Written By: Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim (story); Brian Ford Sullivan & Marc Guggenheim (script)
Directed By: Thor Freudenthal
Series Episode: 77
Airdate: December 2, 2015
Guests: Vandal Savage ( Casper Crump ), Carter Hall/Khufu/Hawkman ( Falk Hentschel ), Samantha ( Anna Hopkins ), Professor Aldus Boardman ( Peter Francis James ), William ( Jack Moore )
Special Guests: Barry Allen/The Flash ( Grant Gustin ), Caitlin Snow ( Danielle Panabaker ), Cisco Ramon ( Carlos Valdes ), Kendra Saunders/Chay-Ara/Hawkgirl ( Ciara Renée )
The Flash #2.8: “Legends of Today”
For all things The Flash, check out our coverage over at FlashTVNews.
Barry is still trying to build his speed back up following his back injury at the hands of Zoom, to no avail. Concerned, Harrison Wells tries to perfect a synthetic formula called Velocity-6 that will temporarily allow someone to tap into the Speed Force. Caitlin offers a biochemical solution to aid and Wells determines he has to test the serum on Jay Garrick to see if it will work on Barry. Jay wants no part of it, but when Wells is later shot by a confused Patty Spivot, Jay takes the formula to be able to phase his hand into Wells’ body to remove the bullet. It’s effect is temporary, and Jay warns Wells against trying to give it to Barry.
A mysterious, mystical man arrives in Central City looking for Kendra Saunders, who he claims to know as Priestess Chay-Ara. After Cisco accidentally revealing Barry’s identity to Kendra when the Flash saves them from the man, they take her to STAR Labs to figure out why he’s after Kendra and why he’s using centuries old knives as weapons. To protect her, Barry takes her to Star City to get Team Arrow’s help. After a clash and mix of team personalities, Cisco shares with Barry his previous vibe about Kendra in a bird outfit with wings. The combined team is attacked at the loft by the mysterious man and after a struggle, bloodlusty Thea sends him over the balcony with an arrow. Oliver and Barry rush to find him gone, no body anywhere.
Cisco reveals his powers to everyone and tells Kendra about his vision of her. Ra’s al Ghul/Malcolm Merlyn and the League arrive to inform them that the man is an immortal named Vandal Savage who has lived for centuries. Kendra is naturally freaked about the discovery of her past life when she’s kidnapped by a man with wings. He takes her to a rooftop and reveals that he is Prince Khufu. She starts to have flashes of their past, a romantic past, and he explains that as she “emerges” it will all come back to her. Felicity tracks him, and Green Arrow and the Flash close in. Khufu attacks, but the heroes work together to capture him.
Khufu tells everyone how he was Carter Hall in this life just as Chay-Ara is Kendra now as well. He woke up to his reality and learned the truth: that they are soulmates from 4,000 years ago, resurrected each time they’ve died, and drawn to each other to love and fight Vandal Savage. Savage kills them repeatedly to harness their lifeforce and continue to live for all time. They are currently on their 207th lives. Hall wants them to run, but Barry suggests they take him down. Merlyn arrives and tells them Savage is looking for the Staff of Horus, a mystical relic, to destroy them. Felicity searches for it while Hall tries to convince Kendra to remember herself to be able to tap into her full power.
To do that, Hall says Kendra needs to jump off a tall building, to risk her life to emerge. She goes over but nothing happens and Barry has to save her. He’s unconvinced this will help, but Oliver thinks it’s the only way. He keys on Kendra being drawn to Central City and Felicity discovers that the staff was consecrated at a church in Central City. Barry tells Kendra that she just needs to believe in herself and her true self will emerge. Back atop a building, Kendra realizes she needs to let go of thoughts holding her back and embrace her reality. She jumps from the building, and as she falls, her wings appear.
Green Arrow and the Flash go to the church and find that Savage is already there, having found the staff. He attacks them with it. As GA and Flash plan a counter attack, Savage can sense that Kendra’s power and self have emerged. Rather than waste time, he uses the staff to explode the church. Barry is able to get he and Oliver free in time. Oliver calls the team and tells them all to high-tail it to Central City.
