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Carter Hall: [Kendra] You're Priestess Chay-Ara, I'm Prince Khufu, and we're lovers, soul mates. We've been partners for 4,000 years. We're drawn to each other in each life, and after we die, we reincarnate to find each other again and again and again. And now that I've found you, we should really get out of here...These people cannot protect you from Savage any longer.
Oliver: Do you know who Vandal Savage is?
Carter: In every lifetime, he hunts us down and kills us. He's done it 206 times, and I'm not planning to make it 207...His life force is tethered to ours. Every time he kills us, he becomes more powerful. You do the math.
Cisco: You're 0 for 206, and you still think you're her best bet, hmm?
Barry: Okay, so what we need to do is just find Savage and get rid of him.

Heroes Join Forces is the second annual crisis crossover television serial, of The CW's Arrowverse once again told across The Flash and Arrow. It would be a Back Door Pilot for the third Arrowverse show, Legends of Tomorrow.

One night Cisco and his new girlfriend Kendra are attacked by a mysterious man calling himself Vandal Savage. Finding themselves outgunned, Barry recruits his friends from Team Arrow (and Malcolm Meryln) to aid them. They are aided by winged man calling himself Carter Hall. Turns out that he and Kendra are the reincarnation of an Egyptian Priestess and a Prince who've been hunted by Vandal Savage for millennia due to his obsessive lust for Kendra.

Heroes Join Forces aired in two parts on December 1 and December 2, 2015.


Heroes Join Forces contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: The final showdown with Savage happened in one.
  • Aborted Arc: Malcolm collecting Savage's ashes ultimately amounted to nothing.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Darhk concedes that a magnetic arrow to snatch the Ghosts' guns is a pretty good ploy.
  • Adaptational Name Change:
    • In the comics, Ollie's son is named Connor (and he has another son named Robert); here he's named William. Word of God is that production wanted the freedom to involve Connor some other way later on, and they wouldn't be able to if he was ten years old.
    • For that matter, his mother's name is Samantha Clayton instead of Sandra Hawke.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • Ollie doesn't tell Felicity about his son, having forgotten that Keeping Secrets Sucks, which is really egregious since he took pains to avoid this in the last episode. Although to be fair, in this case the secret-keeping of not telling anyone about his son was part of an agreement with the boy's mother, which would allow him to see William every once in a while.
    • While Barry warns Oliver about the dangers of changing the timeline, he is invoking his attempt to save his mother that resulted in the near-destruction of the the city (and world) and the death of Ronnie Raymond. He seems to have overlooked that when he earlier hopped back in time unintentionally and made changes he improved the outcome of events (saved the city, prevented thousands of deaths, prevented Cisco's murder by Eobard Thawne, stopped Joe from being kidnapped and brutally beaten) with the minor exception of his brief relationship change with Iris.
  • Amicable Exes: Cisco breaks up with Kendra after knowing that she should be with Carter, but remains supportive of her, like when he gives her something to ask for help.
  • Arc Villain: Vandal Savage, who goes on to become the Big Bad for the first season of Legends.
  • Arc Words: This time it's Oliver saying "Run, Barry. Run."
  • Artistic License – Physics: This episode brings back Barry's supposed Top speed of Mach 2. Apparently the writers still haven't figured out that his top feats are far faster than that and that Mach 2 is not even close to being enough for Time Travel (otherwise every second jet pilot would be a time traveler). Hell, Jay Garrick even stated in a previous episode that he could reach near-light speed and that Barry is much faster than him. Though there is a chance that Barry is still being somewhat held back by memories of his brutal defeat at Zoom's hands and that the "Mach 2" top speed is the fastest speed Star Labs can actually measure.
  • Arrow Catch: Besides Barry catching throwing knives, Savage catches two of Oliver's arrows.
  • Backdoor Pilot: This crossover is one for the introduction of Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Ballroom Blitz: Vandal Savage crashes the party at Oliver's loft.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Cisco ultimately gives up on his feelings for Kendra, acknowledging that she is destined to be with Carter.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Carter states that Savage was responsible for the 1887 Huang He (Yellow River) flood in China. Savage also puts down Ollie's skills by claiming that he was the one to teach "Robin of Locksley" how to use a bow. Vandal Savage offhandedly mentions having trained Houdini, and Malcolm brings up legends of him having advised Genghis Khan and guided Julius Caesar on one of his campaigns.
