Ever since the title “Flash vs. Arrow” was announced, we all knew that a confrontation was coming. It is inevitable to have teaming up superheroes come to blows, and, for once, that inevitable fight did not feel forced. They built up to the fight, and I bought it. The usage of Prism (or Rainbow Raider for those familiar with him) was completely a plot device to get a believable fight between Ollie and Barry. Anyone who says this villain of the week was at all the point of this episode is kidding themselves.
This half of the crossover was all about showing off our two teams and comparing them. You get Team Flash doubting the Arrow and Team Arrow either trying to wrap their head around the superpowers or trying to make the new kids a better team. It was a showcase of fun character dynamics. That was surprisingly standalone for a crossover.
In addition to a fight setup, this episode managed to move pieces on both fronts. On The Flash front we got Eddie against The Flash and Iris not as warm to him as she had been. We got a bit more time to look at the mystery of Wells, who even Oliver is now suspicious of. Biggest of them all, however, was the debut of Firestorm there in the episode’s stinger. Arrow’s story got advanced as well. As far as the main story, Felicity is now enlisting Caitlin’s help in finding Sara’s murderer. Another piece was brought up that was surprising, as we got another encounter with Oliver’s baby momma, who called their son. Personally, can’t wait to meet him.
The humor. Oh the humor. And the touch of serious. I love the nice tonal difference between the two shows, but this episode proves that just a step in the other’s direction can be a magical thing. I’d love a tad more seriousness on Flash (like touching on the whole imprisonment thing) and more humor on Arrow (I mean seriously, comic Oliver is a fairly funny guy). And I cannot mention the humor without giving extra notice to David Ramsey (Diggle) who was incredibly funny tonight.
As I said earlier, the inevitable fight was actually pretty believable. The build-up was quite effective, including moments of disagreement all the way and the usage of Prism to really kick it off. Speaking of, the fight had some nice choreography to it, but the definite highlights were Arrow’s pre-planted bows and Flash power vibrating the tranquilizer out of his system. Plus, you could argue for either side if you need a winner. While it was a draw in some ways, it felt more like a nice way to let the viewer pick the victor, in a way.
Appearances by Sandra Hawke (or whatever the mother’s real name is) and Ronnie Raymond were excellent ways to finish out the episode. The producers managed to keep one pretty well secretive, even though we already knew Miss Hawke had moved to Central City from her appearance last season.
I could go on for quite some time with the standout moments of this episode, but I’ll just list out a few more: Wells used future knowledge (I assume) to learn the Arrow’s identity, Barry’s angry remark to Caitlin, Caitlin’s name drop of Rainbow Raider, and Joe’s mistrust turned acceptance of the Arrow.
I know that the titles really telegraph that tonight is about the fight and tomorrow is about the team-up, but it still would have been nice to see them actually take down Prism. The cut from “Let’s do it!” to him being in prison was a little jarring. On a similar note, I refuse to count underdeveloped Prism as a negative. He wasn’t the point here. Yes I wanted a last fight, but I felt no desire to spend time getting to know him.
Aside from the reduced villain presence this week, there weren’t really any stand out negatives. So instead I’ll list a few things I was left kind of wishing: I wish they’d touched on the fact that Flash nearly killed Arrow by dropping him off the building, I wish it would have been a tad less standalone and had more connectivity to tomorrow night (though I am proud of how well they managed to make it standalone), I kind of wish we had confirmation of how Wells learning Oliver’s secret, and I wish we’d seen Oliver’s kid or they had called him Connor. Yeah, that last one was more because I didn’t feel right only listing three.
“Flash vs. Arrow” was a standout episode, and the highlight of both seasons so far. Definitely above a 4 out of 5, and quite frankly, the fun-factor makes it well deserving of rounding up. Best of all, the team-up itself is far from over.