Most television crossovers are crossovers in the barest sense of the phrase. Even "The Flash"/"Arrow" crossover last season kept the serialized storytelling to a minimum. Not this year's Flarrow crossover extravaganza, though. This is how you do a crossover.
Tonight's episode of "The Flash" — the first half of a two-part crossover that will continue with "Arrow" tomorrow night — was filled with energy. Sure, the plot was even more outlandish than usual, but it was grounded by the relationships that hold the Flarrow universe together. Barry and Oliver. Oliver and Felicity. Felicity and Cisco. The list goes on. Because, unlike so many of the more procedural shows on TV, "The Flash" never forgets its characters.
Here were the eight biggest moments from "Legends of Today."
Kendra embraces her inner Hawkgirl.
Poor Kendra. The girl goes from having some random trying to kill her to finding out she has wings and has been incarnated across time over and over again. Plus, dudes keep coming up to her to tell her how beautiful she has always been. It's creepy.
The random in question is Vandal Savage — immortal, war-monger, and all around jerkface. Savage will be the villain at the heart of "Legends of Tomorrow," the future Flarrow spin-off. Here, he is trying to kill both Kendra, aka Hawkgirl, and Hawkman. He has done it 206 times across millennia, gaining more power each time.
But Team Flarrow isn't going to give up so easily. And neither is Kendra, who has always felt a bit at odds with her life and is ready to embrace her destiny. By jumping off of a building. Yeah, it's kind of crazy, but it works out. Kendra gets her wings, and Team Flarrow has one more hero at its disposal. They're probably going to need it...
Team Flarrow is in trouble with Vandal Savage.
He's not Zoom level scary or anything, but the dude knows how to make an entrance. TBH, it's all a bit much for me. (Then again, I'm kind of nostalgic for the mysticism-free "realism" of "Arrow" season 1.) Savage's theme music is a little hokey and he doesn't seem to have any hobbies besides killing people. That being said, it's hard to argue with his villainous results.
The episode ends with Vandal back in Central City, having just stolen some staff that makes him even MORE powerful. Barry and Oliver face off against him and barely escape with their lives. Because Barry is an eternal optimist, he calls this a tie.
But it's hard to imagine how Team Flarrow could ever take out Vandal. And, as we know from the "Legends of Tomorrow" promos, they in fact won't. This diminishes the stakes a bit in the crossover. Though Vandal keeps threatening to kill Team Flarrow, so far he hasn't done a very effective job. It's almost like he's swatting at an annoying fly, though he does tell Barry his powers are like nothing he has ever seen before. So... thanks?
Felicity, Oliver, and Barry love one another.
The best part of this episode was the mini check-ins we got between members of Team Flash and members of Team Arrow — especially between Barry, Oliver, and Felicity. These three were friends before Barry had his powers and before their lives started including time travel, the multiverse, telepathic gorillas, or Damien Darhk. They were friends before Barry had powers.
It all seems like so long ago, and much of that has to do with the fact that so much has changed for these characters. Yes, in terms of what they can do and what they have seen, but — more importantly — in how they have been changed by those experiences. In the things they have learned. ("Didn't you tell me that guys like us don't get the girl?" "Yep, I was wrong.")
Barry and Oliver are constantly checking in with one another. Oliver tells Barry he has never been so happy, so at peace (he credits his relationship with Felicity ?). And Barry confides in Oliver that he has never felt so powerless. (Though, it should be noted that Barry at his most powerless is still more optimistic than Oliver Queen at his happiest. Go figure.)
The exact way Barry explains his feeling of powerlessness to Oliver: "The rules keep changing." And, I'm not gonna lie, this was kind of cathartic to hear. Because that's kind of how it feels as a viewer. I love you, "The Flash," and I'm probably going to fall in love with "Legends of Tomorrow" right away, but — every time this fictional world expands and the rules change — "Arrow" is hurt by it. It slowly chips away at an internal narrative logic that was originally constructed in a very different fictional universe — one where Oliver Queen was just a dude with some very bad luck.