  • Behind the Black: From the angle he was at, Cisco could have clearly seen Kendra's fancy dinner set out, but he doesn't notice it until the camera shows the audience.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Flash swoops in and rescues Team Arrow just before Oliver succumbs to Darhk's Touch of Death.
  • Big Entrance: Vandal Savage introduces himself to the heroes this way. Twice.
  • Blade Enthusiast: Savage apparently keeps 32 knives on his person.
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: Oliver and Barry fight Vandal Savage in the church in which the Staff of Horus was.
  • Bromance: Oliver and Barry cemented their newfound closeness with a hug.
  • Call-Back:
    • Barry reminds Oliver of his comment in the last crossover event episode that guys like them will never get the girl, only for Oliver to say that he was wrong.
    • Once again, Barry sees a second version of himself running alongside him, and once again, it's a portent that he will travel through time in this episode.
  • The Cameo: Damien Darhk literally appears as a One-Scene Wonder.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
  • Combat Pragmatist: Savage catches on quickly that Barry is fast enough to catch his knives, especially when thrown at others. So, after throwing knives at everyone else, he throws one where Barry will stop while he has his back turned, taking advantage of the distraction his initial volley of knives causes.
  • Continuity Lockout: If you haven't watched Arrow since last year's crossover, you may get lost trying to catch up since no effort is made to catch up the viewer on Team Arrow's various changes in status quo since that point.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cosmic Retcon: The first attack against Savage goes horribly wrong due to Oliver being distracted due to his fight with Felicity and their technology to protect them from the staff failing, in which everyone ends up dead. Luckily Barry's Time Travel fixes all that.
  • Crossover: The second annual of the Arrowverse.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: The Flash episode is titled "Legends of Today" while the Arrow one is called "Legends of Yesterday". Both episodes are a Backdoor Pilot to Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Daddy DNA Test: Oliver requested Barry to run a genetic test with his blood and William's hair strand. The Y-chromosome matches Oliver with his son.
  • Darkest Hour: Vandal kills Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and then Oliver himself, and then wipes out all of Central City with the Staff of Horus. Fortunately, Barry travels back in time, and this time, Barry actually knows that he will beforehand thanks to now understanding what seeing a speed mirage means.
  • Death Is Cheap: Even though Savage is reduced to nothing more than a pile of ashes, Malcolm seems to know a way to bring him back to life. In Legends of Tomorrow, it's revealed that Savage can come back From a Single Cell (which is fitting, given that Malcolm's actor can do the same thing in Torchwood).
  • Debut Queue: The episode marks the debut of Vandal Savage, Hawkman, and Oliver's son.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Carter began helping Teams Arrow and Flash after Oliver and Barry kicked his ass.
  • Denser and Wackier: A very dark play on the trope. In his screentime, Darhk is noticeably snippier and a lot less collected than usual, as demonstrated by his childish mockery of an ARGUS guard struggling to breathe as Darhk kills him and his genuine shock at the Flash's appearance. There's some implication that it's a side effect of whatever happened when he tried to kill Thea.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Felicity would never have realized that Barry was hiding something from her (namely, the DNA test Ollie asked for) had it not been for Barry pocketing it in superspeed.
  • Die or Fly: A classic example is how Carter Hall tries to get Kendra to "emerge". It's a little more complicated than he expected.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The Staff of Horus fires off an energy beam that can turn anybody into dust. Vandal Savage is no exception.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Barry and Patty aren't "avoiding showing affection in front of Joe"; they're "maintaining professionalism".
  • Dramatic Irony: Felicity wonders what the Earth-2 Oliver Queen is like, when the audience knows fully well that he died a few years ago.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Thanks to an old tape our heroes dig up when researching Vandal Savage, we get to see Professor Boardman well before Legends of Tomorrow even starts.
  • Evil Is Petty: Vandal Savage threatens to destroy all of Central City (and later Star City) if Hawkman and Hawkgirl aren't surrendered to him to be killed. He later successfully kills the two, but because both Arrow and The Flash keep on fighting him after that, he still destroys Central City anyway out of spite.
  • Fanservice: In flashbacks, Khufu/Hawkman had a skimpy cover for his torso and Chay-Ara showed some part of her boobs.
  • Fantastic Drug: Velocity-6, a drug Earth-2 Wells invented to give a temporary boost to speedsters.
