Arrow (Stephen Amell) joined The CW’s “The Flash” on Tuesday, kicking off a two-part crossover event which saw each DC Comics hero guest-starring on the other character’s show.
It’s the first Arrow has been seen on the show since a short scene in the series’ debut, but this time audiences got to watch the heroes duke it out.
The episode began with Arrow, aka Oliver Queen, and his cohorts arriving in Central City. They’d followed supervillain Captain Boomerang right onto Barry Allen’s (Grant Gustin) home turf. As luck would have it, the Flash and his friends were also trying to nab a meta-human bank robber who could fill people with an uncontrollable rage.
“Since you guys are here, why don’t we team up?” Barry asked Oliver. “I can help you find your boomerang man, you can help me find my super rage-a-holic.”
“Okay, we’ll help you catch the bad guy,” Oliver responded.
“Great,” Barry said, “[But you mean] meta-human.”
“I’m not calling him that, Barry,” Oliver finished.
It was the first of several cute exchanges on Tuesday’s episode, and a perfect example of a key difference between the two shows. Oliver rarely gets silly on “Arrow,” which is typically darker and more mature. But the hero lightened up while visiting Central City, adjusting his mood to fit “The Flash’s” more light-hearted tone.
“Starling City and Central City are very different places,” Amell said at a recent on-set press junket in Vancouver attended by TheWrap. “So when I go to Central City, it’s very much, ‘Alright, I’ll tag along. We’ll do things your way.’”
But all of that changed when his show hosted Gustin, which audiences will see when Barry travels to Starling City on Wednesday’s “Arrow.”
“Then the very next night, in our episode, it’s ‘I’m sorry, we’re not in Central City anymore. We’re doing things my way. Things are different here,’” explained Amell. “Hopefully Oliver comes out of his trip to Central City having learned something and Grant comes out of his trip to Starling City having learned something as well.”
Learned lessons aside, Arrow’s sidekick John Diggle (David Ramsey) provided much of the episode’s comic relief.
“I had a cousin who got hit by lightning once,” Diggle told his crew after seeing the Flash in action. “He just developed a stutter.”
Amell was most impressed by Ramsey’s moments of levity: “The unequivocal highlight of the entire crossover for me is David Ramsey. I could not keep a straight face during any of David Ramsey’s lines during the crossover to ‘The Flash.’ It destroyed me.”
More humor is found in a training sequence where Arrow schooled the Flash. Despite the meta-human’s incredible powers, Arrow recognized the novice crime fighter was rough around the edges and hit him in the back with a few arrows.
“Barry and Oliver are butting heads, but we’re seeing them learn how to work together” explained Gustin at the same Vancouver junket. “It’s really funny because they’re so different, so the conversations they have are hilarious.”
His character didn’t heed Oliver’s advice, however. Instead Barry foolishly sped off into battle by himself where’s he was easily duped by the villain of the week, Prism (“We can talk about you giving your enemies silly code names later,” joked Oliver at one point.)
Prism infected Barry with rage, which soon caused him to turn on his friends. He scared his beloved Iris (Candice Patton) and attacked her boyfriend Eddie (Rick Cosnett). It was a creepy turn for Gustin, who has hit several different notes so far on “The Flash” but was showing off an angry, sadistic side for the first time.
Luckily, Arrow stepped in before Eddie took too bad a beating, enraging the Flash and resulting in the epic and eagerly anticipated showdown between the costumed crime-fighters. Even the side characters back at S.T.A.R. labs took bets on which superhero would reign supreme.
Arrow had a few trick arrows up his quiver, but The Flash eventually got the upper hand. The protege literally ran circles around his former teacher.
“You can train. Lift weights. Climb that stupid bar until your heart explodes,” the Flash told Arrow. “But you’ll never be as fast as I am. You’ll never be what I am. And that’s gotta hurt your rock hard pride, Ollie”
The episode’s actions sequences were impressively choreographed, in part because of how long they took to shoot. But they’re also more reliant upon special effects, according to Amell, who does many of his own stunts on “Arrow.”
“The actual fight with Grant, which we shot over three nights, that was a different experience,” Amell said at a recent fan screening of “The Flash” / “Arrow” crossover episodes attended by TheWrap. “I fought the air a little bit. But I kicked the air’s ass.”
Barry’s rage was eventually cured and he and Oliver rid the city of Prism in record time. But the episode wasn’t over. Part one of the crossover event ended with two big cliffhangers.
First, Oliver encountered a woman from his past, one he once impregnated before becoming any sort of hero. She was introduced in a previous episode of “Arrow,” which saw her flee Starling City after Oliver’s mother tried bribing her to get an abortion and stay out of her son’s life. But — surprise — it looks like she kept the baby after all. Oliver might well be a dad.
Also, audiences were treated to a first glimpse of Caitlin’s (Danielle Panabaker) ex, Ronnie (Robbie Amell). He was affected by the particle accelerator explosion in the pilot and at the end of Tuesday’s episode we see him emerge as the pyrokinetic metahuman, Firestorm.
The crossover event continues Wednesday night, when Barry and company return the favor by visiting Oliver in Starling City. It’s Ollie’s town and Ollie’s rules in the new teaser for the episode, which shows them tracking Captain Boomerang together.
“Who would win — me or you?” asks Arrow.
“When I’m fighting you, it’s literally like you’re standing still,” Barry deadpans.
The Flash visits “Arrow” on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.