19th Dec2014

‘Arrow 3×08: The Brave and the Bold’ Review

by ApolloXL5

Written by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg | Directed by Jesse Warn

Arrow-s3e8

PLOT:

As team Arrow finally catches up to the boomerang-wielding Villain, they find that he is more than a match for them. Luckily for Oliver and friends though, they have unexpected help from the Flash, which brings the two heroes into another team-up to stop this dangerous Foe.

VERDICT:

I was wondering if this second half of the Flash/Arrow crossover event would be similar or better than it’s first part and after watching The Brave and the Bold I would say that it is just as good but delivered something quite different to what ‘Flash vs. Arrow’ gave us.

Since the first episode gave us the physical superhero vs. superhero brawl (which was excellent, as I said in it‘s review), as well as the Mentor and student relationship between Oliver and Barry (as the speedster is still quite inexperienced when it comes to this hero-business when compared to the Emerald Archer). So this second part (the title ‘The Brave and the Bold’ not only refers to the DC superhero team-up comic, but also to the two types of heroes on display in this particular event as well ) instead gave us the opposite of the its predecessor with a superhero team up against a very dangerous villain (I’ll get to our boomerang-foe) as well as our two heroes now bashing heads on a philosophical level. It is these differences (sort of a Yin-Yang symbiosis I think) that makes this event work so well, as both parts complement each other and work perfectly together to form some great television.

So at the beginning of the episode, we get our first full look at Digger Harkness aka Captain Boomerang in action (played by Spartacus actor Nick E. Tarabay, who was a lot of fun to watch) and I originally thought that this was going to be somewhat silly (have you seen what he looks like in the comics), but I was really very wrong as Harkness got a cool modern-day look and was extremely dangerous not only at a distance, but also at close quarters as he gave both Arrow and Arsenal a great fight at before Flash made his presence known (it’s interesting to note that he is also a part of Flash’s Rogue gallery, not Green Arrow’s). We find out that he was a member of the Suicide Squad and had been left for dead after an assassination mission went awry, so Captain Boomerang is now after the person who ran the Op and that happens to be Lyla (and I wasn’t surprised when Diggle popped the question to her at the episode‘s end, considering how many times we heard the ‘we not married‘ line). This certainly made the fight against Harkness feel more personal and urgent, which was good when compared to the Rainbow Raider’s story (or lack of) as he was only around to make Oliver’s and Barry’s fight happen.

And so after that initial fight, the two Heroes and their teams meet up again, this time at the Arrow-Cave (I loved Oliver’s reaction to that name, as well as everyone calling it that) and it was fun to see Cisco all wide-eyed and nerdy when looking around the whole place as well as Barry using Oliver’s Salmon Ladder (good thing the Archer did not see that).

The episode was littered with these funny moments, but this time there was a more serious tone to the episode (like I said before, the complete opposite of Flash’s instalment) as it took place in Starling City instead of Central (the shows are definitely going for a Gotham City vs. Metropolis vibe) and so Barry and Co got to see how Oliver deals with the bad-guys which included torture. This of course made both Heroes clash over their separate philosophies (even making the Flash question whether his friends negative views on the Emerald Archer were actually correct) as Oliver said that the world is not black and white and there was a need for people to sometimes do the extreme to beat those who would do far worse if not stopped. And it was interesting to see not only the Speedster’s reaction but that of Cisco and Caitlin who also confessed that they had not been taking their jobs as seriously as they probably should (I also liked Cisco’s idea of why there were now Meta-Humans appearing in the world).

This also led Oliver to confess to Barry (since it took the view of a friend outside his inner circle) that he did not like what he was becoming, sacrificing parts of himself whilst doing the questionable actions to protect others (it was the first real character development we have seen from the character this season, not including the very small and subtle moments previously). And Barry was just as correct in his view (echoing the words Oliver said to him in Flash’s Pilot) that Oliver could inspire people just as easily by being himself (showing the Archer that there is a place for Oliver Queen in the world as well as the Arrow).

And of course this all led to the final (for now) showdown between Harkness, Arrow and Flash, where the bad-guy had planted five bombs around the city, thinking he had given the heroes only one choice to make (fight him or save the City). But he didn’t count on Barry who then (in another humorous moment) picks up Felicity, Roy, Cisco and Caitlin and they help him disarm the bombs (which would all explode if any one of them were handled alone). Then Oliver managed to hold back his darkness and defeat Harkness, despite all the latter’s goading and insults ( Nick E. Tarabay really has a knack for this kind of role, just look his work as Ashur from STARZ Spartacus). So I hope that this is a sign that Oliver is finally beginning his evolution to the charismatic Oliver Queen of the Comics, fighting for the common Man (and less of the broody batman-like character we have had for the last two and half seasons).

The episode’s ending then had the two teams saying their goodbyes (I really liked Oliver having a spot for Barry’s costume to go whenever he is in the area, as well as Cisco’s gift of the new Arrow costume), which then led to the Rocky III-inspired ending of both Heroes having their fight to see which one is really better.

Oh and I liked how (for one of the few times this season), Oliver’s flashbacks actually had relevance to what was happening in the present. This time showing how Oliver learnt a hard lesson why torturing was necessary (that grey-area once again) when combating greater evil, it was an interesting set of scenes and set the tone well for what was happening during the modern day.

****½  4.5/5

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