*Warning: Potential Spoilers For 'Arrow,' 'The Flash' and 'Legends of Tomorrow' Lie Ahead*
Arrow and The Flash have been used as a platform from which the CW can launch Legends. In preparation for the program, characters from both shows have been readied for departure and all new ones have been introduced simply for Legends.
All this work is assuring us fans that Legends of Tomorrow will be worth our time, and I assure you I'll give you every detail as it becomes available, but these sub-plots have really detracted from Arrow and Flash. In fact, entire episodes of the sibling shows have been devoted to Legends, and by this point it's starting to seem unnecessary.
I'm sure LoT will be awesome, but should the CW really be building such a solid foundation if it's hurting the very shows which made the superhero team-up program possible in the first place?
I've put together an argument outlining elements of the Arrow and The Flash narratives which were used solely to introduce us to Legends of Tomorrow. Have a read and let me know your thoughts on the issue.
The Discussion: Is The Construction of 'LoT' Harming 'Arrow' and 'The Flash'?
'Arrow' and 'The Flash' Storylines Used to Set-Up 'LoT.'
1. Captain Cold
Leonard Snart, a.k.a. Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), is an iconic villain commonly associated with The Flash, so naturally he'd find himself a comfortably recurring role in The Flash television series. However, the character developed a loyal following amongst fans and has since been confirmed as a hero on Legends of Tomorrow.
When this was first announced it was difficult to imagine the master thief in the role of a "legend," but The Flash then offered an episode devoted to revealing his heart of gold, entitled, 'Family of Rogues.'
The episode showed us that Snart does care about something; his sister, slow-walked us through a tale in which Snart was manipulated into a robbery by his father, who he then killed before sending himself to jail.
Although this story fit well into The Flash, it led to the show losing a classic character.
2. The Multiverse
Season 1 of The Flash introduced time travel, followed by Season 2 which made multiple-universes the norm. Although it seemed a pretty natural evolution of the show to bring in these strange eventualities, it seemed to really hurt the grounded feel of Arrow, which exists in the same universe. Where The Flash thrived under these conditions, Arrow did not.
Season 4 of Arrow hasn't offered much in the way of alternate universes, however the show has introduced magic, which still feels uncomfortable in the show. this is worrying considering Arrow is meant to be the more grounded of the two CW programs.
Can Arrow adapt to the new universe that is changing around the supposedly grounded show?
Kendra Saunders, a.k.a. Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée), has recently been introduced to The Flash as a love interest of Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes). The lighthearted almost-romance between the pair has been a welcome addition to the show, however Kendra is on the verge of her Hawkgirl destiny on Legends of Tomorrow.
The character has been placed on The Flash as a stopgap, and the CW has every intention of sending her to LoT. Although her fleeting contributions the the show have been pleasant, what effect will her removal have on the show?
It's unlikely Cisco and Kendra will continue a cross-program relationship, so will team Flash simply pretend she never existed?
4. The Canary
Sara Lance, a.k.a. The Canary (Caity Lotz) is the sister of recurring character Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), who has served as a love interest and ally for Oliver Queen.
Sara was killed off in Season 3, only to be revived in early Season 4 through use of the League of Shadows's Lazarus Pit; this story was put in place so the character would be ready to join the cast of Legends of Tomorrow as the White Canary.
Although the character only returned briefly before departing the show, there was a real sense that she was a very different character than we were used to.
Arrow devoted a lot of time to resurrecting Sara from the dead: explaining the process, dealing with the drama and aftermath, bringing in Constantine to restore her soul, and explaining away her exit. The whole process required a considerable amount of screen-time, only for LoT to reap the rewards.
5. The Atom
Ray Palmer, a.k.a. the Atom (Brandon Routh), was a fantastic addition to Arrow. In a rather dry and unpopular Season 3, Ray Palmer was a lighthearted symbol of that which the show strives to become. The character has been criticized as too similar to Marvel's Iron Man and Ant-Man, however he offered a special new element to the show.
Atom has also been stolen for LoT, meaning Arrow was forced to devote additional screen-time to discovering and rescuing the possibly dead Ray Palmer, only to prepare to hand him over to Legends of Tomorrow.
In fact, considering Felicity Smoke is currently running his company, it looks like Arrow will have to offer even more screen-time to preparing his inevitable departure.
Conclusion to the Debate
Overall, the Legends of Tomorrow story arc has had both negative and beneficial effects. The television show, which has yet to air, has already claimed several characters from Arrow and The Flash. Hell, LoT has had a much greater effect on its sibling shows than I've managed to cover – don't forget about Firestorm!
While The Flash has managed to thrive under these new conditions, Arrow has been struggling under the weight of LoT-centric narratives. The multiverse story seems extremely natural for The Flash and was inevitable anyway; however, re-introducing and sacrificing characters has really hurt Arrow.
I suppose we'll see what happens when Legends of Tomorrow finally hits the small screens and the two television shows can go back to focusing on their own stories!
Have a look at the trailer for Legends of Tomorrow and let me know what you think!