Arrow Recap: Staff Infection

Stephen Amell as The Arrow. Photo: Katie Yu/CW
Episode Title
Legends of Yesterday
Editor’s Rating

Last year, the Flash and Arrow crossover episodes gave two very different superheroes a taste of the other's world. Oliver saw sunshine and sipped coffee in Central City. Barry witnessed the darkness and gravity of Star(ling) City. Those crossovers were successful because of the commitment to each show's unique tone. This year, the crossovers add the CW's upcoming DC's Legends of Tomorrow to the mix. But more isn't always merrier.

"Legends of Yesterday" is such a hodgepodge of plots, characters, and themes that all three shows blend together into one generic superhero series. Nothing feels particularly memorable, except of course, for that moment.

Before diving into this week's episode, let's rundown the Legends of Tomorrow backstory from last night's Flash: Central City barrista Kendra Saunders discovers that she is Hawkgirl, who not only has wings but is continuously reincarnated with her eternal love, Hawkman (a.k.a. Carter Hall). In each lifetime, Hawkgirl and Hawkman, once an Egyptian priestess and prince, are tracked down and killed by their enemy, Vandal Savage. This vicious cycle has been repeating itself for 4,000 years. Team Flash and Team Arrow work together to save Kendra and Carter from Savage.

"Legends of Yesterday" begins with Team Flarrow renting a farmhouse outside of Central City as a base camp. The logic of this decision — Savage won't find them as quickly outside city limits — is a little laughable, since he's been chasing Hawkman and Hawkgirl through time, but okay. At the farmhouse, there's a very Sorkin-esque walk-and-talk sequence, where Oliver checks in with everyone about the plan. Barry lets him know that some mystical element prevented him from grabbing Savage's Staff of Horus during their last encounter, so Cisco and Caitlin design insulated gloves to counteract the effect. Thea, meanwhile, is ... Googling. (I love Thea's sense of futility in her quest.)

On the surface, Oliver leads the Savage charge, but on the inside, he's distracted. He recently saw his ex-girlfriend Samantha, who ten years ago claimed she miscarried Ollie's baby, with a boy who looks to be about ten. To satisfy his paternal curiosity, he tracks Samantha to her house and spies the two leaving for a baseball game. When he confronts her, she denies he's the father of the boy, who we learn is named William. In a rush to end the conversation, Samantha drops William's baseball cap. Oliver picks up the cap and, as he hands it back to her, swipes something unseen from it.

Although Hawkman and Hawkgirl aren't ex-lovers in the same sense that Oliver and Samantha are, they're just as estranged. Kendra isn't quite ready to embrace her Hawkgirl persona or her romantic connection to Carter, so he tries to refresh her memory and skills through training. Cisco, who's been dating Kendra, isn't pleased with the whole destined-to-find-each-other-through-time thing that Hawkman and Hawkgirl share.

While they're re-meeting cute, Oliver and Barry agree to speak with Savage at some sort of Malcolm-brokered peace talks. Savage feels like a more over-the-top comic-book villain than most Arrow foes. As Barry asks after one particularly "evil" monologue, "Did you rehearse that speech in a mirror this morning, or is this all just off-the-cuff?" Savage reminds me of Zod from Superman II, with a dash of Vigo from Ghostbusters II. (Try to battle my D.C. boys? That's not legal!) Savage gives them 24 hours to deliver Hawkman and Hawkgirl, or else he'll destroy the city.

Later, Kendra tells Carter she thinks it's insane that all of these people are willing to risk their lives to save them — and I'm right there with you, Kendra. Team Flarrow barely knows these people, yet they're gunning to face off against an immortal being? If this were a regular episode of Arrow, I'd be livid about this weak development, but I've got my crossover goggles on, so I'm trying to go with the Berlanti/Guggenheim flow. Carter attempts to inspire the warrior within Kendra so she can "emerge" — that is, so she sprouts her wings —  and they end up entangled in each other's arms. It's not looking good for Cisco, but he's got other matters on his mind at the moment. Barry tells Cisco that, while on his way to meet Savage, he "ghosted," which is Flash-speak for seeing a version of himself in an alternate timeline. He's going to time travel.

