THE FLASH: “Legends of Today” / ARROW: “Legends of Yesterday”

Well, that was fun.

In the second-ever crossover episode between The Flash and Arrow (the latter of which has been very good to start this year; if I had more time, I’d probably write about it weekly as well), the Legends of Tomorrow thread that has permeated both shows this season comes to a head.

What these “Legends of Today/Legends of Yesterday” did that was interesting to me was split the main plot over the course of both episodes, while letting each show’s secondary characters carry the subplots. In the first episode, Harry and Caitlin started working on a serum to make Barry fast enough to fight Zoom; after Jay Garrick makes a welcome appearance and rejects the idea of using himself to test it, Harry’s life is put in danger when Patty mistakes him for his Earth-1 self and shoots him. Jay returns, helps save Harry’s life, and leaves. Thanks, Jay!

In the main plot of the Flash section of this episode, Vandal Savage arrives in Central City, on the prowl. He attacks Kendra and Cisco on their date before they are narrowly saved by The Flash, who decides to take them to Star City and his friend Oliver Queen. After another run-in with Savage in Star City (and a greatly fun sequence where each hero’s supporting characters can’t quite remember who knows who), HAWKMAN shows up, takes Kendra, and nearly fights The Flash and the Green Arrow to a standstill. After they capture him, he tells everyone in attendance that he and Kendra are perpetually reincarnated soulmates whom Savage kills to give himself more power (Jet Li in The One style).

Hawkman convinces Kendra to jump off of a building to “bring out her true self.” This is a crossover episode, so nobody has time to be patient about anything. She is unsure. Oliver and Barry travel to Central City to capture the Staff of Horus before Savage can. Surprise! He’s already there. They fight. It’s fine. Kendra then jumps off a building, becoming HAWKGIRL. Savage can…feel it somehow, and retreats. Barry and Oliver exchange quips. Everyone meets back up, Hawkman offers his help in defeating Savage “together.” A legit four potential Justice Leaguers are about to fight Vandal Savage! All hail 2015.

On the Arrow side of things, we pick up from where the last episode ended, only this time, Oliver has noticed his former flame from a Season 2 flashback, who may or may not have had his child. It’s a very Arrow subplot, if you know what I mean, and it drags down the episode. Fortunately, that version of things is literally melted away, as after 35 minutes of scrabbling around and trying to figure out a way through their personal issues, they cannot band together to defeat Savage. Their plan to steal the Staff of Horus from him fails, and he destroys all of Star City. As The Flash runs his absolute fastest to escape, he sees everyone else disintegrate.

Of course, this being The Flash, that doesn’t take, and Barry runs just fast enough to head one day back in time. Just like before, he manages to right the previous day’s catastrophic wrongs: helping Kendra unlock her true self so she can help in the fight, urging Oliver not to keep secrets so he brings his full team and doesn’t end up sacrificing himself to stop Savage, and making sure the tech Cisco, Felicity and Caitlin made actually works. In the end, the team sort of melodramatically pulls it off, and Savage is reduced to dust.

Except for that he isn’t, because of course he isn’t. Malcolm Merlyn appears (from the shadows, like he had been all week), and despite claiming ignorance about him before, scoops up Savage’s dusty remains, presumably to plop into the nearest Lazarus Pit.

On one hand, the second half of this episode was a little too Oliver-heavy where the first had been an ensemble hour. On the other, it fairly masterfully (aside from some VERY awkward-looking “flashback” segments) set up Legends of Tomorrow, and now that both Arrow and Flash are free from that obligation (as exciting as it sometimes was), they can both get back on track and tell their own stories again.

Also: Neal McDonough is a national treasure.

Flash Grade: A
Arrow Grade: B+

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