The CW’s superhero series Arrow re-imagines Green Arrow for a TV audience as a tough, often ruthless vigilante bent on setting things right in his home of Starling City by punishing the wicked. ComicsAlliance’s Matt Wilson Dylan Todd is back here for the third season of the popular series in our recap feature we’re officially dubbing Pointed Commentary.

This week: It's a CROSSOOOOVER, as Starling City gets all Flashed up, Captain Boomerang comes back for more than a throwaway cameo, and Ollie gets called a "jerkwad."

First off, hi! I'm not Matt Wilson. I'm Dylan Todd. I normally do the Flash recaps, but since this week's episodes of Flash and Arrow crossed over, ComicsAlliance decided we should switch shows and I'm strangely excited for this?

FULL DISCLOSURE: I've only seen like 1.5 episodes of Arrow, as I tuned out on the second episode of the first season when I remembered that I could be watching Kolchak the Night-Stalker instead. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy this episode. Or didn't I? Read on to find out, Arrowheads. (Is that a thing? If not, it is now.)

BOWBACK: What Happened This Week

So yeah, let's get right into it. We're treated to a recap of what happened so far, which was mostly gibberish to me, though I did catch that there's a guy killing people with boomerangs, so I'm assuming he's Captain Boomerang, unless there are other boomerang-based super villains running around the DCU that I don't know about. And then we see Starling City, and the Red Arrow (he's actually Arsenal on the show, but Red Arrow sounds better) and the Green Arrow (who's actually called just The Arrow on the show, or "Arrow" if you're nasty) running up to a boarded up house while Diggle (who's called Diggle on the show) pulls up in a black murder van. Red Arrow goes to check it out but Green Arrow tells him it's booby-trapped like crazy, so then he's all, "I got this," and then they blow the house up with bomb-arrows.

You know, normal superhero stuff.

Once they make sure the place is blowed up real good, they look through the (remarkably undamaged) house and find a pot of beans or whatever and Red Arrow is like, "I guess we just missed him." And OOPS, the house is filling up with guys in tactical gear with laser sights trained on the Arrows. Ollie is all, "Oh, you guys are from A.R.G.U.S.," and the leader of the assault team is like, "Yup." Then he calls Ollie a "jerkwad," and I'm loving this Mike Mignola-looking dude and his old-timey put-downs.

I'm assuming A.R.G.U.S. is some S.H.I.E.L.D.-type top secret acronym-loving task force. I'm also assuming that A.R.G.U.S. stands for "Always Remember George cUStanza," but I could be wrong on that one. The A.R.G.U.S. guys "bug out," and tell Green Arrow to leave this alone, but something tells me this super-rich hunk who got off a crazy island and then dedicated his life to dressing up like Robin Hood and shooting bad guys with pointy things isn't one to listen to things like "logic," or "reason," or "agents of a shadowy government organization who employ guys who use 'jerkwad,' in casual conversation."

Back at the Arrow Warehouse, AKA the Arrhouse, the Arrows and Diggle are talking to Felicity Smoak who I recognize from her two appearances on The Flash. (And also my dreeeams.) This Arrow fella sure seems chill as he scowls his way through his conversation with Felicity about the guy we saw get boomeranged to death in the recap. He leans on Diggle to get his ex-wife(?), who apparently works for A.R.G.U.S., to give up some info on the dead guy. Diggle's like, "Oh, okay."

Then I guess we get a flashback because Arrow looks like he's doing some B- Sawyer-from-Lost cosplay, complete with a dodgy wig. A lady who IMDB says is Amanda Waller, though she's entirely too thin for that, is trying to talk him into torturing a terrorist to give up a bomb's location, because America. Also they're in Hong Kong? I'm not entirely sure here, but let's go with it, shall we? They say HKPD, so I think that's correct. Also she wants him to torture the guy with arrows, which seems … not very effective. Pliers? Power drill? Lead pipe? Sure. Arrows? Not so much. But here we are.

At Palmer Technologies, where Felicity works I guess, Cisco and Caitlin show up to pick up some DNA Felicity asked them to analyze. Turns out that Cisco just really wanted to fanboy out and see "The Arrowcave." Felicity tells them they don't call it that but Arrow, come on, buddy; you should totally call it that. Felicity looks like she's gonna say no, but Cisco literally looks like he's gonna cry, so she gives in. I love Cisco.