But for now, Barry is busy running a DNA test for Oliver, using a strand of William's hair from the cap. (Oliver told Barry that the test relates to Damien Darhk.) When the test confirms Oliver's paternity, he confronts Samantha, and she tells him that Moira offered her $1,000,000 to lie about the miscarriage. Oliver wants to be in William's life, but Samantha puts a huge condition on the access: Oliver can't tell anyone about William. Unfortunately, Barry has already spilled the beans to Felicity. Felicity gives Oliver a chance to tell him about the DNA test, but he repeats the Darhk lie. Felicity, devastated at Oliver's lack of trust, tells him, "If you loved me … telling me wouldn't be such a burden, it would be a relief." Barry overhears the fight, but for now, they need to focus on Savage.

Arrow and Flash bring Hawkman and Hawkgirl in chains to "Magic Man" Vandy Savage. It's all a ruse, of course. As Savage is about to slay Hawkgirl, Arrow jumps in to block him. Then, things start to take a turn for the worse. Savage zaps Barry with the magical staff, Kendra's wings fails to emerge, and Savage kills Hawkman. Then Savage kills Hawkgirl. It somehow gets even worse. Barry grabs the staff, but the insulated gauntlets don't work. He's having trouble holding the staff. Arrow tells Flash to run and save himself. At that moment, Savage throws the staff down and a blue shockwave emits, OBLITERATING THE ARROW INTO A PILE OF DUST. Like, I saw Stephen Amell's skeletal remains. (Does this count as a shirtless scene?) Barry keeps running, but the blue shockwave starts to cover Central City and reaches the farmhouse. Diggle, Laurel, and Felicity are dust too!

But Barry keeps running, then travels back through time (it's a Flash thing) to the moment of the Malcolm peace talks. At the farm, Barry tells Oliver his plan to defeat Savage isn't going to work. Barry thinks Oliver's fight with Felicity threw him off his superhero game. He also mentions the failed gloves and Kendra's performance anxieties. Oliver is determined to make things right. He asks Cisco to ensure the gloves are properly working, then suggests that Cisco reach out to Kendra. Because Cisco is in love with Kendra, Oliver thinks he'll be better at helping Kendra accept her new identity. (They've only been on a few dates and Hawkman has spent more than 200 lifetimes with her, so I'm not really buying Cisco's sway.)

Cisco has a heart-to-heart with Kendra. She admits she remembers flashes from her Egyptian life, but she's been reluctant to accept her new fate. He suggests that she should embrace what makes her unique and try to remember her past lives. Kendra closes her eyes and flashes back to a clash with then-Egyptian priest Savage. Savage stabs Kendra and Carter, as "sky rocks" fall on the palace. The vision gives Kendra an idea; if the "sky rocks" and Savage's staff are connected, she might know how to stop him. Team Flarrow decide to track down some "sky rocks," which they deduce belong to a meteor, so they can coat the gloves with them. Barry sprints off to a history museum with meteor samples.

So, it's back to bringing Hawkman and Hawkgirl in chains to Savage, only this time everyone's ready. Kendra's wings emerge, the gloves work, and Savage turns to dust. The next day, Kendra and Carter decide to split Central City and dedicate themselves to helping others. Sorry, Cisco.

Before Oliver leaves, he has family matters to attend to. He has the same conversation with Samantha about his access to William. Only this time, he gets to meet William, who's in his room playing with a Flash action figure. He asks Oliver to play with him and hands off a toy version of Legends of Tomorrow cast member Captain Cold. (Oof, Oliver is literally forced to play superhero with everyone but Arrow. I feel your symbolism, Arrow writers.)

Back in Star City, Felicity and Oliver arrive at the loft. Felicity wants to know what's been bothering Oliver. She gives an endearing speech about being his teammate, and he looks at her like he'd follow her through time for 4,000 years. But when she directly asks him what had him so worried in Central City, he claims it was nothing and that it's over.

Cut to that pile of Savage dust. A pair of feet walks towards it. It's Malcolm! He picks up the dust and puts it in a small black box. "You owe me one, buddy," he says.

Same, Legends of Tomorrow. Same.


  • "Yes, I tracked you down. I do that for a living … actually I don't get paid." Felicity to Barry, when he wants to know how she found him.
  • The Staff of Horus must relate to the staff that Constantine found in the Lian Yu flashback.


  • How can Laurel have déjà vu at the second Savage showdown? She wasn't there for the first one.
  • I enjoyed the Legends of Tomorrow moments and will give the show a try, but there wasn't much of the Arrow I love in this episode. Anyone unfamiliar with the show who watched this episode solely because they're Flash or Legends of Tomorrow fans wouldn't have a real sense of what makes Arrow great on a week-to-week basis.

NUMBER OF SHIRTLESS STEPHEN AMELL SCENES: 0 (go back in time and change this, Barry!)

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