Arrow “Legends of Yesterday” Review
So this year’s Arrow/Flash crossover concludes with the Arrow episode: “Legends of Yesterday” which is designed as a lead in to the CW’s upcoming Legends of Tomorrow. The story picks up directly after the events of The Flash ‘s “Legends of Today” which has the Arrow and Flash teams stumble into the 4,000 year-long blood feud between the immortal Vandal Savage and the constantly reincarnating Hawkman and Hawkgirl. With Hawkgirl, Kendra Saunders, discovering her newfound powers, Oliver Queen and Barry Allen head to Central City on the heels of Savage who’s procured a magical staff and is demanding the heads of the Hawks. It’s now a race devise the best way to take Vandal down while Oliver is side tracked, discovering on old flame in Central City who’s mothered his unknown son.
The best way to describe “Legends of Yesterday” is that it’s a fairly solid Flash episode. It’s by far the best installment of Arrow’s fourth season and definitely shows the series’ epic departure from its original grim dark hyper-serious trappings. There’s something to be said how Arrow’s gone from the troubled pseudo-Patriot Act worship of its first season to full on superhero battles with time travel and ageless dictators wielding ancient city-destroying magic.
As with the first instalment of this two-parter, most of the focus is on the Hawks and Cisco Ramon of the Flash cast. While this concludes the story in a much stronger fashion, it does result in pushing Arrow to the sidelines. The show’s regular supporters like Willa Holland as Speedy, Katie Cassidy as Black Canary, and David Ramsey as John Diggle are all on hand but barely do anything but hang out in a farmhouse until the last five minutes. More time is given to Cisco and his love life which isn’t bad as it makes for good drama but it’s something of a shame. The B-story of Oliver and his unknown son is comes out of nowhere and doesn’t do much aside from some minor world building. Overall what it accomplishes is trying to make Green Arrow less of a stick in the mud, which is great especially when the Flash is around to make him happier, but it’s more just cheap drama as chances are this character’s just going to disappear.
In a more positive note, this episode does away with the tired flashbacks Arrow is known for. Instead the time is used for scenes in ancient Egypt and the origin of Hawkgirl, Hawkman, and Vandal Savage. While there’s some problematic white washing involved, watching the show’s cast as sexed up scantily dressed royalty is makes for better television than more of Oliver Queen on an island with his wig, especially when it veers into old school Wrath of God material.
The iffy subtext between the Hawks is fortunately downplayed though it’s not ultimately resolved. One of the nice bits is how Kendra ends up rejecting Hawkman’s teachings that her strength should come from being brutal and angry, the downside is it has to be taught to her by Cisco instead of discover by herself or from one of Arrow’s many female characters. Speedy’s someone who could have learned about putting aside rage issues since that’s been her character arc this season. Still, it’s a vast improvement from Hawkman’s creepy “You are destined to be my lover routine” and thankfully the episode ends implying Kendra’s not sold by his routine. Though sadly, with the build up to Legends of Tomorrow, Casper Crump’s Vandal Savage is still lacking that extra umph that comes from portraying one of DC Comics’ best villains.
“Legends of Yesterday” is a fun ride. It finishes this year’s Arrow / Flash two-parter on a high note with lots of exciting build up to next year’s Legends of Tomorrow. There’s some problems to be had with how most of Arrow’s supporting cast has little to do but serve a fantastic job in the final battle. Arrow, and the DCWverse by proxy has come a long way from the dressed down trappings of four years ago. Now it has super humans, immortals, magic, time travel, and reincarnated Egyptian priests and is better for it. This is easily the best episode of Arrow’s season yet.