Friday, December 5, 2014

Fan fun: The 'Flash'-'Arrow' crossover review

How much fun was this week's "The Flash" and "Arrow" crossover? It might have been the most fun two hours of TV I've experienced. Ever!

I've got no idea what the Nielsen ratings were, but it's easy to assume The CW will make this crossover an annual event.

The successful two-hour event had it all: Hysterical moments, sweet action, killer character interactions, laugh-out loud lines, cast chemistry, ongoing schticks, a few geeky Easter Eggs (Batman even got a shout-out!) and a few unexpected sequences. Even better, each episode left me wanting more.

Those two episodes ("Flash vs. Arrow" on "The Flash" followed by "The Brave and the Bold" on "Arrow" the next night) contained two hours of unbridled fanboy goodness. Seriously, I could watch them over and over and over and over. …

Did anybody notice the Easter eggs?

How about Dr. Harrison Wells mentioning Batman when he told Barry Allen's Flash he similarly offers hope to his city? Or when Allen gets called Bart Allen — The Flash's grandson from the future?

One of the elements that really made the crossover work is the chemistry between Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen/Arrow and Grant Gustin's Flash/Allen.

It's obvious the actors enjoy working together and that's reflected in the way the characters interact with each other. Did you notice the s**t-eating grim The Flash had when he sees Arrow for the first time? Queen or Arrow has never cracked the kind of grin he does when Allen says something goofy. (And check this out: Each superhero makes his first appearance in the other's series exactly 10 minutes into the show!)

Given all that, it's why Allen can get through to Queen that he isn't losing his humanity as he battles crime in Starling City, but instead is maintaining his humanity as he's learned to restrain himself and not to kill his informants or enemies.

The supporting characters have great chemistry also.

Has Queen looked as uncomfortable or flustered when The Flash's S.T.A.R. Lab's Cisco asks if his lair is an "Arrow Cave" or if he has an "Arrowmobile"? Felicity Smoak works well with Team Flash (my term for Cisco and Caitlin) — and I definitely went to see them onscreen together. Soon! It's fun witnessing them get their collective geek on to solve a problem. And how can you not love when Detective Joe West, who definitely has an opinion about how dangerous Arrow is, ends up thanking the archer for his help?

Felicity Smoak (from left), Roy Harper, John Diggle and
Caitlin Snow tackle a problem in what Cisco calls
"the Arrow Cave."
Iris West's initial response to seeing the handsome Queen in the coffee shop. She keeps hitting Allen's arm, giddily admonishing him for not telling her he knows the billionaire. And then West goes on to say "his arms are like twice the size of yours." And of course, Allen geekily attempts to save face by saying, "Well, they're not literally twice the size. …"

One of the most hysterical moments was John Diggle's reaction to seeing The Flash for the first time. Diggs, who is usually as a cool as a customer as there is, being astounded at how fast The Flash is. While on a stakeout with Arrow and Arsenal (who most certainly has a the third-wheel syndrome — and that was emphasized here), Diggle is so stymied he wonders aloud if the speedster urinates quickly too after he eats a lot. That in itself prompts a funny response from Arrow to get him back on his game: "Is this you backing me up?"

In the middle of Team Arrow and Team Flash figuring out how to work together and bring down the bad guys, Cisco makes some spot-on points about the differences in their approaches, and in turn, the differences in the two TV series. The lab rat says the fact that he gives names to The Flash's enemies and how Team Flash researches the limits of Allen's super powers gives Team Flash the impression that what they're doing is "fun" and not dangerous. Cisco also wonders how Team Arrow deals with the deals of so many of their loved ones.
Two babes and a nerd: Caitlin Snow (from left),
Felicity Smoak and Dr. Harrison Wells

The end of the crossover sets up yet another one.

Allen notices a mannequin in Team Arrow's lair which Queen says will be used for his Flash costume "the next time you're in town." So Queen fully expects to see his crime-fighting buddy again! Caitlin already promised Felicity she will process the DNA to identify Sarah Lance/Black Canary's killer. Even Roy Harper/Arsenal looks forward to a reunion since he tells Team Flash, "you guys are fun."

My prediction is by the next reunion, there may be a third superhero in the mix: Starling City/Star City's Atom aka Ray Palmer. Brandon Routh's earnest take on the brilliant yet nerdy Palmer was the only thing missing.

I'm sure Arsenal and I aren't the only ones who can't wait for more Team Flash-Team Arrow fun. Grade: A

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