Warning: This story contains major spoilers from The Flash-Arrow crossover. Read at your own risk!
The big twist from this year’s epic The Flash-Arrow crossover? Everyone died. Seriously.
After Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) gave the heroes an ultimatum to turn over Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) and Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée), Barry (Grant Gustin) and Oliver (Stephen Amell) attempted to take the immortal villain down without the team, resulting in the deaths of pretty much everyone. Fortunately, the scarlet speedster raced back in time and helped change the outcome, leading to the death of Vandal Savage instead. (More on that below.)
However, as fans remember from last season’s Groundhog Day-esque outing on The Flash, there will always be consequences for time travel — like when Iris’ (Candice Patton) mentor at Central City Picture news died instead of Cisco (Carlos Valdes). Considering everyone died, how big will the consequences be this time around? “You’re going to have to watch upcoming episodes of Arrow,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim teases. Ruh-roh.
But there were other effects from Barry’s jaunt back in time, particularly when it came to Oliver discovering that he has a son, William, with his former fling Samantha Clayton (Anna Hopkins) — that’s right, it’s not Sandra Moonday Hawke, as everyone had speculated. “When we came up with the whole idea of it, part of it was we didn’t want to be tied in necessarily to a character like Connor [Hawke] not being able to be part of the show if we made him so young,” EP Andrew Kreisberg says. “To give us the leeway to still have Connor Hawke be part of the universe, that was the biggest reason we made that decision.”
Despite Barry’s warnings about Oliver keeping this secret from Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), the emerald archer stays mum. Basically, instead of the quick and heated breakup Olicity had in the first timeline, now there’s a simmering slow burn to what may be in store — unless she’s in that grave. It probably doesn’t help either that we’ll be seeing more of Samantha in coming episodes.
“It’s definitely going to come to a head in the middle of the season,” EP Wendy Mericle says. “Obviously for the arc of Oliver and Felicity’s relationship this season, the fact that he’s keeping this from her — true to what we’ve done on the show, if there’s a secret somewhere, it’s going to come out and it’s going to have some serious consequences. We’re really excited about how that’s going to change things and it’s really going to raise the stakes and throw some wrenches into the works of their relationship, which so far this season it’s been pretty smooth sailing. True to form, we’re really going to mine that. There will be some fallout for both of them.”
As for that other twist — in which Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) gathered Vandal’s ashes while calling him “buddy,” even though he swore he never met him — we’ll have to wait to find out how Savage will be resurrected. “As of right now, it’s saved for Legends,” EP Greg Berlanti says. “Once Legends is born in January, there’s really no intersection on the other shows. Legends is its own wacky, crazy kind of thing that allows for some fun surprises in terms of who may visit and how, because they’re flying through the timeline. But not on Arrow or Flash.”
We’ll also find out in Legends that Vandal’s plans don’t just include killing the Hawks in every lifetime. “He has a very clear plan and trajectory,” Guggenheim says. “The thing about Vandal is that for him a lifetime is an eye blink. He thinks in thousand-year-old terms. He’s very much the master of the long con. He does have his own personal agenda vis a vis the Hawks, but he has much bigger plans for the world. You’ll have to watch Legends to find out.”
In the wake of Vandal’s death, and the Hawks’ subsequent departure from Central City, Cisco’s attention will now be focused on honing his powers. “The two interesting things that happen for Cisco, first is a further exploration of his abilities as Vibe, and what he can do, and what he’s capable of,” Kreisberg says. “The other thing that starts to happen… is his relationship with this new Wells [Tom Cavanagh]… This Wells thinks everyone else besides him is an idiot, and thinks everybody is a jerk, and is kind of horrible. Seeing these people be selfless around each other, and these people who are honest and strong enough to admit their flaws, to admit how weak they are, and to admit how scared they are, it’s starting to have an effect on him.”
“There’s a two-part episode, [episodes] 13 and 14 this year,” Berlanti adds. “[It’s] definitely the most fun pair of episodes we’ve ever done and has my favorite Cisco moment in the history of the series so far.”
Cisco isn’t the only member of S.T.A.R. Labs dealing with lady issues. After Patty (Shantel VanSanten) came thisclose to uncovering the truth about Barry when she shot Earth-Two Harrison Wells, he’s now faced with a harsh reality. “Can he actually have a relationship with somebody and what does having a relationship with somebody mean?” Kreisberg says. “You see it moving forward especially in Barry’s interactions with Iris, where Iris is telling him, ‘Look, as your friend, the way you handled things last year was terrible. You caused a lot of unnecessary hurt and you caused people to be in danger. You have to do things differently if you really care about this girl.'”
“On the other hand,” Kreisberg continues, “He has this new version of Wells ironically telling him, ‘If you really care about this person, you keep her as far away from all of this as possible, because if Zoom finds out, he’ll kill her.’ Barry is really wrestling with those two things moving forward. Just like with Iris last year, [Patty] doesn’t need any help getting herself into trouble. Patty loves the metahumans, she loves the danger and she loves the science of it all. In some ways, she’s being presented as the perfect girl for Barry Allen, so what’s it going to take for him to let her in? You guys will have to see how it plays out.”
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET, Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow will debut Thursday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.