In case you missed the first part of this two-night crossover event between Arrow and The Flash, you can read Bethany’s recap here but if you’d rather have a more condensed version, I’ll give you the CliffNotes.
Previously on The Flash
Cisco’s new love interest Kendra Saunders (Clara Renee) is being attacked by a dangerous man named Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) and Team Flash enlists the help of Team Arrow to protect her. Along the way a man with the ability to sprout wings and fly named Carter Hall/Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) shows up and tells Kendra that they are both the reincarnations of some ancient Egyptians named Prince Khufu and Priestess Chay-Ara. He also says that Savage is an immortal that has lived for 4,000 years, who has gained his powers through killing their reincarnated selves over and over again (206 times to be exact). Kendra has no memory of her past life and therefore has no idea what this guy’s talking about but nevertheless eventually sprouts wings of her own. Savage, meanwhile sensing that killing Kendra and Carter will be tougher than usual acquires a McGuffin called the Staff of Horus for a power boost.
Oh, and on a non superhero related note, Oliver also finds out that he might be a father, so yeah things got pretty crazy on The Flash and it only gets crazier from here.
Tonight’s flashback sequence is certainly a first for this show as we take a break from Oliver’s latest island adventure and go back 4,000 years to view the origin story of Kendra, Carter and Vandal Savage.
Prince Khufu and Priestess Chay-Ara are carrying on a secret and forbidden affair while at the same time worrying that their god Horus will soon send a meteor shower onto them and destroy their kingdom. Savage catches the two lovers in bed together and harboring feelings for Chay-Ara stabs them both in a jealous rage with the Staff of Horus. As the two are bleeding to death, a meteor shower rains down upon the kingdom and Savage vows that his hatred will be everlasting and he’ll follow them from this life to the next and the next (and you get the idea).
Welcome to the New Normal
Team Arrow and Team Flash decide to hide out in a nearby farmhouse since both their HQ’s have had some noticeable security problems. Both teams discuss a way to get the Staff of Horus away from Savage though Barry mentions that’s easier said than done since the staff has some sort of protective force-field whenever Savage uses it. Cisco and Caitlin come up with the idea to make some special gauntlets that will disrupt the shielding and immediately get to work with Felicity. Diggle, Laurel and Thea meanwhile go to use their connections with A.R.G.U.S. and the police department to try to run a background check on Savage.
Merlyn then makes a call to say that he’s arranged for him, Oliver and Barry to meet with Savage in the hopes of negotiating. Needless to say that plan doesn’t work out very well and Savage gives Oliver and Barry 24 hours to turn over Kendra and Carter or he’ll lay waste to their cities. Oliver has no intentions of giving in to Savage’s demands but Merlyn warns him that if his decisions get Thea killed then he will make him beg for the likes of Savage (yeah Merlyn, considering we’ve seen Oliver kick your ass several times, pardon me if I’m not quaking in my boots).
After the meeting, Barry confides in Cisco that he ghosted on his way to meeting Savage, indicating that he’s going to be time travelling again sometime soon. Considering Barry’s previous experiences with time travel have invariably come back to bite them in the ass, this has them both understandably worried.
Meanwhile, Carter tries to train Kendra in her new abilities so they can stand a better chance against Savage. Carter’s brilliant training basically consists of pissing her off until she sprouts her wings again and tackles him in a rage. Yeah if this is Carter’s idea of training, it’s no wonder Savage has managed to kill them over 200 times.
Diggle, Laurel and Thea come back with not much on Savage except an old Betamax tape from a conspiracy theory group from the 70s, who were obsessed with him. On the tape is a professor named Dr. Aldus Boardman who says that Savage’s immortality is the result of an “unearthly calamity” and he believes that any object associated with this calamity should be able to kill him. Carter has no recollection of this so-called calamity (isn’t it great that even as an exposition tool, Carter is completely useless?) but Kendra thinks it has something to do with the staff.
Oliver’s plan is to pretend to hand over Kendra and Carter to Savage and have Kendra surprise him with her new found abilities. They will then use the gauntlets to neutralize the staff and have Barry snatch it from Savage with his super-speed. Fearing for the safety of Team Arrow and Team Flash, Oliver insists that just he and Barry take Kendra and Carter to deal with Savage. Things don’t exactly go to plan however, as the gauntlets fail to work. Savage quickly kills Kendra and Carter and uses the staff to completely level Central City. It takes everything Barry has to run away fast enough to escape the blast and finds that he has gone back in time and once again preparing to meet Savage alongside Oliver and Merlyn.
Second Time’s the Charm
Once the meeting with Savage has wrapped up the second time, Barry fills in Oliver about his travelling back in time and that his original plan failed horribly. Oliver thinks this can be used to their advantage but Barry warns him against changing the future too much. Oliver points out though that things can’t really get much worse than it did in the original timeline and they need to take advantage of their second chance.
