Arrow 3-8: The Brave and The Bold (aka Best Superhero Crossover Ever!)

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The eighth episode of the season is the second part of a glorious two-part crossover event, the first part having been on The Flash on the previous night. Nothing of real significance plotwise happened in part 1 that would make it hard to understand anything in part 2. All you need to know is Oliver continued to play grumpy instructive big brother to Barry who is still getting the hang of this superhero thing and Team Arrow and Team Flash adore each other.

Now…Starling City. Now. Roy, Oliver, and Diggle are staking out a house they believe is inhabited by the Boomerang throwing killer we met at the end of last week’s Arrow episode. Once glance through a crack confirms for Oliver it is the place – there are explosives rigged to blow up any intruders. Oliver and Roy each arrow a door to set off the charges but just as they conclude their quarry has fled, a squad of ARGUS tactical goons who don’t appreciate Oliver and his sidekick in their business. ‘Let it go’ the lead goon advises before waving his team out. ‘We’re not letting it go are we?’ Roy immediate confirms with Oliver, who growls from under his hood as we cut to-

Title card! But what’s this? No arrowhead? Instead we get a yellow bolt lighting zig-zagging across the screen in honor of our very special guest.

Back to the show. The Arrow lair with Team Arrow. Felicity informs the crew that the Boomerang’s victim was indeed an ARGUS agent. Of course with Diggle’s baby momma being an ARGUS agent, he’s tapped with getting the 411 on this guy. Meanwhile…

Flashback! Hong Kong! Waller walks in Oliver to an arms dealer that she wants him to ‘interview’ for information on a bomb hidden in the city. When Waller gives Oliver his interview props – a bow and arrow recovered from the freighter- Oliver realizes Waller wants him to torture his interviewee which makes his unfortunate hair cringe.

Back to Present Day: Felicity gets a visit from Team Flash’s Caitlyn and Cisco. Cisco is on a mission to see the Arrow team’s toys. And cave. And anything else that’s awesome.

And awesome is what Cisco gets as he inspects every inch of the Arrow lair as Oliver grumpily looks on. Cisco isn’t all fanboy, though. He’s already got ideas on improvements he can make to Oliver’s gear. Which earns him another glare and grunt of impatience. Or constipation. With Oliver you can never tell.

Meanwhile we get to the meat of Act 1: Diggle and Lyla at ARGUS. Lyla plays coy with until Boomerang strolls into the facility and begins taking out goons left and right. Oliver and Roy set off to assist when they get an alert but Caitlyn notes that the fighting could be over before they even get there.

Oliver and Roy, ahem, Arrow and Arsenal do get there before the fighting ends and even get in a few licks but just as Boomerangs throws a pack of exploding boomerangs at the Arrow, he realizes this might be a wee bit more than he can handle. Fortunately for him, Barry arrives in geek glory fashion, snatching the boomerangs out of the air like a boss and drawing WTF looks from everyone in the room – even Boomerang. The Flash’s charming smile disarms them for another beaming moment, but Boomerang recovers and sensing a shift in the tide, lobs one last bomb and flees leaving Oliver, Diggle, and Co. looking after him a bit worse for where.

Lyla of course wants to know WTH was that guy in the red suit? The Arrow and Diggle deflect to asking who the guy throwing Boomerangs was since obvious he knew her and was intentionally coming after ARGUS. Lyla spills: Boomerang is Digger Harkness. Former member of the Suicide Squad who is coming for payback after Lyla sanitized his group on a mission gone bad. Diggle and Oliver exchange a look. (Could they both be realizing that dropping Cupid on the squad may not have been a good idea?). Oliver says they need to take Lyla with them to keep her safe since she’s obviously a target and ARGUS obviously sucks with security.

Back at the Arrow cave, Felicity and Caitlin watch Barry do his own version of the Salmon ladder, it’s impressive use of his powers but it could’ve been done shirtless to really make it, uh, memorable. In any case, Barry doesn’t see what the big deal is. Felicity worries Oliver may be a bit miffed at another team up since he doesn’t play well with others. Barry’s more worried about his tummy and sprints off for sushi just missing Oliver, Roy, Diggle, and Lyla returning from ARGUS. Of course he immediately comes back with the sushi prompting Lyla to give another WTH are you look. Barry assumes that she knows who he is but Diggle reveals he does keep secrets from his wife, er, girlfriend, er significant other. Barry ducks into his sushi as Oliver prompts for getting a lead on finding Harkness. Barry wants to dive in to help but Oliver doesn’t want a team up – especially in Starling City. Barry insists he helped before he can help again. Oliver reluctantly agrees as long as Barry agrees to do it his way. Eager to please, Team Flash immediately dive in to help, rankling Oliver but actually helping Felicity come up with a lead that takes them to-

Starling City PD. Barry and Oliver interrupt an argument between Laurel and Quentin (what else is new) for Barry to do some policing and get intel on where Harkness might show up next-

The Starling City’s branch of the Russian Mob’s hideout. Barry marvels that Oliver was in the Russian mob. Oliver tells him and Roy to focus on the task at hand, throwing a look at Diggle who obviously is a bit wound up over the personal stakes. Arrow begins his assault on a group of Russians but Flash beats him to it and takes the fun out of it. They move inside and Flash is horrified as Arrow tortures a goon for info, Barry getting hit on the head by the pedestal he put Oliver on.