In a moment of downtime with Barry at Jitters, Oliver sees a young boy run to his mother. He recognizes her as Samantha, the girl he briefly dated nearly 10 years ago and got pregnant but miscarried. Judging the age of the boy, something daunting clicks in his mind.
We’d normally do a flashback section, but the flashbacks this week are strictly related to the present day narrative and give us the backstory for Khufu/Carter Hall, Chay-Ara/Kendra Saunders, and Hath-Set/Vandal Savage. So, they live here.
In ancient Egypt, the kingdom is plagued by meteors or falling “sky rocks” as the locals like to say. Fearing the Egyptian god Horus is angered, Prince Khufu offers up tribute to Horus before his father the Pharaoh Rameses. The priestess Chay-Ara thinks his offering meager and that more should be given to please Horus. Her boss Hath-Set excuses her bluntness but presses the point with the Pharaoh. In the hall, Chay-Ara apologizes to Khufu for seeming so harsh. He doesn’t mind and they kiss. Hath-Set spies on.
In the present, Kendra comes to from this memory but tells a concerned Carter that she can’t recall a thing of her past. The team arrives at a farmhouse on the outskirts of Central City and trade barbs about the relative ease of anyone getting into STAR Labs and the loss of two separate Arrowcaves. Thea seals that up with a healthy dressing of Avengers: Age of Ultron reference. The “Geek Squad” of Felicity, Caitlin, and Cisco, as Oliver calls them, sets about trying to develop gauntlets that will allow Oliver and Barry to counteract the magnetic effects of the Staff of Horus to be able to take it away from Vandal Savage. Diggle goes to check A.R.G.U.S. records for anything on Savage. Thea and Laurel head off to comb through police files on anything about him. Carter agrees to train Kendra. And Oliver heads out on some personal business. Felicity’s radar goes off and she tries to get Oliver to tell her what’s going on. He says he needs to figure it out first and then he’ll share with the class.
Kendra tries to have one of those pesky relationship talks with Cisco but he cuts her off, saying he doesn’t want to be a distraction from her walk down memory lane and her training. Carter shows up with a box and summarily dismisses Cisco. He explains to Kendra that they have to find these things in every lifetime to realize their full powers. In the box: her Hawkgirl get-up. She goes classic Joseph Campbell, “I’m not ready” on it but Carter presses that they have to achieve their full potential and defeat Savage or they respawn at the checkpoint of the next life to start all over again.
Oliver has tracked down Samantha’s house and he creeps outside of it in a car as she and her son come out to take him to school. He gets out of the car and she’s shocked to see him there. Oliver explains how he had to wonder about her son and his age given their past. Samantha stops him and says William isn’t his but the son of a guy she meant a couple of months after moving to Central City after their fling. He takes the gutpunch in stride and helps with William’s hat as she drops it trying to rush off. As she leaves, he looks at a strand of William’s hair he got from the hat in his palm. Malcolm calls and says he’s set up a meeting with Savage for he and Barry. Barry races to the meeting and sees a ghost image of himself like the first time he learned about time travel. The three trade quips about Savage and Malcolm admits to not knowing anything about him but being afraid of him. Savage enters stage left on such kind words.
They ask what Savage wants and he says he just wants to live, needing the lifeforce from Carter and Kendra to be able to do so. In his time-tested patience, Oliver immediate flings an arrow into Savage’s chest. He shrugs it off and pulls the arrow from his chest, explaining that he taught Robin of Locksley (Loxley) how to shoot a bow and Loxley taught him how to suck up the pain of an arrow. For those keeping score at home, Robin Hood officially exists in the history of the DCwU. (Or Savage is just one of those boastful bastards who can’t help but make stuff up.) Savage offers up an ultimatum because, well, bad guy in a coat full of knives. The peoples Hawk brought to him within 24 hours or he kills everyone in Central City. Then, he’ll move on to Star City. He leaves and Oliver gets tough about not giving up Carter and Kendra. Not to be outdone by Savage, Malcolm gets up in Oliver’s face and says make Savage’s dreams come true, or if Thea dies, he will rain down hell on Oliver. It’s all Oliver can do to keep from unzipping his GA tunic and revealing his “Been There, Done That” t-shirt in response.
