[S1E8] Flash Vs. Arrow WORK
Barry heads to S.T.A.R. Labs to check in with the brainiacs about the latest meta-human problem, who appears to be controlling people's emotions. We're about to get the first clash between Flash and the new baddie; and while Barry saves the cops from each other, guess who shows up to lend a hand (and a bow and arrow)! Annnnnnd he's gone again just as quickly as he came.
[S1E8] Flash vs. Arrow
Get ready for a training montage! Oliver's taking Barry to task for his laziness in crimefighting. He plans to shoot Barry with an arrow ... make that two arrows. Good thing Barry heals fast! Oliver makes his point that Barry doesn't take the time (which he has in spades) to case every angle of a crime scene before engaging. While Oliver is certainly a bit on the crazy side (at least according to Joe), Barry still stands up for him and his method of getting results. Wells tries another tactic by going through Felicity to confess his mistrust for Arrow, and to find out his secret identity. What's he up to, playing some future Find-the-Arrow game? (Yeah it doesn't take a super-genius to figure that one out, and Wells gets it before too long.)
Now that the team is aware of Barry's mounting anger, they call in Arrow to help stop him (despite not having Cisco's cold gun any longer). It might be a bit too late for Eddie, who is pulled out of a moving car by an enraged Flash. Let's hope Arrow makes it in time! (I mean, of course he does.) There's a weird battle of pride between Diggle and Cisco about which hero will prove victorious. Ollie's got plenty of trick arrows, but Barry's smart enough (and powerful enough) to counteract them. Barry's anger is getting the best of him, just as he's getting the best of Arrow in a wild fight that tests Oliver's limits (and the creative team's stuntwork and visual effects). Barry gets in a bruising barrage of fists, but Oliver is far from being beaten. If it wasn't for The Flash's wicked healing ability, Ollie would have had him licked pretty quickly. And if it wasn't for Wells and Joe showing up with a fun disco light show, Barry might very well have killed Ollie.
In a flashback set in Hong Kong, Oliver learns how to torture suspects to gain information. In the present, Oliver and Roy Harper locate Digger Harkness, the boomerang-wielding killer, where they find A.R.G.U.S. operatives looking for him as well. Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon arrive in Starling City to help Felicity Smoak investigate Sara Lance's homicidal murderer. Digger attempts to kill Lyla Michaels, Roy, and Oliver, but Barry instantly arrives and stops him. Later, Lyla reveals that Digger was part of the Suicide Squad. When Oliver uses his extreme interrogation methods on a Russian mob member in order to locate Digger, Barry questions how emotionally stable Oliver is with his past tragedies to torture people. Digger locates Oliver's base and wounds Lyla before escaping immediately. In order to leave town, Digger plants five bombs around the city. While Oliver captures Digger, Barry uses both of their teams to defuse the bombs simultaneously. Digger is incarcerated on Lian Yu with Slade Wilson. Before Barry and his team's departure to Central City, Cisco and Caitlin gives Oliver his suit improvements and utilities, he and Oliver learned their lessons and decide to have a friendly duel.
Chancellor Agard, of Entertainment Weekly felt "the 'Flarrow'" crossover event was an overall success. Both episodes "put Team Flash in new situations and it was thrilling to watch how they reacted". Agard felt that while Arrow had "some great and comedic character moments for Team Arrow" none of its stories were advanced so that the episodes "felt like pause buttons" in its action.
The "outrun the arrow" training exercise embarrasses Barry enough for him to bring it up when his rage is showing. He's so sure of himself and his powers that he never notices Oliver has arrows strategically placed to aid in shooting Barry in the back. It was the perfect lesson for Barry, but nothing compared to the ultimate showdown between the two.
Later that day, Barry goes to the warehouse to train with Oliver, who tells him that when he goes into the field, he should be wary of his surroundings. He demonstrates this by shooting an arrow at Barry, who catches it before it can hit him, but gets shot in the back by two automatic crossbows.
