In short, the crossover event between Arrow and The Flash was a success if only in the sense that it made me want to see the pair team up more often. Now don’t get me wrong, there were a number of things that just didn’t work well in the crossover episodes, but thankfully, there was far more good than bad. The episodes were instead engaging and made me longing for more which many crossovers fail to do. For the review of The Flash “Flash vs Arrow” and for the Arrow review “The Brave and The Bold“.
What the crossover episodes did right?
Each show got their own episode
It’s very easy for a crossover to be one sided. One show, usually the newer one, is granted an appearance by the older characters from the same universe. The newer characters are generally left off the older show. That tends to be how it works. Thankfully, they didn’t try to pull that with this crossover event. Arrow and The Flash each had their own episode. This meant that both shows had the opportunity to benefit from the cross-pollination of the shows. In this case, Arrow stood to benefit more from a ratings boost (It garnered a series high 1.4 demo, which is The Flash’s current series average). The episodes were tied together loosely, which would make any one watching the individual shows could still enjoy the episodes without having to rely on prior knowledge. This is beneficial when you consider that this crossover event effects both shows, but in the future people may not be watching them live like they aired.
The tones remained consistent
The Flash and Arrow have very different tones. Arrow is unabashedly dark, it’s gritty and revels in that. Starling City is filled with a bunch of bad people and they are bad people that are not meta humans. It makes the entire series have a dark vibe, not to mention the team involved is firmly entrenched in that mindset. Then you have The Flash in Central city. The tone is noticeably lighter. The team working with Barry are giddy and excited over what is happened in their city. Sure, there are problems that they need overcome, but it’s met with optimism. They are new at this and even Caitlin admitted that the fact they are going against Meta-humans made it feel a bit less real. What was a major feat for the two episodes was despite a very different team tonally encroaching on their turf, each show managed to maintain their dominant theme. The Flash was still light and fun. Arrow was still grim with a darker sense of humor.
The teams meshed well together
It’s very easy for two opposing teams, especially those with very different personalities to not get along. That isn’t the case. Yes, there is tension between the groups, but tension that is expected when you have a group of excitable nerds paired with grim soldiers. Somehow, they manage to all work and blend in an organic way. Cisco was his chipper self and seemed to get along with everyone. Felicity has already proven that she can easily move from team to team and fit in. It excites me to see Cisco manage to meld in well with the Arrow team as well. Yes, he’s chipper, but we’ve seen he can have a dark side and be hard on himself. It’d be awesome to see Cisco pop up for a one off episode, similar to how Felicity has done on The Flash. Plus he brings cool tech upgrades with him. It goes really far to how well the teams were designed that they feel unique, but also work on a much larger perspective. The crossover event episodes were proof that there is a much larger hero family being created.
Stand alone episodes
There are some people who will disagree, but I feel that making each episode stand alone was a good thing.There is nothing worse than feeling like you are forced to watch another show just because your characters are there. This crossover event made it so watching the other show was not vital, but was a chance to see your favorite hero in action with someone else.
What the crossover episodes didn’t do so well?
Connective tissue between episodes was filmsy
Let’s be honest, the reasons driving the two together were weak. We were meant to believe that Arrow’s team search for Captain Boomerang brought them to Central City just in time to help them stop Barry after he was attacked by Prism. And we were also meant to believe that The Flash team was so curious about Oliver’s hideaway in Starling City, that they delivered the results of their boomerang analysis in person. Yes, both reasons are valid. Both reasons make sense. However, they don’t feel very strong. It is Captain Boomerang who bound them together, yet it didn’t feel urgent. It almost seemed like they could have just made a few calls and avoided much of the hassle we saw on screen. When you think of a crossover you generally think that the episodes will be more intimately tied together, that wasn’t the case.
What did you think of the crossover episodes?