We knew this fall’s crossover episode of The Flash was going to be big, but the long-awaited debut of new baddie Vandal Savage (Casper) did not disappoint. Was it kind of clunky? Sure. But this is not your typical Flash (or Arrow) baddie, and that’s exactly what set Tuesday night’s episode, “Legends of Today,” ahead of the pack.
Considering that it had to simultaneously set up Hawkgirl's (and Hawkman’s) introduction, establish Vandal Savage as a villain worthy of a super-team, do some heavy lifting for Legends of Tomorrow (without actually resolving too much) and also serve as an entertaining hour in its own right, “Legends” had one heck of a stacked deck from the get-go. But Casper’s campily terrifying Savage was so much fun it went a long way toward glossing over all the heavy exposition (of which there was plenty).
Vandal Savage is something new
Though Team Flash made the jump to ask for help from Team Arrow after an all-too-brief encounter with Savage (hey, why waste time getting these gangs together?), the episode did a good job of setting up the stakes and history for Vandal Savage. The magic trick? John Barrowman. Malcolm Merlyn showed up a few times just to deliver some mouthfuls of exposition, which provided that extra dose of evil legitimacy to Savage’s blustery brand of malice.
Casper’s look is a nice match for the comics, and it’s actually refreshing to have a baddie just bust into the middle of all the other insanity and start causing trouble. Honestly, it’s a nice break from the Zoom narrative. Sure, Zoom is terrifying — but Savage just has a swagger.
He also has speed, but he’s not a speedster. The way they played his fights with Barry were interesting, as he wasn’t as fast as Barry but was quick enough to anticipate the Flash’s moves (i.e. that final knife that clipped Barry) and still do some damage. This is a guy who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to rappel through the Green Arrow’s window to get it. When he realizes the Flash and Green Arrow do have some juice, he makes a detour to power himself up for the fight. It’s just amazing. These shows have come so far in just a few short seasons, and the immortal hunter is just another step down the deep rabbit hole at this point.
Cisco thinks Speedy needs a new name
Sadly, we didn’t get Cisco back together with his perpetual lady crush, the Canary (and it looks like Kendra is about to be off the market), but we still got a ton of great moments as the teams came together for the latest adventure. Setting most of the Flash’s episode in Star City was a nice change of pace, and letting Barry zip in and save Oliver from certain death at the hands of Damien Darhk was a nice touch. It also reinforced the fact that this two-parter is really a melding of both shows —we’re getting some major Arrow developments here, too. So, if you’re not watching both shows (and why aren’t you?!) then you’re really missing out. Plus, super-speed still makes Diggle barf. Heehee.
With both Cisco and Felicity in the house, we also got a double dose of adorkable. Sorry bro, we think Thea is pretty set on Speedy. Nice try, though. Seeing Felicity shoo Cisco off her keyboard was also a nice touch.
Hawkgirl gets her wings
As for the Hawkgirl stuff that actually brings everyone together and pushed the Flash to seek some backup? It just felt rushed. Having Hawkman fly in and pluck her off the street was a nice shocker moment, but their backstory was essentially crammed in with broad strokes just to get them established before shipping them off to co-star in Legends of Tomorrow. Which, sure, they had to establish these flying heroes before suiting them up with the rest of the new team, but it just seemed positively random, for the most part.
Tying their origin to Vandal Savage was a nice touch. But, c’mon — we’re supposed to believe Hawkgirl just randomly bumps into the Flash’s right-hand man and they unknowingly start dating? By nature, these shows push the limits of credulity, but we’re flirting with the line at this point.
It’s also a bit disappointing that, in just a few scenes, Falk Hentschel’s charming take on Hawkman blew Ciara Renee’s Hawkgirl out of the water. Renee seems to be a lovely actress, but she’s mostly just been chewing scenery. Here’s hoping now that she has (literally) found her wings, maybe she’ll get a bit more to do. But on the flip side, Hawkman should make for a charming rogue over on Legends. Can’t wait to see more of him there.
The '70s baby: Finding the photo from 1975 was a nice nod to Vandal Savage’s immortality, while also providing a thread to Legends of Tomorrow (since Legends will travel to the 1970s at some point).
Earth-2 Oliver: Felicity’s hilarious question about Earth-2 Oliver was also great. But, as any keen-eared fans already know from a few weeks ago, Earth-2 Oliver is dead and his father is actually the Green Arrow.
Oliver's big secret: Tossing in Oliver’s secret son in Central City was a nice callback to the storyline, but is this really the best time to start tugging on that thread? This could be a very interesting story. But, if it gets tacked into this crossover, it’s hard to imagine it getting much screen time.
Give Jay something to do! We need to find something for Jay Garrick to do. Seriously. After a shocking introduction, he’s been mostly MIA the past few weeks — and his whininess over Harry Wells is getting ridiculous at this point. Plus, his aversion to the Speed Force booster is also thin. Sure, previous attempts didn’t work — but why is it such a terrible idea? Explain that a bit better. Anything to get an edge on Zoom, right? Nice to see him save Harry’s life, though. Here’s hoping this is the first step toward getting Jay back in the game.
And Patty, too! Speaking of saving Harry’s life — isn’t it about time we let Patty onto Team Flash? This shooting could’ve been so easily avoided. In the past few episodes, both Linda Park and Hawkgirl have been brought into the fold. Why not Patty? It’s getting a bit ridiculous to keep her on the sideline.
Velocity 9? Comic fans also likely took note that Velocity 6 bares a striking resemblance to Velocity 9, a drug developed by Vandal Savage to provide the user with superspeed. But, in the comics, the drug can eventually kill the user. Oops.
What did you think of the latest Flash/Arrow cross-over event? Are you excited for Legends of Tomorrow? Let us know in the comments!