That night, an enraged jealous Barry, as Flash, goes to find Eddie, and is about to attack him. Joe goes to S.T.A.R. Labs, and tell the gang that Barry's eyes were glowing red, and he's raging. They decide they need to stop Barry fast, and ask Felicity to call Oliver Queen, revealing that Wells has found out that he's the Arrow, and in the process revealed Oliver's secret identity to the rest of the Flash team. Before Flash can hurt Eddie, he is pulled away by the Arrow, causing Barry to fight Oliver. As Flash and Arrow are fighting, Cisco, Diggle, and Caitlin argue who would win the fight. Oliver is eventually able to restrain Barry, allowing Joe and Dr. Wells to use a device of flashing multicolored lights to stop Barry's rage. Barry apologizes to Oliver for the things he said earlier, Oliver changes the subject and reminds Barry that they still have to catch Bivolo.
Wells and Joe come on the scene and flashes Barry with a bunch of lights that neutralizes the anger in Barry. Barry apologizes to Oliver and the two make up and make their way to capture Bivolo. And Cisco notes that their fight ended up in a tie.
Team Flash meeting Original Team Arrow for the first time at STAR Labs, as Team Flarrow try to overcome the tension created by Dr. Wells revealing Oliver's secret identity so they can strategise how they can take down a super-rageaholic speedster.
"Flash vs. Arrow"Original Airdate: December 2, 2014Optimistic people are fun people to be around. I know this from years of experience being around both optimists and self-deprecating pessimists. Optimistic people are the kind of people who have experienced pain and suffering and loss, but who haven't let it color their perception of the world. Pessimistic and self-deprecating people, on the other hand, have seen the darkest parts of humanity (including themselves) and choose to view the world as such. They see the dangers in people before they see the positive attributes they possess. Optimistic people, conversely, see the light and the goodness and the humanity in others and often don't see the dangers in trusting those people until it's too late.What I think is so interesting is that "Flash vs. Arrow" allowed us to explore two very different types of heroes: the ones who continue to see light and the ones who believe they are too far gone to harness much of that light any longer. I love themes (I have a Bachelor's in Creative Writing, after all. Sue me.) I love that The Flash and Arrow are two series that explore grand ideas, not just of heroism but of humanity: What does it mean to be good? What does it mean to hope? What does it mean to forgive others and forgive yourself? What does it look like to question your own identity?That last one is actually a pretty heavy theme in both Arrow and The Flash this year, though the latter to a lesser extent. Oliver Queen is spending the third season trying to figure out if he is Oliver or if he is The Arrow and whether or not that is something he can choose or something that is chosen FOR him. Barry, meanwhile, is still exploring the theme of identity: he's still trying to wrestle with the belief that he was chosen to be a hero. Oliver was fashioned into a killer, who then molded himself (with the help of Diggle and Felicity) into a hero. Barry... well, Barry experienced none of that. Barry woke up, literally, as a hero. And that's startling to him, as it should be. And what's so interesting about "Flash vs. Arrow" is that the conceit seemingly pits The Flash and The Arrow against one another, but what it really does is pit Barry Allen against Oliver Queen.So, if you'll allow me to, I'm going to take this opportunity to dissect all that I loved about "Flash vs. Arrow," while also exploring themes and character development. And lucky you -- I'll be back tomorrow night when the crossover concludes to talk about Arrow's "The Brave and the Bold" as well!Barry/Oliver (+ Team Arrow, Team Flash)Barry Allen is an optimist. He's the kind of person who thrives on energy and light and goodness and hope. He's persistent to the point of adorableness, really. And like an energetic puppy, Barry is always willing to keep trying and keep fighting and it's HOPE above all else (and the promise of justice and bringing goodness to the world and to his city) that drives him. Oliver Queen is nothing like Barry Allen. I've realized this, having marathoned Arrow the summer before The Flash premiered. Barry smiles and jokes. His team nicknames their foes. He babbles and laughs. Even in extremely tense situations and moments, Barry always has a certain persona around him -- he's always fighting because he still believes he is good. He doesn't know yet if he believes that he is CHOSEN, but he believes he is special. And he believes that he can help make his city better because of that fact.Oliver Queen is a pessimist and he's self-deprecating. Oliver went through five years of hell (as he tells us in his voiceovers), but that doesn't mean that hell ended when his return to Starling City began. No, Oliver