Arrow Zoom-In: Legends of Yesterday (4×08)
Following last night’s The Flash crossover episode, we continue on with 2015’s major Arrow/TheFlash crossover special, titled “Legends of Yesterday”. Both these crossover titles are obviously playing on the name of the next CW DC Universe show Legends of Tomorrow, which will premiere during the midseason break the week before Arrow and The Flash are to return. It’s taken eight whole episodes of each show to get to this point, but I think after next week’s midseason finale, we’re finally going to start the actual season’s storyline! That being said, Arrow this week picks up as you would expect with Team Arrow and Team Flash heading out into the country to prepare for a final confrontation with Vandal Savage. This was a pretty awesome episode for fans of both shows and this one is going to leave an impact that my #Olicity loving heart just can’t take.
Warning: SPOILERS will follow!
1. One of the coolest things they did in the Arrow half of this crossover was to tell Kendra Saunders’ and Carter Hall’s origin story in the form of Arrow’s usual flashback sequences. This was actually kind of cool that they waited for Arrow to do the flashbacks since it’s how the show usually flows. If you read my The Flash Re-Nocked column you’ll remember me mentioning that I’m a huge fan of Egyptian mythology, so when this show began in The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, I was pretty intrigued at the direction they were going to take. If you need to remember one thing about the Hawk-heroes, remember that they are tied closely to the Egyptian god Horus. We get to see Prince Khufu (Carter’s past life) presenting his father, the Pharaoh Ramses, with a tribute to Horus. While Priestess Chay-Ara (Kendra) feigns annoyance at the Prince’s ignorance of their god, we get introduced to Vandal Savage who looks to be a High Priest of Horus or something. We learn quite a bit in this introduction from Savage as he tells of “sky rocks” that have been threatening the Pharaoh’s rule. This kind of sets up the mysticism of this version of Egypt that will follow these characters into their present day versions. A jealous Savage catches the lovers… loving… and is quick to kill them both with Chay-Ara’s own dagger. From what I could gather here is that Chay-Ara, Khufu and Savage were all stabbed by the same dagger, then they all said things about eternity and other lives that caused Horus to bind the three of them into the magical dilemma that they’ve found themselves in throughout all of their many lives. We still don’t get much motivation on why Savage hunts them down each life. All I can guess is that he’s just a lover scorned and has the opportunity to kill his love (and hers) several times a decade. I really hope Legends of Tomorrow gives us more information than that. I want some grand scheme that connects with what Baron Reiter is looking for or something more interesting, because I really want to like Savage.
2. Both Teams head out into the countryside, or as Barry called it “the ass end of nowhere”, to try and spare the people living in the cities by drawing Savage away. I was slightly reminiscent of Smallville during these scenes on a farm; in a country home. I was just waiting for Clark to show up and throw a bale of hay. I really enjoyed this change of scenery though. Since both shows are generally set in urban areas at night, it’s nice to see some green grass and sun for once. Oliver even complained that “it’s too bright and sunny” for him there which was a fantastic nod to the complaints at how dark Arrow is. We got some great dialog from both Barry and Cisco this episode as well to keep the mood lighter. While the mood wasn’t as light as it was in The Flash, that’s kind of to be expected on Arrow. Out of all of the supporting characters, Cisco had the biggest role during this crossover, partly because of fan love, but mostly because of his relationship with Kendra. He really gets the raw end of the deal here though. Imagine if you’re dating someone you really like and then you find out they’re literal soul mates with a person that can fly. I felt bad that Kendra kept stringing Cisco along, even kissing him at the very end when she leaves to go live with her ancient lover. I’m just glad that Cisco can still act as a very effective comic relief character even when he’s being crapped on.
3. As the groups mobilize into different units, Thea and Laurel really just disappear for most of the episode. I can’t even remember Laurel having more than two or three lines. I’m not really sure what to think when we have big crossovers like this that can’t include everyone effectively. I mean, while Thea played a role in The Flash half, in this episode I felt like the women were just pushed to the back of the line. At first Oliver refuses the help from Diggle and the girls, but when he lets them join during the second time, they barely have any screen time. Laurel jumps out of the van and gives her signature Canary Cry, but it does absolutely nothing to Savage. Then Thea, Laurel and Dig just get the snot kicked out of them while Oliver and Barry save the day. Even Kendra throughout this episode felt a bit held back. Carter makes a big deal about her using her anger to fuel her powers, but we don’t really even get to see it in the actual battle. She chokes during the failed attempt and during the second attempt the “ace in the hole” that Kendra was supposed to be was just her spreading her wings and flying at Savage once. Then she had to be helped up off the ground by Hawkman. If the writers were wanting us to get excited about Hawkgirl and Hawkman, they did a pretty bad job at it during these battle scenes. I mean… both Hawk-heroes have Nth metal morningstars! Spiked maces! The only time one of them used their weapon was during the first battle between Green Arrow and Hawkman where he just threw his mace at Oliver’s bike. Once again, I’m hoping Legends of Tomorrow does a better job with the Hawk’s than The Flash and Arrow.
