The Flash vs Arrow Equals Geek vs Testosterone (Review)

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Two heroes who fight crime equals at least a couple of different ways to approach problems and in the first episode of the CW two-night crossover The Flash vs Arrow the whole plot of Tuesday’s show boils down to a case of geek vs testosterone. The first part of the program pointed out the weaknesses and strengths of both comic book heroes. The plot line, apart from amusingly showing just how differently the two good guy’s work soon becomes a real hero versus hero after Barry Allen, aka The Flash, gets “whammied” by the villain’s red glowing “angry eyes” which infects victims with a killing rage.

At the start of the episode a man walks into a bank and using his glowing eyes, the meta criminal infects everyone in the building allowing him to saunter in and walk off with half a million dollars. The customer’s attack each other and one, a young mother, picks up a gun and shoots at another man, The Flash shows up just in time to save the potential victim from the bullet. A little later, Oliver Green shows up to step in and aid his friend who is facing off with the meta villain.

Both of these CW shows are quite dark, although Arrow features a lot more death and destruction than The Flash, the former show definitely wins hands down, an earthquake flattening an entire section of town beats the partial demolition of Star Labs in the latter series. The differences between the two forces for good are enough that the teaming of the disparate friends makes for a good chalk and cheese scenario. The Flash vs Arrow episode points out that essentially Barry Allen as superhero is basically a nice guy under all that geek. Arrow is all revenge, testosterone and a fair amount of rage, being on that island for five years means that it’s Oliver Green vs his learned violent nature in a daily battle for emotional control.

Interestingly both teams, Team Flash and Team Arrow, utilize science and technology a lot. This common ground of the two heroes should put them both in the world of geek and to a degree it does, but Arrow’s team are geek in the support functions. Green’s deadly hero does not have a “geeky” side, while The Flash is all geek, he is that bit more grounded than his support operatives and ultimately Allen’s superhero is a big geeky good guy who is incredibly fast.

The show brings the two crime fighters together when Oliver follows a lead to Allen’s city and the two touch base. Since Felicity Smoak has a crush on Allen, she nags her boss into giving him hero lessons. Arrow maintains that Barry does not want his help, he only thinks he does. When the two start to train, one of the best scenes of the episode takes place. Arrow tells The Flash that he is too reckless as he does not plan his attacks. Oliver says that Allen rushes in with no thought to his surroundings or the area.

Green puts an arrow in his bow and tells his friend to move back and come at him to be shot. Allen agrees, but only to humor his friend. He approaches Oliver and catches the arrow. When he begins to gloat about it, his friend then shoots him from behind with two crossbows set at ground level. Barry cries out in disbelief, “You shot me?” Arrow replies that he knows that Allen heals really quickly and that he proved his point.

Later in the episode, another comic scene has Felicity losing her shirt to friction after The Flash transports her via his terrific speed. The two shows may be similar in dark themes but there is a lot more humor in CW’s newest superhero show. In a way, Barry Allen is slightly reminiscent of Marvel’s Spiderman, aka Peter Parker, in that he is also more geek than gladiator and it is his superpowers, married up with his scientific know-how, that also makes him more human than his more hulky counterparts.

Humorous scenes aside, the two heroes duking it out in the street was awesomely entertaining. Of course, all Arrow really had to do was wait out The Flash, between all that excessive rage and activity, his metabolism would have been through the roof and passing out, as he did earlier in the season, from lack of nutrients would have enabled Arrow to overpower him. If Green could hold out that long. Still, two good guys in the comic verse have to end up tied so these two friends will remain pals and be able to interact with no problems.

By the end of the Arrow vs The Flash episode it was less about geek vs testosterone, since Allen’s rage issues turned him into a ball of speedy testosterone, and more about the similarities in subplots of the the two shows and how the two camps are similar with their use of resources. Before the meta-bad was put in his special Thirteen Ghosts type cell, Barry Allen develops some extensive anger management issues after getting whammied and amidst all this rage and glowing eyes, the love issues of The Flash shows that his unrequited feelings for Iris are going to stay that way, and in that area both heroes suffer from love problems. Wednesday’s Arrow will feature Barry Allen stopping in to help his friend, time will tell if the massive ratings boost of Tuesday’s episode of The Flash will warrant more crossovers of the two shows.

By Michael Smith



Entertainment WEEKLY