When Arrow entered its fourth season and The Flash entered its second, the creative team behind the shows had to prepare for the launch of another CW series based on DC characters, Legends of Tomorrow. That show’s launch formed part of the basis for the next crossover between Arrow and Flash.
The main plot in the two episodes, “Legends of Today” and “Legends of Yesterday,” is the introduction of Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders, otherwise known as Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The background of the two heroes: They were lovers in ancient Egypt who were killed, are reincarnated throughout the years, but keep finding their way back to each other. Each time they die, they are reincarnated, and the process repeats.
I can understand that those who aren’t comic books enthusiasts might find this difficult to follow, but now I’ll throw in another character: Vandal Savage is an immortal who has lived for thousands of years and keeps tracking down Hall and Saunders — or as they were known in ancient Egypt, Prince Khufu and Priestess Shyera — to kill them so he may continue to live.
Savage’s portrayal here differs from the comics (there, he was a caveman who discovered a meteorite, bathed in its radiation and gained immortality, increased strength and intelligence) because the creative team wanted to tie Savage to the Hawks and set up Savage as the main antagonist in Legends of Tomorrow.
Both episodes follow smaller plot lines such as Team Flash trying to find ways to increase Barry Allen’s speed, Oliver Queen learning that he has a son and his ongoing relationship with Felicity Smoak. One smaller plot line that plays a key role, though, is that Cisco Ramon is dating Saunders and actually plays a bigger role in Saunders embracing her destiny.
But this leads to one of the problems with the crossover — there’s no real connection between Hall and Saunders, in which Hall only seems intent on fulfilling destiny and getting Saunders ready to fight Savage. Ramon, however, is more interested in Saunders as a person and his talks do more to get Saunders to accept what she’s meant to be. I imagine I’m not the only viewer who wondered why Saunders and Ramon couldn’t have remained a couple.
Along the way, we experience a Flash moment in which he inadvertently runs back in time while running at superspeed. This is not the first time such a moment takes place, but the problem is that it merely becomes a plot device to allow the heroes to escape a failed attempt to stop Savage. It doesn’t work well in terms of delivering a satisfying ending in which the heroes find a way to win.
There are some good moments throughout the crossover. Watching Barry Allen interact with Malcolm Merlyn for the first time is a delight. There’s a fun moment between Ramon and Thea Queen (sadly, we don’t get to see more of them, and I think the two play off each other well). It’s fun to see Oliver’s reactions to the new tactics Barry has learned. And it’s cool to see the CGI effects of the Hawks flying through the air.
As far as the storyline goes, though, it doesn’t hold up that well. There’s nothing that stands out like in “The Brave and the Bold” from the year before, in which Team Flash gets insight into what crime fighting can really be like, while Oliver gets an important lesson from Barry about what humanity is all about.
But the “Legends” crossover is more about setting up another show while attempting to advance a couple of storylines that become important on Arrow and Flash. And Hall and Saunders never connecting as characters means the main plot doesn’t work as well as it should. Though a solid effort, the end result doesn’t meet expectations, making it a disappointing crossover.