By Joe Strange
The Flash/Arrow cross over started off very strong yesterday and you can read Sara’s run down of the episode here, but since it was a two parter it’s about time we addressed Starling City’s instalment of this superhero event.
Minor Spoilers Ahoy
The last episode saw the occupants of Central City dealing with the Arrow, and while everyone in the city was worried about having a former murderous vigilante running amok, the dealings with Prism and the two heroes actually ended up with the condemnation of the Flash, with a task force set up by Eddie Thawne and the streak’s biggest fan, Iris West, feeling betrayed and swearing the hero off.
Last night’s episode of Arrow, in typical Arrow fashion, wasn’t so light. Instead of focussing on relationships and how heroes are perceived, The Brave and the Bold dealt with the idea of humanity behind a mask, not in front of it, and what lengths our heroes will, and should, go to to get their job done. As is Arrow’s way, this is highlighted by the five year flashback which this week shows off Oliver’s learning of torture and conviction. Because of the spectacle of having the two heroes (and teams) in one place, these flashbacks are scarce, but they send the message very well.
While the Flash episode ‘Flash Vs Arrow’ was the episode we all wanted; our two masked heroes facing off against one another, investigating a meta-human together and seeing the uptight Oliver Queen having to deal with how ‘fun’ the Star Labs team is, The Brave and the Bold was thematically the better episode.
That’s not to say the former was bad, it was amazing fun, but that’s what The Brave and the Bold had over it; it drew a lot more parallels with the heroes, the teams and even the cities.
‘Central City where it’s sunny all the time and your bad guys have cute nicknames’ Oliver says to Barry in a moment of conflict about The Arrow’s methods. When talking about the shows there’s definitely a difference in tone; the Flash is easy watching; it’s fun and bright, but Arrow is more of a commitment, in the 2 seasons so far Oliver’s team has gone through an awful lot. Frankly sometimes it’s a bit stressful to watch, as they’ve proven they’re not above killing lovable characters.
The stakes seem much higher in this episode compared to the last, which is odd considering that The Flash has to deal with superpowers, and this is addressed by Caitlin and Cisco before the episode’s climax. The meta-humans make the threat clean, because their powers make it seem unreal, whereas in Starling City these are downtrodden, desperate people and they’ll go to desperate measures to get what they want, much like the city’s vigilante.
This dichotomy is what this episode is really about, and how each hero can learn from one another; The Flash needs to take things a little more seriously; there are deadly repercussions from dealing with these people. While Arrow needs to learn to relax and lighten up, which is something that’s easier said than done with Oliver. Though saying that this episode really benefited from having some more optimism and disbelief; Starling City has been through a lot, which is why I think Felicity is such a great bridge between the shows, she’s the most positive of team Arrow.
And seeing Starling City’s citizens reacting to the Flash never gets old.
In all this crossover was a huge success, it helped build the idea of these two worlds as being connected, and it showed the two teams at their best, but more importantly it helped develop the two heroes; I think we’ll see the Flash’s team taking things a little more seriously now that they’ve had a brush with just how bad things can turn, and hopefully we’ll see Oliver’s team turn up their brightness a few notches.
Oh and it’s such a treat to have one of these ‘exotic killers’ that fully embraces the puns for their weapons; those boomerang puns just keep coming back to get you.