Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 8 - Flash Vs. Arrow

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


A metahuman bank-robber leaves the people of Central City seeing red - literally inspiring murderous rage with controlled flashes of red light from his eyes. Luckily Oliver Queen is in town to offer Barry Allen his tracking experience in hunting the new criminal down. But when The Flash gets whammied by the new villain, will even The Arrow be able to stop him?


Every single comic where a no-powered veteran vigilante butts heads with a younger hot-shot who thinks their powers make up for a lack of training and experience.  This has been the story behind literally hundreds of comics but perhaps the most famous modern example of this is the rivalry between Superman and Batman, as seen in the animated movie World's Finest.  There's also a nod to the game Injustice: Gods Among Us during Ollie's fight with Barry, with Ollie using attacks that Barry dodges easily as distractions from the attacks that are meant to hit.


Team Arrow coming to Central City because a lot of things made from Iron Oxide are made there is a bit like going to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean because a piece of evidence is wet and there's water out in the middle of the ocean.  See Technobabble for more on Iron Oxide and why this is a particularly nonsensical link.

How is Ollie affording all the gear he sets up for his training sessions with Barry?

For a highly-recognized former millionaire playboy with a secret identity he's paranoid about hiding, Ollie is incredibly nonchalant about being seen in public with Felicity and Barry at the same time.


The entire cast deserves mention here, in all honesty.  Nobody hits a wrong note the whole night.

David Ramsey doesn't get much to do as John Diggle, but he makes up for it by giving one of the most understated comic performances of all time as the usually unflappable Digg proves to be completely flummoxed by the reality of a man who can run at super speed.

It's also worth noting that Grant Gastin turns in an amazing performance as the angry Barry, becoming truly scary as he loses control.


The script for this episode does a fine job of explaining away some of the aspects that don't seem to make a lot of sense.  Key among these is why Oliver - who was so supportive of Barry's heroism in the pilot episode of The Flash - is now acting like Barry is some idiot kid who shouldn't be involved in Ollie's business.  Wells apparent ignorance as to who The Arrow is proves to be another interesting mystery, along with just how he figured it out later after grilling Felicity on the subject.

The fight scene between The Flash and The Arrow may well be the best fight scene ever for both shows.

Flash Facts 

In the comics, Roy G. Bivolo was a Flash villain who went by the name The Rainbow Raider. As a child, Roy dreamed of becoming an artist but was cursed with severe color-blindness. Roy's father was an optometrist who made it his life's work to cure his son's condition. Failing that, he constructed a pair of goggles that he hoped would fix Roy's vision. The goggles instead gave Roy the ability to create solid beams of rainbow-colored light as well as focused beams of one color that could alter the emotions of whoever Roy looked at - red for anger, yellow for fear, etc. Roy turned to crime shortly after his father's death, focusing on the theft of classic art.

The Flash TV series version of Roy G. Bivolo focuses upon this later ability to manipulate emotions and further limits his powers to causing feels of rage.  Presumably he may be able to expand his repertoire to include fear, depression, envy and whatever the heck an orange flash of light does in later episodes.

Today, The Rainbow Raider is probably best known to comics fans for his frequent appearances on Internet lists of the stupidest super-villain ideas ever. This is partly because of his unlikely real name, his idiotic motivations and his inability to use what could be a fairly versatile power set effectively.

Cisco gives Roy G. Bivolo the code-name Prism. This name is already used by two separate but fairly obscure DC Comics characters.  One was a scientist given light-control powers during the Bloodlines event in 1993.  The other was a member of Stormwatch in the Wildstorm universe.

Early summaries of this episode before it aired referred to the Roy G. Bivolo character by the codename Chroma. The new 52 version of The Rainbow Raider used the name Chroma and was killed by Gorilla Grodd in the pages of The Flash comic.

Chroma was also the name of another DC Comics character.  This Chroma was a villain in Infinity Inc who claimed to be but one aspect of a cosmic being that appeared on many worlds, singing hypnotic songs about death and oblivion. There was some suggestion that Chroma might be one of the New Gods.  He was later killed by the anti-hero Gog.

Barry painting the wall at a homeless shelter super-speed is another frequent gag in The Flash comics.  The Flash used his speed to help the needy as much as he fought crime.

The bank Prism robs is located on the corner of Cunningham and Sampere.  This a reference to Brian Cunningham and Daniel Sampere.  The former is the current editor on The Flash comic.  The later is the current artist on Green Arrow.

Barry proves countless times throughout the episode that - like Superman - he is faster than a speeding bullet.

When asked about a real name, Barry asks Iris if she means a name like Ralph.  This may be a reference to Ralph Dibny - aka The Elongated Man, who was one of Barry Allen's best friends in the superhero community in the comics.

Oliver takes his coffee black.  Felicity takes extra sugar in her latte.

Oliver is on Iris West's list of three celebrities she is allowed to sleep with without it counting as cheating on Eddie Thawne.

Barry uses his super-speed to vibrate a lock out of a door.

Pretending to miss a shot so as to set off a trick arrow with an area effect in order to deal with a faster opponent or drugging them with a trick arrow are frequent tactics used by Green Arrow in the comics.

Likewise, vibrating at super-speed to either cycle the drug through his system or phase away from it is a frequent method of dealing with poisons that The Flash employs in the comics.

