Any good crossover extravaganza deserves an equally good Round Table.
This gigantic discussion brings to the surface issues from both Arrow Season 4 Episode 8 and The Flash Season 2 Episode 8, including a debate on which hour was more fulfilling... how well the Hawk people were introduced... how Vandal Savage stacks up as a big bad ... and whether all of the drama felt organic to the story.
Getting you started are participants from The Flash Podcast, Andy Behbakht, along with TV Fanatics Allison Nichols, Lindsay MacDonald, Liz Estey, Caralynn Lippo and Carissa Pavlica. Let's get ready to rumble!
What's your overall impression of the introduction of Hawkgirl and Hawkman?
Andy: I really enjoyed their intros and how they were setup before taking off for Legends. It reminded me a little bit how they did it with Barry in those two episodes in Arrow Season 2, even though it wasn't a crossover per say. We got enough to get attached to with these two that I feel ready to see them on their own show.
Allison: I have fallen in love with them. At first, I was skeptical of Carter, but thankfully he turned into a lovable jackass. I'm still not really feeling their epic romance, but I do love their dynamic. I'll definitely need more development on the romantic front if I'm expected to ship them.
Lindsay: I agree that they needed the development, as the only two major Legends characters without a fair bit of backstory already. Plus, their wonky reincarnation story will present A LOT of cool opportunities when you factor in the time-travel stuff coming in Legends of Tomorrow. I am 100% on board.
Liz: I think they have a lot of potential. It's easier to be interested in Hawkgirl because they put a little more time into developing her on The Flash. I'm definitely interested in the rest of their story.
Caralynn: The amount of exposition required to introduce them was a little bit clunky, to be honest, but I liked both of the characters! I don't think there was a smoother way for them to be introduced, because it needed to happen within the span of two episodes. But I'm definitely excited to see them both develop further in Legends of Tomorrow.
Did you prefer The Flash part one or Arrow part two of the crossover and why?
Andy: This is tricky because I think they both had things that I enjoyed equally, but I think the time travel aspect on Arrow with Barry going back in time, is where Part 2 may be slightly better than Part 1.
Allison: Part Two was definitely better. Harry's storyline took away attention from the crossover in Part One, and it was crazy dramatic. Also, like Andy said, the time travel was really cool, and I loved that Barry told Oliver about it.
Lindsay: I have to go with Part 2 as well, just because it incorporated the teamwork aspect of the crossover more. I love seeing all my favorites fighting together!
Liz: Part 2! The teamwork played a bigger role in Part 2, and that's what we want from a crossover.
Caralynn: Definitely part two! I really liked seeing the dynamic of Team Arrow and Team Flash all together in the farmhouse, and there was much more of a focus on the larger story in Part Two. Also, just by virtue of it being the first part in a two-parter, most of The Flash crossover episode was dedicated to setting up what would go down in part two. And part two was the pay-off. I loved everyone working together in the big face-off with Vandal Savage.
Carissa: I'll be the naysayer in the group. Part one worked for me because I couldn't find a negative with it. Part two got mired down in unnecessary drama that had no place in the crossover. Where everyone else felt a lot of teamwork, I wondered where the team was. Both teams, with the exception of Barry and Cisco, were put to better use in Part one than Part two, where they were sent off to fiddle with a betamax tape. No bueno.
Given that Vandal Savage was defeated so soundly in his first outing against our superheroes, what are your expectations of him as a big bad on Legends of Tomorrow?
Andy: I loved everything about Vandal Savage and Casper Crump's performance – he is perfect in the role and I think with Vandal's defeat, is going to make him stronger actually on Legends because he will probably have an even bigger hatred towards these heroes.
Allison: I did like that the first time around, Vandal destroyed Team Arrow. This showed that he is a formidable foe. I am very curious as to how Kendra and Carter killing him will affect Vandal. I feel like he will be out for blood and even deadlier than before.
Lindsay: I'm super confused how he's going to be back on Legends, but that just makes me even more eager to watch that show.
Liz: I'm intrigued. It could definitely be an interesting turn of events. I agree with Allison in that he will be eager for revenge.
Caralynn: Allison brings up a really good point – the fact that Vandal Savage managed to so resoundingly defeat the heroes was really shocking and set him up to be a serious threat. I'm so intrigued to find out how he winds up back in action. Maybe it has something to do with what Team Flarrow was hypothesizing about? That now maybe he's going to reincarnate? He's going to be pissed and vengeful, that's for sure, regardless.
Carissa: What's interesting is that he's normally playing with a deck stacked like Barry's was, isn't he? He's a time traveler. Does he know what's going to happen before it happens, or does he stick to the ordinary methods of traveling, forward and backward? That will be interesting to see. I assume the staff and knife were destroyed along with Savage. Will they be resurrected with him, too? Guess we'll find out.
Can you think of any valid reason Malcom Merlyn was invited to the festivities, and what are the ramifications of said invitation going forward?
Andy: At this point, I don't feel like there is even a point in questioning why Malcolm does what he does or why he is where he is when he wants to. I am just curious as heck to why he is interested in Vandal after that final scene.
Allison: Malcolm does what he wants. I feel like in Part One, he was a way to give information on Vandal that Team Arrow and Flash couldn't have gotten otherwise. Also, I did really enjoy Barry's reactions to Malcolm.
Lindsay: Unless Malcolm has some serious connection to Vandal or he uses those ashes for something BIG, having him there was kind of unnecessary. He was an exposition mouthpiece, and that's about it.
Liz: I agree with Lindsay. It really felt like Malcolm's presence was for the sole purpose of exposition. I think they haven't figured out the best way to use Malcolm, and it's hurting the show and the character.
