NOC Recaps Arrow: A League of Their Own

*Mad props to my awesome Flarrow tag-team buddy Christelle for the subtitle. We are Flarrow. She’s The Flash, I’m Arrow and together we bring you these recaps with precision and speed. It’s our superpower.

The first thing I thought of when preparing for the Arrow portion of the crossover was how would they Flashify the title card? Instead of the arrowhead, we got a beautiful lightning bolt. And so begins the Flash team’s adventure in Starling City! We’ve actually seen all of these characters here before. Barry, obviously in his debut last season, as well as Cisco and Caitlin when they briefly helped Felicity on a case also last season. But it’s our first time seeing them all together like this and It. Was. AMAZING!

In our “previously on” segment, we get a lot of the Flash pilot conversation regarding Barry inspiring people and Oliver’s feeling that he hasn’t been able to. This is important. We already know that Oliver taught Barry somethings in “The Flash vs. Arrow” about the technical side to being a superhero. Now Barry is going to teach Oliver about the human side to being a superhero. And I am SO READY FOR IT.

Field Team Arrow are back home in Starling after Boomerang, but it seems like Boomerang has a thing for explosives. While Diggle sits in the Team Arrow Mom Van, Arrow and Arsenal blow Boom’s apartment1 and meet some less than friendly A.R.G.U.S. agents who are after Boomerang too.

“You’re outnumbered jerkwad.”

Roy and Oliver want Diggle to ask Lyla about the A.R.G.U.S. connection.

“You really don’t care about my marriage do you?” “Well I would if you and Lyla were still married.” [Marriage reference #1]

I guess since neither dude is in a relationship, they don’t know you can’t just ask your partner about top secret work stuff.

To sum up the flashbacks real quick: we see Waller force Oliver to torture someone, but Oliver isn’t committed. By the time he gets ready to collect some screams and information, a large section of Hong Kong gets blown up. Oliver feels guilty about letting it happen and Waller reams into him with agreement. Then she makes him do it again, knowing he will act more efficiently this time. As we reach the midpoint of the five-year island journey, this and perhaps some mid-season finale moments, could be one of the pivotal turning points in getting Oliver from voice-up!Ollie to growly!Oliver. I’ve already noticed that in this episode — more than any other flashback, Oliver’s voice is the deeper one we know from the present. Soon voice-up!Oliver will no longer exist in the past.

Back in the present, Cisco and Caitlin have some “time off” from S.T.A.R. Labs (like Barry was “sent” from CCPD in 2.08) and come visit Felicity at the newly minted Palmer Technologies. I’m glad they didn’t meet Ray, but it certainly would have been an opportunity for mucho nerd moments between the four of them. While Caitlin pretends it’s to continue their assistance in being Canary CSI techs, Cisco gets straight to the real point:

You call it that, Felicity, you just don’t want Oliver to remember you call it that. “You see what you’ve done?” (as Oliver strongly suppresses his secret amusement and Felicity looks a built guilty but not sorry about it).

Caitlin wonders about the Salmon Ladder. “What’s that for?” “Distracting me from work” And she means in the cave (Oliver) AND at work-work (Ray)!

Diggle and Lyla do a Sorkin-style walk-and-talk through A.R.G.U.S. HQ. “Listen, sweetie…” “You only call me sweetie when you want something.” Soon after, the Boomerang infiltrates HQ, putting the building in lockdown. “We have it handled.” “Is that your we have it handled alarm?”

Dig calls in the cavalry, but Caitlin knows they won’t be fast enough. ENTER THE FLASH! Barry sweeps in and saves Oliver from a few boomerangs to the chest.


Outnumbered, Boomboom leaves our heroes dazed (Roy and Lyla didn’t exactly know about the metahuman thing. Our heroes keep secrets when they’re supposed to).

The boomerang’s name? Digger Harkness.

Wait no, not that guy. That’s a different Harkness. And he goes by Merlyn now.

Harkness/Boomboom was a former member of the Suicide Squad who needed to be “sanitized.” Lyla made the call but the trigger failed and Harkness lived to plot revenge against Lyla and A.R.G.U.S. Team Arrow take her to the Arrow Cave (we all call it that, Oliver), where she meets Barry fresh off some speed-round salmon ladder reps.

