Review: ‘Arrow’ and ‘Flash’ Close ‘Legends of Yesterday’ Crossover With a Time-Turning Twist
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Legends of Yesterday”:
Hi, everybody! I didn’t get a chance to weigh in on the first half of last night’s Arrow-Flash-Legends of Tomorrow crossover “Legends of Today,” regrettable considering how much fun the entire experience has injected into either side of The CW’s DC-verse. Legends setup has been hitting Arrow Season 4 the hardest, so you can imagine the catharsis that comes with finally getting to see some of that payoff in action, evenly intermingled with both series at that.
In fact, both “Today” and “Yesterday” held true to their word, in that the former ended up feeling more like an Arrow episode (and in Star City to boot, though it’s all Vancouver), leaving tonight a more Flash-focused hour in Central City. Trying to separate the two for analysis honestly hurts my head a bit, and moreso tonight to weigh the emotional consequences of characters in two different timelines, but we press on.
Obviously, “Legends of Yesterday” serves more as a climactic finale than isolated Arrow, subsequently ending up a bit disjointed by split focus between Oliver’s emotional reaction to having a son, and and just as suddenly switching gears to Cisco, or Barry’s time-travel. As far as Cisco goes, the very existence of Legends prevents any real investment in the relationship with Kendra, but the split timeline ended up serving a clever purpose by Cisco’s ability to nurture Kendra’s emotional side. He deserved at least some win over the Hawk-splaining Carter, and hopefully that at least sticks with Cisco through the rest of Flash Season 2.
The Groundhog Day element to “Legends of Yesterday” actually ended up serving pretty well, once you realize some of the divergences stealthily seeded through the original timeline, though I have to question Barry’s future self telegraphing that do-over so early on. Vandal killing the Hawks was a decent surprise, and might have actually informed their Legends return, even if Oliver’s disintegration moments later would have assured the battle in need of a reboot. Time travel always operates under complicated rules, and Barry will seemingly always see himself before an impending jump, but it still pulled a bit of surprise from an admittedly impressive (and frightening) sequence of Central City’s destruction. No more Felicity on fire, please and thank you.
Not only that, but the temporal aspect also made it a bit difficult to grasp any real through-line of Oliver and Felicity’s argument in either scenario. Crossover necessitates speedy resolution as is, something we saw yesterday in Barry’s immediate decision to call for Oliver’s help, and the same applied with Felicity immediately confronting Oliver for keeping his son from her … about an hour after he found out. Not that Oliver himself couldn’t have waited a few days to take care of Savage first, but the whole scenario felt a bit contrived, if only to revert Oliver to secret-keeping and build a breakup strategy into the relationship with Felicity. TV is always going to tug at a happy couple’s threads, but “Yesterday” never really presented a compelling argument for Oliver to keep Felicity in the dark in either case, a decision made all the weirder by his refusal to heed Barry’s vision of an alternate past.
As you’d expect from last night, the action sequences were certainly a treat, producers clearly intending to ape some Age of Ultron imagery a bit, between last night’s party, Thea’s acknowledgement of superheroes on a farm, or disintegrating a villain with pure energy. As far as the battle's participants, both Savage and the Hawks could definitely benefit from some fleshing out in their own series, if we’re to look past their more exaggerated presences in an action scene. Oh, and the less said about whitewashing Falk Hentschel into an Egyptian, the better.
It’d have been too much to ask for all of the supporting players to put in meaningful roles (like Iris last night, Caitlin seemed to disappear altogether) but it was nice that the timeline shenanigans and final battle gave Laurel, Thea and Diggle their due at least. One can’t really look at “Legends of Yesterday” as an Arrow installment any more than “Legends of Today” belonged to Flash, and the overall excitement and execution far outweigh some of these particular nitpicks. Still, I can’t deny the relief of having Legends firmly out of the way, if only to wade back into Season 4’s story next week, and hopefully save 2016 to ramp up everything the fall run has missed out.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- We’ll forgive the goofy-looking Egypt production value by virtue of ambition alone, but seriously, oof, that poorly-timed whitewash.
- Sure, Oliver. Just approach an old flame as she’s putting her child in the car. Great time for a heated confrontation!
- I wanted to see Barry fighting Ra’s al Ghul, but I really want to see Barry vs. Malcolm. Those two were adorable.
- Robin Hood could teach people not to feel pain?
- Presumbly, the professor on Betamax tape Felicity hooked up impossibly quick will resurface in Legends, no?
- Oh cool, ancient Egyptian rape threats.
- So, what do we reckon Malcolm’s up to?
Arrow Season 4 will return next Wednesday with the final 2015 installment “Dark Waters,” airing at 8:00 P.M. on The CW.
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