Arrow: Season 4, Episode 8 - "Legends of Yesterday"

Richard Giraldi and Gregory L. Reece

Green Arrow and the Flash, as well as Richard and Gregory, crossover into one another’s world in part two of this superhero/reviewer crossover event.


Airtime: Wednesdays, 7pm
Cast: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy
Subtitle: Season 4, Episode 8 - "Legends of Yesterday"
Network: CW
Air date: 2015-12-02

Richard Giraldi: Like part one, part two of the The Flash/Arrow crossover was another highly entertaining exercise in comic book fun, but this Arrow b-side to The Flash’s a-side played far more weird and wild. Besides the flashbacks and time travel, there’s a deep-cut Arrow storyline that returns in a big way.

"Legends Of Yesterday" picks right back up with a more detailed backstory on Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée) and Carter Hall/Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) via flashbacks to ancient Egypt. We discover the romance between Kendra and Carter, or more appropriately, Princess Shiera and Prince Khufu. Ultimately, Vandal Savage attacks and kills them both, and that time-loop of events continues on for centuries. It’s simply another example at how much Arrow has shifted from its formerly grounded tone to its current lighthearted approach.

Meanwhile, "Team Arrow" and "Team Flash" continue their search for the immortal madman Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) and decide to hideout in a home on the outskirts of Central City. They eventually schedule a meeting with Malcolm (John Barrowman) to get the story on Savage, but when en route, Barry/Flash (Grant Gustin) sees a double of himself while speeding, which leads him to believe a time-jump’s in his future. After the meeting with Malcolm, Barry and Oliver/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) discover that the Staff of Horace is the key to defeating Savage. Later, Green Arrow, Flash, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl take on Savage, but Oliver tells the rest of Team Arrow it’s too dangerous and to stay put. Unfortunately, the attack doesn’t go well as Savage takes it to the heroes. Savage quickly kills both Hawkman and Hawkgirl before using the Staff of Horace to unleash a destructive blast that eradicates all of Central City, including Teams Arrow and Flash. Thankfully, Barry uses his smarts and travels back in time for a do over. After telling Oliver that the first attempt went badly, they re-strategize, and the second attack on Savage features help from the rest of Team Arrow. This time, the good guys prevail and disintegrate Savage using the Staff Of Horace. We’ll be definitely be seeing more of Savage, however, as Malcolm turns up at the end to save the ashes.

While the flashbacks and time travel were fun, one of the most intriguing plotlines is Oliver’s discovery that he has a son. Longtime fans of Arrow may remember that Oliver’s mom, Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), paid off one of his former girlfriends who as pregnant with his child. Moira told her to leave town and tell Oliver she had a miscarriage. Apparently, the girlfriend left town but didn’t travel too far away, because Oliver finds her in Central City with a young son. After pulling some sly moves to get a hair sample, Oliver learns from Barry that the child’s is indeed his. In the timeline before Barry’s time-jump, Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) get into an argument about his son, which looks to fracture their relationship. But in the new, post-jump timeline, Oliver keeps his son a secret and Savage is defeated. Although he’s safe for now, I have a feeling his secrecy will hurt him in the end -- especially when Felicity finds out. It’ll be fascinating to see if this leads to the end of “Olicity”.

There’s no doubt that “Legends of Yesterday” was one of the best Arrow episodes so far this season. However, many of the show’s supporting characters were basically pushed to the background in favor of wrapping up Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Kendra’s relationship storyline from The Flash. Laurel (Katie Cassidy), Thea (Willa Holland), and Diggle (David Ramsey) barely had any lines; instead, they were mostly utilized as scenery. It would have been nice to see them more involved in the action, but it’s hard to argue the episode’s merit because this season’s entire The Flash/Arrow crossover event was downright delightful.

Gregory Reece: More comic book fun is exactly what we get in this episode. As is so often the case while I'm watching CW's superhero shows, I kept wanting to pinch myself during Arrow, simply because I found it so hard to believe that Berlanti, Johns, and company are hewing so close to the comic book source material. This episode contains super powers, time travel, and reincarnated, bird-winged lovers from ancient Egypt! And, despite what we’ve always been told, it absolutely works. As it turns out, comic books can be faithfully adapted for the small screen, something comic book fans have suspected all along.

Not that everything here’s pitch perfect. I found the flashbacks to ancient Egypt to be pretty cringe worthy. The sets and costumes looked like sets and costumes. And, with the exception of Kendra/Shiera/Hawkgirl, hardly any of the actors looked liked they could have been native to the African or Mediterranean world of Egypt. I was following the story of Kendra's and Carter's first life pretty well without the flashbacks, but perhaps the writers thought that the scenes would be helpful to those viewers who weren't already familiar with the characters of Hawkgirl and Hawkman from the comic books. More than likely it was just a case of a superhero drama falling into the trap of thinking that every hero's origin story has to shown in detail.

