The Flash: 2.08 Legends Of Today
Well that was quite an episode! Last year's cross-over event Flash Vs. Arrow seemed so much smaller than the epic story at play in this season's big event Legends Of Today which was a high-octane and very, very fun piece if television from beginning to end. Serving as a defacto preview of new spin-off Legends Of Tomorrow, it introduced DC big bad Vandal Savage, Hawkman, Hawkgirl and saw the heroes of Arrow team up with Barry and Cisco to save Kendra Saunders.
I've complained that parts of The Flash season two have felt quite slow at times but there was no issue with that here. From the moment Vandal Savage turned up at the docks to hunt poor Kendra and began massacring the crew of the boat trying to apprehend him (Casper Crump delivering a brilliantly evil debut as the villainous immortal) the action didn't stop. Vandal goes after Kendra while she is on a date with Cisco, almost killing him and muttering about how she is an ancient Egyptian Priestess Chay-Ara. Only the timely arrival for Barry Allen saves them, forcing them to seek cover as far away from Central City as possible; Star City.
The interesting thing about this episode is that it feels more like an episode of Arrow with an extended The Flash introduction but it works because we get to see both set of characters working together. The shared universe of the Arrowverse is one of the biggest asset to both shows and the scenes in the 'Arrow cave' and Oliver and Felicity's apartment were as much a joy to watch as the big action moments. I particularly loved Cisco's disgust over the issues with wiring in the lair and his comeback to Thea after she refuted his suggestion of a name change from Speedy. His "I think you're just mad because my conditioner game is on point." to her suggestion that they talk when he gets a haircut was brilliant.
But my all time favourite Cisco line had to be his exasperation as Malcolm Merlyn and his assassins emerged from the shadows to deliver an ominous statement for the second time that episode; "Is this the only way this guy knows how to enter a room?"
There was a great sense of world-building in this episode as Malcolm and a debuting Carter Hall / Hawkman revealed to everyone that Vandal Savage was an immortal seeking to gain absolute power by killing Hawkman and Hawkgirl every time they were reincarnated. Carter Hall was a very large thorn in Cisco burgeoning relationship with Kendra; finding out your girlfriend was a latent superhero that can fly is one thing, finding out that she and Carter were continuously reincarnated loves that found each other in every time period is a hard thing to crack. Both Kendra and Carter got solid introductions to the Arrowverse, ready to take centre stage in Legends Of Tomorrow next year.
The script was certainly electric and every performance strong, but the actions moments were thrilling too. The introduction of team Arrow fighting Damien Darhk was a lot of fun, particularly the magnetic arrow drawing away the ghosts' guns. Darhk attempting to suck Oliver's life force was shocking, only saved by the arrival of the Flash; Darhk's admiration at Barry's powers was amusing too.
Hawkman kidnapping Kendra led to another great showdown between him and the Green Arrow and the Flash but the best stuff was saved for Vandal Savage. His attack on Oliver's apartment, breaking up the festivities felt strikingly similar to the arrival of Ultron in The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, but in a fun way. Barry saving everyone from the flying daggers and Oliver and Thea 'taking out' Vandal with arrows was incredibly exciting; little things like Thea's bloodlust (a storyline from Arrow) were worked in without distracting from the plot.
There's nothing more frustrating than characters acting 'out of character' when they pop up in other shows; The Flash did not do that. It was again little things like Felicity worrying over Zoom breaking Barry's back to a past reference to Arrow villain Deathstroke, to the scene with current Arrow villain Damien Darhk that really cemented this episode as taking part in a much wider superhero universe.
I also really liked the characterisation between Oliver and Barry in this episode too. Oliver continues to play a mentor figure as the original superhero in this universe and he continued to take Barry under his wing. I also liked the deference to whose city that were in, even if that led to some mild and amusing conflict at times.
Iris was absent from this week but there was still time too to focus on the characters left behind in Central City. Caitlin and Harrison developing a formula to improve Barry's speed worked to remind the audience that while this episode was as much about setting up Legends Of Tomorrow it was also about continuing the main storyline; the battle to stop Zoom. Having been frustrated with his presence in the show previously, Teddy Sear's Jay Garrick was a welcome addition this week, finally getting a chance to demonstrate his powers after a quick off the mark Patty confronted and shot Harrison in Star Labs. I am hoping that she becomes part of Team Flash quickly now that she has come face to face with the man from the alternate reality - and seen her boss Joe cover it up.
The episode continued to remain epic from start to finish. Kendra made a leap of faith (literally) and jumped off the skyscraper to release her powers while Barry and Oliver returned to Central City to locate the legendary Staff Of Horus and came face to face with a powerful Vandal Savage once again. In one episode The Flash delivered one its most epic episodes yet and I can't wait to see how it continues through into Arrow with Legends Of Yesterday. That review will be up shortly...