Read the Part 1 review here.
"Welcome to the new normal."
Arrow Season 4 has had a very strong start, introducing some much-needed levity to the gloomy series, turning Starling City into Star City and The Arrow into Green Arrow. So it's a real bummer that the weakest episode yet this season followed up The Flash's terrific first hour, diminishing the entire crossover event after such an auspicious beginning. Following an episode so exciting and funny and poignant, Arrow's contribution was probably set up for failure, but the episode failed to even live up to the standards of its own series this season.
"Legends of Yesterday" was all over the place tonally, with the grounded melodrama of Oliver's newly discovered son bumping weirdly against Kendra's flashbacks to a shoddy-looking ancient Egypt. Perhaps it's just that the wild origins of Hawkgirl and Hawkman feel out of place in the non-superpowered universe of Arrow, but there's also the problem of Falk Hentschel's charisma-free performance as Carter Hall, with whom we spent much more time this episode. It's hard to argue with Cisco's bafflement that Kendra would rather spend time with this drag than with him, and I find myself hoping that Hawkman has a reduced role on Legends of Tomorrow, as he did "Legends of Yesterday" no favors.
Storylines established with so much promise in "Legends of Today" petered out in the second half of the crossover. Vandal Savage manages to murder nearly all of Team Arrow and Team Flash without any real feeling of significance for the audience or the characters. Of course, Barry's race back in time prevents the deaths of his cohorts, but, as with Cisco's death in Season One of The Flash, there should still be stakes attached to the deaths of characters we love, even if those deaths don't stick. The energy was so low in this episode that no one really seemed to care that Savage was once able to kill off almost every superhero across two cities and possibly could again, and the solution to this problem the second go-round - something about a meteorite? - made very little sense.
As did the convenient obstacle to Felicity and Oliver's relationship in the form of his new son, whose mother insists that he must be kept a secret even from Oliver's girlfriend. To what end? None, really, other than a way to create distance between the two lovebirds. We've seen this plot play out in Gilmore Girls, and it wasn't very successful there, either. The timing of this storyline is ill-conceived - Oliver's family drama doesn't have much place in a crossover with The Flash. Aside from the moments that he confides in Barry, it's a plot that separates Oliver from the rest of the characters and events of the episode, and it manages to zap the A-plot of any importance, as well.
There were some bright moments in the episode - Barry taunting Savage "Did you practice that speech in the mirror?", seeing a Captain Cold action figure - but they were all Flash-related, which is an odd development for an episode of Arrow, in the midst of a season that has been rich in bright moments. None of Arrow's supporting characters are given anything interesting to do in this episode outside of, arguably, Felicity, and all of the poorly-timed son and Egypt stuff robbed important characters like Diggle and Thea of story.
The disappointment of "Legends of Yesterday" doesn't really touch The Flash, which has been in top form all season, but it doesn't signify anything good for the future of Arrow. After such an encouraging start to Season 4, that's really too bad.