As ‘The Flash’ races through its first season, the show is also speeding through a bunch of common superhero tropes, from the origin story to the “hero loses his powers” bit to, now, the inevitable teaming-up with another superhero. Yes, it’s time for the much-threatened crossover with The CW’s other hit DC Comics adaptation, ‘Arrow’.
As the simple episode title ‘Flash vs. Arrow’ implies, this is not just a team-up but also a superhero rivalry. Two clichés for the price of one!
The crossover is a two-parter that will span both shows. Fortunately, the action in this half all takes place in Central City and has a self-contained plot that gets neatly wrapped up in an hour, so you don’t necessarily need to watch the second half on ‘Arrow’ if you don’t want to.
The new baddie of the week is a meta-human named Roy G. Bivolo (seriously?). Cisco nicknames him “Prism,” though the character also goes by either “Chroma” or “Rainbow Raider” in the comics. I’m not sure which of those four names is the worst. Bivolo has glowing red eyes and the power to overwhelm the emotion centers of other people’s brains with “color psychology.” Anytime he looks into someone’s eyes, a flash of colored light induces in that person a powerful rage and the need to attack anyone in the vicinity. Bivolo uses this to create distractions for the mundane goal of robbing a bank. How ambitious of him.
Police identify the culprit and try to apprehend him. That doesn’t go so well. The Flash has to race in and save Det. West after one of the other cops goes berserk and fires a shotgun at him. Although Barry could very easily have had the situation in hand momentarily, his old buddy The Arrow shows up out of nowhere, takes out the rogue cop for him (seemingly by murdering him with an arrow to the chest, though we’re later told that he no longer kills people – how does that work, exactly?), and vanishes before anyone can ask any questions. Bivolo, the guy they were supposed to capture, easily escapes in the confusion. Thanks a bunch, Arrow!
The next day, Barry meets with Oliver Queen (you know, Arrow), who’s in town to investigate a fancy boomerang that traces back to Central City. Other than Cisco totally geeking out over the boomerang, we don’t get much more on this storyline, which will undoubtedly become the focus of the second half of the crossover. Barry suggests that the two of them team up to help on each other’s cases.
Oliver has little interest in this, but his gal-pal Felicity (who last visited Flash in Episode 1.04) is all for it. Barry whisks her off to S.T.A.R. Labs, during which the friction from his speed causes her blouse to catch on fire – thus allowing for a pandering fan service glimpse of actress Emily Rickards in a sexy bra. This brings to mind the question of why Barry’s own civilian clothes no longer burst into flames when he runs.
Neither Dr. Wells nor Det. West trust Arrow. They see him as a dark and dangerous vigilante, and a bad influence on Barry. Not only are they right, he’s also kind of a dick. Oliver keeps telling Barry how inadequate he is at being a superhero, and insists that he train with him. To demonstrate the importance of planning and preparation, he tricks Barry into walking into a booby-trap where a couple of remote-control bows shoot him in the back. What a pal!
Quickly fed up with Oliver’s badgering, Barry goes off to find and confront Bivolo on his own. Of course, this only has the effect of proving Oliver right. Bivolo looks Barry in the eyes and infects him with the rage. Although Barry’s powers cause the reaction to be delayed, he soon turns into a massive jerk. He tells off his police captain and attacks Iris’ boyfriend Eddie, who’d been asking too many questions about The Flash recently. At the drop of a hat, Dr. Wells has a change of heart and decides that he likes Arrow after all. He asks for Oliver’s help in stopping Barry.
Arrow shows up to rescue Eddie. He and Flash have a big fight, in which Flash runs circles around Arrow and makes his slo-mo fight moves look ridiculous, but Arrow outwits him with some trick explosive arrows and impales him through the leg. Ultimately, the fight is declared a draw when
Felicity and Caitlin Dr. Wells arrives with a special flashing-light gizmo that neutralizes Barry’s rage.
I’m not entirely certain what happens next. Either there was a problem with the network broadcast or my DVR was glitchy (or the episode is just badly edited), because the next scene after the commercial break suddenly cuts to Barry and Oliver locking Bivolo away in the reactor core prison, without ever actually showing them, you know, catching him first. Whatever, we get the point.
Wells is now totally buddy-buddy with Oliver. Meanwhile, the police captain approves Eddie’s request to lead a task force to arrest the dangerous vigilante Flash, and Iris is pissed at Flash too. Oliver runs into an ex-girlfriend, who drops a hint that he may have a kid he didn’t know about.
The episode closes with a teaser involving a meta-human who can burst into flames. I assume this is Heat Wave, who was also hinted at back in Episode 1.04.
At the time of this writing, I haven’t watched the ‘Arrow’ half of the crossover yet. As far as the first half goes, it’s a good episode that could almost stand on its own – but it does unfortunately remind me of why I don’t care for ‘Arrow’. He’s too much of a sour, unpleasant, assholish Batman wannabe. I much prefer the brightness and optimism of ‘The Flash’. Nevertheless, I recorded the other show’s episode and suppose I’ll follow through with watching it shortly.