenal appear and things are still rather dicey until Barry as The Flash tornados in and catches two boomerangs a split second before they reduce Arrow into little Oliver chunks.
WTF is going on, Diggle demands of his baby mama. Digger Harkness was with ASIS weapons and technology before he went rogue. He was on a task force ‘X’ Op in Tanzania when something went wrong, something else was compromised and Lyla made the call to have all her people’s heads explode in order to ‘sanitize’ the situation. Yeah, that’s the kind of place Lyla works for — they put little remote-controlled bombs in the back of their operatives’ heads so they can terminate them if they need to minimize the chance that stuff could et compromised. Nice. So now we know why this guy has a bug up his ass about Lyla. Hm.
Felicity Shows Off the Arrow Cave
Lots of tongue-in-cheek humor ensues when Cisco and Caitlin get to the lair with Felicity. Cisco drools all over everything like a kid on Christmas morning and Caitlin is struck by the exercise equipment which Barry is scaling over and over again in a flash of red and gold.
The Arrow fairies tip their hats to us viewers in a brief exchange between Felicity and Caitlin as they watch Barry. “How often does Oliver do this?” Cailtin asks. “At least every Wednesday,” Felicity replies breathlessly as she swallows dryly… and we all know she’s talking about Wednesday night because that’s when we’re all gathered around our screens to watch Stephen Amell shirtless and armwrestling the rung-less ladder thingy. There’s a lot of sweating going on on Wednesday nights. Yes, there is. And it’s not all on the screen. Pardon me while I fan myself.
Just a thought and a word of caution to The Flash: 1) Scaling the ringless ladder isn’t that sexy when you still have your shirt on and you do it so fast we can’t truly enjoy it, and 2) you are going to kill yourself from heat prostration if you don’t peel off the leather and (for God’s sake) the hood when you do that. My advice? Take off everything from the waist up and take your time. But, then again, you are in a show with Stephen Amell. In that case, might as well leave the shirt on and quit while you’re ahead. In other words, stick to the speedy transportation and the sparkling grin and you’ll be fine. I digress.
The Flash Shows Off and Arrow Gets Tough
Oliver’s not too happy that Barry’s in town even though he did save Oliver’s life at A.R.G.U.S. The shoe is on the other foot from where it was last night in the first part of the Arrow/Flash crossover event. This is Oliver’s turf, not a carnival ride. The team learns who is making the boomerangs Harkness is flinging around and in eight seconds flat Barry has all the Bratva guys zip-tied and passed out so Oliver can interrogate the mastermind who’s making the boomerangs for Harkness. Arrow demands this guy give up Harkness, but he refuses so Arrow shoots him through the arms. Watching this, Barry freaks out. Not so much fun anymore, is it, Barry? Arrow continues to get rad on the dude while Barry almost pukes in his leathers. The dude finally coughs up an encrypted phone linked to Harkness and two flashes later he is dropped off at Papa Lance’s office and Barry is back to stare stunned at Oliver.
Wow. Kind of a pissing contest, but without the ridiculousness because there’s some serious observations and accusations being thrown around. Barry’s not wrong about the torturing being bad, but Oliver is not wrong about the difference between happy playtime and the reality of a city where murder and criminal activity are rampant and brutal. Those who live in the real life, fighting real crime, don’t have the luxury to be compassionate toward criminals like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.
Flashback to Torture
Now we find out where this whole Barry-Oliver moral dilemma thing is heading. Through flashbacks we see Amanda Waller commanding Oliver to torture a guy, and when he can’t do it, a woman is detonated and a whole building blows up. Waller said Oliver needed practice with torture. She said he had both the stomach and the talent for it, but needed practice. His disgust for it is clear until she points out that people intent on getting their way through murder deal only in extremes and that it’s naive to think that anything less than extreme measures will stop them. Ouch.
Oliver Spills and Barry Calls Bullsh**
Oliver admits to Barry that it takes a lot to be able to do the ugly stuff, which is what he’s been forced to do in a city where those he loves are murdered n front of his eyes and the whole city is threatened every day. This isn’t Wonderland, basically. Oliver admits that he feels like every time he calls upon that will to do what needs to be done he’s losing every part of Oliver that he has left.
Fortunately, Barry’s as bright as he is adorable and speedy. “It’s the light inside of you, your humanity, that got you through all that,” he assures the other suited man, “And made you a hero.” That scene was impressive. Just when Barry was starting to look like a pansy, he pulls that little piece of wisdom out of his, er, whatever, and we can see that his eyes are opening to reality, but it’s a true reality check for him.
Boomerang Gets His Girl and Felicity Kicks Some Ass
While the guys are off torturing the boomerang maker, Harkness hotfoots it over to the Arrow cave and starts slicing up the place. Felicity kicks some major ass but can’t do it fast enough to protect Lyla from being sliced with one of the boomerangs. Oliver and the boys return to the Arrow cave (See what you’ve started, Felicity?) in time to see Lyla laid out and barely alive. Flash to the rescue. Barry runs Lyla to the hospital where she must live because later Diggle proposes to her there.
To The Boomerang Cave, Or Whatever
Harkness is at a subway/train station and he’s planted five bombs throughout the city. Barry as The Flash evacuates the place and the two stare down Harkness, who them reveals he has bombs planted all over Starling City. Catch me to catch the bombs. Wait, wasn’t that guy paying attention to who stopped him from killing Arrow earlier? We’ve got scooter boy right here and he can do anything he wants in negative four seconds. All he needs are the locations for those bombs, right?. Of course, Felicity ‘Wonder Girl’ Smoak can get those for him lickity-split, so now all we have to do is wait through a commercial to see how this whole mess gets sewn up in the remaining five minutes.
Screw You, Captain Boomerang
This part of the episode had me whooping and hollering, I loved it so much. All five bombs have to be disarmed at exactly the same time. Remember how I said Barry was as smart as he is cute? He figures out that he cannot be in five places at the same time so he runs all over the place depositing Felicity, Caitlin, Cisco, Roy and himself at the five locations and they save the day. That was so freaking cool! Then, of course, he returns to the tunnel to finish the conversation with Oliver and Harkness. Has anyone else noticed the irony that this villain’s sur name is the same as one of John Barrowman’s character in Torchwood? #Interesting
Boomerang smites Oliver because he doesn’t kill him on the spot. Oliver, however, clings to his humanity while at the same time proving to Barry that it takes being willing to torture to save lives. Then he shoots an arrow through Boomerang’s hand as the nefarious one attempts to fling a final lethal weapon at Oliver.
Back at the lair, Caitlin says she can totally get at the DNA on the blood left with Sara’s remains, but next time she’ll call instead of coming to visit.
Arrow versus The Flash
Oliver and Barry head off for a private game of archery versus track and field which looks like a lot of fun. Along the way Barry tells Oliver that he certainly can inspire people, but not as Arrow, because, “That guy’s a douche,” but as Oliver Queen. Awwwwww. Sweet.
So, there you have it. A decent episode and a successful blending of both comic universes without either one sacrificing canon or quality. Next week, Oliver faces Ra’S al Ghul and maybe we learn who killed Sara.
Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8pm on the CW.
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(Images courtesy of CW)