Review: ‘Arrow’ – ‘The Brave and the Bold’

Senior Television Writer
12.03.14 39 Comments

CW

A review of tonight's “Arrow” (part 2 of “The Flash” crossover) coming up just as soon as I call you “sweetie” because I want something…

Yesterday, I noted that “Flash vs. Arrow” did a nice job of functioning as an episode of “The Flash” that just happened to feature appearances by Oliver, Felicity and Diggle. The tone fit that show, the story was mostly self-contained (save for some teases about Captain Boomerang and the investigation into Sara's murder), and even the notion of a battle between two superheroes (one of them mind-controlled) seemed more appropriate in that show than it might have in “Arrow.” “The Brave and the Bold”(*), meanwhile, felt like an “Arrow” episode that was making some extra room for the guy with the super speed. As such, it was a bit darker and more angst-y than “The Flash” is – though I really appreciated the moment where Barry compares tragic backstories with Oliver – and focused on an unpowered villain (albeit one who was a long-standing member of the Flash Rogues Gallery in the comics) in Captain Boomerang.

(*) For the non-comics nerds among you, the episode's title comes from a long-running DC comic that had many incarnations. For a while, it was an anthology where DC would try out new characters or teams (this was the first place the Justice League appeared), and for several decades was a Batman team-up book. Neal Adams' famous Green Arrow redesign was introduced in a 1969 issue.    

Still, the presence of Barry, Caitlin and, especially, Cisco brought a level of lightness that's a rare occurrence on “Arrow,” and a welcome one here. Last night, we got to see a funny side of Diggle, where here it was Roy who benefited from a bit less of the grim 'n gritty. Team Flash provided various amusing takes on familiar “Arrow” tropes, like Barry working the salmon ladder at super speed or the attempts to refer to the Arrow-Cave as such, and Oliver's irritation with Barry gave Stephen Amell some good comic beats to play. And after the “Rocky” joke in “Flash vs. Arrow,” I appreciated that the fight between the heroes here was treated like the last scene of “Rocky III,” with the closing titles running right as Barry charges at Oliver, so we'll never actually find out who won.

If the stories of the two episodes were largely disconnected, this worked very much as a thematic crossover, with each hero learning lessons from the other: Barry on how to be a better-prepared hero, and Oliver on accepting that he can both inspire other people (even if it's just the members of his team for now) and still have some semblance of humanity.

Plus, the action was cool. Dipping into the “Spartacus” cast paid dividends again with Nick Tarabay as Captain Boomerang (whom I'd frankly rather see in the “Suicide Squad” movie cast than Jai Courtney), and the climactic fight at the train station played out well, particularly Oliver running up the column to get the advantage on Digger Harkness. My only real issue with any of the plotting is why Felicity didn't simply call Barry the second Boomerang showed up in the Arrow-Cave, since he'd have been there a half-second later. (In the comics in these situations, the Flash tends to get pre-occupied with a situation he can't immediately abandon.)

One of the stronger episodes of this “Arrow” season so far, not just for the assist from Team Flash, but for giving Diggle some significant screen time as he finally got it through his thick skull to propose to Lyla again.

What did everybody else think? And did you prefer one show/city or the other as the host for this team-up?

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