Features TV

REVIEW: The Flash 2×08 “Legends of Today”

Written by Alex Reale

Thank God we had a GOOD episode in comic book television this week. So far, SupergirlGotham, and The Walking Dead have been fairly disappointing with their latest episodes, but The Flash really knocked it out of the park with “Legends of Today”. This episode is just the first half of a two-part crossover that will once again bring the Flash and the Green Arrow together while also providing us with a much-needed segue into the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow. Like I said, this episode was good, and I mean REALLY good. (spoilers ahead!)

There’s a new villain in town, and he goes by the name of Vandal Savage. He’s unlike any other villain we’ve encountered in the Arrow-verse so far. For one thing, he’s practically immortal. Oh, and he can apparently throw knives at super speed. But is that all he can do? Well, we’ll have to wait and find out either tomorrow or over the winter break, won’t we?

Let’s slow down a bit. Vandal Savage has arrived in Central City to kill Kendra, the barista at Jitters and Cisco’s new girlfriend. Barry realizes that they can’t do much to protect Kendra in their own town, so they venture to Star City and enlist the help of Team Arrow. That’s all well and good, but as it turns out, Kendra isn’t safe there either. Vandal appears and dispatches most of Team Arrow with ease, proving that he’s definitely a formidable opponent, maybe even moreso than Damien Darhk.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 9.09.55 PM

Personally, I’d LOVE to see Damien and Vandal go head-to-head. They both seem to be in-tune with the mystical arts, and their powers appear to be very similar. If they met, would they become close friends and allies? Or would they be bitter enemies desperate to one-up each other in a struggle for power? Or what if they’ve already met sometime in the past, which is how Damien acquired his powers?! There are so many questions to ask and so little time. I’m hoping we get to see these two characters interact by the next episode of Arrow.

I always love crossovers, especially ones that are executed as well as this one. That being said, I’m a little concerned on two fronts. First, this episode was so heavy on the crossover aspects that it overshadowed the individual show’s points. Remember, this is The Flash‘s time slot, and this is meant to be an episode of The Flash. There were elements that distanced it from Arrow, but they were somewhat pushed to the side in favor of the events in the crossover.

For example, there’s a subplot where Harrison Wells is accidentally shot in STAR Labs, and it’s up to Caitlin Snow and Jay Garrick to save him. This whole subplot slowed the main story down tremendously. It felt forced in at the last minute. I honestly could’ve cared less about what was happening to Wells. I was too absorbed in the crossover-ness.

Secondly, in the past, The Flash was somewhat able to stand on its own two legs without relying on viewers to have seen Arrow. Although The Flash is a spin-off and companion series to Arrow, it can be frustrating for casual viewers who do not watch one to keep up with the other. Let’s say a dedicated viewer of The Flash was watching tonight’s episode and didn’t keep up with the events of Arrow. They’d probably have no idea what was going on with Damien Darhk, Malcolm Merlyn, Thea, etc. It can get confusing. I figured The Flash would be able to find a way to explain these instances for the more casual audience, but so far, it seems unlikely.

The rest of the episode was action-packed and full of exciting twists and turns. A mysterious man with wings appears, telling Kendra that she is in fact a reincarnated Egyptian priestess, and that the two of them are drawn together every time they are “reborn”. They are also drawn by the mysterious Vandal Savage, who has killed them both over 200 times. It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s possible that this time they can overcome Vandal with the help of their new red and green allies. But of course, they aren’t allies at first.

I loved the fight scene with the Flash and the Green Arrow vs. Hawkman (Do I really need to explain who Hawkman is at this point?). The show did an excellent job of bringing all of the special effects to life, from Hawkman’s wings, to the Flash throwing a lightning bolt. See, why can’t all television have these amazing effects? (cough Once Upon a Time cough)

The Green Arrow and the Flash beat Hawkman and tie him up, but he’s adamant about explaining his and Kendra’s reincarnation. Understandably, Kendra is hesitant about this newfound realization. What would your reaction be if you were told all of this? Cisco tries to convince everyone that Hawkman may actually be right since he “vibed” Kendra and had a vision of her with wings. With a little persuasion and a whole lotta guts, Kendra takes the leap of faith (literally) and dives off a building, sprouting wings and suddenly realizing her destiny. Am I the only person who got chills during this moment?

So now we have the introduction of Hawkgirl and Hawkman, two key players in Legends of Tomorrow. I’m hoping that they become such a hit with audiences that they get their own spin-off by next year. Not only are the Hawks such fantastic characters in the comics, but it’s about time that we get a show revolving around the more mystical/magical characters. But for the love of God, please don’t give them the Friday night death slot (RIP Constantine).

“Legends of Today” was a fantastic episode overall. Fans who have been waiting for a good fight scene for a while will be happy with this installment. We watched the Green Arrow and the Flash go up against both Vandal Savage and Hawkman all in the span of one hour. What more could you ask for? I swear, Arrow‘s next episode better be this good.

Final Grade: A –

+ Terrific action sequences.

+ Great setup for Legends of Tomorrow.

+ Vandal Savage is an intimidating villain – I’m curious to see how he would interact with Damien Darhk.

– The sequences with the Green Arrow and the Flash overshadowed the subplot with Harrison, Caitlin, and Jay; I found myself not caring about Harrison’s fate.

– I wish the episode was longer! Thankfully, we have the second half tomorrow.

– I get that The Flash is a companion series to Arrow, but it’s gotta be difficult for people to follow along unless they watch BOTH shows. That’s always been one tiny weakness about The Flash – you almost HAVE to watch Arrow to understand everything.

Extra Thoughts:

– What are the odds that Oliver would happen to run into his possible biological son in Jitters, almost a year after he saw his mom in the same cafe? Either this is a huge, huge, huge coincidence, or she’s following him. I’m honestly surprised they’re still following up on this storyline from Season 2.

– Even though it’s extremely unlikely, I’d love to see them bring back Deathstroke to challenge Vandal Savage.

– Barry mentioned to Kendra that he lost his powers last year. When was this? This is a legit question. I’m racking my brain but I can’t remember the instance he’s talking about. He’s not thinking of when Zoom broke his back, is he? That was roughly a month ago.

 

What did you think of the first half of The Flash/Arrow crossover? Are you excited for the second part of this thrilling saga? Tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!