At the Arrhouse, Arrow is getting all huffy about these poor people from some hayseed city coming into his tricked out abandoned warehouse to touch all his stuff, but Cisco manages to win over Red Arrow by geeking out over his red costume and also mentions that he'd love to improve Ollie's gear. Ollie tolerates this. Caitlin points to some bar on the wall and Felicity makes a joke that apparently you'd get if you watched the show more than 1.5 times or, uh, exercised. (I figured out later that it's a bar where Ollie works out his hunk muscles.)

 At A.R.G.U.S., Diggle's trying to sweet-talk his ex-lady, Lyla Michaels, into giving up info on Captain Boomerang-Toomerang-Zoomerang, when who should appear, but some Matrix-looking dirtbag in a leather duster who looks more than a little like Honkey Blade. He starts throwing boomerangs around every-which-where and Diggle calls in the Arrow Squad to take care of this guy while Boomerang yells about how boomerangs are the best.

Arrow hops on the Arrowcycle to get over there but WHAT'S THIS?! The Flash is also on his way there. When Arrow shows up, there's this great 70s-style synthesizer-theremin-sounding music sting that I AM IN LOVE WITH. Some straight up Kill Bill stuff. They fight Captain Boomerang, but he gets the drop on the Arrow Bros (Arrbros?) and just as his boomerangs are about to boom them, The Flash zooms those booms and saves the day. Boomerang is like, "Seacrest out," and drops some flash bombs and books it out of there while Barry stands there grinning like the lovable dolt that he is.

Lyla spills the beans on George Harkness/Captain Boooooomerang, who was a Suicide Squad recruit sent by Waller to assassinate a warlord in Tanzania, but Harkness escaped the team "sanitizing," (code work for "killing them all by blowing up the little bombs we put in their skulls") and now he's out for revenge.

Back at the Arrhouse, Barry's using Oliver's exercise bar thing in super-speed and then goes out for sushi, leaving a bunch of fluttering paper in his wake. (See the Flash Facts Arrow Points section for more on this.) The Arrbros come back with Lyla and dump out a bunch of boomerang pieces but are like "This will take *forever* to put together." Arrow pulls Barry aside and gives him a stern talking-to, telling him he doesn't need his help because he's a strong guy with stubble and a frown, but then Barry's like, "Pwease," and Arrow's like, "Oh, okay." Barry super-speeds the boomerangs together and they analyze the pieces, pinpointing a dealer that Harkness might have bought the metals from.

Ollie and Barry head to police HQ, which in Starling City looks way more dingy than Central City's Art Deco police palace. We're introduced to Laurel and Quentin Lance, the Assistant D.A. and police captain, respectively. Boy does the captain have a weird nonsense accent. He sounds like he's doing an impression of Bill Hader doing an impression of James Carville. Barry asks Quentin if he remembers this guy they're looking for or what he might have been arrested for. They figure out he's doing cybercrimes for the Russian mob. Barry flashes in and zip-ties all the Russians, including one guy who looks kind of like Frank Quitely. Hey, Frank! Great job on Pax Americana!

Arrow and Flash find the guy who supplied Harkness with the boomerangs and the guy is all, "Go to hell," so Ollie just shoots an arrow into his shoulder like NBD. Barry is, naturally, shocked by this, but even moreso when Ollie starts wiggling the arrow around in the guy to get him to talk. The guy eventually gives up the info, and Barry and Ollie have a nice chat about how maybe torturing guys is a crummy thing to do, but Ollie's like, "Well, I got this phone from him, so it can't be that crummy."

Seriously Ollie, man; geez, calm down a little, bud. We're all worried about you.

Ollie tries to out-horrible Barry, talking about how he's had family and friends killed and how Barry's city's a sucker and his city's a creep, but OOPS, Barry's mom got killed in front of him by a weird yellow blur and his dad's been in prison the entire time and you don't see him jabbing dudes with stuff to get them to talk. Anyway, they drop the cyberdude off at the police station and head back to the Arrhouse.

Ollie and Lyla have a weird thing where they say this mantra that I'm not sure where it came from but they both have it memorized. (Turns out it's something Waller used to say a lot, apparently.) Felicity hacks the planet and finds out where Harkness is. SURPRISE! It's a warehouse.