Oliver decides that Kendra’s training might work better this time if Cisco talks to her instead of Carter. Personally, I would argue that Carter’s 0-206 record against Savage was already a pretty good reason for him not to be left in charge of Kendra but hey better late than never. Cisco isn’t thrilled with this idea but reluctantly agrees. He theorizes that instead of using Carter’s approach of tapping into Kendra’s warrior side, they should try her priestess side instead. This approach works and triggers a memory that gives Kendra an idea on how to kill Savage.
Kendra and Cisco deduce that in order for the gauntlets to work they need to be powered with the same kind of meteor rocks that destroyed Khufu and Chay-Ara’s kingdom, which Barry is quickly able to obtain (naturally). Oliver then makes one last adjustment to the plan by telling Team Arrow and Team Flash to “suit up.” The plan is able to go off without a hitch this time and Oliver and Barry use the staff to disintegrate Savage.
In the aftermath, Kendra and Carter both decide to leave Central City to figure out what to do next with their lives but not before Kendra gives a heartfelt farewell to Cisco.
Even though Savage has kept Team Arrow and Team Flash very busy this week, Oliver is still able to make some time to deal with the possibility that he might have a nine year-old son he never knew about.
Oliver stops by Central City to ask his old flame Samantha if he is the father of her son William. She insists that he isn’t but Oliver isn’t quite convinced and has Barry secretly run a DNA test. The test confirms Oliver’s suspicions and he goes to confront Samantha about it. She admits that Oliver’s mother paid her a million dollars to keep Oliver in the dark about William. She never cashed the check but decided that William was still better off staying far away from the Queen family. She acknowledges that Oliver isn’t the same person as before but figures his life is still way too complicated and William is still better off without him. She says that Oliver can be a part of his life but only if he doesn’t tell William or anyone else that he’s William’s father.
Felicity finds out about the paternity test and confronts Oliver about it. She chastises Oliver for this and says it’s another indicator that he doesn’t trust her and it appears that the two have broken up. Yeah, I wish we got off that easy with these two.
After Barry has gone back in time, he warns Oliver that he and Felicity getting into a huge fight over him not telling her about William. Still partially worried about the repercussions of changing the future, Barry advises that the best thing for him to do is to try and be part of William’s life even if it means keeping it a secret from Felicity. Oliver takes Barry’s advice and while Oliver has a nice moment with his son, it’s clearly only a matter of time before this blows up in Oliver’s face. My guess is that Damien will leak it to the press to damage Oliver’s campaign.
Merlyn shows up to scoop up Savage’s ashes while oddly enough quoting Savage’s declaration back in Egypt word for word. As Merlyn finishes putting Savage’s remain into a small container, he says “You owe me one buddy.”
As much as I still love this episode with Barry going back in time and the team-up at the end, I couldn’t help but feel like things got a little crowded.
One thing that probably didn’t help with this is Oliver’s baby daddy subplot. I don’t mind the subplot itself so much but this felt like the wrong episode to do it. This would’ve been better served in one of Arrow’s villain of the week episodes but here it gives the episode a small case of tonal whiplash.
I also have two major problems with how it’s handled. Samantha’s insistence that Oliver keep his paternity a complete secret feels ridiculous and completely arbitrary. Sure she’s right about Oliver’s life being complicated but how the hell would she know that?
My second problem is how Felicity handles it. She accuses Oliver of deliberately keeping a secret from her, though as I said before I think she lost the right to play that card when she admitted to doing Team Arrow activities behind his back in the season premiere. Also, it never seems to occur to her that Oliver might have wanted to take the time to process this news before telling anybody about it but no she has to make it about him lying to her. Writers, it’s this kind of bull crap that made her completely unbearable to sit through last season.
My other problem is with Carter, who I found to be completely useless in this episode. His main purpose seems to be providing exposition about Savage but he doesn’t even do that well. There’s nothing he tells the characters that couldn’t have just as easily been told by Kendra, Merlyn or even that Betamax tape. Even when it comes to getting Kendra to embrace her past as Chay-Ara, he has to have Cisco do that for him.
It also doesn’t help that the actor playing Carter is just awful. He has the acting ability of Jai Courtney with the charisma to match. His relationship with Kendra also feels incredibly forced, which even the writers acknowledge since Cisco points out at the end of the episode that Kendra doesn’t even seem to like him. Even their interactions in the flashback felt off. I’m sure their relationship is supposed to develop further in Legends of Tomorrow but it’s not off to a great start.
Tune in next week for the mid-season finale ‘Dark Waters.’