Arrow: “The Brave and the Bold” Season 3 Episode 8 Review – Part 2 of the Flash/Arrow Crossover Event

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The Arrow half of the crossover was way, way, WAY more like it. A comic book fan’s dream come true, The Brave and the Bold was high on superheroics, but didn’t try to explain away why these characters all came together and instead just letting them have fun.

The first thing about the Flash half was that the villain felt like little more than an excuse to get the two superheroes to fight. By the end of the Arrow half, that feels like wasted time as Oliver and Barry joyfully prepare to duke it out just for the hell of it. That’s the comic book spirit.

It also helped that Captain Boomerang was a pretty great villain, perhaps the best yet on Season 3 of Arrow. His opening action sequence was awesome. It’s hard not to make a villain that throws boomerangs a little goofy, but Nick Tarabay sold the foe within the guidelines of the show’s tone. That is to say, he was no less goofy or menacing than a guy dressed as Robin Hood hurling arrows at every criminal in sight. Best of all, he was a threat worthy of an Arrow/Flash team-up, not one written in for powers that could induce a fight.

The opening skirmish was fun, with Diggle and Lyla fighting alongside A.R.G.U.S. before Arrow and Arsenal swung in. The choreography was especially good this week as Boomerang fought the two heroes off. Just in the nick of time, the Flash runs in, causing Boomerang to retreat.

The next few scenes put the larger Team Arrow with Barry, Caitlin, and Cisco. Since Arrow‘s supporting cast is stronger than The Flash‘s, there was much less of an awkward balancing act than in yesterday’s part of the crossover. Cisco in particular played off of the super-serious Arrow characters incredibly well.

But a larger character arc for Oliver presents itself when he tortures a criminal in front of Barry. Their conflicting philosophies on superheroism was pretty on-point. I like how Oliver described Central City as “sunny all the time” and eventually just came out and said defeatedly “I’m not as emotionally healthy as you.”

Their final confrontation with Boomerang made great use of the entire team, thanks to Barry’s super-speed. With five bombs across Starling City, Barry drops off Roy, Felicity, Caitlin, and Cisco all at different bombs so they can be defused. Meanwhile, Oliver manages to stop Boomerang without torturing him.

The teams’ goodbyes were great. Barry has a mannequin in the Arrow Cave and Cisco designed Oliver a new suit. Then the two race off to settle a score, though this fight will be more playful.

The only other thing going on in the episode were a few brief flashbacks that showed us how Oliver got in the habit of torturing his enemies. Amanda Waller was heavily involved, of course. This was a nice tie to the present, showing the importance of Oliver’s arc away from violence.

All in all, The Brave and the Bold was way more successful than Flash vs. Arrow. We couldn’t see the strings in this episode, as opposed to the obvious plot points linking the two series together in the Flash half. It also benefited from a much strong villain in Captain Boomerang. The Arrow half of the crossover made the whole affair well worth it. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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