Back at the farmhouse, Oliver lays out the stakes to everyone. Kendra doesn’t see the point in not sacrificing herself to save millions, especially as Carter paints pictures of the massacres Savage has done in the past to get to them. Stubborn as always, Oliver’s not giving up. Cisco wants to go after Kendra but Carter throws up the Hawkblock. Instead, Cisco goes out to work on the gauntlets and runs into Barry, who freaks him out by sharing that he saw the ghost image. Cisco doesn’t want to change anything by knowing Barry time-jumps at some point, but they really can’t escape the point. Carter catches up to Kendra and she wonders if they ever committed suicide in their past lives to prevent Savage from getting The Prize*. She can’t fathom why the rest would risk their lives for her. Carter reasons that “Heroes Join Forces” to protect any and every life. She doesn’t see herself a hero, but he begs to differ. He tells her to take a swing at him. She’s reluctant but her eggs her own, and when she does he counters, knocking her to the ground. They go again, Carter cranking the dial on dickishness closer to 10. Same result, only he gives her a little shove as she tries to get up. Fuming, Kendra pops her wings and goes at Carter, taking him down. That’s the key, he offers. Use your rage.
*From Highlander. Cue up “Princes of the Universe.”
Diggle, Thea, and Laurel are back with intel from a conspiracy theory group: a Betamax tape. Lo and behold, Felicity is able to conjure up some kind of Beta emulator on her computer and a scanner to read the tape in no time flat and send it to the TV screen. (Why in the world would you include Betamax as the format if you can’t believably use the damn thing without a player? Yes, we get that it’s from the ’70s. There had to have been something better.) The tape is of a Professor Aldus Boardman explaining that some items from a great calamity could be used to defeat Savage. Kendra recalls Savage having the Staff of Horus back in ancient Egypt, but plays it off as a hunch. They can use the staff to end him once and for all.
At the CCPD forensic lab, Barry hands Oliver results of a DNA test, believing it has something to do with Damien Darhk. It confirms to Oliver that William is his son. Shaken, he leaves just as Felicity arrives. Oliver asked Barry not to tell anyone about his finding and Barry superspeeds the DNA result printout into his pocket. Felicity calls him on it and Barry hands it over to her, wondering what it has to do with Darhk. Felicity quickly recognizes it. Oliver shows up at Samantha’s and confronts her. She tells him about Moira offering her the money to lie to Oliver. He doesn’t believe her but she produces the check; she never cashed it. She didn’t want anything to do with the Queens, specifically wanted nothing to do with the playboy Oliver and didn’t want her son to know that father. Oliver protests that he’s changed, and she acknowledges that but challenges that his life is too crazy to have William be a part of it. (If only she knew the real crazy half of it.) Oliver pushes that he wants to get to know his son and that William should get to know his father. She’ll agree on the condition that he doesn’t reveal to William that he’s the boy’s father and that he doesn’t tell anyone else about it. Oliver begs her not to force him to keep it from Felicity, but to protect her son, Samantha will not have it any other way.
Oliver returns to the farmhouse and is met by Felicity, who tries to trap him about his secret. Trying to keep his promise, Oliver deflects, but Felicity produces the DNA result printout. She’s hurt that he would lie to her about it. Torn, Oliver tries to be vague, but Felicity takes that as an affront to her trust. That he can’t trust her makes her not want to have anything to do with him and she leaves. Barry catches the tail end and asks Oliver if everything is alright. He tries to brush it off but Barry insists that Oliver seems off. Oliver is all about business. Inside, he lays down the gameplan. Carter will attack from the front, Oliver will lay down cover fire, Barry will speed in to grab the staff, and Kendra will surprise Savage with her full powers to partner with Carter. Diggle asks what the rest of them will be doing. Oliver shuts them down; it’s only going to be the four of them because he won’t risk anyone else.
