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Arrow – The Brave and the Bold Review

"The First Arrow-Flash Crossover was a Clear Success"

Wow. Is it too late to just have the Arrow and Flash team up every week? And, if we can get that, is it possible to have them face off against Captain Boomerang a few more times? Because this was one of the best Arrow episodes I’ve seen in a while.

The epic ArrowFlash crossover event actually began on Tuesday night with the Flash-centric side of things, which saw Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity traveling to Central City for some additional intel on Boomerang before getting roped into helping Barry and his gang take down the metahuman of the week. It was a fun hour, with a bit of a darker edge than has been present in The Flash so far this season- something that was further discussed a bit on the Arrow side of things on Wednesday.

I haven’t had much chance to comment on The Flash this season, since Barry has been more or less confined to his own series, but it’s really having a stellar freshman season. Arrow is dark and brooding with occasional hints of humor. Conversely, The Flash is like its fun and goofy younger sibling, giving the show a fresh and light feeling, but still with clear stakesArrow can, on occasion, get bogged down in its own darkness (case in point, Oliver’s mopey attitude because he doesn’t think he can date Felicity), and when that happens, Flash is a really nice palette cleanser. But this is a review of Arrow, and this week’s episode brought out the absolutely best elements of the characters and combined them with a pretty awesome villain in Captain Boomerang.

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Arrow is particularly interesting in that it isn’t afraid to give its female characters a chance to shine and save the day. While I’m not sure I would say any of them really got the chance to save the day this week, Lyla certainly was given a chance to shine. I wasn’t expecting Boomerang to be a post-Suicide Squad Boomerang (perhaps just wishful thinking that Nick Tarabay would be given a chance to return as a member of that team after Boomerang was inevitably defeated), but it was certainly a nice touch- particularly in light of Tuesday’s Suicide Squad film announcement. And having him hunting down Lyla rather than Amanda Waller? Another nice touch, since I’m not sure many audience members would be pulling for Waller in the face of Tarabay’s charismatic performance (although, it would have meant a true Spartacus reunion between Taraby and Cynthia Addai-Robinson, which would have been fun to see). But rather than simply putting Lila in danger and waiting for Oliver or Diggle or Barry to save her, we actually got to see her fight for herselfAfter watching Laurel floundering in her own desire to fight, it was nice to be reminded that there are ladies in Starling City who can hold their own (aside from Thea, who has fallen back into her old ways of being dull and not really doing anything).

The real highlight of the episode, however, was having a meaningful villain. Far too often on both Arrow and The Flash, we are treated to simply villains of the week, throwaway characters who we know we won’t see again. The casting of Tarabay along with the comic significance of Boomerang had me hoping we might get a bit more of him than we did, but what we were given was excellent. Tarabay was spot on as Boomerang, interjecting just the right amount of comic craziness, and grounding his performance in the gritty reality of Starling City. Considering that Boomerang is generally a Flash villain (in addition to his Suicide Squad membership), I’m really hoping to see him crossover to The Flash at some point in the future. After all, if he escaped from ARGUS once, I’m sure he can do it again.

I was less taken by the competition between Arrow and Flash, a holdover from the first half of the crossover, although it was nice to see Oliver smile for once. Next week, with the gang from Central City safely back home and dealing with their own issues, the darkness will likely return to Starling City for the midseason finale, but “The Brave and the Bold” was a nice chance to allow Oliver a chance to put to rest some of his demons before his upcoming fight with Ra’s al Ghul.

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Final Thoughts

— One key element from the first half of the crossover: Oliver’s apparent baby mama is living in Central City and had a brief run-in with the former playboy.

— Seriously, the writers need to nix the Thea/DJ romance asap. I would recommend having Merlyn put an arrow in him.

— It was nice to see a more serious Diggle back, after his strangely out of character appearance on The Flash. It’s fine to have Diggle be amazed at Barry’s abilities (Roy took over this mantle in the Arrow side of the crossover, and that worked pretty well). But continually stumbling over his amazement and not taking the capture of a metahuman seriously? Not really a great use of the character.

The Flash team, on the whole, really doesn’t take its gig as saviors of Central City completely seriously, which should remedied. But, then again, they haven’t really run into anyone they can’t take down fairly easily. I would hope that with the upcoming appearance of the Reverse Flash, this attitude might get a bit of a tweak- but only a bit. I don’t want them to lose their sense of fun.

— This week’s Hong Kong flashbacks were a bit heavy handed, but they did give us some interesting information about Oliver’s past. I was not in the least surprised that Waller was behind Oliver’s torture abilities.

— We’ve now hit the point where having Spartacus alums guest star on Arrow is officially a trend. If I may, I would like to request either Dustin Clare or Lucy Lawless for the next alum to appear. And, if you haven’t yet watched Spartacus, you have to. Immediately. Just don’t let the first episode scare you off- it gets so good.

Rating
9.5
Pros
  • Strong villain
  • Great use of minor characters
  • Great use of Flash characters
Cons
  • Got a little too cute with the Flash/Arrow comparisons and rivalry

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Meet the Author

About / Bio
TV critic based in Chicago. When not watching and writing about awesome television shows, I can be found lamenting over the latest disappointing performance by any of the various Chicago sports teams or my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow me @JeanHenegan on Twitter.

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