Barry is such a show off, it’s great. Also great? Cisco’s ONE attempt at a pull up. The one character who’s tried and not completed a rep! (Sara, Ray, and now Barry have all beaten the bar.)

“Secret identity?” “What? They’re married!” “We’re not married.” [Second marriage reference.]

Oliver lays down the rules for Barry’s visit and soon enough, they’re taking a brief trip to SCPD to get some information off Lance.

Meanwhile, Cisco tries to sneak in a photo of The Flash and Arrow together.

Hey Laurel. Bye Laurel. The scene just serves to place Oliver in front of Lance for the first time since the premiere, and we see Oliver’s obfuscating stupidity M.O. is still somehow fooling Lance into obliviousness.

“I can’t believe you’re a member of the Russian mob!”

Barry “had eight seconds to kill” and takes down all the mobsters in the place, leaving me to wonder if Oliver, while he loves Barry, can’t wait for him to leave so he’ll feel useful again. When Oliver gets a little trigger happy getting information, Barry is shocked. Even though, when he met Oliver last year, he’d known about the Arrow’s techniques in his fanboy obsession with him.

This scene was really powerful and so tense. Even with The Flash episode being titled “The Flash vs Arrow,” this moment — more than even the barn scene from that portion — was the most tense these two have come. Sure, Barry’s feelings in the barn were rooted in real emotions, but they were heightened by metahuman magic. This scene cut more because it was how they both really felt. And they were getting along so nicely!

Lyla and Oliver bond a little bit (we don’t get to see them interact much, sadly) and come to the conclusion that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to protect the ones they love in a world where the other side doesn’t compromise. “Sometimes bravery isn’t enough. Sometimes the world requires us to be bold.” Aww man, I was wrong about my brave/bold theory… Also, the statement seems particularly relevant tonight.

These three.

Cisco and Diggle bond (plus Roy), with Cisco theorizing that superpowers are gifts to help us make sense of and deal with an always crazy world (with real world events the way they are, we can’t help but wish for some benevolent superpowers out here, Cisco).

“I think people like Barry are the hope. for saving people like us. People like your wife and daughter.” “She’s not his wife.” [Third marriage reference] “Plus you gotta admit, it’s pretty freaking cool, right?”

The teams latest tip leads to a shady XXX joint, where Barry once again beats Oliver to any punching. (I think Oliver misses the punching.)

One of the passed out mooks clues the boys in to the fact that it was all a set up. There’s a phone in the Arrow Cave that’s currently transmitting it’s location. Boomerang is headed straight for the girls!

Our Bangbang Big Bad arrives and Lyla springs into action, but she gets hit with a boomerang just as Felicity grabs an arrow charge… thing… and sends an explosion at Boomerang that makes him flee. He also thinks he got the job done: Lyla’s down for the count2. Barry whisks her away to a hospital, but Oliver is already getting broody McGuilty feelings and wants to be alone. While Roy, Cisco, Caitlin, and Felicity drown their sorrows in a bit of liquor at Verdant, Barry and Oliver have a heart to heart.

“It’s the will to do what’s ugly. Every time I do that, I’m trading away little pieces of myself. So, you asked what’s wrong with me. That’s what’s wrong. Because the part that’s I’m trading away is Oliver Queen. And lately I’ve been feeling like there’s nothing left except the Arrow.”

“I think you’re full of crap.” SAY THAT BARRY SAY THAT! “You’ve convinced yourself that everything you’ve been through took away your humanity. But I think it’s because of your humanity that you made it through. You wouldnt have survived, much less come out the other end a hero. Somebody who wants to do good if you didn’t have a light inside you.”


GUYYSSSS my Olicity feels kicked it up a notch — theories on this later. But notice her black shirt with white dots. Light beginning to explode from darkness…!

Back to work: Harkboomboom is trying to flee the city by train. But ENTER JUSTICE DUO! Barry literally removes all bystanders from the platform and The Flash and Arrow take their stand against Boomerang!!!! Not enough exclamation points!

