TV Recap: The Flash, ‘Flash vs. Arrow’

Written by Matt Kelly

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Flash vs. Arrow – Night 1 of The Crossover

This week is the huge crossover event everyone has been waiting for. I’m going to go through it character by character because it’s the only way to hit all of the really interesting moments.

Iris

It hurts to be wrong and Iris is wrong about pretty much everything. Not only does her boyfriend bring up his completely understandable concerns that Iris was spending time with the Flash but then the Flash proceeded to break her window and beat up her boyfriend. Now Iris has no idea that Prism or Rainbow Raider (depending on who you talk to) turned Flash into a rage monster, so she just has to assume that she was wrong all along and break up with the Flash. Tough cookies.

On the plus side, how many people get to actually meet a person on their cheat list? Zero I think. So that’s something.

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Eddie

Eddie must be having quite a day. He starts this task force to catch the Flash and immediately the Flash pulls him out of a moving vehicle and threatens him. Do you want a Flash Task Force Barry? Because that’s how you get a Flash Task Force. Also Eddie just gets destroyed by The Flash in front of Iris. That has to be a tough beating to take. On the bright side, he didn’t shoot Iris. I’m only mentioning that because Eddie shoots at Flash but Flash dodges the bullets and runs away but, and the episode doesn’t really bring this up, Iris was standing RIGHT BEHIND FLASH! If this were the season finale, she would have been shot. No question.

Caitlin

Hey Caitlin, remember your fiancé that is dead? He is the only thing you talk about. He completely defines your character. Well I have some good news. He’s alive and he’s on fire. He may also be Victor Garber, but we’ll get to that later. Either way, that episode is going to be a fun one. Otherwise not much for Caitlin to do today. I’m not complaining.

Cisco

Line of this night for my boy Cisco. “A cold gun would come in real handy right about now.” I really felt for him in this episode. You knew he was right all along. You just didn’t know he would be right this quickly. You have to figure that when another mind controller like Grodd or even another speedster like Reverse Flash shows up, Wells is gonna have to cave and let him build another gun.

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Wells

Looks like everyone isn’t as gullible as the twenty-somethings working at STAR. Not only is Felicity not tricked into giving up Arrow’s secret identity (even though it really is painfully obvious) but Oliver is able to get that same vibe from Wells that everyone that watches the show has had since minute one. Hopefully in tonight’s crossover episode, Oliver gives Barry some sage advice about dealing with a mentor turned-supervillain.

On the plus side, Wells actually manages to stop Barry from killing Oliver and messing up everything else by flashing lights at him. This marks the fifth or sixth time the STAR team has come up with a way to neutralize a bad guy without testing the solution at all. Honestly, they are lucky so many times it makes you wonder when they’re going to get one wrong. I guess that first time makes up for it. Either way, they were able to de-whammy Barry with a method that can only be created by one of two scenarios. Scenario 1: Wells and the gang fitted different lights onto the van and programmed them and drove over to where Barry and Oliver were in a matter of minutes. Scenario 2: DR. WELLS HAS A RAVE VAN! Since Scenario 1 makes no sense at all, I am going to have to assume Wells, besides being some sort of time traveler or whatever, is also an EDM freak and the rest of that van was just turntables and glow-sticks. Party on, Wells.

Joe

I love Joe in the episode because he keeps bringing everyone back down to earth. If you watch The Flash and Arrow enough you forget about how many murders Ollie has committed or how Oliver loves to torture everyone or even how both teams have secret underground prisons. If you see all that from the outside, it does seem pretty diabolical. Joe brings that real human touch to the Flash.

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Felicity

She ties everything together tonight. Felicity really steps up to the role of utility player. In the beginning she is all for the crossover. Near the end she is the wet blanket reminding everyone that one of the heroes may actually kill the other one. Without Felicity, this episode would have seemed both incredibly forced and incredibly silly.

On the other hand, that fan service was a little much. Really, Flash producers? Felicity is the first person whose clothes have caught on fire during a Flash shuttle? I’m not complaining but it did seem like a little much considering the fans have been getting everything they ask for so far. This episode is called ‘Flash vs Arrow,’ after all. I guess if it was going to happen anywhere, it had to happen here.

Diggle

Whoa. Just Whoa.

Oliver

So Oliver takes the beating of a lifetime. He falls off a building. He gets dragged through the streets. He gets caught in the punching tornado. On top of that he got a big helping of angry truth from Barry. You get the feeling he does with he had powers like Barry’s but thank god he doesn’t. This would be a really boring show because OIiver would have stopped crime years ago. No undertaking. No Mirakuru army. Nothing.

On top of THAT, Ollie is a father! Mazeltov! In one of two great big Arrow spoilers, a girl at Jitters tells Oliver that she is sad to hear about his mom and then we see her call a child of hers on the phone. Arrow fans know that Oliver had a relationship with a girl that resulted in her getting pregnant. Oliver’s mother gave the girl money to scram and told Oliver that she miscarried. Little does Oliver know that he has a little Dart running around Central City. I think I’m speaking for all of the fans of the show when I say NEVER BRING THIS UP AGAIN. We already have Roy. The last thing we need is a 10 year old following Arrow around. If you don’t think superheroes having kids is dumb, watch Superman Returns and talk to me.

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Barry

So this episode, better than any before it, has a theme and that theme is emotions. Unfortunately for Barry, his emotions were the ones on display. That’s what you get for using the phrase “the feels” outside of the internet. Basically Barry gets brainwashed by Prism and that results in him telling everyone what he really thinks of them. He goes off on Caitlin for missing her (assumed) dead fiancé. He goes off on Detective West and his Captain for making him do his job. He even yells as Iris for blogging about him. Really it is a loss all around.

Luckily he gets to fight the Arrow and that makes everything better. He pulls out a lot of new tricks. He metabolizes the horse tranquilizer at super speed. He does a punching tornado. He even catches arrows in mid-air. The fight is so great that the show doesn’t even bother showing Barry and Oliver actually catch Rainbow Raider and why should it? If that took a minute away from anything else in the episode, it would have been a waste of time.

Final Thoughts

Overall this was a huge success because they did everything right. The characters were fun but they also made sense together. There was the right amount of distrust and the right amount of fanboying. I could have done without those two giant Arrow spoilers, just so I could recommend it to anyone who hasn’t yet watched Arrow. The second spoiler especially was agonizing. It could have been so easily done in tonight’s episode. “Hey Barry, do me a favor and take this DNA sample over to STAR labs. I would have mentioned it yesterday but that would have been stupid.” would have done just fine.

But really I can’t give them enough credit for nailing this. It is to the DCTVU what Avengers was to the MCU. Hopefully it is the first of many crossover episodes and I am extremely hyped for tonight’s crossover starring Captain Boomerang. Speaking of that, how about Suicide Squad? What a week DC must be having and I think for the first time in a while they really earned it.

Bonus Theory: I think Barry’s dad IS the Reverse Flash. He has been pretending to be in jail this whole time but I think he did kill Nora and Eddie and Wells have both been red herrings.  I don’t know how and I don’t know why but I think that’s gonna be the big surprise at the end of the season.

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Matthew Nando Kelly is a staff writer for Pop-Break. Aside from TV reviews, he writes about films, music, and video games. Matthew also has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he discusses pop culture related brackets with fellow Pop-Break writer DJ Chapman. He loves U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. He can also occasionally be found writing lists on Topless Robot and his twitter handle is @NationofNando

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Matthew Nando Kelly is the cool and tough Managing Editor of Pop Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Besides weekly Flash recaps, he has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he makes pop culture brackets with fellow writer DJ Chapman.

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