Arrow Season 3 Episode 8 – TV Review
This is the second part of the Arrow/The Flash crossover. I’ve seen the first part, which was a The Flash episode. But nothing of consequence occurred there that isn’t covered here.
The whole thing is really just an exercise in whingeing about ideology, anyway.
Sorry to spoil.
TL;DR Barry and the Star Labs crew help the Super Friends subude Captain Boomerang; ARGUS doesn’t win any compassion points; flashbacks show Amanda encouraging Oliver to become a cold-hearted torture machine; there is no real showdown between our super heroes.
It it was a hot bod contest, Oliver would have already won.
So Captain Boomerang kicks his plan into gear, and assaults an ARGUS base. His target is Lyla, who was in charge of the Suicide Squad (of which he was a member) when they failed a mission. She authorised the execution of the entire squad out of pragmatism, but Captain Boomerang somehow avoided getting his head blown off, and now he wants revenge. The usual. Barry puts his actual super powers to good use and helps Oliver and the Super Friends with taking out goons and such. Captain Boomerang is eventually subdued (because he’s a dude with a boomerang versus a rich vigilante and an actual superhuman). The episode spends most of its time devoted to highlighting the differences between Barry and Oliver: Barry is a wide-eyed idealist, whereas Oliver is a battle-hardened, compromising cynic. They both learn from the other, and everything is peachy. Aww. In the Hong Kong flashbacks, Amanda performs some of said hardening by making Oliver torture a terrorist. Other subplots include: Lyla and Diggle deciding to get remarried; Caitlin agreeing to help do some DNA testing on evidence from Sara’s murder; Cisco’s seamstressing skills; and boomerang-aided action sequences.
They’re surprisingly plausible.
All in all, this is a bit of a letdown for a crossover opportunity. In both this and The Flash’s episode, the teams are merely rounding up villains-of-the-week, which have no particular bearing on any existing arcs.
Here, the focal point is the whole idealism vs cynicism debate. Which Arrow has done a decent enough job covering on its own over the last two and a bit seasons, anyway.
Why I hate this episode:
Also, Barry would totally crush Oliver, and we all know it. Ain’t no amount of crafty arrows are going to outmanoeuvre someone who is fast enough to step around bullets. Let’s stop kidding ourselves.
I find it a bit insulting that Barry is all up in Oliver’s face trying to teach him lessons about being absolute in your ideals, and Oliver indeed taking on board some of that advice. Bitch, Oliver’s been doing this for years. And he doesn’t have (and remember, actual) superpowers to help him. He’s got a bow and some dude eye shadow. That’s it. And it works. Shut up, Barry.
Barry is initially horrified when Oliver skewers some guy through the shoulder in order to squeeze info from him. Doesn’t Barry know that Oliver used to kill people, instead? This should be an encouraging sign, not something disappointing.
Barry does his own, superspeed version of Oliver’s pull-up bar exercise. To describe it in one word: lacking.
Captain Boomerang’s final gambit is to arm five bombs around Starling City, and force the Arrow and the Flash to choose between fighting him, or disarming the bombs. Firstly, poor plan, buddy. Because as we expectedly witness, Barry uses his superspeed to disarm the bombs, while Oliver very easily puts Captain Boomerang in his place.
Secondly, the bombs aren’t in very exciting places. There’s one that’s kind of near a restaurant. But one of them is in a fucking deserted car park, for goodness’ sake. Wow. Much carnage.
Oh, and the only thing that I wanted to know more about from The Flash’s episode isn’t mentioned here: the woman Oliver bumped into in the cafe. Unless this is a PLL situation and it’s someone I should have remembered from a one-off appearance two seasons ago.
But it’s not all bad:
Barry and his team do admit that they haven’t been taking things seriously enough, so I’ll chalk that up as a win in my book.
And Oliver’s real takeaway lesson from Barry is to believe in his own humanity. So I don’t expect Oliver will lose any of his fervour in subduing goons. Which is good.
Cisco mentions that Thea is hot, and is promptly warned off her by Roy (telling him she’s his ex) and Felicity (telling him he’s Oliver’s sister). I lol’d.
Lyla is the real winner of the episode. She gets to be more than just “Diggle’s contact” or “Diggle’s love interest.” The revelation that she called the shots on a Suicide Squad mission kind of impressed me. I always assumed Lyla was more of a grunt than a stand-in for Amanda fucking Waller. Good work, honey.
Lyla and Oliver even have some bonding time over their shared cynicism of the world.
Captain Boomerang attacks Lyla, Felicity, and Caitlin while they’re alone at the base, and Lyla is pretty boss in fending him off. She gets a boomerang to the chest for her trouble, but it was worth it.
And Diggle’s proposal to get remarried at the end (after several instances this episode of them having to clarify that they aren’t currently married) was sweet.
Best line of the episode goes to Felicity when Caitlin spots Oliver’s pull-up bar:
Caitlin: “Hey, what’s that for?”
Felicity (sighing): “Distracting me from work.”
Oliver is such a show-off. Thank goodness.
Amanda is a delightfully evil mentor to Oliver in the flashbacks. It’s incredibly obvious that she expected him to fail to torture the terrorist in time to stop his bomb. She uses the bombing as a lesson to teach Oliver about how cruel the world is and how he needs to torture people to get what he wants. I love it.
Then she gives him another torturee: Kelly Hu’s contact. One step closer to wig heaven, people.
Oh, and the scene of the episode is the one thing we came to see, so I suppose they deserve points for throwing us this bone, at least.