Green Arrow and the Flash show up at Savage’s meeting with Carter and Kendra in their full Hawk gear, shackled. They initially play it off like they are giving into his demand, but as Savage seeks to gut Kendra like a pig, GA stops him. Flash frees the Hawks. Savage knocks GA down and takes a shot at Flash with the staff. Hawkman sprouts his wings and tries to get Hawkgirl to do the same. She’s shocked when she can’t. Savage trips up GA again and throws two knives into Hawkman’s chest. He falls dead and his lifeforce floats from his body. Kendra charges Savage and effectively forms a human-sized sheath for his shiv. As he sucks the lifeforce from her as well, GA shoots an arrow that just bounces off of Savage. He’s now more powerful. But no so fast — Flash picks up the staff and fires it upon Savage. Unfortunately, the gauntlets don’t work and the energy begins to decay Barry. Oliver grabs on and it begins eating away at him, too. Oliver tells Barry to get away so that he can regroup to fight Savage another time. Barry won’t do it because Oliver will die. And that’s when Oliver pulls out the big guns: “Run, Barry, run.”
Barry gets blasted from the staff. It draws Oliver’s attention enough that Savage gets the drop on him and knocks him down, taking the staff. This is Savage’s world and you only die in it. He does his finishing move and slams the staff on the ground, sending out a huge burst of energy that first tears through Oliver like a Nazi in Raiders of the Lost Ark then begins demolishing all of Central City. Barry runs, trying to get ahead of the blast. It rips through the farmhouse, killing everyone inside. Barry finds the speed he’d been looking for and splits time again, becoming the other side of the ghost image he saw earlier. When he stops, he finds himself 24 hours earlier, at the meeting he, Oliver, and Malcolm had with Savage.
Savage makes his threat all over again. As they arrive back at the farmhouse, Barry slips and tells Oliver that any plan isn’t going to work. He momentarily tries to cover himself but then admits to having traveled back in time following their original failure against Savage. Oliver goes a bit cross-eyed and Barry explains that his world is “stranger than yours.” Oliver wants to use this to their advantage, to correct their mistakes. Mistake #1, Barry says, was Oliver himself. That he was off his game for some reason. Oliver pushes and Barry tells him about the hair sample he wants Barry to run and how Felicity found out the results and they got into a huge fight. Oliver’s sometimes thick head rears its, well, head and Barry has to spell out that he believes his verdant friend is someone’s father and it causes Oliver to lose focus. All the plans go caca and everyone dies. Momentarily shaken by the confirmation, Oliver snaps to and says they make different choices this time to make sure that all doesn’t happen.
Next day, Oliver pushes Cisco to make sure the gauntlets will work without letting on that he knows about the do-over. He also says Cisco should speak to Kendra. Cisco thinks tough-nuts Carter has it all handled, but Oliver insists that she needs to hear from someone who really cares about her that it’s okay for her to be herself and find the power within. Cisco interrupts Carter before his whole little anger/hawk rage thing from the first time and comes at the discussion from the other angle. Forget the warrior part and focus on the priestess: someone with a kind, nurturing heart. The warrior isn’t showing because she keeps resisting the idea that she could be in love with Khufu/Carter. She admits that she has been remembering their past but she hates the idea that it really means she’s not Kendra Saunders but this reincarnated being. Recalling the vibe of his own death that made him first realize he had powers, Cisco tells her it’s a gift and has her close her eyes to remember.
Back in Egypt, Chay-Ara wakes in bed with Khufu. He wants her to stay but she must go to figure out another offering for Horus to keep the pesky ol’ “sky rocks” from falling on them. She turns to find Hath-Set, who reminds Khufu that the clergy can’t get their freak on with the royals; it’s against the law. The penalty is death and he strikes at Khufu with his staff. The two struggle as Chay-Ara grabs a knife from the bedside. She plunges it into Hath-Set’s shoulder. He pulls it from his body and turns on her to attack. Khufu charges from behind and Hath-Set spins and impales the prince on the knife. Khufu falls to the ground and Chay-Ara attends to him. Hath-Set stabs her in the back. As the meteors fall on the city, he speaks and incantation that sets about the fate of all three. Chay-Ara prays to Horus for help and Khufu’s last words complete the bond between all of them. The eyes of the Staff of Horus glow, as does the blade of the knife used to stab the lovers. Kendra snaps to with an idea of how to take down Savage.
