Arrow/The Flash ‘Legends of Today’ and ‘Legends of Yesterday’ Review: Superhero Ensemble
So much happened in the Arrow-The Flash crossover I don’t know where to start. The episodes felt more like a movie than part of of a TV show. Featuring more superheroes assembled than we see in The Avengers, the two-night special was ambitious to say the least, but I think it paid off quite well.
Oddly enough, the main character in this crossover event wasn’t Barry or Oliver, but Kendra, Cisco’s sort of girlfriend on The Flash and a nice, seemingly very normal girl who works as a barista. But no one in the DC universe stays normal for long. Turns out, unbeknownst to her, she’s actually a reincarnated warrior priestess from Ancient Egypt. And an evil immortal man is after her and her reincarnated soul mate, a former Egyptian prince.
She’s attacked by this man, Vandal Savage, while she and Cisco are on a date, and he calls in Barry for help who arrives in his Flash get up just in time to save her from a knife. In his panic, he accidentally outs Barry as the Flash to Kendra though. Barry realizes that man was no mere metahuman and decides their best course of action to protect Kendra is to pay a visit to the Arrow team in Star City.
Team Arrow and Team Flash converge at the new Arrow digs, and Oliver frankly isn’t too happy that Barry has brought someone they don’t know anything about to their lair while a dangerous figure is chasing her for an unknown reason and questions Kendra heavily. Acting as a peacemaker Felicity suggests they all head back to their apartment and unwind a bit. However, just as things are starting to go nicely and everyone is getting along, Vandal Savage bursts through the window wielding daggers and appearing indestructible against Oliver and Barry. Against Oliver’s instructions Thea pushes him out the window with her arrow, but when they look his body isn’t on the ground.
We learn from Malcolm as well as old documents that Savage is immortal and very dangerous, the League has been hunting him from years. Kendra is overwhelmed by what’s happening and steps out for some air, only for Hawkman to swoop down and fly off with her, promising he’s the only one that can protect her. Everyone rushes to figure out this mysterious figure’s whereabouts, and together Oliver and Barry capture him.
Chained up at Arrow HQ, Hawkman (Carter in this lifetime) explains his backstory. He and Kendra were lovers back in Ancient Egypt and have been reincarnated hundreds of times, only to be killed each lifetime by Savage, as he needs their energy to sustain his immortality. Also, they have wings. Go figure.
Carter tells Kendra she needs to emerge and the best way to do it is hop off the roof of a building. Everyone’s a little hesitant about the idea, but Carter pushes her off the rooftop anyway. She doesn’t sprout wings though, so luckily Barry is there to save her. Later, though she returns with Cisco to the rooftop and decides to begin to embrace her true identity and jumps off herself and winds up flying.
Meanwhile, Savage has retreated to recover the Staff of Horus, an ancient artifact with incredible power. Everyone reconvenes to a farmhouse outside Central City, where both teams work together to figure out a way to defeat Savage, who in a meeting with Malcolm, Oliver, and Barry demanded the ancient priestess and prince be turned over in a day or he would destroy the city.
Nothing works as planned though. Carter’s attempts to train Kendra are fruitless as he only encourages her to use rage to access her powers. Oliver is distracted when he learns his old ex didn’t miscarry and had his child. He’s even more upset when Felicity finds out and berates him for not trusting her enough and the two break up. Cisco creates gloves that are meant to allow him to grab hold of the staff and use it. In the heat of the moment, it doesn’t work though and everyone dies, except Barry who in running away from the destruction, manages to run into the past.
They have a second chance this time and make the most of it. Oliver focuses this time around, saving his visit to his child’s mother’s house for later and avoiding the fight with Felicity. Cisco talks to Kendra instead and encourages her to access her kindness, inner strength, and the memories of her past lives. The gloves work. And Oliver brings everyone along to face Savage, unlike the last time where it was just him, Barry, Hawkman, and Kendra. Miraculously, they defeat him and everyone lives to fight another day. Although we do see Malcolm picking up Savage’s dusted remains at the episode’s close.
This episode is served as a strong introduction to Hawkman and Hawkgirl. However, the episode didn’t just feel like a necessary prelude to Legends of Tomorrow. There was some great ripe drama here for Oliver that will no doubt carry on for episodes to come. He finally learned about his son, who’s now nine years old and living in Central City. I think this begs a major question: Is he the person Oliver’s mourning in the flash-forward from the pilot? Also, in perhaps what is an even bigger surprise, he and Felicity’s relationship, a fan favorite, has come under danger for the first time. Additionally, we see the bond between both Oliver and Barry grow, as friends and fellow heroes. They have a nice dynamic, there’s tension and teasing but also trust and respect. My one major complaint about this episode was that Diggle was more or less forgotten about (Laurel essentially was to, but I can live with that).
If the events of this episode seemed even more fantastical than normal, it’s because they were. Arrow is no longer the gritty, somewhat realistic superhero drama it once was back in the first season. There’s magic and metahumans and time travel now. Yet, while this may not be the same show, it’s still a very, very good series. And it’s important to remember that at the end of it all, no matter how strange things may get, it’s still about a man trying to save his city.