So the big question for us, going into this episode, was whether the Arrow team could stick the landing on this two-part crossover as well as the Flash team did setting it up. After all, The Flash depicts a world practically begging for two guys in colorful costumes to mix it up and hang out, but Arrow’s world is a bit grim for a grinning kid who can run faster than the speed of sound. So did they do it? Did they stick the landing? Absolutely. But they did it in a way true to the show and to the characters, which made it a notably different hour from the first part, which also remained true to its show and characters.
We think that may be the biggest of the pleasant surprises surrounding this crossover. Not that they pulled it off, but that they did it in a way that defines each set of characters, each city, and each philosophy behind the heroes. Cisco and Caitlin sheepishly admitting to Roy and Felicity that their version of heroing is a lot more fun and naive than theirs was a great bit. It allowed the Flash side of the table to acknowledge how little they know about this world and it allowed the Arrow side of the table to poignantly wonder what it would be like to just have to fight Captain Cold and The Rainbow Raider all the time, instead of the succession of assassins and psychos that parade through Starling City’s streets.
As an aside, can someone tell us why Cisco is so much easier to take when he’s in Starling? He was actually funny and engaging last night, rather than annoying and paper-thin, which is how his characterization has mostly come off on his own turf. Maybe they should consider a cast swap. And we liked his idea that the universe creates people like Barry to handle ever-increasing threats, rather than the more popular take, which is that superheroes are solely responsible for the proliferation of supervillains in the modern world. There was something almost spiritual about his take, which seemed to shock Roy and Diggle into silence, because it’s hard for them to see the universe as some sort of benevolent protector of humanity.
It was also nice to see Ollie lighten up a little, just as it was nice to see Barry get in touch with his dark side the night before. We didn’t think it was likely to work, but Barry actually did manage to come into town and teach Ollie a lesson. Sure, “Torture is Bad” is perhaps and obvious message to make, but Ollie clearly needed to hear it. They’re rubbing off on each other. And the creators behind these shows are so good at blending them that we have every reason to believe there will actually be long term growth for both characters based on their relationship. Ollie is becoming less extreme and Barry is becoming more professional. And it’s possible that this crossover was designed to advance both shows a little – something else that pleasantly surprised us. There will be actual ramifications and consequences going forward. That’s not something you usually see after a superhero teamup.
Arrow (the show) has gotten a little up its own ass this season. Maybe we’re not the best people to make that determination, because we weren’t avid watchers in seasons past, but it seems to us the angst-ing and whispered conversations with furrowed brows thing has been laid on a little thickly in the past few weeks. But Barry & Co. really seemed to have an effect, because that Diggle proposal was so sweetly done and lightly conveyed that it almost felt like it didn’t belong in this season.
All in all, it was fun, while still playing into the darker themes and characterizations of the host show. We wouldn’t mind seeing at least two or three of these crossovers every season, if the creators can remain this good at writing them.
And there is no way in hell we were the only two people who thought Grant Gustin and Colton Haynes were a cocktail away from making out. NO WAY IN HELL. You all saw that too, right?
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