Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of The Flash. To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
Lots to do, places to see, soulmates to be found spanning thousands of years…
Needless to say, in the first part of the two part crossover event between The Flash and Arrow, quite a lot happened, some significant to the two series, much of it significant to the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow. I’ll reserve total judgement on the crossover as a whole until tomorrow night, but here are my quick, immediate thoughts on it all.
Have I mentioned before just how much I loved Hawgirl in the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited series? Because I did. She, The Flash and Green Lantern were my favorite characters to watch and inner child Ally along with adult nerd Ally is beyond pleased that two of the three have been brought to life as they have. We merely get the setting stones for Kendra’s story here, with peaks back into her past life and motives about why Vandal Savage (more on him a second) would want to kill her, but the intrigue is pretty inescapable. While I enjoyed her innocent chemistry with Cisco, I am much more fascinating by her story as a would be hero. Her leap of faith at the end, where she trusts her own abilities, even if she hasn’t seen them firsthand yet, is a worthwhile and cinematic moment, a true blue “superhero” moment, and while I don’t know if I love how they’ve wasted time in The Flash to tell her story, I’m looking forward to seeing it deepened in Legends of Tomorrow.
Unfortunately, I can’t say how sold I am on Carter Hall/Hawkman yet, but time will tell with that character, who might do better once he’s playing the active part of a hero.
His “Robin Hood” comment to Oliver mid fight was certainly promising.
Even with an entire episode of him being the big bad, we still don’t get much of a motive from him, which in large part is (again) due to the fact that he’s less a villain to Oliver and Barry, more so to the crop of characters set to travel time in Legends of Tomorrow. Despite this, he still makes for a formidable foe, one with such strengths and powers that it’s hard to comprehend just how our heroes are going to stop him. He’s out to kill both Kendra and Carter, as well as steal a mysterious staff, something that Malcom felt the need to drop in and discuss. An immortal, Savage isn’t the groups typical villain, and as we see in his first appearance at the start, he’s not going to be easy to take down.
As the spearheads of the DC television movement, so to speak, Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin share a wonderful onscreen rapport that works well in favor of them being the heads of their respective teams, and seeing them work together is a way for both of their personalities to be brought into sharper focus. Barry, despite the horrors he’s faced, most recently at the hands of Zoom, still has an innate silliness about him, a childlike wonder and everything going on around him. Oliver, meanwhile, is serious and cynical, questions everyone who doesn’t immediately pass his trustworthy test. What makes it even more interesting this time to see the two act together, beyond how Amell and Gustin have grown into their roles, is how the characters have changed since the last time they teamed up. Oliver has lost some of his edge, happy and at peace for the first time in his life, while Barry has grown more world weary and less likely to simply toss himself or others headfirst into danger.
Their banter as they fight Savage, trying to determine how to stay alive, or Barry’s breathless belief that at the end they’re at a tie with Savage for not having died in his explosion, are as if the cartoons have walked off the page, with both actors completely embodying their characters.
Let’s face it: all the concerns and complaints about The Flash doing too much and spreading its stories too thin was very apparent in this weeks episode. Not only did we have the fight to save Kendra and defeat Savage, but we also had Malcolm showing up, Kendra learning who she was, the introduction to Hawkman, Speedy meeting the Flash for the first time, the Flash still dealing with the fallout from Zoom, team Arrow fighting Damian Dark, Patty seeing Harrison Wells, Wells and Caitlin coming up with some sort of speedster drug and then Jay saving Wells’s life with that drug after the later is shot by Patty.
That is, admittedly, a lot to handle. Too much to handle even I’d argue.
That doesn’t stop just how enjoyable it was to see these characters onscreen together. There was something so undeniably charming and thrilling in seeing these heroes working together to save the day. In one room we had the Green Arrow, The Flash, Vibe, Speedy, Hawkgirl, Hawkman and whoever the hell Diggle is, and next week we’ll have the Black Canary joining the mix. Sure, the mighty three aren’t there, but that’s about as close to an all star, Justice League team up that we’re going to get on the DC television scale, and it’s fantastic fun.
As I said, I’ll have more to think about after tomorrow’s episode, but as of right now, I’m content and a little giddy over the team up we already witnessed. It’s a messy episode, and it’s one that if you think too hard about you’ll likely be annoyed by (like there was really no reason for Barry to take Kendra to Star City other than plot convenience) but on the other hand we have Diggle being sick by Barry’s speed, Barry saving the entire lineup from Savage’s daggers, Oliver breaking Barry’s fall via a grappling hook arrow, and the promise that tomorrow there will be more of the whole team working together.
Count me in for another hour of this. Then I’ll be happy enough to see the Hawks take flight to their series and let the two current ones settle down in relative peace.