The best thing about the Flash series right now is its presence in a far larger universe. The sole reason being that it opens the floodgates for so much more awesome. We don’t know what to expect next, because almost everything DC related is available for the creators to dig through. Over on Arrow they’ve teased heavily at Ra’s Al Ghul, Brother Eye, and the OMAC project – each capable of major event crossover style television. On the Flash we’ve entertained a full Rogues gallery, as well as future “Crisis,” involving Wayne Enterprises and red skies. And as successful spinoffs go, Flash certainly takes the cake. We’ve even got news that a certain Supergirl series could join the universe (albeit on a different station). Despite minor references here and cameos there, this was the first real merging of brands for the CW shows – one we all certainly looked forward to, and one we can continue looking forward to into tomorrow nights episode of Arrow. But how does this first event episode stand up on its own? Mostly very good.
The main show, that being the Arrow team colliding with the Flash team and, more poignantly, Flash vs. Arrow, is done with extreme fanfare. Oliver is in town investigating a lead on a special boomerang. Whilst doing so, he takes it upon himself to teach Barry that he’s still a naive freshman. The metahuman villain, Prism, has the ability to make others who stare into his eyes huge rage jerks. Naturally, it’s this that sets Barry off on Arrow. A beautiful fight ensues. Seriously. I watched it and had to rewatch it. Brute strength and fighting prowess vs. untouchable speed and a lot of it. That’s going to make for some fantastic Gifs.
As far as team Arrow and team Flash converging, this is one of the episodes greatest strengths. The dynamic of the two teams, when seen separately, make it seem as though the two are very similar. But when put in the same room, the vastly differing opinions, quirks, and motives juxtapose in the best of ways. Where the Arrow team is dark, gritty, and dramatic, the Flash team is jovial, clean, and nerdy. I loved the interaction. To me this is perhaps the best thing the episode offers, aside from the obvious awesomeness I mentioned above. Cisco’s character is increasingly more and more funny, and when put beside Team Arrow the laughs come raining in. One of the best moments for me was when Flash zooms in and Diggle is dumbstruck by his speed. It’s the little things.
What’s interesting is that both of Barry’s mentors, Harrison Wells and Joe West, tell him not to trust the Arrow. He does things quite differently. His results are gained by far more questionable methods. While Barry is pulled in by both of them to talk to him as though he’s in the “principle’s office,” I couldn’t help but notice a possible reference. Perhaps I’m mishearing things, but Harrison says something along the lines of “like what that man does (…)” in reference to the Arrow. But he says it suspiciously fast. What it sounds like he’s saying is “like what Batman does (…).” After rewinding it about ten times, I’m almost certain he said Batman. Even though no less than a week ago the creators of the series mentioned they weren’t allowed to use Batman/Superman in the show… Suspicious. Did anyone else catch that? I can’t be the only one. My entire family jumped when he said it.
Where the episode lost me however was the villain, Prism, and the resolution of said metahuman. He was grossly underused, which is a shame because he was particularly formidable. His powers, the ability to instill anger in anyone with just a look, are freakishly dangerous. But he only shows up sporadically, when the episode needs a kick in the right direction. And then after Barry gets his anger managed by a light show (what the heck was that by the way), the next scene shows the villain beaten and captured. No fight. No resolution. Perhaps this is because the real dilemma was the titular one, but still. This could have been handled so much better.
And I have to hate on the added tension with Eddie, Iris, and Flash. At the start of the episode Eddie doesn’t actually believe the Flash exists. After the Flash saves a bank Eddie not only believes in him, but wants the police force to bring the guy down. I totally saw it coming when Barry got inflicted with the anger spell that he’d come after Eddie, and make it all but imperative for the police to have to take him down. It was just frustrating. And now the police are after him. And as per typical CW fashion, drama ends the episode with heartbreak. Instead of just, you know, telling Iris that it was the metahuman Prism’s fault he got that way, he just stammers out a lame “sorry.” C’mon. What a cheap turn to such a great crossover!
Overall, things are looking up for the next episode, Arrow’s ‘The Brave and the Bold’, airing tomorrow night. This episode is capped in a way that doesn’t actually make the next episode seem entirely necessary for the average viewer. So I guess we’ll see how true this 2-part crossover event really holds up. We get a pretty great glimpse of Ronnie Raymond (Caitlin Snow’s dead fiancé) turn into Firestorm near the end, which was nice. Wonder if the Flash team will visit Starling City tomorrow? Will the episode be more tightly nit? Stay tuned!