  • Fights Like a Normal: Savage relies little on his magical abilities in combat, instead choosing knife-throwing, LOA-level close-quarters-combat, and being a Combat Pragmatist.
  • For Want Of A Nail: After his accidental time jump, Barry tells Oliver about his son without any physical evidence, so Felicity never found out about it (yet, at least), and she and Ollie would never get into a fight. This allows the Arrow to be in "his game" for the battle against Savage.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Due to Vandal Savage being the Big Bad of Legends of Tomorrow, it's obvious his death is not going to stick.
  • Foreshadowing: When Jay Garrick mentions the Speed Force as if there is more to it than just science and it's a gift, we learn more about it near the end of the season as Barry gets trapped inside it.
  • Get Out!: In the Ancient Egypt flashback, Vandal Savage caught Prince Khufu and Priestess Chay-Ara in the same bedchamber. Prince Khufu proceeds to tell Savage to get out before starting a brawl.
  • Gilligan Cut: When Barry comments "how busy can they be?" in regards to Team Arrow and Cisco's concern that they might be unable to help, the scene immediately cuts to another fight in their ongoing battle with HIVE.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: Samantha requests Oliver not to reveal anybody that he is William's father.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • After vehemently refusing to be associated with the thing, Jay had to take the Velocity formula to briefly restore his powers and save Harry's life.
    • Oliver and Barry opt to kill Vandal Savage, rather than let someone that dangerous be taken into custody.
  • The Hero Dies: Oliver and every other character sans Barry were killed by Vandal Savage. Barry travels back a day before that happens to make things right.
  • Hero Killer: Were it not for Barry's time travel ability, Vandal Savage would've killed Team Arrow, Team Flash, and all of Central City.
  • Hero of Another Story: Team Arrow and Damien Darhk are in the middle of yet another fight in their ongoing struggle when Barry shows up in Star City.
  • Hollywood Tactics: When Team Arrow (minus Black Canary) ambushed H.I.V.E., Oliver opened a battle with magnet arrow and disarmed all ghosts at once. That in itself is perfectly understandable. What is not understandable is that Team Arrow after this jumped down from the container they were standing on and engaged in fist-fight instead of using high ground advantage and bowing down ghosts from above. This wouldn't have worked on Darhk, since he can stop arrows, but would have worked on ghosts. Especially glaring since it's Green Arrow we're talking about.
  • Internal Reveal: One that's actually played for laughs; after Thea managed to learn about the team's connection to the Flash last season, she's pretty flustered to suddenly have him show up to save them.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Although Oliver considers Samantha's refusal to allow him to interact with their son to be unreasonable, he does realize she's right when she states his life isn't one that would be good for William to be involved in.
  • Killed Offscreen: Several. All negated by Barry's Time Travel.
    • Thea, Cisco, Samantha and William's deaths via Vandal Savage's World-Wrecking Wave weren't shown, but they're confirmed to have been killed-off by the attack. Assuming that he's still in Central City during the attack, then Malcolm counts too.
    • Even though they did not appear in this episode, most of the characters on The Flash (2014) (Iris, Joe, Harry, Captain Singh, Jay, Patty, and the villains that Oliver and Barry defeated that were imprisoned in Iron Heights) and Dinah Lance. Possibly also Sara, assuming that she's still staying with her mom in Central City.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Upon realising that Oliver no longer has sleeves on his costume, Barry questions if he doesn't get cold - Oliver retorts that the cold doesn't bother him after several years living in wilderness on Lian Yu.
    • Barry questions if the only way Malcolm enters rooms is by pulling a Stealth Hi/Bye after he does so for a second time in the episode.
    • When the two walk into the church to find the Staff of Horus, Barry points out to Oliver that he's used more to speeding into a room instead.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Hawkman versus Flash and Arrow, largely because he chooses to introduce himself by abducting Kendra.
  • Locked Out of the Loop:
    • Thea wasn't aware that the rest of Team Arrow knew the Flash.
    • Cisco is the only member of the combined teams present who doesn't know Malcolm when he shows up.
    • Patty is unaware of The Multiverse situation, and consequently reacts badly to seeing Wells.
    • Samantha insists that Oliver not tell anyone he has a son - not even Felicity.
  • Magic Staff: The Staff of Horus, Vandal Savage's primary weapon.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Malcolm proves once again his villainous nature by helping Savage getting resurrected just so he owes him a favor.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Now you listen to me?" "It's your city!"
