Emerging powers, time travel, past lives and… son of Green Arrow!? About two weeks ago I wrote here about my excitement for the The Flash and Arrow: Heroes Join Forces two-night crossover event and I was somewhat happy after actually seeing the episodes. The introduction of Vandal Savage was worthy of a two-night special and only builds the anticipation for the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow series, but there were some negatives along with the positives.
I was not impressed with Savage’s origin story and immortality being tied into Hawkgirl and Hawkman’s. The Vandal Savage I know of was a caveman irradiated by a meteor that gave him his abilities, and while the meteor was present in the show, the way he was portrayed as a corrupt Egyptian clergyman wasn’t as appealing to me. He also seemed to lack the superhuman strength that allows him to go toe-to-toe with superpowered heroes, though it was mentioned that he was impervious to pain.
I was also curious as to what happened to Hawkman’s mace. During his fight with Barry and Oliver he had the Nth metal mace, but after being captured, the mace was never seen again. Patty was also dismissed without being able to ask questions about the Harrison Wells doppelganger, who she nearly killed. despite the fact that her superior, Joe West, clearly knew about him. Even detectives never seem to put together that the people hanging out in Star Labs just happen to be Barry Allen’s best friends and family, and just happen to keep weird secrets, and just happen to work with the Flash.
On the positive side I enjoyed a more mystical Vandal Savage, which opens new doors for machinations larger in scale, such as the one he displayed in “Legends of Yesterday”. Obliterating an entire city is no small feat and was probably one of the most devastating plots any villain on The Flash or Arrow has carried out so far. I was also glad that Damien Darhk at least had a cameo and there was also emphasis placed on Barry’s uncertainty following his defeat by Zoom, so the main villains of the season for both shows were not completely ignored.
It was also good that Oliver’s past shortcomings and tendency to keep secrets played a role in his personal side-story, showing the consequences of his former playboy lifestyle as well as the current state of his double life and how it conflicts with his happiness. I was even glad to see a bit of character growth for Jay Garrick, who overcame his fears and loathing of Wells to take an experimental drug just to save his rival’s life. And, of course, the obvious highlight in this event was the superhero team-up.
Overall, I guess the two episodes did live up to the hype, but I’m just hoping that the writers really compound on the plot that they’ve set up here when Legends of Tomorrow gets its turn. It was disappointing to see Kendra abandon Cisco so soon to travel with her past lover because I really wanted to see more of Hawkgirl developed onscreen and was hoping the Vibe/Hawkgirl romance would blossom a little more, but I know she will return for the massive team-up and possibly make some cameos like Firestorm.
I am most curious to see why Malcolm Merlin collected Savage’s ashes when he stated before that he feared Savage because he knew nothing about him and he no longer has the Lazarus Pit to revive anyone. Maybe there is another hidden pool of water with the same properties or Merlin has other arcane methods to revive the dead, but a cunning villain like Merlin doesn’t seem like the type of man who would revive someone he has no reason to trust and who he has every reason to fear. Obviously Savage has to return in some way though to threaten the heroes again and force them to assemble an even larger team to travel across time (again) and space. I also wonder how Oliver’s knowledge of his son will affect him as a hero and if Barry’s time traveling abilities will come into play when he confronts Zoom again.