Caralynn: His presence was so nonsensical and only made sense at the very end, when his actual purpose (saving Vandal Savage's remains) was revealed. Lindsay is right, he was essentially just there for exposition. Like I said before, the exposition was super clunky in the crossover.
Carissa: Honestly, that made not sense to me AT ALL. How did he know what was going on, especially to just pop in at the most opportune moments, full League support behind him? And what's with "you owe me one, bud" or whatever? That's really not cool. So we can blame him for scooping the ashes, and some other ijit for dropping the ball on the dustbuster. Argh.
Oliver's child is here to stay. React.
Andy. I have no problems with it ‐ it's a nice plot and something new for Oliver because as far as I know, that island of his didn't teach him anything about being a daddy so he is going to have to learn it from scratch.
Allison: I basically did a happy dance when Oliver saw William and did the math. Oliver and William are adorable. I can't wait to see how being a father changes Oliver.
Lindsay: I mean, a 9-year-old kid is better than a baby, but I'm still not a fan of SURPRISE CHILDREN in any story. It's very tropey. However, I think that it's coming at the perfect time in Oliver's character arc, when he's found more peace and light in his life, and he's more able to foster and care for that kind of father-son relationship. Basically, I'm on the fence for now.
Liz: I'm getting sick of Oliver Queen the drama queen. It seems like Arrow keeps trying to develop Oliver's character by throwing ridiculous circumstances at him. There is potential for some nice character development with his son, but overall I'm not too happy about it.
Caralynn: I like the possibilities for Oliver personally, as a father, but I had that this is essentially contrived drama for Olicity. I groaned when Samantha gave that speech about Oliver asking the world of her and demanding that he not tell Felicity. It feels so forced to have this HUGE SECRET BETWEEN THEM. It's soap-y. I hope the secret comes out and that the focus moves to Oliver's development as a dad, how it changes his perspective, etc.
Carissa: I'm really not sure how this is going to play out. Or why it's going to play out. He's not THE son, who will carry on the Green Arrow mantle, so we assume he's here for Olicity to weather a storm. That makes me kind of sad for the kid, to be honest.
The drama surrounding Oliver's personal life is such that it leads to horrific deaths and the need for time travel to repair it all. Storywise, what does this say about him balancing a child, an ex, a lover, Green Arrow and being mayor?
Andy: That he has a lot on his plate and that if he messes things up, that it just proves that he is a flawed character which is a good thing – no one is perfect, we can only do the best we can. I'm stoked to see how he handles all of that.
Allison: I hope that Oliver struggles to balance everything because he doesn't have superpowers. It wouldn't feel right if Oliver managed to do it all with ease. I want to have Oliver sort out his priorities, as Ron Weasley would say. Right now being the Green Arrow is the majority of his life. He will have to slowly spend more of his days without a mask to hide under, and I don't know if Oliver is ready for it. I'm excited to see him step into the light of day more.
Lindsay: I agree that it's creating a great theme for Oliver's story right now. Can he handle everything weighing him down, and what will be the first thing to break if he can't? My bet is that his bid for Mayor will probably take a nose dive before anything else.
Liz: Arrow has always highlighted the human aspects of being a superhero, and I think this just ups the ante in terms telling human stories. So much of this season has been about Oliver becoming the Green Arrow; now the season will be more about Oliver becoming the best version of himself.
Caralynn: Despite the fact that the Olicity fight felt so silly and contrived, I do like the fact that it played into the theme that Oliver is balancing a lot at once and that any kind of major upset in his life could throw off his superhero-ing. It makes him so much more relatable, and seeing his struggle with balancing his personal and "professional" lives makes for a more interesting story.
Carissa: It might be a little too much at once. I would have liked to have seen him have at least one piece of the puzzle in place before dropping another one onto the table. Felicity – moving piece, role as mayor – moving piece, Green Arrow – moving piece...he just got back, really. He just got his friendship with Diggle back on track. I'm not sure he's ready. I hope so.
From a writing perspective, WHAT THE HECK WHERE THEY THINKING?
Andy: I'm not sure what it is that this question is referring to because I didn't see anything that would have made me react like that.
Allison: I'm assuming we are talking Olicity drama. Samantha's request that Oliver not tell ANYONE about William was absurd and made no sense. He can't tell his freaking sister or the woman he loves? Um, no, not okay Samantha. I get that she wants to keep this under wraps, but Oliver should not be forced to keep this from his family. This was clearly done just to throw drama in the otherwise smooth sailing ship that is Olicity. It was unnecessary and annoying. There are less annoying ways to cause drama.
Lindsay: Personally, I agree with Allison. I think the secrecy surrounding this whole subplot is mostly drama for drama's sake, almost to the point of being unbelievable. I knew they were going to throw a curve ball at Olicity eventually, but I'd hoped they would do it a little more gracefully than this.
Liz: I agree with Allison and Lindsay. It feels like a lot of cheap ploys for creating drama. There is potential for real character development, but making it so contrived has sort of gotten in the way of that.
Caralynn: I mentioned this a bit already, but the Olicity fight was SO incredibly contrived and neither of their reactions felt authentic. Felicity reverted to her most irritating pre-season 4 self and the fact that she flipped out after Oliver kept the secret from her for a whopping few hours was a ridiculous overreaction. This was by far my least favorite part of the crossover. And it was such a predictable angle to play! Poor form, writers.
Carissa: The drama had no place in the crossover. It left out most of the team and alienated Flash viewers. That's the least of it. That it was fabricated and not worthy of either character in their Arrow Season 4 form is what the worst of it. MY Oliver and MY Felicity were past that garbage. I'd like to know who made them drag it out again.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.