FLASHBACK! to Ollie getting ready to torture the dude, but the guy does that thing where the villain says, "You don't have it in you," and Ollie is like "OMJ you're right," and the bomb explodes in the near distance. :(

Back in the present, Diggle, Red Arrow and Cisco are in the murder van, chatting, talking about how hard it is to keep your family safe in a world with weirdos around everywhere. Diggle also is terrified of a world where people are killing each other with boomerangs, but let's be honest, death by boomerang is pretty cool and has also been happening since the first Indigenous Australian perfected that thing for the express purpose of killing him some dinner. Cisco posits that maybe the superheroes are there to protect people, sent by God a dark matter wave released from a failed particle accelerator reaction to give them hope. Or something.

Barry beats Ollie to the warehouse, zip-ties up the bikers (We'll call them the Sons of Oligarchy) that are hanging out there and waits for Ollie to show up. Also, these guys' hideout has the most hilarious generic neon signs up everywhere. One says "GUNS," another "XXX," there's a "CLUB," and another one that's just a sexy lady silhouette. I'm surprised there's not one that says "BAD STUFF," or "CUSSES." Turns out the Sons were paid by Harkness to hang on to the phone in order to lead the Arrbros away from the Arrhouse so Boomerang could go after the lady who ordered his death: one Lyla Michaels.

So Cap Boomerang shows up, boomering the heck out of the place while the ladies all scramble. Lyla asks for a gun and Felicity – and this is not a joke – tells her they keep them in the third drawer on the right. That's the kind of show this is, where they have a gun drawer. To be fair, Flash did have a locker with a super-cold gun just sitting around, but still, if you're looking for a microcosmic example of how these two shows differ; there it is.

Boomerang makes a speech about "Ya know what I like about boomerangs? I keep getting older and they stay the same age They're proof that things can come back to haunt you," and then Lyla gets hit in the shoulder with the sharp edge of a boomerang. and Boomer takes off cuz Felicity throws a mini bomb at him.

The Arrbros show up, finding Lyla stabilized thanks to the efforts of Caitlin, but she needs to get to a hospital if she's gonna make it. Barry zooms her off and FLASHBAAAAACK to after the bomb blew up in Hong kong. Waller gives Ollie a speech about how he could have stopped this if he hadn't been such a wuss and just tortured the guy to get the info. Waller goes through the speech that Lyla and Ollie recited, but Ollie's like, "Um  I don't think I like torturing people," and Waller's like, "Nah, you just need practice." (TBH, this whole arc was done better in the Lost episode, "One of Them." Remember that episode? Clancy Brown was in it. He's the bizzomb.)

At a nightclub (?) Red Arrow, Felicity, Cisco and Caitlin are hanging out, drinking and being pretty morose. There's an attempt to let the supporting cast members talk about the differences in the shows, with C+C Science Factory arriving at the conclusion that their cuckoo metahumans make it feel less "real," more impossible, whereas for the Arrow gang, it's grim and gritty and "real." I'm not entirely sure I buy this reading, but it's a decent attempt.

At the Arrhouse, Ollie is moping about how he's kind of a mean jerk, torturing people and being gruff with his friends. Ollie's worried that he's had to trade his humanity in order to protect his city. Barry talks him down, pointing out that it's his humanity that's helped get him through his trials and what's made him want to be a hero. Before they can hug, Felicity walks in and is like, "We found Harkness."

He's at a train station, which is a very healthy industry in the CW DCU, apparently, given that Barry fought Captain Cold on a train as well. Barry flashes in, moves all the passers-by, and him and Arrow confront Captain Boomerang, who is like, "Welp, I guess I could surrender to you OR I could set off the five bombs I've hidden around the city." and arms the bombs with a remote. So Barry has 90 seconds to find the bombs or Starling City goes boom, which, I mean, would people even be able to tell? What I'm saying is it's kind of a dump.

While Barry's off bomb-hunting, Ollie fights Boomerang, but winds up securing him to a pole with a weird neck-grab double-arrow thing that seems oddly specific for Ollie to have on him, but hey, whatever. Boomerang gives a speech about how Ollie could torture him to get results, but just like in our flashback, he hesitates.

Thanks to Felicity's computer hacking skills, Barry finds the first bomb pretty quickly, but UH-OH, it's got a back-up that will trigger all of the bombs unless all five are defused at once. Luckily, Roy, Caitlin, Cisco and Felicity are all back at the Arrhouse, so he manages to zoom them all over town to the bombs.

