“WHEN DID THIS BECOME INDIANA JONES?”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
As has become tradition with the CW’s suite of DC Comics shows, The Flash crossed over with Arrow this week, with each show telling half of a single story (and marketed under the blander-than-bland name “Heroes Join Forces”). As was the case with last year’s crossover, (“The Flash vs. Arrow”/”The Brave & The Bold”), the team-up was tons of fun, offering a great mixing up of the two casts. However, where “Legends” shined was in the way it took that foundation and had the two heroes fighting a single villain, and introducing a pair of new DC characters in the process.
“Legends” picks with the introduction of Vandal Savage, a mysterious man with mystical powers who arrives in Central City with one purpose: kill Kendra Saunders, who happens to be Cisco’s new girlfriend and the future Hawkgirl. Unable to fight Savage one-on-one, Team Flash heads to Star City to consult the more mystically-experienced Oliver Queen. Things only get crazier when Carter Hall, aka Hawkman, crashes the party and declares that he will defend Kendra from Savage, whom has been fighting him for years. While the episode had a lot of groundwork to do with laying out the backstory for Savage and Hawkman, the story of Hawkman and Hawkgirl as lovers hunted through the ages by a jealous Vandal Savage worked well, even if the how and why of it was sometimes unclear.
Falk Hentschel did fine work as Carter Hall, imbuing him with a serious, determined spirit, but it was Ciara Renee who shined as Hawkgirl, showing the stress and vulnerability of going from a humble barista to the center of a love triangle between two mystic warriors. For his part, Casper Crump was suitably menacing as Vandal Savage, although Crump’s choice to make Savage more lean and agile makes him feel like he’s not as imposing as he should be, especially considering his portrayal in the comics.
Of course, that’s to say nothing of the interplay between Flash and Arrow, who are still a joy to watch, with Barry’s adding tons of energy to Oliver’s usually stoic operations (although it certainly helped that Oliver is willing to crack a smile this season.) The show really felt like it was taking advantage of the universe it has created over the last two years, bringing together several characters from both shows to help in the fight against Savage. While it occasionally felt like people like Laurel and Thea didn’t have much to do, it was nice to see everyone together, not to mention the big role for Cisco in helping Kendra awaken as Hawkgirl.
However, there a few things holding the episode back; each half was saddled with a B-plot specific to that show, with The Flash advancing the Zoom plot by following Dr. Well’s developing of a serum to increase Barry’s speed, and Arrow following Oliver as he looked for what might be his son. While Arrow’s B-plot felt more organic and natural than Flash’s, both felt a little disconnected from the main plot, and it was hard to escape the feeling that the extra minutes could’ve been used to expand on the primary story. Speaking of the that, the final fight with Savage ended on an odd note. Considering he’s being set up as the archvillain of the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow, it seems a little cheap that he can be defeated by two, well-coordinated guys.
“Legends of Today” and “Legends of Yesterday” had a lot of ground to cover, but it weaved together its various elements well, offering a satisfying introduction for Hawkman and Hawkgirl and setting up Vandal Savage nicely. Not to mention it was a whole lot of fun, with the episode taking full advantage of the crossover format and giving every character a moment to shine. What could have been an extended tease for “Legends of Tomorrow” ended up being an immensely enjoyable tale for The Flash and Arrow, and only reinforces the notion that the shows need to crossover more.
Was Vandal Savage all you expected? What did you think of the Hawks? Tweet me @MaxMielecki. And be sure to follow us @YouNerded.
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