The Flash: “Flash vs. Arrow”

It’s easy to compare and contrast The Flash and Arrow, mostly because of the pains taken to separate the two shows and the two characters in their current televised iterations. Throwing them together in a crossover was always going to happen, and it’s an interesting concept given how different its main men are and their tones in general. It’s good for a narrative, not so good for the tone of “Flash vs Arrow”. It’s inherently awkward, dropping characters from another show into another one, despite sharing a universe, and as far as this attempt goes it’s clumsier than expected.

The jarring nature of the combination is a good storytelling beat, but it’s not so great for the crossover. Oliver is, for some reason, the worst person ever on this show compared to whatever charm he has on his, and the tones are so mismatched it’s hard to enjoy Oliver when he seems to be there just to make my Flash episode an Arrow one. It starts off fine enough, with Barry positively gleeful at the prospect of teaming up with Oliver to stop bad guys. Narratively all the appropriate beats are there from Barry’s delight dwindles as Oliver proves himself to be kind of an annoying mentor (I seem to recall Oliver being a much better instructor on Arrow) and Oliver eventually having to step in to take Barry on when he’s affected by this week’s villainous metahuman. But Oliver and Felicity (not so much Diggle who doesn’t get as many lines) are more intrusive than they are fun, disappointing after The Flash proved it could weave Arrow characters into an episode with Felicity not too long ago.

Oliver is for some reason especially douchey. Perhaps that’s just how Oliver comes up when placed against the backdrop of a relatively glowing Central City where hope is found in a red streak in the middle of the day and not so much in a green hooded man shooting people with arrows in the dark of the night. Barry and Oliver’s fight scene almost makes up for the lacking non-violent interactions between the two. The value of Oliver turning up on the show is almost lost among all this conflict, conflict like Oliver shooting Barry with arrows (because that‘s appropriate) not so much the more narratively sound turn with Barry being affected by Bivolo. There’s too much fighting, not enough partnership between the two. They work together for a short time, and we don’t even see it with Bivolo tossed in the prison at the episode’s conclusion like an afterthought. Hopefully they actually will work together in tomorrow’s Arrow episode.

The beats being hit in The Flash‘s greater arcs are more compelling if still not well constructed. Eddie suddenly wanting a taskforce to target the Flash is illogical, but typical considering the love triangle aspect. Iris seems to be right on the nose when she remarks that Eddie’s just jealous since all Eddie knows about the Flash is that he’s saved a lot of lives, including Iris’. He’s not the menace Eddie says he is, which likely explains the captain refusing to take him seriously. At least until Barry’s Bivolo-induced rage and attack on Eddie. It cuts off Iris’ and the Flash’s communication, with her disappointment leading her to deem him unworthy of her attentions or hopes despite his apology. It’s particularly cutting turn, especially with this episode making abundantly clear just how vital Barry’s found his interactions with her as the Flash.

Barry’s cheeky delight at Iris seemingly preferring his alterego to her boyfriend is even more apparent this week. Despite Caitlin’s warnings that he’ll feel bad if he causes a breakup, Barry persists in his flirtatious visits, using his mask to make all the moves he’d never make without it. One element missing from the crossover is just how differently Barry and Oliver view their roles.Oliver is weighed down by it, hoping to hang up his bow and arrow but that’s not looking possible with all the shenanigans in his neck of the woods. Oliver’s mask holds him back while Barry’s has given him a freedom and confidence he didn’t have before. So it’s sad when Oliver advises Barry to adopt his “no love allowed” policy and accept that he’ll never be with Iris because guys like them don’t get to have fulfilling love lives.

You came all this way, Oliver just to shove your hangups on my boy Barry.

Stray Observations

  • The CW is so dumb. I’ve never understood why it refuses to air sister shows on the same night
  • Oliver is on Iris’ list. I want to know who the other two people on this list are.
  • It’s very interesting that Wells was angling for Oliver’s secret identity and ended up getting it. What he’ll do with this information is up in the air at this point, but if he has plans for Barry then it’s possible he’s going to use that against him if it’ll mean keeping Oliver from intervening in Central City.
  • For Arrow fans the sighting of Oliver’s baby mama is probably an interesting one. Exciting is perhaps to strong a word, at least for me who is so very, very uninterested in seeing Oliver Queen approach anything resembling fatherhood.
  • FIRESTORM!!!!!
  • Iris: I bet you say that to all the girls.
    Barry: What other girls? SHUT UP YOU ARE SO CUTE. 

Leave your thoughts in the comments.


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