‘The Flash’ Review: ‘Legends of Today’ Adds Some Familiar Heroes to the Team, And One Newbie
Recap and review of The Flash – Season 2 Episode 8 – Legends of Today:
When The Flash crosses over with Arrow, it usually results in a fun, cinematic experience. And this crossover was no different, as “Legends of Today” not only felt like half of a mini-movie (which will be completed with tomorrow’s Arrow), it also felt like a fitting prelude to DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, as the gang hunted the immortal Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) and, in the process, awakened a new superhero.
Part of what I love about these team-up episodes is how the respective teams interact, illustrating a contrast in how Barry (Grant Gustin) and Oliver (Stephen Amell) approach their vigilantism. Barry and his team are prone to taking wild risks predicated on science. They’re a bolder group, despite the expectation (from their more straitlaced personalities) that they’re going to be the more reserved of the two groups. Meanwhile, Oliver’s team is more regimented. Sure, they’re prone to risk-taking, and also big errors in judgment, such as when Thea (Willa Holland) shoots an incapacitated Savage off the roof rather than take him for questioning. But, for the most part, Oliver runs his vigilante team almost as if it’s a brand unto itself, and it’s an approach that makes for a nice contrast, since Barry and his team are still learning how to do this, while Oliver and his group are far more seasoned at fighting crime, even supernatural threats like Savage. We get some cool character moments as a result, such as Barry deferring to Oliver’s plans since Star City is his city, while Oliver actually apologizes to Barry for calling him out early in the episode, as he initially resents that Barry has placed them all in harm’s way by leading Savage to them. Oliver still has an edge to him, but Barry is quick to notice that he seems almost…well, happy. And that’s because, through his relationship with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), he’s finally achieved a certain measure of peace. In some ways, it makes him more effective and focused in the field, although it also means he now has something to lose. Oliver has matured a lot, and while he’s far more experienced as a crimefighter than Barry, he’s only just catching up to Barry in the whole “balancing personal life and professional responsibility” department.
Someone who’s new to all this, however, is Kendra Saunder (Ciara Renee), who finds herself the target of Savage’s attacks, claiming she is someone known as Chay-Ara. Kendra refuses to believe it, until Hawkman (Falk Hentschel), of all people, appears and reveals that he was once the Egyptian Prince Khufu, and that Chay-Ara was his lover. They’ve been reincarnated across generations, and continually find their way back to each other. Naturally, this makes Cisco (Carlos Valdes) more than a little uncomfortable. But, before long, he’s encouraging her to embrace her mystical side, since it’s basically the only way to prevent Savage from killing her. It’s a fairly straightforward story of growth and self-discovery, but it works immensely well, thanks in large part to its simplicity. We don’t need to know much more about Kendra than what Hawkman tells us. We just need to understand the scope of Kendra’s past, and the fact that she has latent abilities to be reawakened. Everything else is just gravy for the character arc, as Kendra begins to realize she’s meant for bigger things, and that she can only achieve those things by letting go of her self-imposed restrictions. The moment in which she finally steps off the side of the building and earns her wings is my favorite moment of the episode, and not just because of Cisco’s overjoyed reaction to seeing his pseudo-girlfriend fly. These types of tales of self-discovery are the best kinds of stories because they can be contained entirely in a one-hour episode. An origin story about Hawkgirl could have been a totally bland, dry affair. But it ended up building Kendra into a more fully-realized, three-dimensional character. So I really enjoyed this. I also love how it tied into the climax with Barry and Oliver’s fight against Savage. I wish it had been in an environment other than a darkened church, but I still think it was one of the more exciting action setpieces so far this season, as they essentially fight him to a draw. It gives us a brief taste of the kind of action we’re likely to get from a massive superhero team-up show like Legends of Tomorrow.
Of course, that wasn’t all that happened this week, as Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) is nearly killed by Patty (Shantel VanSanten), who shoots him upon discovering that the man she believes to be Earth-1 Wells is still alive. Naturally, she has no idea this is the Wells from Earth-2, and Wells doesn’t get the chance to explain it either. However, this creates a bit of a problem in the hunt for Zoom, as Wells had just created a serum that would allow him to inject Speed Force capabilities into any subject. His plan is to use the serum to make Barry strong enough to fight Zoom, but the instability of the compound makes Jay (Teddy Sears) suspicious. He doesn’t know how it’ll affect Barry, and he doesn’t want Wells risking Barry’s life just to get at Zoom. Which is why it’s no real surprise that, when Wells is shot, it’s Jay whom Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) convinces to use the serum. And, against his better judgment, he goes through with the injection in order to phase through Wells’s body and retrieve the bullet. But once it’s out of his system, he vows never to use the serum again, even though it did restore the powers Zoom took from him. I sincerely doubt this is the last time we’ll see Jay with speedster powers, although I do wonder why the show keeps him around if his only purpose right now is to be a voice of opposition to Wells’s plans. I like the character of Jay Garrick, but he seems like sort of a wet blanket a lot of the time. Then again, I suppose someone in the ensemble has to be, since Jay is a more experienced, mature version of the superhero Barry is trying to be. He knows exactly what can happen if you risk everything on a failed plan. It should be interesting to see how his approach clashes with that of his team as the season rolls on.
“Legends of Today” is a fun episode that gets us a step closer to resolution on this Zoom mystery, while also setting a foundation for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. This is only one half of a broader, more cinematic arc that looks to be concluded with tomorrow night’s Arrow, but this episode of The Flash works as its own, standalone story. And that’s a big plus for a crossover, in my opinion.
Butt what did you think of The Flash Season 2 Episode 8, “Legends of Today”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on The Flash, read our review of the most recent new episode, in which The Flash faced off with Gorilla Grodd!