*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.
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.
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.”
ENTER FELICITY SMOAK LITERAL EMBODIMENT OF THE LIGHT.
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.”
AND THEN THE BRILLIANT END TITLE CARD WITH THE LIGHTNING TRACING THE ARROW LOGO!
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?”
- 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. ↩
- 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. ↩
- 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. ↩