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Arrow: The Brave and the Bold Review

Kalem Lalonde's picture


I remember last year, I would be so excited for Wednesday nights, Arrow season 2 was the dream superhero show. It had awesome characters, intimidating looming threats and great drama. In spite of the often corny dialogue, I viewed the show as the peak of superhero TV. This year feels different, however. My excitement for Arrow has dwindled with season 3. The show has had some growing pains with the lack of a compelling narrative. Most episodes are extremely wanting in comparison to Arrow’s previous season and its endearing sister series “The Flash”. That said, I was very eager to see how Arrow would fare under a crossover with Flash. This week’s Flash was definitely a strong episode but where I’ve grown accustomed to enjoying Flash more than Arrow, this week was an exception. Arrow returns with its strongest episode this season thanks to the well-implemented crossover, strong themes, intimidating villain and great character development. If Arrow can give us more episode like this one, it could easily reclaim its throne as the best superhero show.

 

A Flash/Arrow crossover is an awesome idea, but “Flash vs Arrow” didn’t live up to its potential. It felt unambitious for a crossover and more like a casual episode of The Flash with Oliver Queen guest-starring. “The Brave and the Bold” brings the grander scale that one would expect when you put two heroes on screen together. Largely in part to the ominous and powerful villain Captain Boomerang. Watching him break into ARGUS and mow down their defenses with ease and hold his own in a fight with Ollie and Roy was an incredible sequence, showcasing the villain’s power and establishing him as a threat worthy of both heroes’ attention. Nick Tarabay delivered a solid performance as the villain who is not only physically intimidating but also intelligent enough to come up with a plot only Flash and Arrow could overcome together. It was touches like these that made the crossover feel like authentic one.

The supporting cast also had some very strong roles in this episode. Cisco interacting with team Arrow was definitely a standout. There’s an interesting dichotomy created between his view of being a hero and the members of team Arrow (which is also created between Barry and Oliver but I’ll discuss that later). He doesn’t take vigilantism very seriously which is a shocker to the cast of Arrow. People who’ve seen their city destroyed twice and have lost the ones they love aren’t prone to be jocular and create aliases such as Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang etc. The writers make good use of the clashing tones of the two shows with a great balance of the grim tone Arrow is known for and the more amusing tone Flash has to offer. Cisco asking about the Arrow-Cave and the Arrow-Mobile was certainly my favorite moment of his this episode. He’s quickly turning into a scene-stealer for people who enjoy comic-relief. 

As for Arrow’s supporting characters, I’ve been loving how this season has put a stronger focus on Diggle who was heavily neglected last year. This episode is no different and has him go through a small character arc that was bittersweet for a soft guy like me. I found myself caring about Diggle and Lyla who haven’t been excellently defined as a couple yet. Watching Diggle propose to her made me joyous that she survived the attack (which was a distressing scene). There have been too many gloomy and gut-wrenching deaths throughout this series and I’m glad that a great character such as Diggle doesn’t have to go through the struggle of losing a loved one.


All of that is good, but not as good the dichotomy created between the two heroes this episode. Barry and Ollie’s chemistry is fantastic. Giving us a philosophical confrontation for these two. Barry is an optimist and believes in people which is the complete opposite of Oliver who was trained to torture and uphold to respond to criminals using extreme measures. There arguments are profound and feels exactly like what those two types of people would bicker about. Flash’s values and beliefs lead to some great development for Oliver who has been struggling with his identity this season. He’s attempting to embrace his humanity and who Oliver Queen was before the island. It’s a compelling inner-conflict for the emerald archer. The writers added depth with this to a crossover that would have been otherwise great but far from amazing.

“The Brave and the Bold” was really the best episode of Arrow we’ve had this season. It has completely reinvigorated the show for me. We were given a great scale and a riveting exploration of the two heroes it assembled. I truly hope the writers decide to crossover these two shows again because if the result is anything like this, it’ll be well worth the viewing. 
 

    OUR SCORE:

 9.6/10

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