After not getting to see them take down Rainbow Raider yesterday, it’s great we get to see the team up today. Boomy doesn’t think they can both take him, but uhm, you DO remember Barry has superspeed? Boomboom has rigged five explosives around the city that will detonate if they don’t let him go. Barry speeds off to find them while Oliver traps Hark the Herald Boomer against a pillar. But the explosives are rigged to blow at the same time.

And here’s where I cheered the most: Barry collects TEAM FLARROW to help disarm the units all at once! TEAM WORK! FRIENDSHIP! UNITY! ALL THE FEELS! It was a wonderful group moment. These men aren’t heroes alone. They save the world only with the help of their dedicated friends. FEELS!3

Boomerlicious thinks he can get one last throw in, but Oliver beats him to it (told ya he needed to punch things, or pierce, in this case). “You just couldn’t resist, could you?” And there goes another smile from Oliver. I’ve been saying this since yesterday, Barry makes Oliver smile more (especially in the Arrow suit) than any other character, even Felicity (though she’s a close second). Oliver isn’t afraid to show his emotions for Barry as the Arrow, because Barry can take care of himself (if he did it for Felicity, it would lead to what happened in the premiere, something would happen and he’d blame his emotions). Oliver’s big brother smiles are so great to see and it makes me wish Barry were in every episode so we could see them more.

The episode wraps up quickly: Diggle re-proposes to Lyla [third “sweetie” and fourth marriage reference. Rule of threes and averted rule of threes!], Barry and Oliver deposit Captain Boombastic on Lian Yu with Slade (yeah, because that’s not gonna come back to haun — aww crap Harkness got me doing it too!), and our Flash friends head back to Central City, but not before they exchange a few presents. Caitlin promises Canary evidence and Cisco leaves Oliver with a new jacket (though he kept off the hood because Felicity knows how much it means to him — Did y’all catch that look he gives her at that?)

We know he’s well aware of his feelings, but these moments in these two episodes have had his feelings bubbling to the surface. “We’ve got a pipeline, he’s got a gorgeous tropical island.” “With the landmines…” Felicity’s look speaks more to Oliver saving her from the landmine and landing sweatily on top of her and I think Oliver’s look in return says he remembers it too. Team Arrow has a present for The Flash too: his own mannequin to keep his suit on when he’s in town.

“For the next time you’re in town.” Oliver trying to play it cool.

“There will be a next time?” Barry doesn’t know how to play it cool.

And then we get our two heroes for one last scene together. I knew we wouldn’t see the sparring battle, but the banter before it makes up for it plenty.

“Who would win? Me or you.” “You mean if you didn’t shoot me in the back.” “You gotta get over that, Barry.”

“When I’m fighting you it’s literally like you’re standing still.”

And one last heartwarming Flarrow moment:

“You were wrong. When you said I could inspire people and you couldn’t. But you were wrong. You can inspire. Not as the Arrow. That guy’s a douche. But as Oliver Queen.”


Both Flarrow title cards were everything.

Phew! We did it! We survived the crossover and it was as awesome and epic (if not more so) than we could have dreamed or anticipated! Hopefully we get one at least once a season now (probably on the 8s) and some mini crossovers. Because while we may be getting a big budget Justice League movie, these boys have a league of their own right here on the small screen. (With what some say is better writing, action, and special effects than even the big movies have. Your mileage may vary, but I certainly enjoyed the last two episodes as much as I would a cinematic venture.)

Oh and some Felicity/Caitlin webisodes.

Christelle and I had so much fun tweeting and recapping with all of you. Join us on twitter (@constar24 @christellexoxo @thenerdsofcolor) for the fall finales of both The Flash and Arrow (which we may not survive) and look out for Flarrow-centric Hard NOC Life and Roundtable posts coming soon!

Mid-season finale theory: Oliver will make a commitment to choose Felicity but will be tossed off a cliff by R’as and/or go missing with the League for a few months (aka hiatus). With Barry’s subtle acknowledgement of Felicity as the light that’s going to allow Oliver to live as both the Arrow and Oliver, and all the ways in which she was there for him and showed how much she knew him during the past two episodes, I think he will make a decision finally to move forward with her, but her relationship with Ray (and unwillingness to break her heart into more pieces should he change his mind again) and a potential Arrow Existence Failure post the fight with R’as will delay the union until well into next year.