Despite going a bit off track with its excursions into ancient Egypt, the episode was strong in almost every other way, however. While I agree that the Arrow supporting cast wasn't given enough to do, I think that the B-story in this episode ended up being a lot stronger than the B-story in The Flash as a result. I know that you, Richard, liked the Wells (Tom Cavanaugh)/Jay (Teddy Sears) storyline a lot better than I did, but I don't think there's any doubt that Oliver's discovery he’s a father and the resulting implications of that news for his relationship with Felicity is a much more substantial development. If overlooking the supporting cast meant that we could focus on this interesting bit of Oliver's past, then I think it was well worth it.

There has been a long tradition of crossovers in the world of superhero comic books. Stan Lee made an art form of the crossover event in the early days of Marvel Comics and, of course, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done pretty well with it as well. (It remains to be seen how the DC movie line is going to work out.) To be honest, crossovers are good for the bottom line. Fans of one character will pick up another character's book or watch another character's TV show when they know that the hero they admire is going to be on hand. But there’s more than that going on. Crossovers are fun. Just plain fun. Characters meet, fight, become friends, and work together to defeat a common enemy. Shared universes are built this way. Fictional worlds are enlarged; little stories get bigger. All of that's going on this season's The Flash/Arrow crossover.







Zadie Smith's 'Intimations' Essays Pandemic With Erudite Wit and Compassion

Zadie Smith's Intimations is an essay collection of gleaming, wry, and crisp prose that wears its erudition lightly but takes flight on both everyday and lofty matters.


Phil Elverum Sings His Memoir on 'Microphones in 2020'

On his first studio album under the Microphones moniker since 2003, Phil Elverum shows he has been recording the same song since he was a teenager in the mid-1990s. Microphones in 2020 might be his apex as a songwriter.


Washed Out's 'Purple Noon' Supplies Reassurance and Comfort

Washed Out's Purple Noon makes an argument against cynicism simply by existing and sounding as good as it does.


'Eight Gates' Is Jason Molina's Stark, Haunting, Posthumous Artistic Statement

The ten songs on Eight Gates from the late Jason Molina are fascinating, despite – or perhaps because of – their raw, unfinished feel.


Apocalypse '45 Uses Gloriously Restored Footage to Reveal the Ugliest Side of Our Nature

Erik Nelson's gorgeously restored Pacific War color footage in Apocalypse '45 makes a dramatic backdrop for his revealing interviews with veterans who survived the brutality of "a war without mercy".


12 Brilliant Recent Jazz Albums That Shouldn't Be Missed

There is so much wonderful creative music these days that even an apartment-bound critic misses too much of it. Here is jazz from the last 18 months that shouldn't be missed.


Blues Legend Bobby Rush Reinvigorates the Classic "Dust My Broom" (premiere)

Still going strong at 86, blues legend Bobby Rush presents "Dust My Broom" from an upcoming salute to Mississippi blues history, Rawer Than Raw, rendered in his inimitable style.


Folk Rock's the Brevet Give a Glimmer of Hope With "Blue Coast" (premiere)

Dreamy bits of sunshine find their way through the clouds of dreams dashed and lives on the brink of despair on "Blue Coast" from soulful rockers the Brevet.


Michael McArthur's "How to Fall in Love" Isn't a Roadmap (premiere)

In tune with classic 1970s folk, Michael McArthur weaves a spellbinding tale of personal growth and hope for the future with "How to Fall in Love".


Greta Gerwig's Adaptation of Loneliness in Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women'

Greta Gerwig's film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women strays from the dominating theme of existential loneliness.


The Band's Discontented Third LP, 1970's 'Stage Fright', Represented a World Braving Calamity

Released 50 years ago this month, the Band's Stage Fright remains a marker of cultural unrest not yet remedied.


Natalie Schlabs Starts Living the Lifetime Dream With "That Early Love" (premiere + interview)

Unleashing the power of love with a new single and music video premiere, Natalie Schlabs is hoping to spread the word while letting her striking voice be heard ahead of Don't Look Too Close, the full-length album she will release in October.


Rufus Wainwright Makes a Welcome Return to Pop with 'Unfollow the Rules'

Rufus Wainwright has done Judy Garland, Shakespeare, and opera, so now it's time for Rufus to rediscover Rufus on Unfollow the Rules.


Jazz's Denny Zeitlin and Trio Get Adventurous on 'Live at Mezzrow'

West Coast pianist Denny Zeitlin creates a classic and adventurous live set with his long-standing trio featuring Buster Williams and Matt Wilson on Live at Mezzrow.


The Inescapable Violence in Netflix's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui)

Fernando Frías de la Parra's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui) is part of a growing body of Latin American social realist films that show how creativity can serve a means of survival in tough circumstances.


Arlo McKinley's Confessional Country/Folk Is Superb on 'Die Midwestern'

Country/folk singer-songwriter Arlo McKinley's debut Die Midwestern marries painful honesty with solid melodies and strong arrangements.


Viserra Combine Guitar Heroics and Female Vocals on 'Siren Star'

If you ever thought 2000s hard rock needed more guitar leads and solos, Viserra have you covered with Siren Star.


Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts Honor Their Favorite Songs With "Oh No" (premiere)

Ryan Hamilton's "Oh No" features guest vocals from Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, and appears on Nowhere to Go But Everywhere out 18 September.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.