Arrow's time travel episode: Cool plot twist or just plain lame?
There were some good things about Barry's time traveling in the latest crossover of The Flash and Arrow. But there was a lot of room for improvement as well.
Let's take a look at what worked and what didn't.
Barry saves the day... again
That scene where everyone, and I mean everyone, dies except Barry (Grant Gustin) was pretty brilliant. Watching Oliver (Stephen Amell) disintegrate into a ball of flames and then explode into dust was jarring, as was watching the rest of the team suffer the same fate. That's when the time travel story line works best: when it gives us those shock-worthy moments that we can't get any other way.
Giving it away
That epic death scene would have been devastating if we hadn't gotten a huge hint that it was coming. I don't know why, but the writers felt the need to toss time-travel in our faces in "Legends of Yesterday." They not only showed Barry racing a phantom version of himself, but they went so far as to have Barry and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) talk about time travel and how it was bad to talk about time travel because then you could affect the time travel and... my head hurts now, too.
Maybe this concept was hammered into our heads because all of this occurred previously on The Flash and the writers figured that the Arrow audience needed a crash course. Personally, I think they could have left all that out, though, and it still would have been a blast to watch. Would those of us who watched The Flash have figured it out? Probably, but it still would have been fun to see everyone else catch up.
Oliver gets his son and keeps Felicity
Another casualty of the first timeline was Oliver and Felicity's (Emily Bett Rickards) relationship. Oliver was stuck between a rock and a hard place when the mother of his child demanded that he keep a secret from the woman he loves in order to see his son. It wasn't fair and there was no easy way around it, but when Felicity found out on her own (thanks to Barry, who has no ability to keep a secret whatsoever), that ended their relationship.
Barry's trip backwards saved lives and it saved Olicity — for that, the whole fandom will always be grateful. Will that relationship last with a secret that large hanging over it? Probably not, but at least now there's a chance.
Take away the good stuff
There are a couple of signs that Barry is about to time travel. Barry will see a ghost of himself, people we love dearly will die. Another sure-fire symptom of time travel has also been the maddening story lines. If things are happening that make you want to groan and crawl under some furniture, you can be nearly certain that nearly all will be right when Barry saves the day.
After Barry wiped the slate clean this time, it made me wonder: What would happen if his time travel took away a situation we didn't want to go away? I think that would be a unique way to mess with the timelines and might have made this episode more compelling.