That's one hell of a beginning to a crossover event.
What did I expect from The Flash Season 1 Episode 8? It's unclear, but to say "The Flash vs. Arrow" exceeded my expectations is an understatement. There were some cheap shots that could have been left out, but they didn't detract from an otherwise excellent hour of television.
As an example, I captured 21 quotes, a ridiculous amount in comparison to the norm, but the dialog was really that good. All of the witty banter from both groups acting together tossed in with Eddie's amped up storyline provided so much of note!
Does lightning strike twice in this industry? Yes it does. Never was the strength of both casts more apparent than when they were featured together. The casting departments took chances on these series by choosing actors instead of TV stars, and the result has driven them to success on The CW.
Go back and watch the scene between Barry and Oliver as they sat at Jitters across from each other. Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell are completely at ease with each other and with their status as small screen superheroes. It's never a good time to tell someone to give up their chase of the girl of their dreams, but it seems to hurt Barry less coming from Oliver as they both gaze upon the girls they can't have.
That's not gonna work out for you and you need to let her go, for both of your sakes. Guys like us don't get the girl.Oliver
It doesn't matter if someday they get the girls; for now they aren't ready to accept relationships and nobody could have shared that information with Barry with more credibility than Oliver. It was a beautifully done scene and sealed their fate as friends and comrades.
So what about the rest of the hour? Let's dig in.
There wasn't much to the villain, Bivolo, other than his presence to infect Barry to help inform viewers how much he has to learn. It also works to give Oliver a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of Harrison and Joe, who don't think too highly of The Arrow's brand of vigilante justice.
How often does a villain go from being on the loose to in the prison without us witnessing the action? Never. Bivolo was an accessory, a necessary evil to push the story forward. Heck, it was even unclear if his cute code name was going to be Prism. Was it?
I have a prison like this. It's in a nearly inhospitable island off the China Sea, but this works, too.Oliver
The setup of Barry's excitement at working with Oliver again now that he has superpowers works well with the metahuman villain; much as Oliver's disinterest in the word metahuman and desires to show the younger man how to focus on his surroundings to rely not only on his speed to get him through. There will come a day (and there already has) when Barry doesn't have that speed. Does that mean he can't save the day? Not at all.
The "outrun the arrow" training exercise embarrasses Barry enough for him to bring it up when his rage is showing. He's so sure of himself and his powers that he never notices Oliver has arrows strategically placed to aid in shooting Barry in the back. It was the perfect lesson for Barry, but nothing compared to the ultimate showdown between the two.
Oliver: Oh no. Not here. We're here to train.
Barry: What? Like Rocky?
At the beginning of the epic fight, Barry's rage is heightened. He runs circles around Arrow in Flashy style but Arrow's discipline allows him to hold his own. The more assured Barry becomes, the more secure Oliver is in his abilities to best his opponent. As both teams watch on, Diggle and Cisco have their own Tale of the Tape going on, while Felicity wishes they weren't having the discussion as she watched two friends at each other's throats.
The seasoned man inside Arrow's costume never loses sight of The Flash. "I still believe in you, Barry," Oliver says, proving there is method to his madness. And just like that, the case is over and Bivolo is in the meta prison.
Barry: Oliver, I'm so sorry.
Oliver: It's not your fault, but we do still have your metahuman to take care of. Anything left in the tank?
Barry: Well, if not, there's two of us, right?
If the first hour of the event was only The Flash vs Arrow it would have been enough, but we were treated to even more goodness. As already mentioned, Oliver advises Barry to let Iris go. It's not as difficult as it would seem, after all, because while infected with rage, Barry does quite a job turning Iris off.
Eddie is a passenger in Iris' car as the two quibble about believing in the impossible and Eddie's decision to track down The Flash as a result. Much like Joe and Harrison don't care for Oliver's ways, Eddie doesn't see much of note in The Flash. He's given even more ammunition when an enraged Flash pulls Eddie from his car and starts to beat on him.
It's exactly what we needed for Iris to back off of her Flash obsession. Barry tries to salvage it, but it's too late. Their time is in the future and Iris could never be with him with an opinion like she's been exhibiting. It's not good to get involved with an obsession. It might make for catchy lyrics, but otherwise it's completely unhealthy. I'm still not sold on Eddie being right for her, either, but she'll come to that when the time is right.
Harrison wants Felicity to share with him Arrow's identity to make it easier for him to trust her friend. Hey, Harrison, we'd all trust you a bit more if you shared with us your secret identity, too. I'm just pointing that out, buddy. Whether he researches the topic, makes an educated guess or calls upon Gideon, Harrison finds his man. Ironically, it was after Oliver finally said it out loud – enough people know about his secret and it's best to remain hidden. Except this time it doesn't, despite his sealed lips.
Harrison's knowledge leads to a moment of kindness between him and Oliver, but it's not enough to make Oliver comfortable. He shares with Felicity there is something off with the man. We know, we know!
Harrison: Mr. Queen, I met your father once, at a charity event. One of the things we spoke of was you. I think he'd be very proud of the man you've become.
Oliver: Thank you. Please, call me Oliver.
Diggle's presence was barely felt in the event, but at least he made the trip. It was impossible not to enjoy his thoughts on Barry's skills, "I had a cousin who got hit by lightning once. He just developed a stutter." His observations are said with such an odd lilt, as if he just can't grasp what he's seeing. And, that's true to their non-meta world. It would be amazing to behold The Flash in action.
The cheap shot that wasn't necessary (but we knew was coming) is when Oliver runs into an old flame in Jitters. In case you didn't catch the conversation and recognize her mention of Moira loving him very much, she's the mother of his son, the same son she spoke with on the phone and to whom she's bringing hot cocoa. Ugh. Stay in Central City. If Oliver isn't the type of guy who gets the girl, he cannot be the kind of guy who has a kid, either.
That's part one down and part two to go tomorrow on Arrow Season 3 Episode 8. Are you ready for it?
My expectation is for a darker tone to give The Flash team a lesson similar to the one Barry learns – this is not a game and all of the cute code naming of metahumans won't make them better people. They are what they are. Seriously, hit The Flash quotes because some of them were far too great not to repeat and share with your friends.
Hit the comments. Did seeing Team Arrow interact with Team Flash make you any more excited in watching the show if you're merely a visitor? As a regular viewer, did it hit all the marks? Be sure to watch The Flash online and catch up to join in the rest of the rest of the party.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.