Ah, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) , how we have missed you and all the issues surrounding, Arrow, The Flash, the DC verse and the two cities, now (very briefly) connected via a high speed train. As CW do not deem MikesFilmTalk worthy of having access to their press site (the only other network apart from CBS to, rather snootily, cite size as being the issue) there will be no episodic pictures for this review, which has also been combined rather than done separately.
Season four of Arrow, where Oliver Queen has returned to Star City and assumed the mantle of “Green Arrow,” a name much more familiar to this viewer than the plain “non colored” nom de guerre of the series. Barry Allen in The Flash, the other CW offering and frequent crossover with the older, by three whole seasons, series meets another Flash, Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) from an “alternative” Earth and each of the two shows appear to be all about change and getting the old team(s) back together again.
They both also share a bleak and deadly future and a villain, Zoom (who will be voiced by the iconic Tony Todd) who is mentioned in The Flash, and also in Arrow at that grave by both Allen and Queen at the end of the season four opening episode.
In the verse of Arrow, Oliver and Felicity attempted to do a Mr and Mrs Smith (without the competition and fighting) and get called back after the “ghosts” concentrate on killing the city per Damien Dhark’s wishes. Played by the increasingly busy, and uber talented Neal McDonough, Dhark is a charismatic and darned scary villain in his own right, even without HIVE and his mystical abilities.
Queen left Star City for a quiet life in the suburbs with Felicity after trust issues make it impractical to work with the team any longer. It seems that Queen is more than ready to leave the darker side of himself in the attic and enjoy life sans weapons and crime fighting.
Barry Allen disbanded the STARS team after defeating Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) last season and stopping, with a little help from Ronnie and Dr. Stein, the wormhole and establishing the singularity. Ronnie died as a result and Allen has blamed himself.
Over on The Flash, as the hero is offered the key to Capital City, another meta-human crops up. Haven star Adam Copeland guests as Al Rothstein/Atom Smasher a guy with issues that deal with size and a very bad attitude. He needs to kill The Flash because if he does, Zoom will send him home.
Despite Allen’s desire to work alone, the STARS team get back together once they realize the Barry cannot take down Atom Smasher on his own. Once the gang (Cisco, Caitlin, Stein, Iris) defeat the newest villain in town and reform the team, Garrick shows up and warns them all that things are about to become very bad for Capital City.
Over at Arrow, there is a similar storyline in that the band has gotten back together but reluctantly on the part of Diggle (David Ramsey), who still has not forgiven Oliver for last season’s kidnapping and breach of trust. In the case of Queen and co, Dhark is not defeated so much as thwarted and he survives to be a continued thorn.
We also learn that, between flashbacks and the one flash-forward (no pun intended) , that Laurel’s dad Lance is colluding with Dhark, although he is not happy with the aspect of innocents dying. It is apparent that little sister Thea (Willa Holland) has some major anger management issues and that Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) has been doing a little colluding of her own, with the guys and gals back at Starling City.
Both series’ opening salvos deal with trust issues, to a degree, and as before, The Flash is a “happier” place to be. Allen’s dad is cleared by Dr. Wells’ posthumous confession and the old guy is finally let out of prison for murdering Barry’s mom. Celebrating his release, Allen is a bit disturbed to learn that pops is planning on leaving the area.
Over on Arrow, however, it looks like Oliver Queen, with his name change to Green Arrow, will learn that, like Kermit, it is not easy being green. Just as it was not easy being just plain old Arrow…
Last year, both shows crossed over and this year will repeat this popular device. There are also plans, confirmed by Constantine star Matt Ryan via his Twitter account, for his character to pop up on CW this year. While the news is that John Constantine will be on Arrow, aka Green Arrow now, with all this crossover business, he could well turn up on The Flash as well.
Until the appearance of Brit actor Ryan on CW, Arrow and The Flash air on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on the network. It should be pointed out that one does not need to be an expert in all things DC to enjoy either of these two shows. The writing and the acting make both series great fun to watch. Tune in and geek out…