“Flash vs. Arrow,” the first part of the The Flash/Arrow crossover event, was a fun and action-packed hour. It was basically everything I could’ve hoped for. Tonight’s episode of Arrow, the crossover’s second part, was a decent enough episode, but definitely wasn’t as good as the first installment. Whereas The Flash’s episode felt like it was moving many of its ongoing stories forward, the same can’t be said of “The Brave and the Bold,” an episode that felt very much like a crossover episode. ”The Brave and the Bold” tries to service Oliver’s identity issues and character development, but it ends up doing a lot more for the away team.
That being said, there were still plenty of fun moments in the episode, most of them coming from Cisco fanboying all over the place—Cisco is this episode’s Diggle. Team Flash brings so much needed levity to Arrow’s typically dour proceedings. (The sassy and smiling Oliver we saw last night also makes a welcome return tonight). Also, Captain Boomerang (Nick E. Tarabay) is one of Team Arrow’s most formidable and compelling opponents this season as he is someone who appreciates the art of strategy and plans multiple steps ahead. But, enough setup. Time to dig into “The Brave and the Bold.”
FLASHBACKS — Hong Kong
As Arrow is wont to do, Oliver’s story in the flashbacks relates to the events in the present. In the first flashback, Amanda Waller summons Oliver to an abandoned building to interrogate a munitions specialist who has apparently planted a time bomb somewhere in Hong Kong. To help him extract the information, Waller reveals that her team salvaged his bow and arrows from the freighter when they rescued him. Essentially, she wants Oliver to torture the information out of him. Because this Oliver is still rather green, he forgoes torture and tries to reason with the bomber. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work and the bomb detonates.
Naturally, Amanda Waller is pissed and takes Oliver to task for trying to reason with the bomber instead of doing what is necessary. “There are people in this world who deal only in extreme. It’s naive to think that anything less than extreme measures will stop them,” says Waller. The justification for torture she offers to Oliver is basically the ticking time bomb scenario thought experiment, something which was invoked multiple times during the War on Terror and on 24 to justify the use of torture.
Although Oliver doesn’t believe he has the stomach for torture, Waller has faith in him and gives him a second chance to redeem himself: He needs to torture Li Kuan Hui, a high-up in the Triads and associate of China White, to find out what China White is up to in Hong Kong. It’s clear that this time, Oliver won’t hesitate to use his bow.
PRESENT DAY – STARLING CITY
We kick off tonight’s episode with Arrow, Arsenal, and Diggle attempting to infiltrate Digger Harkness’ Starling City home—S.T.A.R. Labs traced particulates on the boomerang to this location. Once inside the home, they’re surprised to find no Harkness and four ARGUS agents with their guns at the ready. The ARGUS agents tell Arrow to back off because this is official ARGUS business. Obviously, this is Oliver’s city and he has no intention of backing down.
Back at HQ, Felicity pulls up the murder victim’s file (from the end of the Cupid episode) and figures out that he was actually an ARGUS agent. Disregarding their marriage because they aren’t actually married, Oliver sends Diggle to Lyla to get the scoop on this boomerang fellow.
To Felicity and Roy’s surprise and Oliver’s slight annoyance, Caitlin and Cisco pop over to Starling City unannounced. They say they’re there to pick up the DNA from Sara’s murder, but really, Cisco just wants to see the Arrow Cave and all of the toys—he needs to see the toys. Once in the Arrow Cave—a name that Oliver hates—Cisco freaks out like a little kid visiting the Times Square Toy ‘R Us for the first time, and Caitlin takes an interest in the salmon ladder, a.k.a. the thing that distracts Felicity from working. While Cisco and Caitlin don’t bring any of The Flash’s visual aesthetic with them, they do bring the show’s infectious sense of humor and awesome music score.
NEXT: To torture or not to torture