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Well, that was an all-around disappointment, was it not? To be fair, I wasn’t expecting all that much, in light of the uninspiring first half of the two-parter on Tuesday (check out my Flash counterpart Alexander Wong’s excellent take on “Legends of Today” here), but that had to be one of the worst Arrow episode’s I’ve seen in a while (and, considering the mess that was season three, that’s saying something). Hawkman and Hawkgirl failed to impress in their debut, Vandal Savage proved to be a villain that was all too easily dispatched, there wasn’t nearly enough time for the Arrow supporting players to register at all within the story, and Oliver Queen may now be beyond redemption for his decision to once again keep secrets from the woman he claims to love.
Let’s start with the most troubling points for the upcoming DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Hawkman and Hawkgirl are pretty lame. I’m willing to look past the atrocious Egypt flashback (boy, was that bad- poorly acted, poor set value, poorly written), but what exactly are their powers beyond sprouting wings (which, too be fair, look kind of cool when the CGI isn’t too obvious)? As someone with no familiarity with the characters beyond Flash and Arrow, I don’t really understand why they are so powerful. I suppose it has something to do with the Horus artifacts? If the showrunners are willing to devote two episodes to introducing two characters who are apparently crucial to the mission of Legends of Tomorrow, one would expect them to take the time to actually explain what these new characters can do. I would much rather have had that be the focus of the crossover than dealing with Cisco’s love life or Oliver’s baby daddy drama. Nothing I saw from either Hawkman or Hawkgirl makes me anymore intrigued for their spinoff than I was prior to these episodes. On the contrary, I am actually more worried about it than I was before.
And a lot of that worry comes from Vandal Savage. As with the Hawk duo, all I know of Savage comes from what I have seen over the last two episodes. Boy, am I not impressed. For someone who is going to be the main antagonist on a new show, he was far too easy to kill. If all it takes is a Flash/Arrow team-up to handle him, why do we need a team of B-level heroes to handle it? I suppose the A-team might be busy sometimes, but really? Also, now that the way to defeat Savage is clear, there’s no suspense on how to do it. I suppose the conceit of Legends of Tomorrow is that they must chase him through time to catch him, but still, we know how to kill him. Why not just do that every time?
For an Arrow episode, an awful lot of time was spent dealing with Flash characters, namely Cisco. I’ve never really been the biggest Cisco fan (I find him to be pretty grating at inopportune times, even more so now that he is Vibe), so I hated that the episode spent so much time dealing with his romantic fallout. The relationship between him and Kendra was without any real spark, and since the audience was well aware that she would be moving on for her own series in a matter of episodes, any suspense regarding their romantic future was zapped from their scenes. It would have been much easier had the show simply dispatched with the romantic subplot from the get go and had the pair become close friends (because hey- men and women can be just friends, Flash and Arrow writers). I would have bought into that relationship much more.
But, for me, the gravest sin “Legends of Yesterday” committed was the torpedoing of the Oliver-Felicity relationship. Both Flash and Arrow have had major issues with secrets of the course of their existence (Flash is also dealing with one at the moment- its stubborn refusal to let Patty know about Barry). When it comes to being a superhero, I get that secrecy is part of the deal. However, Oliver has seen time and again how keeping secrets only results in them backfiring in the end. There’s never been an instance on the show where a secret has made his life better or his ability to save the city stronger. Especially when it comes to Felicity. Now, I’m not sure why the show is going down this path. Perhaps they think the Felicity-Oliver relationship will get stale if they are happy. Perhaps they think Oliver is an idiot who needs to realize how stupid he is being. I don’t know. What I do know is that this entire story arc is ridiculous.
I’m never a fan of a show adding a previously unknown offspring to the mix mid-run (look at how well that worked on Gilmore Girls). It’s a desperate move to shake things up that only ends up muddying the show’s chemistry. And I’m not a fan of a show creating drama in a relationship simply for the sake of creating drama. And this move reeks of both. Oliver wants to marry Felicity. He sees a future with her. She makes him happy. So, why in the world would he keep this from her? It’s just plain stupid. Yes, he wants and deserves a relationship with his son (although, there were some great points made about why keeping William out of his orbit is for the best). But a lie of omission will destroy his relationship with Felicity. And I won’t blame her one bit when she finds out and leaves him. In fact, I’ll be thrilled. Because I’m sick of Oliver doing things like this. If the show wants him to be happy and content in his personal life, they should let him. There’s nothing wrong with that. Bad things can still happen to the city. He can still struggle with darkness and the like. But it is possible to do that and have a stable relationship.
— So, Merlyn (who felt really shoehorned into the episode) is going to bring Vandal back somehow?
— It’s so handy that Barry can, occasionally, fix everything by going back in time. Always nice to see the stakes of a situation eliminated as a result.