In part one of The Flash/Arrow crossover event, Team Arrow (minus Roy) comes to Central City for a case and teams up with Team Flash to stop a metahuman and one out-of-control Flash.

As far as crossover events go — of which I’ve seen many — the first part of this one, titled “Flash vs. Arrow,” is pretty perfect. It’s a mostly self-contained episode with a group visit from Ollie, Digg and Felicity, and it balances them with The Flash characters remarkably well. Two very different tones of the show merging together.  I mean, Barry is literally marked with a darkness and rage that rivals Ollie in the first season of Arrow.

But let’s make this clear: this is an episode of The Flash and it really benefits from Arrow‘s tone. Barry is an enthusiastic, if not slightly happy, person who shares a lot of his feelings with others. At least all of his positive and sad ones. So for Grant Gustin to unleash a lot of Barry’s inner rage and negative opinions about everyone (sans Felicity and Joe, of course, because they are perfect), it’s an important beat for the character and the show. It even shatters the relationship the Flash has carefully established with Iris. 

And as far as stunt work and technical choreography go, look nowhere else on television but The Flash and Arrow to impress you. Their showdown is very well choreographed and executed, pairing the best skills and styles of each team and fighter for a battle of one-upmanship. 

Basically, props to the writers, actors and crew for a really fun hour of television — which will be repeated in awesomeness for the second part of the adventure on Arrow. 

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Why Is the Penguin from Gotham on This Show?

From my notes: “Why is the Penguin also in this crossover event?” Seriously, could they not make the metahuman with the ability to glow his eyes and make people angry look any more like him? From the awkward haircut to the slithering stare, it’s just weird.

Aesthetic choices aside, the freak of the week causes a commotion while robbing a bank, since everyone tries to kill one another. This concerns Eddie, who, as we remember from recent weeks, is a character, and he pushes for a task force against the Arrow. Which causes tension with Iris, The Flash’s number one fan. Awkward. Barry (and everyone else) knows that he’s encouraging Iris’ crush and maybe “ruining her love life,” but Barry has feelings, okay? 

He’s the anti-Oliver Queen in almost every way. Speaking of: Ollie, Diggle and Felicity are in town for a case involving a boomerang (which will most obviously be addressed on Arrow). For those of you who don’t watch Arrow (though I beg you to watch it), I’ll break down the characters for you.

Oliver: A former billionaire playboy who was shipwrecked on a “hellish” island for five years where he learned kick-ass archery skills, only to return to his hometown of Starling City to become a vigilante and then hero. Ollie’s broody (for good reason), probably very much in love with Felicity and very protective of his secret identity and his little sister. Also, Ollie, as he’s called, likes to salmon ladder.

Diggle: An Afghan war veteran turned bodyguard turned Ollie’s trusted right-hand man, Digg often goes on side adventures and cracks dry jokes. He just had a daughter with his ex-wife and is a good soldier. 

Felicity: Her superpower is clearly “hacking” and she’s often considered the heart and soul of Team Arrow, in which she joined late to the game. A tech genius who likes to wear high heels while saving the world, she has a thing for men who salmon ladder and, previously, Barry Allen.

Barry’s mentors Wells and Joe West would rather it not be from the Arrow, who is a bit of a madman. Totally not related, but Ollie doesn’t really want to pair up with Barry to fight crime because Barry’s rather undisciplined. Sure, Barry can run in, but does he survey the scene? So Ollie may have shot trick arrows at Barry, which is rather hilarious.

The Infection

To prove to everyone that Barry does not have anything more to learn and relearn, he runs after the freak of the week and happens to get infected. Because Barry’s body can fight off said infections, his anger and rage manifests itself very slowly. 

It starts with a simple fight with Ollie, in which Barry accuses Oliver of being jealous of his abilities. Really, Barry’s the one who comes off as jealous, jealous of Oliver being handsome and rich and getting any girl he wants. Then later, he explodes at his captain (though, to be fair, his captain is always giving him a hard time) and Joe West, who immediately runs to the people at S.T.A.R. Labs for this.

It’s a good call because the Flash goes crazy, ripping Eddie from a moving car and trying to kill him, all for getting in the way of him and Iris. It’s a good thing that a) we love Barry and b) he’s under the influence of a metahuman because in no way is this cool. It’s borderline Nice Guy Syndrome.

But never fear, Ollie’s here! The Flash and Arrow face off, one-upping one another. The Arrow captures the Flash and the Flash runs away, throwing the Arrow along. The Arrow shoots a horse tranquilizer and the Flash literally vibrates it off. This goes on and on, a choreographed and executed fight until Wells and West — the dream team — arrive to the scene to blind the Flash with some flashing colors.

Who wins the fight? Well, technically the Arrow does, but it’s pretty well matched, a tie according to cheerleaders Cisco and Diggle. All is well, if they aren’t a little bruised up, and together they capture the metahuman (albeit off screen). 

Well, that’s not true. The Flash has done nearly irreparable damage to his relationship with Iris, and Eddie now has a genuine reason to hate the guy. This is a needed development because of the ick factor and the predictable love triangle, but it’s also great because maybe Iris will fall in love with Barry instead of the Flash. Also, Caitlin’s boyfriend, Ronnie, is alive and on fire, in the coda/post-credits scene, but doesn’t come in enough time to meet his real-life cousin Oliver Queen.

What an excellent adventure in this universe. Tune in to Arrow on Wednesday at 8pm for the conclusion of The Flash/Arrow crossover event!

Other Thoughts

— The CW did a very good job of marketing “Flash vs. Arrow.” And I generally despise CW marketing (those Vampire Diaries promos look so awful sometimes), except for Supernatural

— Of course, Iris has such a big crush on Oliver Queen. He’s Oliver Queen! I half expected Oliver to hit on her just to annoy Barry, but even Ollie can see Barry’s so in love. Even as he tells him to get over her. So Oliver doesn’t ship them together.

— Another mini-subplot is Wells looking into the Arrow’s identity, first by pushing Felicity and then just announcing it. Oliver has to make a big speech about keeping secret identities and also notices something is off about Wells, who claims to have met Ollie’s semi-evil daddy. I can’t help but scream to Barry through the TV screen, “Trust Ollie’s instincts, Barry!” 

— The only thing this episode needed more of was Diggle; his reaction to Barry is priceless. So does Arrow, but that’s another story.

— If you were confused about that lady Oliver talked to at the end of the episode, she’s a woman he got pregnant before his time on the island. Moira, his mother, paid her off, but it looks like she’s still a mom. So, uh-oh.

— It’s interesting that they made the Police Captain gay. I honestly can’t recall any other major characters on the show being gay, except for Sarah’s love affair with Nyssa al Ghul. It’s a small thing that I very much support!

— I know that people are very much supporting a Caitlin-Barry romance, but I just want Caitlin to become a full-blown supervillain by the end of the season. Is that too much to ask for? Also, I wasn’t digging her wardrobe at all in this episode.

— Theory Corner: Wells actually called out that Batman and Bruce Wayne will one day show up on this show. Let’s just hope it’s not the Batfleck… 


The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8pm on The CW.

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Emily E. Steck

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV