Following Ollie’s battle with Ra’s al Ghul, and Barry’s first real encounter with Zoom, Arrow and Flash return from their mid-season breaks to find their worlds turned upside down. (Be warned, many spoilers for “Revenge of the Rogues” and “Left Behind” follow within.)
The last episodes of both Arrow and Flash before the break featured high profile battles with high profile villains. Barry faced his nemesis for the first time and lost, whilst Ollie faced down the Demon’s Head of the League of Assassins… and died. Following up such huge events could be a difficult thing to do, but lucky for us, the show runners here are up for the task and prove it with two great episodes. One full of flashy events that step up the game even more, and one that’s a bit more of a slow burn while still managing to bring the superhero action we’ve come to expect. But I’m not here to coldly review, so lets just discuss them, instead.
In this week’s Flash we saw the return of Captain Cold, a character that seems like he will be handled with a similar returning fashion that Deadshot has had on Arrow, but this time he came alongside his fellow rogue, Heat Wave. Now, this is a great combination from the comics in and of itself, and while its not exactly one that I have ever personally followed, its one that I’ve always enjoyed seeing pop up when I do, and the whole friendly nemesis dynamic was played out quite well here, in my opinion. What really made this pairing stand out, though, was the reunion of Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell on screen. I was only a passive fan of Prison Break, but even I loved seeing these two together again, and they really seemed to relish their time here, which made it all the better. Purcell, in particular, stood out as a sort of maniacal pyromaniac who really did just want to watch the world burn, and I loved every minute of it.
That aside, the story was still focused on Barry, of course, and the emotional fallout from his lost battle with the Reverse Flash was prevalent even from the first line of the episode, in which Barry refutes his previous claims of being the fastest man alive. This was impacting on many levels, to me, but mostly because it lead to such an almost helpless Barry for much of the episode. Grant Gustin really did a great job playing the ups and downs this week, and amidst a slew of other characters’ stories moving forward, he still managed to ground the whole show around him, which is fantastic considering he’s the star. He has truly proven himself finely cast at this point. But even so, the best character moment was undoubtedly when Detective Thawne risked his life to save Flash on the streets during his battle with the rogues, a scene made all the more poignant given their journey so far this season.
Is it just me or is it really starting to feel like Thawne is being used in the same sort of role Tommy had in the first season of Arrow? I mean, he was a distraction for long standing fans who saw his name and thought he’d end up the villain, but that was revealed to not be so just before the mid-season break, and now he’s going through the back and forth of support and condemnation. At this rate, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he wound up dying in the season finale, though that may prove problematic for the future usage of Zoom, as it seems fairly obvious Thawne is an ancestor of the iconic villain. But then maybe that’s how they’ll actually end up defeating him… what do you think?
On to Arrow, we return from he break to find Ollie lifeless just before being thrust into the adventures of Team Arrow, sans their namesake, and I enjoyed I immensely. As much as I like Oliver Queen, my all time favorite comic book character is actually Roy Harper, so seeing him get to walk in the spotlight was simply amazing for me. Taking more or less the lead of the team as the only trained bowman around was a natural spot for him to go, and while Felicity may have broken down, there was never a question of whether or not Roy would stay. He would take up Ollie’s crusade alone if he had to, even if the Glades weren’t under an imminent threat from Brick. Of course, with Black Canary coming on the scene, its not like he would have to be alone, anyway.
Two and a half seasons. Yep, that’s how long we had to wait to see Dinah Laurel Lance step into the fishnets… or, well… the costume she has here, anyway. Having trained with Ted Grant all season, this was inevitable, but bringing her out in the wake of Ollie’s death, not to mention her sister’s passing, was a great moment, and it was all carried quite well, even if it was quite short. She looks great in the outfit, she’s got the moves, and her overall presence was quite powerful to me. Some people might dislike Laurel in this show, but I just don’t get why. Yeah, there’s been some questionable paths to this moment, but it has all been worked well enough that, at least to me, this first appearance as her vigilante self made me grin. But then I’m a long time Arrow fan, since long before the show, and thus I have a soft spot for her, so I don’t know… what did you all think of this moment?
Anyway, lets get back to Ollie here. We find him fallen from the cliff upon which he was slain as a man approaches. That man, of course, is his old friend, Maseo, with whom Ollie set in motion a plan to save his wife, Tatsu in the flashbacks, and its a plan that apparently works, as she is there to help bring Ollie back from his lifeless state in the present day. Yeah, even I was kind of irritated by that one. On the one hand, it was a bit of a nice reveal, but on the other it sort of undermines the entire flashback story at this point, simply by revoking a measure of suspense therein. But maybe there’s more to it.
Regardless, the episode was still quite strong throughout, stronger than Flash’s return, even, or at least in my opinion. Of course, with them both being so good, there’s not a lot of room for measure. And why rate these things, anyway, right? After all, I’m not reviewing them here (honestly, I’m not), but hey, which did you think was better?
Let me know in the comments below, and lets discuss your thoughts.