is plagued. I think that's the best way to describe him, really: he's plagued by not just the darkness he has seen but by the darkness that he has done and has been done to him. It's easy for Oliver to blame himself for things -- as he does quite frequently -- because he believes he deserves the blame. It's the self-deprecating part of his personality: he punishes himself because he believes all he has done to other people demands punishment. So Oliver doesn't smile a lot. He doesn't joke. He doesn't even really believe he's a hero. He believe he has a purpose, sure, but even that purpose is shrouded in darkness.Okay, if you doubt me for even a moment let's just look at the absolutely stunning visual dichotomy between The Flash and Arrow (and the subsequent dichotomy between Barry and Oliver):Isn't it rather telling and striking how dark Arrow is and how light The Flash is (that applies both literally and also thematically)? Team Flash is surrounded by windows where light pools in, whether natural or florescent. In the dark lair of the Arrow cave (where we are literally underground, mind you), there is no natural light to be found and I think that's significant. It doesn't just impact mood, but it reflects Oliver's personality and his conflicting desires to be both in the foundry and outside of the foundry. He doesn't want to die down there, as he expressed to Diggle in "Sara," but he also doesn't feel like he has a choice in the matter. And even with the little bit of light in the room, Oliver still feels hopeless. Enter: Felicity.This is a woman who is an optimist -- she brings hope and joy and laughter to a place that was dark; she brings warmth into a place that was cold, both literally and metaphorically. Felicity entered the foundry and she changed Oliver's life, whether or not he knew it. Suddenly the cave began to get a bit brighter and more lively. By the beginning of season three, Felicity was LITERALLY bringing life into the foundry in the form of a fern.And Felicity (whose name actually means "light," for all of you out there who were unaware of that fact and importance) really fits in well with Team Flash. Why? Because she's LITERALLY SHROUDED IN LIGHT. ALL. THE. TIME.#symbolismforthewinAnd with all of that knowledge in mind -- with the contrast between darkness and light, between pessimism and optimism, and between being forced into your role as hero vs. being "born" into it -- let's talk about "Flash vs. Arrow," and what this episode did to explore the Barry/Oliver dynamic. (I will have a lot more to say about the themes of darkness and light as both series progress, never fear.)Oliver and Barry are different. We've already established this of course, but it's important to know exactly how their differences impact them and their respective teams in "Flash vs. Arrow." There is a villain running around Central City in the episode and this villain -- this metahuman -- attacks others by manipulating their brain chemistry and emotions. The thing about feelings and emotions as Barry says at the beginning of the episode is that everyone has them and everyone feels like they are unique in having them. But our emotions are not unique, really. We've all experienced love and loss to varying degrees. We think that when we get our hearts broken, we are the first to ever feel that way -- or, at the very least, that no one has ever felt the way we have on the level that we have.Barry is an emotional human being and he does what all optimistic people do. He hides behind his facades and his jokes and his dazzling smiles because the way that optimists stay optimistic is by pushing away or burying those things that would otherwise make them pessimists. Barry is also going through a bit of an identity crisis, but one very much unlike Oliver's. You see, while Oliver tries to separate himself (the person) from himself (the hero/vigilante), Barry doesn't want to do that. At all. He believes that his powers make him who he is. Remember when he lost them, last week? Do you remember the conversation he had with Caitlin? The only time that Barry feels whole is when he is running as The Flash. When he strips that part of himself away... well, he becomes just Barry. And he doesn't like "just Barry" -- this forensic scientist who is ordinary and who never gets the girl. Throughout the episode, we see Barry bury his emotions and his anger and bitterness behind his suit and his speed and his smile.Oliver knows better.Oliver Queen, remember, has been doing this superhero thing for a lot longer than Barry has. But when Oliver looks at Barry, he doesn't see a nuisance. He doesn't even see a man or a child. He sees everything he could have been if it hadn't been for the island and Tommy and Moira and Shado and Slade and Sara and all the pain he endured because of it. He sees someone who was CHOSEN to become a hero, not someone who was forced into it by being forged by fire and darkness. He sees someone who has what he cannot -- who can help people because others trust him, rely on him, and