It’s probably a simple matter of the two shows having different writers, but it’s interesting to note how the Arrow and Flash characters act differently when visiting each other’s cities. When the Arrow crew visited Central City, they were more light-hearted and fun, especially Diggle. On the other hand, Team Flash got comparatively more serious and somber when they came to Starling City. This was best encapsulated by Cisco’s comments when everybody was sitting around the table at Club Verdant. It was a little on the nose, though. In fact, this whole episode spent a lot of time talking about the differences between the two heroes instead of just showing us.
All in all, though, I still had a lot of fun watching it. The casts of the two shows work well together and really bring out the best in each other. I was actually having the most fun watching Roy’s reactions to everything around him. Colton Haynes is not the strongest actor on the cast by a long shot, but he is at least not actively bad. And his normal slightly bewildered expression at everything going on around the Flash served him well.
Credit also goes to Nick Tarabay for a sinister portrayal of Captain Boomerang. In the comics, Captain Boomerang is not taken nearly as seriously as other villains, and let’s face it, his gimmick is a little silly. Nick Tarabay managed to make even some of his cheesiest lines sound menacing, however, and rather than being a cheerful bandit robbing banks, he came off as a truly remorseless killer. It helped that his costume was designed to look like practical battle gear with an overcoat and that he wasn’t wearing Captain Boomerang’s usual hat.
By the way, once again that Laurel is mostly absent and that the show still does just fine without her. And speaking of characters who got shortchanged, it looks like Thea is still fighting off the advances of her club’s new DJ. I was kind of hoping one of Barry’s acts in this episode would be to grab the guy and transport him to Nebraska.
So what to make of the discussion between Barry and Oliver? Is Starling City really that much harsher and is Barry being naive by opposing torture? It’s easy to bring real world parallels into this discussion, but such comparisons don’t really hold up. There’s a lot of doubt that the ticking time bomb scenario depicted in the flashback ever really happens in real life, and of course it’s absurd to think that Captain Boomerang would have the time and resources to place five bombs in separate places around the city for our heroes to defuse. The stories presented on this show are fictional, and it would be foolish to draw any real-world lessons from them.
In the context of the show, though, there are a couple things to say. Barry is right that Oliver does not have to be brooding and wallowing in his pain all the time. And he was right to point out that his own mother was also killed in front of his eyes. But then again, Oliver’s troubles are an order of magnitude greater than Barry’s since they include years of torture and isolation on a deserted island, multiple people killed in front of him including both of his parents, and being forced to work for Waller as an assassin.
Speaking of which, do we really trust that what Waller was telling him was true? Could she have set up everything in order to convince Oliver that there was no choice but to torture the prisoner in order to get information? I honestly wouldn’t put it past her.
It was also nice to have John and Lyla acknowledge that there really isn’t any reason for them to not be married. This may lead to John having a different outlook on life, but we will have to see exactly what that means.
I wonder what exactly was the immediate next move in the final duel between Barry and Oliver. The episode cut away when Barry was about two steps away from hitting Oliver, so it doesn’t seem like there’s much time for Oliver to avoid the impending hit. But then again, Oliver must have known that standing still and firing arrows was going to be pointless. And he probably knew that Barry’s response would be to charge directly at him. So he probably prepared a next move. But what could that have been?
Final thought: Come on! Must we have Barry do the salmon ladder, too? He has super speed, not super strength. It made for a nice visual gag, but can we let Oliver have one thing that he does best? Ray Palmer’s and Barry’s actors aren’t even doing it for real.