Cisco tells the others that the gauntlets won’t work without a critical element. Kendra states that she remembered how she and Carter first died and that it involved the meteors. Felicity corroborates the Egypt rocked by, er, sky rocks thing in the Middle Kingdom because she knows stuff, y’all. Laurel voices everyone else’s “the hell does this have to do with anything” vibe, and Kendra identifies it as the calamity Professor Boardman spoke about on the video tape. She mentions the glowing gemstones in the staff and how it matches the glow of the meteors that devastated the city. Barry thinks the gemstones could be the same element as the meteorite, and Felicity confirms Egyptians used meteorite in their crafts rather than macaroni. Caitlin assumes the minerals in the elements likely glow in proximity to each other. Cisco gets comic-booky and refers to it as an “Nth metal” that could counteract the effects of the staff. Felicity googles the meteorite and finds a sample is at a Keystone City museum, which Barry wastes no time running to and taking. He hands it to Cisco to get to work. Everyone gets ready to face Savage, and this time
it’s personal Diggle, Thea, and Laurel will be in on the party.
With everyone in position, Oliver and Barry ready for the meeting. Barry is still worried about changing the future and what the consequence will be. Oliver sees it as no worse that what already happened before, so he’s all in. Green Arrow and the Flash present the Hawks to Savage. This time, as Savage approaches to stab Kendra, Oliver frees the Hawks. Savage knocks Hawkman aside. Hawkgirl pops her wings and knocks Savage down. Team Arrow burst in in their awesome van; a little Canary Cry and Spartan, Black Canary, and Speedy begin tussling with Savage, drawing his fire. Green Arrow distracts with, what else, arrows, and Flash grabs the staff from Savage. Spartan gets clear and Hawkman and Hawkgirl whisk Canary and Speedy away quickly. Flash fires the staff on Savage and quickly GA joins him. Together, they charge a blast that turns Savage to a pile of ash and mystical disappears the staff as well.
The next day, Oliver, Barry, and Cisco ask Carter and Kendra how it feels to finally be free of Savage. They aren’t sure ’cause it’s the first time. And who knows if he’ll pop up again if they are reincarnated after this life. Asked what they’re going to do, Kendra says that they’re going to give the helping people gig a try. Barry asks where and Carter suggests they might try St. Roch, Louisiana. Even though, clearly, Midway City would be a better bet. Kendra asks for a moment alone with Cisco. He’s been waiting for the hammer to drop but she can’t deny that she’s got some baggage to sort through and some stuff to figure out. He ain’t a fan, but he gets it. He made her a medallion with the Nth metal that has a distress call tracker embedded in it if she ever needs his help. They kiss.
Oliver congratulates Barry on everything he’s done in Central City over the past year+. Barry says they need to have an uncomfortable talk, which could go in so many directions. But Ollie figures it’s about William. Barry is worried that the timeline change could have significant effects on Oliver and Felicity regarding William and wonders what he’s going to tell her. Oliver figures it might be best just not to get involved with William at all and it won’t be a concern. Barry counters, from experience, that having his father around would be better for William. Ollie thanks him and Barry goes in for the hug. Oliver puts up the nix, but Barry sways him around to the hug anyway.
At Samantha’s, she and Oliver have the same conversation as the original timeline. Oliver agrees to her terms about not telling anyone, including Felicity. He goes to William’s room to visit under the rule that he is just mommy’s friend visiting. William plays with his merchandise marketing plug, er, Flash action figures and Ollie joins him. He introduces himself as a friend and asks if it will be cool if he stops in now and then to visit. William’s kosh with it. Back home at the loft, the place in shambles, Felicity asks if Oliver is ready to tell him what he was going to earlier. He says it doesn’t matter because it’s over and everything’s good now, lover. Any guy worth his salt will know this will never fly in a relationship, and of course, Felicity isn’t buying it.
And because he just needed to dial up the conniving factor even more, Ra’s al Merlyn shows up to the warehouse with the pile o’ Savage and begins shoveling it into a container with his hand, saying the same incantation Savage used when the sky rocks were coming, the sky rocks were coming! Saying he owes him one, it would appear Merlyn was in league with Savage the whole time.
Three Quick Thoughts
• Unlike last year’s crossover, this felt like one whole story through both hours. It was somewhat surprising how seamlessly both shows mixed as if it weren’t two series at all.
• That said, I think I preferred the personal and group dynamics on display in The Flash episode over this one. Last year, it was the opposite.
• Even for The Flash, this got about the most comic-booky we’ve every seen in the DCwU/Arrowverse.