This review contains spoilers.
2.8 Legends Of Today
Crossover episodes, while no longer a rarity in this universe, are still incredibly difficult to pull off. For The Flash, it’s hard not to take into account the fact that it’s currently the more successful of the two shows, and the more popular among casual television fans, and also that Legends Of Today is not just an episode designed to boost viewers for both shows and give their fans a little holiday-time treat, but also intended to partly launch a spin-off.
That said, Legends Of Today is an absolute delight from start to finish, fitting in more (good) fan-service moments, gags, character-building and plot than could be expected from a movie, let alone a 42-minute episode of a show already under pressure to re-introduce an entire cast of characters a good portion viewers might not even remember. We’ve had the odd little crossover since Flash Vs Arrow, but nothing on this scale.
Legends Of Today sees our high expectations, laughs in our faces and then proceeds to deliver not just a great episode of The Flash, but also a masterful backdoor pilot and the kind of crossover that boosts both shows without (though I’m not the best person to judge this) alienating people who have only been keeping track of half of the story.
On that note, I might leave some of the Oliver-centric stuff for the Arrow review, as it seems better placed there. Similarly, there were some significant Flash-y developments in this episode’s counterpart that I’ll reference here.
The density of the plotting alone is impressive, dedicating a good portion of the running time to introducing Vandal Savage, Hawkman and Kendra getting her wings while not neglecting little things like Jay and Wells’ rivalry or the ongoing task of getting Barry to a speed at which he could face Zoom again. It helps that, while most of the gang are in Star City, Caitlin, Patty, Joe and Wells stay behind for the B-plot.
As said, the thrust of the story is provided by the arrival of Vandal Savage in Central City. It’s a great introduction for a villain, especially comforting when we know that he’ll be a major player down the road, and he certainly gives this whole two-parter a scale that Arrow especially has struggled with lately.
As far as reasons given for Barry and co. enlisting Team Arrow’s help in the first place, it’s a tad flimsy. As Oliver himself points out, none of them actually have powers, and so getting them involved with a bad guy with knives, magic and a centuries-old grudge against two people they barely know was probably a risky move. That said, I doubt anyone really cared as soon as they were all in Oliver’s apartment, enjoying drinks and pigs in blankets.
It was like a DC TV Christmas party, such was the sense of fun and celebration present in those scenes. Even watching Oliver, Thea and Barry fight Savage while in street clothes was cool, and it’s great to see characters interacting with each other with a full sense of self, rather than just for the sake of it. We know all of these people really well by now, and seeing that come to fruition is the inherent pleasure of a crossover episode.
Highlights – Cisco criticising the new Arrow Cave set-up, Barry making fun of Oliver’s speech at the party, Felicity being so familiar with Team Flash and any time Merlyn dramatically entered a room. On Arrow, there’s a seriousness that doesn’t always leave room for ridiculousness but, by putting John Barrowman on The Flash and having Barry react to him, it got my biggest laugh of the hour.
In terms of the Legends stuff, I’ve liked Kendra since she was introduced, and Carter’s a non-annoying though slightly underdeveloped presence that really needs more time. The former’s connection with Cisco right now feels a little like how Barry himself was introduced as a love interest for Felicity before spinning-off. It ties her to The Flash for future shared-universe shenanigans, and uses a character we already love to establish her.
So, on Arrow, Barry time-travelled again, which is an odd place to have this particular power repeated, given the surge of positive reactions it got last season. I guess it was a way to get people to tune in the following night? It worked, anyway, with Arrow around 1m viewers up.
But that’s a different review, even if this Legends two-parter felt much more like a feature-length version of this universe than two separate episodes of television. I watched them together, with helped immensely. Bravo, all involved, they’ve actually managed to outdo themselves.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Gorilla Warfare, here.