Sound off in the comments: what was your favorite parts of “The Brave and the Bold?”

  1. I knew Oliver was a “case the joint” type fellow, but it’s never really stuck out as much as since The Flash episode, so seeing him pause to peek into the house was a great moment of continuity. 
  2. I really felt for Felicity in that moment as she was pressing Lyla’s wounds together. She’s still trying to find justice for Sara, who died not unlike this: a sharp object to the chest. Felicity’s concern and fear here was very well played by Emily Bett-Rickards. 
  3. Though: I call shenanigans on them all being linked by bluetooth and them all having a sharp object with them. Though I suppose Barry could have had to grab those in his abductions too. 

13 thoughts on “NOC Recaps Arrow: A League of Their Own

  1. Yes! Don’t forget the wirecutters guys.

    Cisco had so many of my favourite lines and moments “I need to see the toys.” and the little shoulder touch Oliver gives him at the end. I look forward to seeing his further improvements for the Arrow costume. Such a creative mind. (Arrow cave, Arrow mobile, Batman hinting much?)

    I liked how they showed that Lyla and Diggle have some real disagreements in their relationship and at the same time they are deeply committed to and supportive of one another. Grown ups on this show showing how it’s done.

    But the moments between Oliver and Barry were my top moments. We got some big smiles and we got Barry really calling Oliver out on his crap and Oliver listening. I like that the showdown at the end was “just for the two of us.” It’s like Oliver and Barry’s bond (“My mother was killed right in front of me too) can lighten a little bit of Oliver’s load. For this week at least. Beautiful.
    – Becca

    1. Becca! From the Just About Write reviews! Hi! I was about to say “someone over on JAW said that about Diggle being a grown up” then got to your sig at the end! HA! But YES, it bears so much repeating. And like I said over there, hopefully Oliver will take it to heart, despite the mission getting in the way of any commitments he may want to make.

      Thanks for reading and following me over! You’re awesome. #flarrowcommentbuddies

      1. Just wanted to say hi chez vous. I am so glad finding JAW led me to your recaps as well.
        I both like and fear your prediction for episode 9. Bracing myself for next week and looking forward to your reactions as well. (Can you tell I have no one in my life with whom to discuss Arrow?)
        PS. This time last year Oliver got a mask from Barry and now Cisco has made him a new jacket (with the promise of more toys). Visitors from Central City totally mean Christmas presents for the Arrow. 🙂

      2. Oh, you’re so right about the mask/jacket parallel! I hadn’t quite caught that. Which makes the “nice mask” comment even more appropriate than just his advice in the pilot (which, duh, is related to Barry’s 2.08 appearance but still).

        You are always welcome here and over at JAW to chat about Arrow. I love the internet for giving me a place to chat about stuff that no one I know in real life cares about. =D

  2. Oh, I have a question about your prediction for the mid-season finale, or related to your prediction. So we know that there is a duel because Oliver is trying to protect his city and his family, right? The League got all pissed at him because Nyssa came to Starling to get Merlyn and Oliver got in the way. They gave him an ultimatum about finding Sara’s killer and presumably have come because that investigation is not going quickly enough or in the direction that R’as would like. If we assume all those things (which might be off) it would make sense for them to come to Starling demanding Merlyn’s head. And the trailer makes me think that there will be a threat to Thea (in addtion to the city) which would make sense because surely nothing could pull Merlyn out like his child. So here’s my question: IF the threat is to Thea and if the demand is for Merlyn couldn’t Merlyn give himself up to the League and save his daughter’s life? If Oliver gets involved does that mean that Merlyn is not willing to do that? How would that affect Thea’s relationship with her father? Or does that imply that they really do want Oliver and not Merlyn, that Oliver is R’as’ goal?
    Sorry that wasn’t a question but rather questions. I am probably making too many assumptions (and trailers often lead us astray with clever editing) but I am really wondering where Malcolm Merlyn will fit into this episode.

