The moment has arrived: The Flash vs Arrow. Ever since The Flash series was announced last year, following on from the season 2 episode 8 of Arrow, ‘The Scientist’ that gave us our first introduction to Barry Allen, all comic book fans knew that a crossover between Arrow and Flash was coming and it is finally here.
Now as the UK is behind the US by a few weeks all of the following review is as spoiler free as possible. Everything discussed is either in the extended trailer here, or is to do with the general story however it does assume that you have seen up to the Arrow and Flash most recently shown UK episodes (se3ep5 and se1ep5)
The Story starts off as usual with Barry’s opening monologue and various shots of him running around town helping people out, it then cuts to a bank robbery in progress. We are introduced to a fairly generic villain, who as far as I can tell is not based on any known DC villain, this allows the Flash to do his thing. We are then brought back into more Barry pining over Iris(who comic book fans will know is who Barry ultimately ends up with, whether the show goes that way, who knows) this is probably a little back-story for the Arrow fans to who haven’t seen Flash before and are just watching because of the crossover. Arrow fans then don’t have to wait long for the Flash vs Arrow side of things, as he is brought in around the 10 minute mark during another encounter with the generic villain from the start of the episode. As we see in the trailer he appears with a quip about Barry’s mask, a nice throw-back to episode 1 of The Flash. Team Arrow is in Central City investigating a lead from a murder that took place in Starling City, which actually involves a fairly well known DC villain who it now seems will be appearing across both series’ in the future. As a side note Diggle’s reactions to Barry’s super-speed both on their initial and subsequent meetings are a highlight of the episode.
The Arrow(hopefully he becomes Green Arrow soon) and The Flash then decide it is in their best interests to team up to catch the generic villain. The initial part of this team up involves Oliver attempting to train Barry as we saw in the trailers and you realise at this point just how inexperienced Barry is compared to Oliver. The relationship between Barry and Oliver in these Scenes works very well, which you feel is partly down to the genuine relationship the actors themselves have with one another. Despite both parties agreeing to team up, for those of you hoping to see a great on screen team of The Flash and The Arrow, don’t hold your breath as through a sequence of events they don’t actually ever team up in the episode but rather are at odds with one another. Now the conflict isn’t entirely random and there are reasons behind the conflict beyond the writers merely decreeing they should fight but they are weak at best, however it is more the fight itself we all wanted to see, not how they got there. The fight itself does not disappoint.
The start of the fight you see in the trailer really is just the start and it actually lasts several minutes and is an amazing showcase of firstly how powerful The Flash is and how exceptionally skilled The Arrow is but secondly how talented the stunts/coordinating team and special effects people are on these 2 shows. After the fight the conflict is resolved, obviously as part 2 is tonight, and the episode ends with what will be a change to The flash’s world and also throws in an easter egg from back in season 2 of Arrow. The story will continue tonight on Arrow and the very short trailer for it can be seen here
So how was Flash vs Arrow? While the episode had some amazing moments, namely the fight, and some great on screen chemistry, between both the title characters and their teams, the episode as a whole was sadly quite bland overall. Now the writers were always going to ease in to this crossover episode and weren’t going to use a huge DC villain or storyline as it was just meant to be between The Flash and The Arrow and establishing that shared universe properly however they could have tried harder to make the other 40 minutes of the episode that wasn’t the fight a lot more interesting. Overall Oliver’s presence does feel like an extended cameo rather than a true inclusion in the flash’s world, this was needed as The Flash has yet to properly establish itself and the focus had to stay on Barry. A lot of other characters also felt left out completely in this episode and this is down to the limited run time and the inexperience of the 2 shows’ writing teams teaming up. While the episode could have been much better it was still very enjoyable to watch and had some great moments and shows the potential for some truly amazing future crossovers and most importantly was the first new on screen team up/fight of 2 DC heroes. almost a year and a half before Batman vs Superman.
Tonight is part 2 of the Arrow/Flash crossover when we move over to Arrow’s side so we can expect the story to move into the darker Arrow tone and also for the episode to be a lot slicker as the Arrow team have been doing this for a lot longer.
Have you seen the first part of the crossover event, what did you think? Will part 2 be better? Was this a great start to the truly combined DC TV universe? Let us know.
Rating for part 1: 6/10; Worth a watch. Amazing scenes like the fight and the training but ultimately let down by a weak story, poor use of cast and let down for its potential
Review of part 2 can be found here.