  • Mundane Utility: Barry draws Vandal Savage's face with super speed.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the comics, Velocity Nine is the formula that gives several speedster villains such as The Rival, Johnny Quick, and Inertia their powers. Word of God hints that Velocity Six is not that last iteration we'll see, hinting that one of these characters may appear later on.
    • The alternate universe versions of Oliver that Barry and Felicity speculate on ("bald", "beer belly") are versions of Oliver that have been depicted in Elseworlds titles.
    • Jay has a special enmity towards the Velocity formula. In the comics, the creator of the formula is Edward Clariss, Jay's own personal Reverse Flash (a.k.a. The Rival).
    • Cisco refers to the element in the Staff of Horus and the meteorite as "nth metal", the Applied Phlebotinum that's been been connected with all the assorted versions of the Hawkman/Hawkgirl characters.
    • Although this version of Savage has a significantly different origin story from the classic character, a meteorite impact is still involved.
    • The meteorite sample Barry retrieves was in Keystone City. Keystone City is the home of two of The Flashes (Jay Garrick and Wally West).
    • Barry escaping Savage's World-Wrecking Wave is played out similarly to the finale of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (although in the movie Barry races the explosion with an injured leg).
  • Near-Villain Victory: Damien Darhk nearly kills Oliver with his Touch of Death but was foiled by Barry's intervention.
  • Never Found the Body: Literally with Savage, as Oliver and Barry don't see his corpse after Thea supposedly sends him to his Disney Death.
  • No Ontological Inertia: When Savage is killed the Staff of Horus disappears out of Barry and Oliver's hands.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Carter Hall is aware that he'll look like Kendra's Stalker with a Crush when he just grabbed her away and repeatedly tells her that he's the only one who could save her from Savage.
  • Oh, Crap!: Kendra realizes that she can't spread her wings the same way Carter does, leading her to waste the opportunity to fight Vandal Savage back during their first battle.
  • One-Man Army: Savage takes on the entire Arrow team and dominates the fight, despite getting ambushed.
  • Out of Focus:
    • Iris appears only briefly near the beginning of the episode, and isn't mentioned by anyone else.
    • Though Laurel, Diggle, Thea, and Caitlin all appear in the episode, they only have one or two lines each.
  • Outrun the Fireball: The Flash manages to barely escape the wave of destruction that Vandal makes the Staff of Horus emit to destroy all of Central City, and he runs so fast that he travels back in time to the previous day.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Vandal Savage is an immortal being with no clear ties to any of the characters or organizations seen on either show thus far.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: Vandal Savage stowed away on a freighter ship but was discovered by the crew who handcuffed him and locked him up. When he is escorted off the ship he easily gets out of the handcuffs and kills everyone around. It is clear that he could have escaped and killed the entire crew any time he wanted but he chose to remain a prisoner since doing so might have delayed his trip.
  • Playing Both Sides: Malcolm Merlyn. He aides the heroes against Vandal Savage mainly because he doesn't want Savage to kill Thea, but after all is said and done he collects Savage's ashes with the intent of resurrecting him and collecting a favor from him down the line. However this never went anywhere, since when "Legends" premiered Carter handwaved Savage's return by saving he can return from a single cell.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Harry Wells nearly dies because Patty has been kept out of the loop.
    • Barry, after time traveling from the first disastrous attempt to fight Savage, tells Oliver about not only how the attempt went wrong, but also how things ended badly, especially since Oliver and Felicity got into a bad fight about his son. But, due to justified reasons, Barry fails to mention that the fight wasn't because Oliver had a kid, but it was about the fact that he didn't tell Felicity about it.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: The episode is a blatant introduction to Hawkgirl, Hawkman, and Savage. If anything, the title highlights it as a prologue to Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Retcon:
    • Her original appearance in season 2 implied that Samantha became pregnant shortly before the shipwreck of the Queen's Gambit, but in this episode it is stated that those events took place "10 years ago", which would place the flashbacks in Seeing Red two years before the Queen's Gambit went down.
    • The check Moira gave Samantha to disappear was for 2 million dollars, but the un-cashed check she shows Oliver in this episode is for only 1 million.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Samantha doesn't want William to be involved in Oliver's life as she considers it would be bad and even dangerous for him to be exposed to Oliver's life...the life of an immature, partying, womanizing playboy, which she still thinks of him as.