Barry, Caitlin, Cisco, Felicity and Roy synchronize their Swatches and … all manage to disarm their bombs at the same time. I like this. I like that Barry's third act problems are usually solved by figuring out a crazy solution instead of just punching it until it passes out.

Anyway, back at the train station, Boomerang waits until Ollie turns his back to him before he goes to boom him in the back, but Ollie nocks an arrow and shoots his hand to the pole. Barry sees it and gives him a little "Oh you," look and Ollie basically makes an "Ain't I a stinker?" face at the camera.

At the hospital, Lyla wakes up to find Diggle waiting for her. He proposes to her and she says yes and they kiss and it's sweet and stuff.

At the Arrhouse, the supporting casts are saying goodbye and they're sad cuz summer camp is over and they'll have to go back to their normal old cities and do their normal old things. Barry and Ollie roll in and tell everybody that they got Harkness and put him on Ollie's secret Doc Savage prison island, which is creepy, but… okay. Ollie also unveils a little mannequin thing for Barry to put a spare costume on in case he needs one the next time he's in town/the CW decides to do another crossover. This is the superhero equivalent of giving your significant other a drawer or two and a toothbrush, I guess.

Cisco has a gift for Ollie as well, a super-duper new costume. More bulletproof, same hood.

We get the rest of the flashback, where Waller brings in a new Triad dude for Ollie to shoot full of arrows, only this time? He's looks like he's gonna be pretty into it.

We close with Barry and Ollie headed to a (you guessed it) abandoned warehouse to finally figure out who would win in a fight, only they pretty much just trash-talk and never fight, which is fine. Just guys being dudes, fighting in an old warehouse. We've all been there at some point in our lives, am I right?

ARROW POINTS: Random Observations
  • I liked Felicity's "every Wednesday," answer to how often Ollie works out on his bar thingy. That was prett-ay prett-ay prett-ay prett-ay clever.
  • Every time Barry runs into or out of a room, there's a cloud of flutteirng paper behind him and I can't remember if it's a thing that they also do on The Flash or if it's a choice by somebody on the Arrow team, but now I need to rewatch all the episodes to see if they do it on the regular.
  • Harkness's fake safehouse is on the corner of Infantino and Adams, references to the great Flash and Green Arrow/Lantern artists Carmine Infantino and Neal Adams, respectively.
  • Last night, I was reading Avengers #223, a team-up issue where Hawkeye, a guy with no powers but is good with arrows, teams up with Ant-Man, a guy with powers and a red suit, to defeat the Taskmaster, who had taken over a circus to use as a mobile training grounds for his henchman service. In this issue, the heroes finally corner Taskmaster, who then gives them an ultimatum: they can stop him OR they can stop the bomb he planted to go off and kill all these circus-goers. They decide for option B, and Hawkeye shoots Ant-Man at the bomb, which he manages to defuse in the nick of time. Just thought that was a weird confluence.
  • So, how was the crossover? Based on the ratings bump Flash got, I'd say it worked pretty well for the CW.
  • Creatively, I think it helped as well, with the writers being able to pinpoint things that worked in the other show that they can sort of graft on. I'm hoping the Flash writers learn from Arrow's (apparent) mythology-rich format and dial back the freak-of-the-week format that it's sort of stuck in (that Blackout episode was more than a little tiresome in places), and hopefully Arrow can unclench a little and maybe play it not so grim. I'm probably projecting, but Roy's wistful, "You guys are fun," when he was saying goodbye to C+C felt a little like the writers looking at Flash and going, "We should maybe do a little bit more of that."
  • I … actually liked this episode? I mean, Arrow is kind of a jerk and everything seems to be super-serious and intense like all of the time in Starling City, but I felt like the writers were addressing that head-on in this episode. I also think Arrow's Christian Bale cookie Monster voice is hilarious. I'd heard that Arrow sort of hit its stride in the second season, but hadn't gotten around to catching up (did you know that Netflix put up all of Gilmore Girls?!), and between this episode and the earlier Felicity guest episode, my interest is definitely piqued.

TAKING AIM: Future Happenings

The teaser for next week's mid-season finale appears to be a doozy, with Ra's al Ghul's full introduction to the show and also it looks like there's some shirtless fighting in the snow, if that is a thing that you are into.

Alright, that's all, folks. Thanks for having me. If you like what you read, be sure to check out my Flash recaps. In the meantime, the balcony is closed.