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The Flash S1.08 Flash Vs Arrow Review

Right, anyone even daring to think, “cynical marketing move” can leave the room now. “Flash Vs Arrow” is all kinds of fun and honours a long tradition in comics in which two superheroes would meet, fight (usually a draw, so as not to upset either set of fans), make up, then defeat the bad guy together. Hell, we even get the “my superhero could beat your superhero” argument acted out in the episode itself, leading Felicity to chide Cisco and Diggle, “Please tell me you're not actually having this conversation right now.”

Once again, this series hits the jackpot by embracing its comic roots rather than reinventing them. There’s even an amusing gag with Oliver being slightly embarrassed by Barry and co giving their enemies silly names, as if in recognition of the fact that some less broadminded Arrow fans might be watching this crossover thinking, “What the hell is this Dayglo, fluffy nonsense?” Hopefully by the end the show’s sheer joyous energy has won them over to the idea that Arrow and Flash can exist in the same universe.

Oliver’s mentor-like attitude to Barry feels authentic, and his trick to reveal Barry’s cockiness could be his undoing – shooting him the back with preprepared arrows is the highlight of the episode in so many ways; it’s funny, it’s clever, and it succinctly reveals a lot about both characters.

The big fight later is brilliant too. It’s the whole reason for the episode and it delivers. It’s visually spectacular, full of great stunts and effects and goes on for ages. You certainly don’t feel short-changed by that.

All the support characters get their moments to shine too, though Felicity and Diggle get all the best lines, leaving Cisco and Caitlin looking slightly like the newish characters still finding their stride that they are. Wells is as enjoyably two-faced as ever, though.

Smug Face Of The Week

Wells reveals he’s worked out who Arrow is and doesn’t he look self satisfied for a man who’s clearly nipped into his secret computer-from-the-future room and done a Google search.

The villain-of-the-week plot is thin to the point of not needing a proper resolution, but it’s only really a catalyst for Barry’s meta-hissy-fit anyway. More problematic are the scenes which only half pay-off unless you watch Arrow as well. They’re not a major drawback, but they do give the episode a slightly choppy, unfocused feel.

As for the Barry/Iris relationship, it’s still difficult to feel anything for the hapless hero other than, “Ah bless”. Everyone in the show is telling him, “Don’t go there,” and you have to agree. Unrequited love usually makes for good drama, but Iris seems so unsuited to Barry it’s difficult to feel to much sympathy for Barry’s heartache. And Iris’s – former – fangirl crush on the Flash was so contrived, you can only hope she really has given up on him, though it’s not likely.

(Actually, Barry should take to heart what Iris says about her “Three List” – the three guys could make her cheat on Eddie; she says something along the lines of, “You don’t normally get to meet the guys on the list” and she’s met both Barry and the Flash, so not even the Flash is on the list.)

The overriding feeling you’re left with at the end of the episode, though, is that an ongoing Flash/Arrow crossover series would be brilliant. But that’s just the inner geek talking.

Also, doesn’t this episode feel more like a small screen version of the Avengers movie than Agents Of SHIELD does?

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Best Line

Oliver: “My identity is a closely-guarded secret only known to a few. And if it were to get out, it will endanger my family, my friends, and it would embolden my enemies to retaliate at me through them.” Felicity: “What Oliver is trying to say is that he had a lovely time working with you and getting to know each of you, and he can't wait to do it again soon.” Oliver: “Right.”

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Did You Spot 1

The logo was specially altered to reflect the episodes’s crossover status.

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Did You Spot 2

Ray Palmer and his company have been appearing in Arrow this season, and now get a name-check in The Flash.

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Did You Spot 3

An obvious one – a road called “Queen” in an episode featuring Oliver Queen.

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Rainbow Raider

Another villain straight from the comics, his real name – Roy G Bivolo – derives from the mnemonic Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain, ie, ROYGBIV. Cisco calls him Prism, but that’s actually the name of another DC villain. Caitlin calls him by his proper code name, Rainbow Raider, but is told that’s lame.

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Comic Connection

Captain Singh mentions his boyfriend, who in the DC comics universe is an ex-villain known as the Pied Piper.

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Star Wars Misquote

Ciscos quotes The Empire Strikes Back – “A Jedi craves not these things” – after Wells says, “Fear, anger, rage.” Yoda actually says that a Jedi craves not, “adventure, excitement.” None of which is as interesting as the fact that the exchange takes place in front of a monitor screen that’s displaying what looks suspiciously like a TIE Fighter.

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Who's Ralph?

When Iris asks if the Flash has a real name he responds, “What, like Ralph?” In Superman: The Movie, when Lois is interviewing Superman, she asks him a similar question to which he replies, “You mean like Ralph or something?”

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The Colour Of Emotion

The idea that different colours affect different emotions appears to be inspired by the “emotional spectrum” introduced by Geoff Johns during his run on Green Lantern. In which case, in the DC spectrum Barry is cured by a combination of hope (blue), will (green), compassion (indigo) and love (violet).

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Mysterious Girl

We still don’t know who she is (officially), but we last saw her in a flashback in the Arrow season two episode “Seeing Red” when she became pregnant by Oliver but told him she'd had an abortion. Seems she may not have been telling the truth…

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How brilliant did he look? That’s Caitlin’s old flame, geddit?

The Flash airs on Sky 1 in the UK and the CW in the US on Tuesday nights.

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