This is the crossover event we have been waiting for since “The Flash” spun off from “Arrow.” This is it, not just a team-up, but a clash of titans, the two giants of the DC Comics Television Universe together in one two-night event. Done often in the comics these shows are based on, the crossover event is a rarity in television, so be prepared for something special. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on part one, “Flash Vs. Arrow!”
Other than being a favorite of the showrunners, it should be noted that launching “The Flash” out of the “Arrow” TV series is a bit of an oddity. In the comics, other than both being longtime Justice Leaguers, and both being one-time partners of Green Lantern – The Flash and Green Arrow have not had all that much crossover time at all in the comics. A mutual partner and a common membership do not a friendship make. I’m sure they got along, but friends? That might be pushing it, as in the original comics, I think they might have been politically opposed. In the 1970s, not a big thing, but now, they might as well be enemies.
And based on the title of this episode, enemies it might as well be. In the Arrowverse, shorthand for this CW TV continuity, Barry Allen and Oliver Queen are as different as they are alike. Arrow has to be Arrow. Oliver is driven by responsibility, by guilt, by vengeance in some cases. He’s very serious and determined. Barry on the other hand is fueled by hope, fun, and a need to help people. His responsibility, guilt, and vengeance are there too, but superseded by his passion to be a hero and have fun with it. They’re on the same side, but really they couldn’t be more different.
The Rainbow Raider
The villain of the week, for this first part of this crossover event at least, is both a rather silly and a rather dangerous character from the Flash comics of the 1980s – the Rainbow Raider. I’ve talked briefly before about the Colors of Evil, well, this guy was kinda a one-man Colors of Evil. Color-blind artist Roy G. Bivolo (yes, seriously, sigh, these are comic books after all) had these high tech goggles that allowed him to inflict emotions on people based on different colors of the spectrum he could bathe them in.
Yes, the Rainbow Raider is a silly villain, a throwback to the 1960s in the 1980s, but with a potentially deadly powerset if written right. Later they changed his name to the less embarrassing Chroma. Once he was killed, others took on his names. It seems as if the television series might be giving this villain his due. Based on the spectrum of emotions that power the Green Lanterns and their brethren, the Rainbow Raider’s powers could be very dangerous. And there’s nothing like a little mind control to set unsteady friends on a collision course with one another. Boom, Flash vs. Arrow.
Spectrum of Emotion
Did Barry really just say the feels? Wow, I feel old. Our opener has our new metahuman villain, Prism for TV, played by Canadian actor Paul Anthony, who was also in the Soska sisters‘ American Mary, hit everyone in a bank with red eyes while he robs the vault. Red being the color of anger, everyone gets mad and attacks each other. This follows the pattern of the colors of the Lanterns I mentioned before.
With “The Flash” pushing the coming of Firestorm and “Arrow” prepping for the Atom, I have to wonder if a television reboot of Green Lantern might be next? The colors matched with the emotions are what the Green Lantern mythos are all about. Red is anger, orange avarice, violet love, indigo compassion, yellow fear, blue hope, white is life and black is death. We only see red here, so maybe it’s too early for Green Lantern.
When the Central City PD track Bivolo to his lair, Arrow shows up to save the day along with the Flash, with very Robin Hood flair. The “Nice mask” comment is priceless and icing on the cake. Team Arrow is in town tracking a boomerang killer (read Captain Boomerang) and thought that the folks at STAR Labs might be able to take a look a one of the boomerangs.
Both Joe and Harrison Wells disapprove of Barry’s friendship with the Arrow. He’s a murderer and a vigilante they say, neither a good friend nor a role model. Joe even goes so far as to say he wants the Arrow out of Central City immediately. Sounds like Barry might have to play rebellious son again to Dad, but what does the mysterious Dr. Wells have against Oliver?
Oh Felicity. I’m going to get yelled at for being sexist but my affection for Emily Bett Rickards is known, but the best part of the episode is when Flash runs Felicity to STAR Labs at super speed. Her blouse catches fire and she has to tear it off. Ahem. Let’s just say Ms. Rickards is a very pretty young lady. And the best part about Felicity on “The Flash” is that she keeps Barry’s mind off of Iris.
When Iris meets Oliver she is smitten, announcing to Barry that Oliver Queen is on her ‘three list,’ guys she could get away with sleeping with while with Eddie. I love the bit here that’s also in the previews about Oliver’s arms being twice as big as Barry’s. And ‘three list,’ is that what the kids are calling it these days? A three list? We always called it a freebie list. Well, at least she didn’t say the feels.
A lot of folks are having an opposite impression of Arrow as opposed to Oliver. Wells drills Felicity to find out who he is. Joe is not happy about the team-up, or the Arrow’s methods. And the Arrow himself is not so thrilled to be working with the Flash as well. This is, much like the comics relationship of the Flash and Green Arrow, not a relationship made in heaven. I could always see Clark and Lois and Barry and iris getting together for dinner outside of JLA meetings, but Barry and Iris and Oliver and Dinah… something tells me that would always end in a fight.
Now the bad news, one of the Flash’s encounters with Bivolo ends with our hero infected with red anger, an effect it takes him a long time to process, making Barry take out his anger on his friends old and new, and finally on Eddie Thawne. He attacks him in front of Iris, before the Arrow arrives to take the brunt of the Flash’s rage. The fight between the two heroes is about what we would imagine, some nice special effects, some surprises, but it’s a tribute to the writers and their characters that we viewers are more worried about Iris’ relationships with both Eddie and the Flash after this.
Is Captain Singh gay in the comics? If so, I was unaware. I do want to see more of him. I love that he’s doing the whole Jules in Pulp Fiction my-girlfriend-is-a-vegetarian-so-that-makes-me-a-vegetarian thing. It also gave fry fanatic me a peek at what Big Belly Burger fries look like. Yeah, I know, I’m the only one on Earth who will catch that Easter egg. I dug the comment about the secret ingredients in BBB being grease and salt.
Odd man out on Team Arrow was John Diggle, here with his first exposure to the metahuman Flash. He didn’t have all that much to do with two costumed heroes on deck so he became the comic relief and the voice of the audience. In this mode, he was actually the best thing about the episode. I’d hate to see Diggle reduced to such a role, but here it worked. He needs to show a bit more of this sense of humor over on “Arrow.”
At Jitters, Oliver runs into his old girlfriend, one who didn’t think he’d see again, mostly because his mother took care of her. In the season two episode “Seeing Red” we watched one of Moira Queen’s more ruthless acts of protecting her children by getting rid of Oliver’s nameless girlfriend who had found herself pregnant. We knew this would eventually bite Oliver in the ass, just not so soon. This would make the potential Connor Hawke about six years old, right?
We finally get our first look at Robbie Amell as Firestorm. I have to say I am unimpressed. I was expecting something better when it came to his flaming hair but it’s not really there. I’m sure we’ll see him again, so maybe it will evolve into a more Firestorm-like appearance from the comics. Also, Iris kicks the Flash to the curb. Maybe she does love Eddie? The question is – will all this Flash hate translate to Eddie becoming the Reverse-Flash? We may just find out in two weeks.
In the meantime, here’s tomorrow night’s teaser:
Captain Boomerang, baby!