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Arrow – Legends of Yesterday Review

"Another dull slog"

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?

Arrow -- "Legends of Yesterday" -- Image AR408A_0040b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Falk Hentschel as Carter Hall and Ciara Renee as Kendra Saunders -- Photo: Katie Yu/ The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Arrow — “Legends of Yesterday” — Pictured (L-R): Falk Hentschel as Carter Hall and Ciara Renee as Kendra Saunders — Photo: Katie Yu/ The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.

Arrow -- "Legends of Yesterday" -- Image AR408A_0136b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon, Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, David Ramsey as John Diggle and Willa Holland as Thea Queen -- Photo: Katie Yu/ The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Arrow — “Legends of Yesterday” — Pictured (L-R): Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon, Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, David Ramsey as John Diggle and Willa Holland as Thea Queen — Photo: Katie Yu/ The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Final Thoughts:

— 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.


  • Hawkgirl and Hawkman's wings looked cool
  • Oliver's new secret
  • Too much Cisco
  • Savage too easily defeated
  • Lack of adequate explanation for Hawkgirl and Hawkman's powers

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  • Irish Jim

    I agree on Cisco. I think he is a OK character, but the love angle was totally bogus. There was no chemistry between him and Ciara. I am all for geeky guys getting the cute girl, but I did not believe them as a couple for a minute.
    Carter was really stiff, more like a dees, dems and dose type of guy, not an Egyptian prince.
    Hawkman and Hawkgirl are minor DC characters. They are nothing special. Of course, Atom and Green Arrow are minor DC characters too. If you want to save the Earth, you get Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Flash together.
    Presumably this team is being put together by Rip Hunter because they are minor characters who won’t screw up the movie plans.
    Arrow has its characters do stupid things. First Oliver didn’t have to tell William’s Mom that he wouldn’t tell anyone about him being the Father and then HE DOESN’T HAVE TO ACTUALLY HONOR THE PROMISE. He can tell Felicity and then just never bring her to meet William, at least until the kid is older and can make his own decisions.
    I assume that they need to put some conflict in the Oliver-Felicity relationship, but this seems stupid. There is no reason he can’t tell her. Unless he sues for visitation, which he could do, he isn’t going to bring the kid home to meet the team.
    Finally, Merlin is going to resurrect Savage. Really? And making Merlyn Raz was a good idea how?

    • Jean Henegan

      You’ve hit the nail on the head re: Merlyn. I said way back at the end of last season that Oliver’s decision to make him Ra’s was as idiotic as they come.

      I’m getting so tired of seeing these characters make stupid decisions. I fully accept that sometimes people do stupid things. But the degree of stupidity that occurs throughout Star City is mind-boggling.

      • Irish Jim

        It wouldn’t bother me if the same characters made stupid decisions over and over again, because then they would be stupid people.

        On this show Oliver does thing stupid one week. Laurel does something stupid the next week. Then it is Diggle’s turn.

        They only do it after 2 or 3 other characters tell them not to do it because it is stupid and they never listen. Then the group has to fix the crisis caused by the obviously stupid decision.

        It is really tiring.

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About / Bio
TV critic based in Chicago. When not watching and writing about awesome television shows, I can be found lamenting over the latest disappointing performance by any of the various Chicago sports teams or my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow me @JeanHenegan on Twitter.

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