  3. All of it’s hard to say! There are so many pieces involved! There’s Canary’s death. Nyssa wants revenge and (still?) thinks Malcolm did it? So they come after Thea and Oliver goes to defend her.

    But then there’s the DNA sample Caitlin’s providing. Will that lead to R’as as the murderer (pretty much the unanimous theory, as far as I can tell) and thus Oliver going after him? But as you said, it seems to be more about Thea than Sara. Also as you said, it could be trailers always lie or perhaps even both at the same time — they learn that R’as is after Thea on behalf of Nyssa to get revenge on Malcolm BUT they ALL find out that R’as did it — but that sees like it would get Nyssa involved against her father as revenge for Sara.

    There are so many scenarios that could all play out at the same time it seems! And trailers always lie and how do they get Malcolm back into the story proper, especially without killing him again. I feel like he will need to be an integral part to the second 2/3s of the season so he can’t die… But there’s this very loose motivation for the league to be after him, once they find the DNA sample, that should clear it up and one of two people did it: Malcolm or R’as.

    Malcolm killing Sara could still lead to Oliver in the mountains I guess — despite his anger and rage at losing a friend, he still wants to protect Thea? And doesn’t trust Malcolm to come clean and sacrifice himself for her? But that doesn’t get justice for Sara (or there’s the option that Diggle/Roy could kill Malcolm in Oliver’s absence and just end it once and for all) nor does it explain Malcolm’s motivations for doing such a thing.

    So there are SO many questions and ways to spin this! I can’t wait to see what they come up with! I certainly think the hiatus is gonna be a LONG painful one! Haha!

  4. Argh, I want more info but I also want to wait and see how it all plays out. I’m still a little unclear if somehow Oliver dueling R’as is going to clear up the old and big issue the League has with Malcolm. Quite apart from Canary’s death the League has wanted Malcolm Merlyn dead. I sometimes feel that Canary was sent to investigate Merlyn in order to get her killed. I feel like Nyssa was pretty suspicious of her father by the end of ep 4 cause even if Malcolm is the best liar ever his words might have infected her a little. For Nyssa, this is always about Sara. I feel like R’as has much more complex and layered motives in all the things he does in relation to Starling City.
    I wonder if the writers look at all the speculation going on from fans and just giggle to themselves.

    1. I know, why isn’t it next Wednesday yet? But then again, the longer this week lasts, the farther it is from, what? 5 weeks? of hiatus? So I dunno… LOL

      “I sometimes feel that Canary was sent to investigate Merlyn in order to get her killed.” excellent point! She’s been a flight risk before! She left when she first came to Starling and it wasn’t good for her relationship with the League. She also refused to return and we see how that pissed them off about Malcolm, so for the girlfriend of the daughter of the demon to do so so brazenly must have pissed R’as off, but because of the ties to his daughter, he couldn’t just put a hit out for her like he did with Malcolm. And so he sent her after Malcolm, perhaps hoping they’d kill each other? Or he could deal with whoever survived? But I guess Malcolm and Sara never met (or did they!??! DUN DUN DUNN!).

      Sometimes I like to think of what I would do if I were in such a postition to have people theorizing over my stuff and it’s hard to think about because people often come up with really great theories and you want them to be wrong because you want your own thing to be awesome, but then see something that’s brilliant and start kicking yourselves because your plan will seem small in comparison to the mass theories. (in my Doctor Who days (which. sadly, have dwindled) I’d see AWESOME theories and then feel disappointed when they weren’t true because they were so well thought out and complicated so, it’s hard to say if some of that doesn’t come into the writers mines when they see ours.)

    1. I love it too! We get a lot of the same dynamics, but with characters who can start off in a lower place and achieve character development. I never watched Smallville, but I think some of the problem with Gotham might be that we’re used to Batman and Superman at their height, those are the versions of the character we love, but watching them grow into their characters can be a bit tedious for some viewers. These two characters have less pressure (well, Flash has more pressure but not the weight of Superman in some ways)(and of course have been presented in live action media less often), so they can be played around with a lot more and deviate from and add to the canon without pissing quite as many people off.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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