Spoilers for the first The Flash/Arrow crossover episode below.
For some immediate full disclosure, I must say that I’m a much bigger fan of The Flash than I am of Arrow, but I truly love the way the shows embrace interconnectivity, and having these crossover episodes to look forward to is a rare TV treat these days. This year’s two-night event changed things up from last year by making this one big adventure, rather than two distinct stories, as it sets up the future spinoff Legends of Tomorrow. While admirable, this tactic doesn’t allow ”Legends of Today” to be anything beyond the most Part 1 thing that’s ever existed.
Sure, this is something that probably doesn’t affect the people who dig on both shows equally, but for one-sided fans like me, it feels like a misguided effort. Unless the effort was to make me watch tomorrow night’s Arrow, because it was successful in that respect. But let’s go over some of the ways the episode fell short of a normal Flash journey.
Vandal Savage’s introduction was pretty nice, as it immediately showed off his mystical powers and talents, and I was ready to watch him get into some pretty fabulous fisticuffs with our teams of costumed heroes in any number of combinations. But the first fight takes place inside an apartment and, while Oliver does get his ass handed to him for a few seconds, it’s basically just knives being thrown (and not connecting) and arrows being shot (and not connecting, minus the last one). And the second “fight” was more of a conversation inside of a church, with Savage crushing pews with his magic staff. I know nobody was going to defeat Savage here, since he’s invincible and the big bad in Legends and all, but I still expected more.
Then we have Harrison Wells working on a serum to make Barry faster, which sounds promising. But instead of seeing Barry utilizing it, we’re instead watching Jay Garrick being pissy about being Wells’ guinea pig, which he ends up volunteering to do to save Wells after he gets shot by Patty. Sure, this provides evidence that the serum will presumably work on Barry, but that’s about all this B-story did. This part of the story will probably continue in the next episode, but I want to see Barry get faster on The Flash, dammit, not on Arrow.
When those parts are taken out of the episode, then we're left with the sorta-origin stories of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, as well as Kendra's transformation from forgetful love interest of Cisco to someone else's soulmate who can fly around willy nilly. And hey, I quite liked everything involved with this narrative path, from the set up to the pay off. As well, it's always nice to see members of Team Arrow and Team Flash mixing it up. But save the jokey get-togethers for another installment, and give me a crossover episode with as much balls-out action as the budget will allow. A Flash ending that didn't involve Oliver's secret kid would have been nice, too.
It’s possible I’m just being too picky about something that wasn’t meant to tell a full tale in the first place, but beyond the Hawkgirl and Hawkman stuff, I thought it was a disappointing hour of TV. I’ll temper my expectations for tomorrow’s Arrow and will hopefully be blown away. What did you guys think?