Right Through the Heart
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
This is hands down the most entertaining episode to date of The Flash, blending in Barry’s signature fun humor and Oliver Queen’s much darker past with absolute seamlessness. A nagging problem to the DC sister show Gotham on FX, The Flash this week has absolutely no problem in taking multiple tones and creating a fun, exuberant hour with it. The Arrow’s darkness doesn’t eclipse The Flash’s fun and vice versa. There is no ending with Dr. Wells (although the show does manage to make fun of itself in regards to him), the philosophic mindsets between the two superheroes are done well, and neither Felicity nor Iris need anyone to save them this episode. Hell yes. To be perfectly honest, I have not seen most of Arrow yet and if I didn’t catch all of the references in regards to that show, there’s that. I will say, for the sharp contrast that the episode found between our two primary characters this week, I have never been more interested in actually going immediately to Netflix to binge watch something, so job well done writers. As a plus, while CW is selling this as a two-parter with the new episode of Arrow arriving Wednesday evening, thankfully the episode itself remains largely ingrained to The Flash, so you’re not beholden to catch up on Arrow immediately if you can’t.
The primary rush for this episode comes from a simple dichotomy that the show spells out enough for you that you don’t have to go digging around Arrow wiki pages to understand. The Arrow is a much grittier, darker universe than The Flash, which makes perfect sense because DC. Within that universe the Arrow has an even grittier, murky past. A vigilante in the truest sense of the word, Oliver didn’t merely capture his enemies, he used to kill them. Immediately Joe and Wells are suspicious of him and rightfully so. It wouldn’t make much sense to trust a man who used to kill instead of apprehend. Wells in particular seems to be interested in the Arrow and his abilities, a vibe of untrustworthiness that the Arrow picks up fairly quickly, noting to Felicity towards the end how he found Dr. Wells concerning. Outside of suspicious people behaving in a suspicious manner, Joe and Wells are completely against the idea of using a murdering vigilante to help their own case (which seems a little too much like beggars being picky). Just as Barry has to come to terms with the responsibilities of who he was, the Arrow has to overcome the shadow of his horrific past and prove himself worthy of trust.
The Flash, having to contend with losing his powers last week, comes into an entirely different situation her that has legitimate consequences. A man by the name of Roy G. Bivalo has the ability to look into people’s eyes, turn their eyes red and within seconds all hell breaks loose. Think of Lord of the Flies happening in about three nanoseconds. He escapes with over five hundred million dollars, a tidy sum that doesn’t even last until the end of the episode, where he finds himself stuck in STAR prison. Before his inevitable capture, however, he finds himself attacked by the Flash, who has ignored every warning anyone’s given him. As previously established, the Flash has ridiculous levels of metabolism (which makes sense considering what his superpower is in the first place). So when Bivalo does look into the Flash’s eyes, it’s not an immediate catastrophe but it does have a significant impact that ferments at the worst possible time.
As noted last week, Barry loves being the Flash to the extent where it’s taken over his identity. He’s made some mistakes while in the suit, but the significant responsibility he has while wearing it hasn’t made its mark yet. That’s where the Arrow comes in. Having been in his suit so to speak for eight years, he’s had plenty of time to reminiscence about the true power he has and how best to handle it. Over and over throughout the episode he tries to teach that lesson to his fellow superhero, including hilarious training sequences where the Arrow actually shoots Barry with arrows multiple times. But Barry neither understands the responsibilities that accompanied his powers, nor the equally practical idea of understanding that patience and planning are far better suited to yield results than rushing into things. It’s not as if he is incapable of understanding those realities, he just doesn’t want to. Bivalo just makes that worse.
A raging Barry targets the man at the center of his anger and jealousy: Iris’s boyfriend Eddie Thawne. As Iris is driving by, trying to convince Eddie that the Flash isn’t a danger to society, he runs by, ripping Eddie out of the car. A raging Barry nearly goes in to beat a bloody Eddie further into a pulp, but the Arrow arrives just in time. The battle between the two is superb, crackling with remarkably precise special effects for their budget. The Arrow uses his experience and tactical knowledge to match the Flash’s incredible speed, beating him enough to remove Bivalo’s influence by massive color lights. Barry learned his lesson, but he learned it the hard way. This crackling episode that had everyone on top ends with a new, fiery menace that promises more carnage to come. Outside of Firecrakcer, the hour leaves a plethora of open threads dangling for the future and they’re quite intriguing, perhaps capped off with Oliver not feeling good about Dr. Wells. Neither does Felicity, for that matter, having guarded Oliver’s secret fastidiously as Dr. Wells questioned her. Iris has now turned against her former inspiration, a hard to dispute turn of heart. And Eddie’s task force against the Flash gets approved by Captain Singh. It’s only a matter of time before those story lines converge and I can’t wait to see how they pull it off.
Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+Great opening sequence, some fantastic direction from Glen Winters here
+Cisco referencing Yoda right after I though of it: “A Jedi craves not these things.”
+The Flash: ”Did you guys break-up?”
The Flash: “Oh.”
+The Flash: “I’ve gotta run.”
Iris: “I bet you say that to all the girls.”
The Flash: “What other girls?”
+”You’re late. Barry, how can you have super-speed and still not be on time?”
+”We can talk about you giving your enemies silly code names later.”
+“You shot me!”
+Felicity’s and Caitlyn’s dynamic
+Sweet scene between Felicity/Iris
+“I brewed you a fresh pot.”
+Iris’s moment of her three people she can cheat with – Oliver is one of them
+Caitlin: “Since when do we have facial recognition software?”
Felicity: “Happy Hanukkah.”
+The character interaction this week was fantastic all around
+”You are such a lovable dummy.”
+Best line of the night goes to Felicity: ”I’m sure he’s not going to shoot you again. Maybe you should wear body armor.”
+The Flash: “You missed.”
+”Oh, this is going to be a special kind of hangover.”
+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.”
Cisco: “You know, it didn’t sound like that’s what he was saying.”
+“Guys like us don’t get the girl.” Have some hope, Oliver. Have some hope.
Title: Flash vs. Arrow
Story by: Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg
Teleplay by: Ben Sokolowski & Brooke Eikmeier
Directed By: Glen Winter
Image Courtesy: HD Wallpaper IN