By Josh Axelrod
I am so happy I decided on a whim to binge “Arrow” a few months ago. Because I got sucked into Oliver Queen’s universe, I was ready to take on Barry Allen’s in “The Flash” when that premiered. If any “Arrow” fan isn’t watching “The Flash” or vice versa, I highly recommend you fix that immediately. Not watching one of these brilliant shows would suck some of the fun out of this entertaining crossover episode.
Tuesday’s “Flash vs. Arrow” episode of “The Flash” ended with Team Arrow heading back to Starling City to track down Captain Boomerang. They did so pretty easily, which led them to a house that was rigged from top to bottom with explosives. Oliver of course decided to blow the place, because why not. Upon entering, he is stopped by A.R.G.U.S agents who informed Oliver that Captain Boomerang is an ex agent and told him to back off the case. Yeah, as if Oliver has ever listened to anyone about anything.
Cue our flashback of the week. Amanda Waller brought Oliver to an abandoned parking lot where a man named Chang was tied to a chair. She wanted Oliver to find out where a bomb he had hidden in Hong Kong was by any means necessary. This is probably the most relevant the flashbacks have ever been to Oliver’s present, so keep that in mind.
Cisco and Caitlin showed up at Felicity’s office. The two came to town because of something to do with the DNA from the arrow that killed Sara. Flimsy, but the two immediately reminded us how amusing they are, especially Cisco. He wanted to see the “Arrow Cave,” even asking if there was an arrowmobile. For Golden Age comics fans, this is funny because the early version of the Green Arrow had both these things.
While Cisco geeked out over all the cool toys Oliver uses, Boomerang showed up at A.R.G.U.S and began mowing down agents with his titular weapon. Admittedly, it was really silly that trained A.R.G.U.S agents with guns couldn’t take down a guy with a boomerang. It was also pretty convenient that he killed every agent but Diggle and Lyla. Then again, the visuals were pretty badass, so all was forgiven.
Boomerang took on Oliver and Roy like a pro, but was temporarily stopped when none other than Barry Allen showed up to save the day. Lyla told everyone that Boomerang was a former Suicide Squad member named Digger Harkness who was left for dead by A.R.G.U.S and now carries an understandable grudge.
We then got a quick trip to the police station. Laurel asked Oliver why The Arrow was in Central City, and he presumably told her it was about the search for Sara’s killer. Barry asked Quentin if he could help at all with his Boomerang case, and he pointed them toward an explosives expert in the Russian mafia.
Barry made everything look easy, like taking out a room full of bad guys when he “had eight seconds to kill.” Oliver was clearly a little upset at Barry upstaging him. Barry subdued the guy they were looking for, and Oliver tortured Boomerang’s information out of him. Barry was ridiculously uncomfortable with this, which brings us to the fascinating conflict at the heart of this episode.
This crossover addressed how dark “Arrow” has gotten and how relatively whimsical “The Flash” is head on, which was definitely the way to go. Oliver reminded Barry that Starling City is a much more serious place where villains don’t have silly names (except this week’s) and his friends and family are constantly killed. Barry reminded Oliver that his mother was killed in front of him too and it didn’t destroy him. To which Oliver replied before walking away: “I’m sorry Barry, I guess I’m not as emotionally healthy as you.” Understatement of the century.
Back to the flashbacks. Oliver had his arrow drawn at Chang, threatening to shoot him if he didn’t give up the bomb’s location. Chang saw him shaking, and quickly deduced Oliver didn’t have what it took to shoot him. While Oliver debated taking the shot, the bomb went off in the background.
Felicity located Boomerang, and the team split up to go take him down. Diggle, Roy and Cisco had an amusing conversation on the car ride over where Diggle bemoaned how insane the world had gotten. The ever upbeat Cisco countered with, “Maybe metahumans and superpowers were given to us to deal with the crazy.” Also, Diggle emphasized for the second time this episode that he and Lyla weren’t actually married.
It turned out this was all a diversion by Boomerang, who attacked the girls at the Arrow Cave (that’s now a thing). He was really only after Lyla, who put up a fight before taking a boomerang to the chest, after which Boomerang retreated. Barry rushed Lyla to the hospital, which just barely saved her life.
Cut back to Hong Kong. Oliver checked out the aftermath of the explosion for himself. Waller yelled at him, reminding him this was because he wouldn’t do what was necessary to get the information to stop this from happening. She said he had it in him, but needed to learn “conviction” and that some people only operate at extremes, a line Oliver had used earlier in the episode to justify his actions to Lyla.
Back at Verdant, Cisco was briefly attracted to Thea before realizing who she was. He, Roy, Felicity and Caitlin all had a pity drink. Caitlin realized that she hadn’t been taking the whole hero lifestyle seriously because the powers of the metahumans made things seems less real. This experience was clearly a wakeup call to her in that regard.
Oliver blamed himself for Lyla being in the hospital. He told Barry that every time he tortured someone, he felt a little bit of his humanity slip away. He was beginning to feel like Oliver Queen was dying, just leaving The Arrow. Barry basically told him to lighten up, saying that the fact he chose to be a hero showed his humanity was intact. With Oliver’s conviction (another line he stole from Waller) intact again, the two headed out to finish off Boomerang.
Barry emptied out a crowded train station full of people to leave just himself, Oliver and Boomerang. After a brief skirmish, Oliver pinned their foe against a column. Boomerang told them he had five bombs hidden around town, which Felicity realized would all explode if one was moved. Barry carried Cisco, Roy, Caitlin, and Felicity to each bomb site in order to defuse them all at once. Day saved.
At the hospital, DIGGLE PROPOSED TO LYLA AND SHE SAID YES. Adorable!!!!
Oliver said Boomerang was now cellmates with Slade Wilson on the island, which will totally end well. Oliver installed a Barry-sized mannequin for The Flash to hang his costume on when he visits Starling City again, and Cisco provided Oliver with a kevlar Arrow costume. Caitlin said Dr. Wells didn’t know about their trip to Starling and they had to head back to Central City immediately.
The last flashback involved Waller giving Oliver another person to torture for information. All we see is Oliver looking at his arrows with “conviction,” which heavily implied he went through with it this time. Not actually showing him torture the guy was probably more effective at selling his transformation than actually portraying it.
The episode ended with Oliver and Barry finally deciding once and for all to see which one of them would win in a friendly fight. Barry’s trash talk: “When I’m fighting you it’s literally like you’re standing still.” Oliver started shooting his arrows at Barry as The Flash rushed toward The Arrow. Aaaaaaaaand the episode just ended there. A bit anticlimactic, but considering the awesomeness that preceded it, no hard feelings.