4. Unlike some fans of the show, I actually really enjoy Barry’s time traveling occurrences. The second that you see a mirage running alongside The Flash, you know that it’s all about to go very wrong because that’s Barry time traveling! So already I was expecting the fight with Savage to go just terribly and that it did. We got to see the horrific deaths of not only the Hawk-couple (again) but of Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow. Apparently when Vandal Savage kills the Hawk-heroes he gains the magical powers equivalent to a nuclear bomb. He manages to wipe out the city and the country house that the rest of the team was in. Not to mention how horrific it was to see Felicity disintegrate. Bad writers! Shame! Well Barry manages to pull off enough speed to travel back in time and what is the first thing he does? He tells Oliver that he has a son, which is the reason why Oliver was upset and distracted by in the first place! Even though he did that, he was able to fix several more of the issues that caused them to lose during round one. I liked that they were able to reverse engineer that fight and give us the fight back over with the few minor fixes to it. While Barry and Oliver manage to zap Vandal into a pile of dust the rest of the team congratulates themselves and joke about Déjà vu. It was an okay fight scene.
5. We finally get some continuance on the Samantha Clayton and Oliver’s child story that’s been teased for several seasons now. Throughout the episode we see Oliver struggling with the issue, but I found it a bit poorly executed. First he had to miraculously get a hair from Samantha’s son’s hat, but then he made the deal with Samantha that he could only meet William if he kept it secret from everyone else. If someone told me that I could only see my child if I didn’t tell my friends, I would say “No deal! You don’t even know my friends or me as a matter of fact, so don’t try and hold that over me”. Well either way, this caused Oliver to lie to Felicity… twice. The first time she totally caught him in the act and dumped him to the dismay of us #Olicity fans, and the second time he lies to her even after receiving forehand knowledge that Felicity will be devastated by him lying! I honestly thought Oliver was going to tell Felicity that he had a kid at the end. I mean… couples are meant to share even the most intimate secrets with one another, but for some reason he still lied. How would Samantha know that Oliver told anyone? She wouldn’t! Felicity would have been totally cool with it if he had just came out and said something, but now that he’s lied all of us #Olicity fans are going to have to sit here shaking out head in disappointment for the rest of the season until Felicity eventually finds out. So from this point on, Oliver has a son and is allowed to see him. This will add a pretty different dynamic to the show’s future. This is really the last of the super long threads that the show had woven into its story during the first couple seasons. I hope they don’t screw this plot up. Add Samantha and William Clayton to the list of people that could be in that grave.
Despite me nitpicking a lot of the episode, I have to say that I was highly entertained throughout the episode. When combined with last nights The Flash, these two crossover episodes form a really damn good full length feature film. I’ve been complaining and cheering the different aspects of the Legends of Tomorrow set up, which has basically been these first eight episodes (next episode will probably introduce Rip Hunter to complete the set up), but I think overall that it worked out just fine. There is only so much that Oliver and Damien Darhk could have done before it started to get stale, so this whole set up arc has worked for me. The only thing left is Vandal Savage… Oh yea… Malcolm Merlyn scoops up Savage’s ashes for God knows why. Probably some magical debt he wants to hold over Savage. So now I’m left wondering: How will Malcolm bring back Savage? Can the Lazarus Pit reform people from ashes? I mean they didn’t think it would work on a slightly decomposed corpse, so I can’t imagine they’ll just jump straight to ashes working just fine. Who’s name will be on that gravestone and will we find out next week? Can #Olicity survive this new lie? What does Malcolm want from Vandal Savage? Does Damien Darhk have that huge chemical bomb that he was after in The Flash? Where the hell was Ray Palmer during this crossover? He was mentioned but they really didn’t give much reason for him being gone. Either way, I really can’t wait until the next episode and I sure hope they don’t leave us at a painful cliffhanger like they did last season… you know they will.
This week in the competition between The Flash and Arrow in whichs show was better, I give each show the point! It’s too hard during crossovers to give one the win over the other, especially since both shows connect into one feature length story. As expected though the story as a whole was really damn good so I gave them both a full point each! Check out my thoughts on this week’s The Flash in my The Flash Re-Nocked crossover column here!