Advent Review #3: The Flash Season 1 Ep 8 (TV Show Review)

In last week’s episode of The Flash we saw what would and could happen if Barry somehow lost his powers and there was a situation where two different villains were loose in the city, one of them a metahuman, the other not quite so much. It was a good episode because of all the different things that it tried to cover, in particular, Harrison Wells’ rather surprising reaction to Barry losing his super-speed. Things get murkier about that character and in the midst of it all we have Team Flash being the awesome team that it is, from almost all the different angles.

In “Flash vs Arrow” this week, the first episode of a mighty crossover between two of The CW’s hottest properties, we see what happens when Team Arrow comes to Central City on a case and ends up lending a hand to Team Flash with one of its new cases. This episode has pretty much everything that I could ask of it, including a fairly awesome battle between Barry and Oliver, though it also has a few abrupt about-turns in characterisation. Still, this long-anticipated episode delivered on everything I wanted of it and it even ended on a great note with a great stinger!

The Flash Logo 0001

The crossover episode has been teased since before either show got off for its respective seasons this year. Initially Barry was meant to have his origin episode on Arrow Season Two but that was changed later to give Barry his own show, thereby cutting out any future appearances on the show that season. And now here we are. Both shows are about seven effective weeks into their respective seasons, first for The Flash and third for Arrow, and in this week’s episode of the former we see how different the two heroes are when they are put side-by-side, with lots of commentary between the two respective teams, with Diggle’s reaction to Barry’s abilities taking the cake this week.

Recently on Arrow we saw that a guy with a boomerang killed someone in Starling City. That’s what brings Team Arrow to Central, as Felicity explains to a cheerful Team Flash early on in the episode and lays out a pretty good supposition and theory for their visit, thus kicking off some of the most memorable moments of either show to date. In turn, Team Flash is investigating a metahuman who can supposedly control the darker emotions within people, turning them against each other in a rather violent way. Barry goes up against the metahuman twice and comes away both times with little to show for his efforts.

Initially, I was concerned that the chosen villain of the week wouldn’t really be all that compelling a villain since he was just a random C-lister or something, but it turns out that writers Greg Berlanti,  Andrew Kreisberg, Ben Sokolowski and Brooke Eikmeier had quite different things in mind than I expected, and they make Prism a villain to remember. And the main thing is that the episode doesn’t really focus on Team Flash catching the villain, but more on the relationship between Barry and Oliver as the writers explore what strengths and weaknesses they both have and how they are able to take each other down and also lose against the other at the same time. In that, this is quite a balanced view for the most part, and I’m surprised yet again that the writing team pulled it off so well.

Of course, I have trust in the team, but the end-execution still matters a great deal and the writers make this an issue about heroic relationships and trust and learning, most of all the latter. I liked how Oliver’s long-experience and a certain jadedness contrast against Barry’s youthful exuberance and his naivete. That’s at the heart of the episode. Forget the villain, he’s just the window dressing to give the episode some extra impact, but the story is never really about him. It is about changing the status quo on the show for good, and that is exactly the direction that the show is headed towards when the writers introduce the sub-arc about Eddie wanting to initiate a task force against The Flash to bring him to charges and have him face his own punishment for breaking the law.

And in the midst of all of this, we got some great nods from the writers on some of the lesser-covered areas of the show. For instance, Captain Singh makes a reference to his boyfriend who doesn’t let him eat properly. In the comics, David Singh’s boyfriend is the former villain Pied Piper so this reference by television-Singh is pretty much a background confirmation that we might be seeing Pied Piper on-screen at some point this season. And holy smokes but we have yet another CW superhero show that delves into same-sex relationships, the other being Arrow of course which had a strong vibe of such in the second season, though it was little more than a tease and more a reference to a character’s predilection for certain acts.

Then we have the fact that this crossover is bringing together two of the smartest women in both shows yet again Felicity and Caitlin, I love them both. The camaraderie between the two of them is pretty awesome and just getting to see the two of them interact with each other is television gold for me. One gets the best one-liners on her show and the other gets the best awkward moments on hers. And they are both smart and intelligent self-made women, which enhances the overall appeal of their character. Gotta love that. It is little things like this that make me love CW’s superhero efforts.

First Shots Of Grant Gustin Wearing 'The Flash' Costume

Of course though, the story isn’t done at just that point though, with the villain done with and the teams breaking up. As rumoured on news sites everywhere the episode also leads to Team Arrow getting a big piece of the puzzle surrounding Sara’s death. I’m kind of surprised that it took Felicity this long to consult Caitlin about this, but I’m glad nonetheless that it has happened and that this is going to lead up to Team Flash visiting Team Arrow tomorrow on Arrow as they all confront Captain Boomerang together.

And then, and then there’s this week’s stinger which really blew my mind. It addresses the fate of Ronnie Raymond after the reactor explosion at the Particle Accelerator in the first episode and it is pretty awesome. Ronnie has kind of been mentioned on and off so far, and we know little about him other than him being Caitlin’s fiance at the time of the explosion and that he was the lead engineer on the project to begin with. But now, we see the guy in the flesh, finally, though this is still many weeks away from a proper costume and Team Flash running into him in some capacity.

At the same time though, The Flash took a huge leap forwards this week with this classic comics-style story, and I can’t wait to see the second part tomorrow on Arrow.

More The Flash: Ep 1, Ep 2, Ep 3, Ep 4, Ep 5, Ep 6, Ep 7.

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Posted on December 4, 2014, in Review Central, The Flash, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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