The woman Ollie runs into in the comic shop isn't identified by name, but is credited on as Sandra.  This would seem to confirm that she is Sandra Hawke.  In the comics, Sandra Hawke was a woman Oliver slept with in college, who went on to have Oliver's baby without him knowing about it.  She was last seen in a flashback in the Arrow Season 2 episode Seeing Red.

The Flash logo before the final teaser is shot with a silver arrow.

The man on fire in the final scene is Caitlin's fiance Ronnie Raymond a.k.a. Firestorm.  He is played by Robbie Amell, cousin of Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver Queen.


Prism's power overwhelms the emotion centers of the brain.  It is particularly effective in interfering with Executive Function, which stops people from acting on whatever random impulses fly through their brains.

Iron Oxide can refer to one of 16 different materials.  Iron oxides are primarily used in pigments, make-up and electronics.  They tend toward either dark black or rusty red in coloration, making the idea that the shiny silver boomerang Team Arrow takes to STAR Labs is primarily made of iron oxide rather odd.

Thankfully, we're later told the boomerang is made of a high density plastic or composite metal, reinforced with carbon fibers that would better explain the odd coloration.

Kangaroo meat is a surprisingly fat-free source of protein, according to Barry.

Prism's powers effect the ocular nerve, manifesting as bursts of red light.

Color psychology is the theory that changes in the color spectrum can manipulate a person's emotions - even to the point of causing temporary psychosis.

A re-curve bow, like the one Ollie uses, can shoot arrows at 300 feet per second or approximately 200 MPH (204.54 MPH to be precise.)  Cisco says Barry can run three-times faster than that (i.e. 600 MPH).  We've seen Barry move faster than that on the show before but the point remains - Barry is still a lot faster than anything Ollie can shoot.

Ollie's special knock-out arrow injects Barry with 2000 mg of horse tranquilizer.

Dr. Wells uses a specially timed lighting rig to restore Barry to normal.

Dialogue Triumphs

Dr. Wells:
Anger. Hate. Aggression.
Cisco: (Yoda voice) A Jedi craves not these things!
(Even Barry glares at Cisco)
Cisco: No one else is feeling that quote?

The Flash: I've got to run.
Iris: I'll bet you say that to all the other girls.
The Flash: What other girls?

The Arrow: (to The Flash) Nice mask.

Barry: (running up to Felicity and Diggle) By the way, I gave Oliver like a half-hour head start.

John: I mean, do you think he can do everything real fast? I mean, like how fast do you think he goes to the bathroom after eating something?
The Arrow: This is you watching my back?

Oliver: Last month you took on a man named Leonard Snart...
Barry: We call him Captain Cold.
Oliver: We can talk about you giving your enemies silly code names later.
Barry: You mean like over coffee with Deathstroke and Huntress?
Oliver: ... point.

Caitlin: Since when do we have facial recognition software?
Felicity: Happy Hanukkah!

Felicity (To Barry) You are such a lovable dummy.

The Arrow: You need to calm down.
The Flash: And you need to hang on.

(Metatextually summing up nearly every "who would win?" superhero fight question ever)
Cisco: So... it was a tie?

(As Barry and Ollie both look wistfully at Iris and Felicity from a distance)
Ollie: Guys like us don't get the girl.


The homeless shelter Barry helps to paint at super-speed is being put up by Palmer Technologies.

Captain Singh makes reference to a boyfriend he lives with, who is forcing him to eat healthy.

Team Arrow are in Central City investigating a killer using special boomerangs, who was first seen in the stinger of A307.

John Diggle has a cousin who was struck by lighting and all he developed was a stutter - not super-speed.

According to Joe West, The Arrow has been officially charged with 12 murders over 3 years.

Ollie mentions Captain Cold, last seen in F104.

Dr. Wells asks Felicity who The Arrow is. She refuses to say and he says he'll just have to figure it out himself.  Later in the episode, he apparently has figured it out although how he did so is unclear. Did he use his technology to read future newspapers from a time when Ollie's identity was public knowledge? Or did he use basic detective work?

Barry's powers are somehow able to delay the effect of Prism's powers.  Unfortunately, this causes Barry to slowly build his anger up toward one explosive outburst.

By episode's end, Caitlin, Cisco, Dr. Wells and Joe West know Ollie's secret identity.

Felicity asks Caitlin if she could analyze the DNA sample of whoever killed The Canary in A301,

Dr. Wells met Robert Queen at some charity fundraiser.  Ollie was discussed and Dr. Wells says he is sure Ollie's father would be proud of him.

Oliver senses something off about Dr. Wells.

By the episode's end, Eddie Thawne's Anti-Flash task-force has been approved and Iris has asked The Flash never to speak to her again.  Iris also reaffirms her commitment to Eddie.

The woman Ollie runs into as he's leaving the coffee shop isn't named in the episode, but she's credited on IMDB as Sandra.  She was last seen in A220 where - in a flashback - it was revealed that she was pregnant with Oliver Queen's child and that Oliver's mother Moira paid her two million dollars to tell him that she'd lost the baby and never speak to him again.  She references Moira's death and is later heard talking to a child on her phone.

Ronnie Raymond is seen in the final scene as The Man on Fire.

The Boomerang Factor 

For a highly-recognized former millionaire playboy with a secret identity he's paranoid about hiding, Ollie is incredibly nonchalant about being seen in public with Felicity and Barry at the same time. Maybe that's how Wells figured out who The Arrow is?

The Bottom Line

Perfect.  Absolutely perfect.

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