After dropping off the bruised and bleeding thug to Detective Lance in his office, The Flash zips back to confronts Oliver in one of the best superhero scenes ever over torturing the goon. Oliver sets Barry straight that Barry lives in a different darker world and tries to play ‘my momma was murdered in front of me’ card which Barry throws back in his face (Grant Gustin even got in a little ‘ Oh, no you didn’t’ neck roll) and then some: I don’t use my issues as an excuse to hurt people. Oliver rolls his eyes and admits that he’s not as emotionally healthy as Barry and that if he don’t’ like how he does things, then he knows his way back to Central City. Poor Barry gawks, completely baffled by Oliver being the biggest douche ever.

Later. Arrow lair. While Felicity works her computer magic, Lyla notes Barry sulking alone in another part of the lair and approaches Oliver. He admits that they had a difference in opinion about how the world works. Lyla knows the feeling: Diggle’s a bleeding heart as well. Some nice ‘the world is not black and white and we work in the grey’ bonding for Oliver and Lyla that’s interrupted when Felicity gets a lead. Before Oliver can glue his mask on, Barry drops his emotional issues to tag along to have Oliver’s back. (Such a good boy that Barry Allen!) Flashback! Hong Kong! Oliver tortures, er, interviews the hostage. But not asking the right questions in the ‘right’ way he doesn’t get the location of bomb in time. How do we know? We see the city lit aflame from the floor to ceiling window of the room.

Present Day. Cisco, Roy, and Diggle follow Oliver and Barry. Diggle notes how crazy the world has gotten. Cisco wonders if the rise of metas and superheros is the answer to the crazy. Roy just continues to love Cisco and all his cool thoughts and mad respect for the superheroing.

Ahead of the crew, Arrow and Flash arrive at the location Felicity sent them to and realize too late that it was a set-up to distract them from Boomerang going after Lyla….

Who has found Lyla at the Arrow lair. All three ladies acquit themselves well, but Boomerang gets in a deadly kill shot on Lyla and it’s only due to Barry superspeeding her to the hospital that she lives.

Flashback. Hong Kong. Oliver watches the aftermath of the bombing a little oblivious to Waller reaming him out but not completely. Lesson of the day: Sometimes extreme matters are needed. Otherwise you end up with blood of the innocent on your hands. And as Oliver’s flashback hair weeps further…

Present Day. Verdant. Team Arrow and Flash commiserate over the rough day. Team Flash realizes how different their worlds really are and how because Central City isn’t quite as grim as Starlings they forget how serious what they do is.

Stuck on that point is Oliver, who is brooding over failing Diggle in protecting Lyla. Barry does what Barry does best and gives his big bro a pep talk even as he tells Oliver he’s full of crap with all his ‘I’m losing my soul’ crap (yay!). Oliver hasn’t lost his humanity, it’s his humanity that helped him get through all the crap he’s gone through. If he had lost his humanity, then he wouldn’t want to help people, but he does and that’s what makes him a hero. Oliver actually seems to not have thought about this and is actually considering it when Felicity has to interrupt this amazing bro moment to update Oliver on Harkness’ whereabouts-

Which are now the Train Station. Harkness is executing his exit plan but the Flash arrives and removes all the potential hostages to allow for a safer confrontation between Boomerang and the Arrow. However Harkness reveals his contingency plan of 5 bombs planted throughout Starling City. Stop him or the bombs but not both. Arrow keeps his bow and arrow on Harkness while Flash tags in the entire team to help him disarm all the bombs in spectacular fashion. Arrow doesn’t fall for Harkness’ baiting and lets him live. But not before shooting another arrow in his hand. Day is saved!

AND to make things even better Diggle proposes to a recovering Lyla at the hospital and she says yes!. Somewhere baby Sara is happy for her parents.

Packing up to leave for home, Caitlin and Cisco are pulled into the mystery of Sara Lance’s murder and promise to help Felicity try to find a lead on Sara’s killer with the task she’s assigned them. Barry and Oliver return from having deposited Harkness at the ARGUS prison on Lian Yu. Slade now has a cell buddy! Which doesn’t sound like a great idea and ripe for a villain team up in the future. But that’s a worry for later.

Right now Barry gleefully notices that he now has his own costume locker in the lair for when he visits. More team ups! Cisco presents Oliver with a new upgraded costume which he is really sincerely, appreciative of and gives Cisco a sweet smile. It’s all warm fuzzies around.

Final Hong Kong Flashback. Waller gives Oliver a second chance to perfect his interview skills. Oliver begins with gusto, determined not to make the same mistake with his new challenge.

Back to the present. Oliver and Barry in their superhero costumes have some business to settle. Who would win in a ‘fair’ fight? No words can describe this scene. It’s a delightful bit of banter and manhood measuring between mentor and mentee, big brother and little brother and brings home the great chemistry between actors and the success of a two night event that leaves you wanting more. As we get a ‘Rocky v Apollo’ style final image of The Flash rushing towards the Arrow we cut to the end title card with yellow lighting zooming through the letters of ‘Arrow’ before flashing out to end the episode.

Next week: Oliver Queen vs.Ra’s Al Ghul. Somewhere Bruce Wayne is chortlng.

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