Stop melting my heart, Olicity.
Just kidding. Never stop. (Seriously, I saw that promo — I'm warning you, show.) This episode had more Olicity in it than some straight-up episodes of "Arrow" do — and they were ADORABLE. Felicity calls him "my love." Oliver calls her "honey." Barry tells them to kiss — which is a little weird, but whatever. Point is: ?.
TELL PATTY.The CW/Cate Cameron
When Patty spots Wells in his oh-so-effective disguise of a baseball cap, she follows him back to S.T.A.R. Labs. As far as she knows, this is the Wells who confessed to killing Barry's mother and the person responsible for creating the singularity that nearly destroyed Central City and, you know, the world. So she shoots him.
Caitlin gets Patty to call Joe, and Patty's partner arrives at S.T.A.R. Labs to help. But, rather than finally confess to Patty the truth, he just dismisses her as if she didn't make the rational decisions given the information she had at every step of this insane plot arc. I expected better from you, Joe West.
This is exactly why you tell Patty Spivots the truth! But really. This was not Patty's fault at all. (OK, maybe she could have shot Wells in the leg or something.) But Joe and Barry should have told her the truth about the dangers she faces on the daily as a protector of Central City ages OK. Cisco let Barry's identity accidentally slip to Kendra, someone Team Flash arguably knows way less about than Patty. Just saying.
Jay saves Wells.
I haven't been super thrilled with Jay's storyline this half-season. Partially because so much of it has been off-camera and, partially, because his decision to ice Team Flash out because they are working with Wells seems pretty immature. That being said, it's always nice to see his handsome face in S.T.A.R. Labs. And it's hard to stay irked at a man who goes against his principles just to save the life of a frenemy.
When Wells is shot, his only hope (somehow) is for Jay to take Velocity 6, a serum Wells and Caitlin developed to enhance speed force powers, and to remove the bullet from Wells' body. Yeah, the logistics don't make a lot of sense, but Jay's sacrifice is still hella compelling. Earlier in the episode, he bemoaned the creation of the serum. It's too dangerous, and he doesn't think Barry should take it.
Though Jay uses the serum to regain his powers and save Wells' life, he still doesn't believe in using Velocity 6 as a way for Barry to defeat Zoom. And, because he is being so darn righteously petulant about the whole thing, it's hard not to feel like he will be right. #Foreshadowing
Oliver sees his kid.
This is not a drill! I repeat: this is not a drill! While hanging out at Jitters with Barry (because who doesn't have time for a coffee break when you're battling an immortal assassin?), a boy runs into Oliver. He drops his The Flash action figure (which: awkward), and Oliver hands it back to him. Then, the kid runs back to his mom — aka the woman who Oliver got pregnant before he was stranded on the island, and to whom Oliver's mother paid LOTS of money to tell Ollie she had miscarried.
Now, we knew that Sandra had Oliver's baby, but Oliver definitely did not. And the face he makes when he slowly realizes what has happened — when he slowly realizes all that he has missed — is heartbreaking. Like, Oliver almost died at the hands of not one, but two magically-enhanced super villains in this every episode, and this was the most distraught we saw him.
This was more fun than "Age of Ultron."
There I said it. To be fair, I didn't like the second "Avengers" movie very much, but tonight's episode of "The Flash" was fun, scary, and full of the complex, compelling camaraderie that "Avengers" did so well in its first movie, and not so great with in its second.
Obviously, the visual scope and action sequences of something like a Flarrow crossover will never be as epic as an "Avengers" movie, but the character beats — both in humor and in drama — were so on point. These combined writers rooms know these characters, they know these character dynamics, and that keeps this world full and real, even when there are savages running amok.
That being said, when do we get our Laurel/Iris crossover episode? Diggle can come, too.