Going into the 2015-16 television season, there were questions about how Legends of Tomorrow was going to fit in to the timelines established by Flash and Arrow. Little did we know that the first few episodes of both shows were essentially being used as set up for the midseason series.
In the previous night’s Flash, we saw the lead in to two of Legends’ protagonists: Leaonard Snart’s redemption and Martin Stein’s Firestorm dependency. Similarly, most of last night’s Arrow was used to set up another Legends lead: the emergence of the White (not Asian) Canary and the return of Caity Lotz.
The episode kicks off in media res with Starling’s O.G. vigilantes — Arrow and Diggle, with Felicity in their ear — hot on the trail of another H.I.V.E. agent. The idea that the Original Team Arrow is working together again (since Speedy and Black Canary are awakening corpses in Nanda Parbat) is a running theme throughout the episode. Though they are on a mission together, the air is still thick with tension between the former crimefighting bros. This schism — John’s distrust of Oliver and Oliver’s frustration with John’s lack of forgiveness — is so big that the two former friends go on solo missions without getting each other’s backs. Which of course leads to trouble.
Ollie gets his solo superheroing on when he investigates a simple armed robbery. Meanwhile, John gets an A.R.G.U.S.-provided lead on the person who ordered his brother’s assassination. Little do our heroes know that both incidents are connected since the armed robber Arrow goes after is actually a metahuman named Double Down, hired by a woman named Mina Fayad, who is the person John is tracking. Both are seemingly linked to H.I.V.E. and Damien Darhk. Because Dig and Ollie go into each situation without backup, things quickly escalate and both heroes almost end up dead.
This doesn’t please Felicity, and she goes into Mom mode and gives our heroes the scolding they may not have deserved but one that they needed.
Eventually, Diggle realizes that Oliver was telling the truth about not putting his name in the Goblet, and the two finally put their differences aside and become BFFs again.
Now that they’re talking again, Diggle and Oliver get a beat on Fayad’s whereabouts, but they find she’s already been murdered by Darhk because he’s an asshole — and a charlatan. In a nod to the comics, the writers make mention of Darhk’s reputation as a con man. Though he shows off his superpowers again, I’m thinking that they might be “parlor tricks” after all.
Meanwhile, Felicity takes one of Double Down’s meta-playing cards to get analyzed by Palmer Tech’s newest resident nerd, and probably the third smartest man in the Berlantiverse, Curtis (Don’t Call Me Michael) Holt. And the writers have clearly decided their version of Mister Terrific will be in the adorable nerd mode that’s worked so well for both Flash and Arrow.
To be completely candid, I’m still a little undecided on how I feel about Arrow’s take on Curtis. On the one hand, like the rest of the NOCs, I love Echo Kellum’s performance and it’s always refreshing to see nerds of color representing in our superhero universes. On the other, I wonder why they’ve chosen to channel Wasabi from Big Hero 6 and make Curtis kind of inept at heroics. I mean, Holt isn’t just a multiple PhD-holder, the dude is supposed to be an Olympic level decathlete. Maybe I need to pump the brakes since this is clearly a different take on the character — but I mean, they showed the T-spheres, though!
Anyway, for some reason Felicity and Curtis lead the Meta-of-the-Week directly to Arrow Cave 2.0 — which apparently, has been underneath Palmer Tech this whole time — before Felicity gets her Second Amendment on and puts a bullet in the villain.
Fortunately, Diggle and Oliver show up in time and track Double Down somewhere on the freeway. Apparently, he was spooked so much by Felicity’s marksmanship that he was about to hightail it out of Star City. Original Team Arrow apprehends the meta-villain but not before he sends one more razor-edged playing card Diggle’s way. To further cement himself into John’s good graces, Ollie takes
a bullet an ace of spades straight to the Kevlar.
While all of this was going down back in Star City, Thea and Laurel’s adventure in Nanda Parbat was just getting started. After exhuming Sara’s grave and somehow transporting it thousands of miles away, the two superheroines mozy on into the Demon’s Lair in the middle of a “sparring” match between Ra’s Al Merlyn and Nyssa.
I guess it’s because Thea’s Malcolm’s daughter, but it’s kind of weird that non-assassins have S.T.A.R. Labs-like access to one of the most secluded and guarded places in the DC Universe.
As previously established at the end of the last episode, Thea is in town to seek some fatherly advice from the new Demon’s Head about how best to deal with PLPD — Post-Lazarus-Pit-Disorder — while Laurel is only here for one thing: the resurrection of her sister. Now, I was seeing a lot of hate getting tossed Laurel’s way on twitter during the episode. Hell, our own fill-in live tweeter, Rodrigo, had some less than nice thoughts about the once and future Black Canary.
The issue of Laurel’s “selfishness” was a recurring thread on twitter, and while I will admit I’m a Laurel apologist, I’m not sure the whole plot line in Nanda Parbat is predicated on her “selfishness.” Desperation? Maybe? Remember when Ollie was warned the same thing about putting Thea in the Pit? He didn’t hesitate to do so either. And I don’t recall twitter lighting up with “Ollie is an idiot.”
Put yourself in Laurel’s shoes. She just found out there is a “magic hot tub” somewhere in the Himalayas that can bring back the dead. Said hot tub is currently being managed by the man who ordered the hit on your sister — and coincidentally, you’re now crimefighting partners with the person who did the deed, drugged or not — so what would you do?
Nevermind the fact that we’ve known for months that White Canary was going to be fighting for the good guys on Legends of Tomorrow. How else was she going to be brought back? Tying her return to Laurel’s story makes sense because it’s only going to add to Laurel’s growth into the Black Canary.
Once Sara gets over her zombie dementia, I foresee a scene in which the two sisters come to turns with their superhero identities, and Laurel will make the decision to continue being the Black Canary, not out of grief or revenge for her sister but because saving Star City is something she was meant to do.
But then again, I stans for Laurel, so what do I know?
The other hijinks that ensue in Nanda Parbat revolve around the Merlyn family drama. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what Thea hoped to achieve going to Malcolm for advice. As great an actor as John Barrowman is, he hasn’t exactly been the most consistent character on the show. True to form, he lies to his daughter about a mystic who can help her Pit-induced bloodlust and instead sacrifices two of his Shadows when they attack Thea in the middle of the night. So despite Ollie’s (hypocritical) lectures about not killing, Thea has now straight up merked two people (not including Sara).
The other person not happy about events in Nanda Parbat is Nyssa. Her opposition to Sara’s resurrection forces her to destroy the Pit (with dish detergent?) and vow to one day murder Malcolm.
I, for one, am pleased to see Katrina Law back on Arrow. I was worried, with the death of Ra’s, that she wouldn’t be on the show anymore. For instance, during San Diego Comic-Con, I thought it was weird that she wasn’t present during WB Television’s massive DC panel. Instead, she was on the other side of the convention center, taking selfies with me.
Lastly, on the flashback front, I could care less. Ollie is now undercover in a drug-running militia — for some reason — overseeing slaves picking blue flowers. For a minute, I thought the flowers they were picking would be similar to the ones R’as Al Ghul uses in Batman Begins to induce hallucinations in his new recruits. Alas, my hopes for a cross-continuity mashup were dashed when we learn that Arrow has nothing to do with Batman Begins. Except for season one.
Really, the only thing that I kept thinking throughout the flashback scenes is how the hell does Ollie’s hair go from this:
…in a little over a year?
I mean, I know everyone is happy that his ridiculous island wig is gone, but will the writers remember next season’s flashbacks are all about getting to Castaway Ollie?