because he can bring hope to the hopeless. And when Barry (partially under the influence of the metahuman) spits at Oliver, accusing him of jealousy, there's a part of Barry's rage-induced tirade that rings true. You see, Oliver wishes he could be like Barry. He wishes he could be young again, to not be jaded by the things he has seen... to have his life ahead of him without mistakes looming over his head like a storm cloud. (It's like Barry is Roo and Oliver is Eeyore, really.) What would Oliver give, do you think, to undo the darkness that brought him back to Starling City?Joe and Dr. Wells, in discussing The Arrow, tell Barry that the arrow-wielding man isn't a hero -- not in the way that Barry is. It's a really poignant moment, because it sets the tone for the rest of the episode (and for Barry's perception of Oliver throughout it). What makes a hero? Is a hero a pure-hearted Samaritan who never makes mistakes or harms/kills? Is a hero simply a person typified by light and not darkness -- a person who motivates and inspires? Or is a hero something more complex than that? Arrow spent two years devoted to the question of what makes someone a hero, rather than a vigilante. When Joe and Harrison talk about The Arrow's kill count (and the terrorist attacks that plagued Starling City), they seem to imply the former to Barry: Oliver may or may not be a hero, but even if he is, he's not the kind of person Barry needs to be looking up to. And I think Barry resents Oliver to a degree. I think he resents the fact that Oliver tries to train him and give him advice. That he treats him like a son. (Ever notice that Barry immediately resents anyone who tries to parent him? There are still a lot of unresolved issues to be explored there.)But there is one reason that Oliver can be trusted, even if his methods are unorthodox and even if he has killed in the past to get justice: he genuinely cares about Barry and -- most importantly -- continues to believe in him. Where Barry's youth may cause him to become hot-headed and jealous and resentful, Oliver's life experience and age and circumstances have taught him that in order to survive, he NEEDS hope. He needs to keep learning. He needs to surround himself with people who challenge him and he needs to take every opportunity possible to remind Barry that he is special and that he is a hero for a reason. Oliver, at this point, is the only person in Barry's life (save for Caitlin, perhaps) who has expressed the fact that the lightning bolt chose Barry for a reason. It marked him for a purpose. BARRY doesn't even believe that about himself. And in order to keep being the hero that Central City needs -- the hero that Oliver can never be -- Barry needs to be constantly reminded that he instills hope in people and goodness and that those things are the mark of a hero, not his super speed.I love the relationship between Oliver and Barry and I love that "Flash vs. Arrow" explored their dynamic and allowed them to clash. These two heroes are not similar in their beliefs or methods, really. Barry is impulsive and puppy-like; Oliver is cautious and guarded. But both men have grown as individuals through the relationships with each other and their respective teams. You can see in this episode how much Team Flash cares about Barry. They look out for him, even if they (see: Joe and Harrison) are wrong about others. Cisco and Caitlin protect not just Barry in the episode, but protect and help Felicity. And Team Arrow? Well, we see quite clearly how much Felicity and Dig want to protect Oliver (and also Team Flash) and how much Team Flash protects Oliver (by not telling others about his secret identity). Being a part of a team or a family doesn't mean that you agree all the time. Oliver and Barry don't often see eye-to-eye given their stubborn natures.Being family means, though, that you would do just about anything to remind the person you care about who they truly are. That is what Oliver does for Barry, even when it is heartbreaking to do. At the episode's end, Oliver and Barry look at Felicity and Iris, and Oliver says: "Guys like us don't get the girl." It's this beautifully heartbreaking moment because it's the only time in the entire episode in which Oliver and Barry are on equal footing -- they both know what it is like to pine and to want and to ultimately lose the woman you love because of the life you chose. And they will never be more connected than they are in that moment.Heroes look different to each of us, but I think that's the point of the episode, really. "Flash vs. Arrow" set out to pit one superhero against another. Who is better? Well, honestly, I think the true answer is neither and both. A hero is whatever you most desperately need in your darkest hour. A hero is a person who rescues you when you didn't know you needed to be rescued. Barry is a hero. Oliver is a hero.And though they are vastly different, they are both important. Darkness wouldn't exist without light; a world with only pessimists would be dreadful and a world with