TV – Arrow Season 4, Episode 8

Legends of tomorrow

Steve Taylor-Bryant gets all timey-wimey and a little despondent as he watches Legends of Yesterday, the latest Arrow/Flash crossover…

A bunch of superheroes in a farmhouse? I feel like I've seen that in a movie before.

This week’s Arrow doesn’t continue on from last week’s excellent Brotherhood, in fact it is as far removed as can be. John Diggle is barely in it, so we don’t see any of the fallout from his brother being alive, and we are back in normal television superhero mode so the sharp action and fantastic fight direction I so loved in last week’s show is all gone. This is the follow up to The Flash episode Legends of Today that was the crossover earlier in the week and, luckily for those of us that haven’t caught up with The Flash yet (pun intended,) there is a brief recap involving reincarnated ancient superheroes Kendra ‘Hawkgirl’ Saunders and Carter ‘Hawkman’ Hall and we find that the baddie, Vandal Savage, is still after them.

There are flashbacks to ancient Egypt and the start of Carter and Kendra’s tale and we find that TeamArrow and TeamFlash have reconvened at a remote farmhouse on the edge of Central City to try and work out how to stop Vandal, with a little help from Ra’s Al Malcolm. They at first get defeated and are all wiped out quite horrifically until it turns out Barry ‘The Flash’ Allen has time jumped again so instead he can use the failings to help come up with a better plan and save Kendra and Carter just in time for them join the cast of Legends of Tomorrow. Oh and Oliver has a secret son and won’t tell Felicity about it.

I love Arrow. I have sat through every episode and, whilst some have really impressed and some have been a complete let down, I felt that the continuity of excellence had been prominent this season… Until now. I enjoyed the first season of The Flash but am not enamoured by the second season so therefore haven’t watched it with the same relish, although I appreciate the differences between the two shows in both characters and tone. I appreciate that, as the Big Brother show, Arrow has to sometimes cross over to help build an audience for the rest of the Universe and The Flash/Arrow crossovers used to work. Legends of Tomorrow is going to be a different type of show again and I am happy about that. I knew going into season 4 that Arrow would again have to help lay the foundations of its newest offspring and with A.T.O.M/Ray Palmer it’s been okay, with bringing Sara back it’s been okay but I think The Flash is big enough a project that it could have launched the Hawkman and Hawkgirl characters all on its own and the inclusion of TeamArrow seems out of place. If it hadn’t have been for Thea’s quote that I started this review with, you wouldn’t have known she was there. Laurel and Diggle seemed to be shunned to the side lines in favour of Caitlin and Cisco but trying to shoehorn in another story for Oliver Queen seemed to just not work, especially when the emotion that the child revelation caused in Felicity was removed with some Moffat style timey-wimey shenanigans.

I just didn’t enjoy this week and I put it down to the show being contractually obliged to help the other shows. The dark tone and seriousness of this season’s Arrow took a massive dent with The Flash up and at ‘em, always be positive and jokey style. They just don’t mix. Yes, have Barry in Arrow but just Barry. You don’t the nuttiness of Cisco if you have Felicity in the room. Yes, have Oliver in The Flash, but just have Oliver. You don’t need the broodiness and violent psychosis of Thea and Diggle in a show that plays lighter than that. It wasn’t a complete waste though as we had another scene chewing appearance from John Barrowman as Ra’s Al Malcolm who just plays the bad guy with all the relish of a child in a school play and you can’t help but be mesmerised.

Bad week that will hopefully improve with next week’s mid-season finale Dark Waters.

Image - The CW