  • Saved by Canon: Vandal Savage's resurrection is secured by his tenure as the Big Bad of the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Samantha never cashed the check Moira gave to her.
  • Secret-Keeper: Barry is the only person Oliver tells about his illegitimate child. Felicity finds out too, but Barry's Time Travel causes a Cosmic Retcon.
  • Serial Escalation: This crossover began the trend of the stakes being raised from each previous crossover. Last year's Prism and Captain Boomerang weren't particularly threatening, so who do you bring in to raise the stakes? Vandal Savage!
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Barry does it again to save Central City (and everyone else) from a disaster.
  • Ship Sinking: Felicity ends her relationship with Ollie since he didn't tell her he has a son (she's not mad that he has a son, but that he kept it from her). That's undone by the Time Travel, but the fact he still doesn't tell her at the end implies he's just kicking the can down the road.
  • Shoot Him, He Has a Wallet!: Patty mistakes Wells' speed-serum syringe for a gun and pumps a bullet into him.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: The 1887 flood that Carter states Vandal Savage was responsible for is one of the few widespread natural disasters that could, theoretically, really have been caused by a single relatively normal human arranging for breaches (using gunpowder explosives, for example) in the dykes holding back the Huang He.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Lampshaded with the Green Arrow outfit.
    Barry: I just realized, no sleeves. Don't you get cold?
    Oliver: I spent five years on an island in the North China Sea. I don't get cold.
  • Special Edition Title:
  • Spoiler Opening: The Previously on… recap ruins the surprising appearance of Oliver's ex at the end.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Both Vandal Savage and Malcolm Merlyn's main method of transportation. Lampshaded by Barry about the latter.
    Barry: Is that the only way this guy knows how to enter a room?
  • Stripped to the Bone: Vandal Savage caused an energy explosion that vaporized everybody within the field, with skeletons visibly crumbling down.
  • The Stinger: Malcolm collects Vandal Savage's remains so he can resurrect him so he can cash in a favor from him in the future.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: When Caitlin asks why they couldn't regroup at S.T.A.R. Labs instead of the farmhouse, Oliver points out that it basically has a revolving door for bad guys. Caitlin retorts that given his history with bases, he really can't talk.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Cisco explains to Barry how he got a vibe when he kissed Kendra.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Had Barry not Time Travelled, this episode marked several characters have cheated death.
    • This would have been Oliver's second official death, and the third time he cheated it.
    • This would have been Thea and Cisco's second deaths, the latter's first also being negated the same way.
    • Assuming that Sara is still staying with her mother in Central City, then this is also her second official death, and the fourth time she cheated it.
    • Assuming that Malcolm is still somewhere in Central City when Savage released the World-Wrecking Wave, then this is the second time he cheated death.
    • This would have been Carter and Kendra's umpteenth time death and the very first time they officially cheated it.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: Barry runs into this while trying to explain time travel to Oliver.
  • Trash the Set: Savage destroys the church where he's battling Oliver and Barry.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting:
    • While the Vandal Savage subplot is going on between both episodes of the crossover, the rest of the cast are working on solutions to defeat Zoom, making progress on this year's Story Arc.
    • The point of Oliver's son doesn't become its own subplot until the Arrow portion of the crossover.
  • Visual Pun: The Velocity-6 flashes bright blue when inside the bottle in the injector. Literal lightning in a bottle.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out!: Justified, since it presses against a major blood vessel.
  • Wham Episode: Oliver finds out he has an illegitimate son, William Clayton, which has major ramifications for Oliver's arc for years to come.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Savage killing all the main characters of both Arrow and TheFlash sans the latter's title character. Granted, Barry negated it via Cosmic Retcon but it's still a shock to see.
    • Merlyn collecting Savage's ashes.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: When we first see Team Arrow, they're in the midst of trying to stop Damien Darhk from getting his hands on a chemical weapon. Then Barry turns up & pulls them out of the battle before Darhk can use his Touch of Death on Oliver, and explains that he needs their help. As the episode then jumps straight into Barry & the team at their base, the plot point of the chemical weapon goes unresolved.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Barry was obviously pissed when Cisco blurted his Secret Identity to Kendra.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: Savage's staff unleashes one that annihilates the city. It could've spanned the entire world had Barry not time-traveled.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Wells calls Jay by his first name in a sincere thank you for saving his life.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Vandal Savage was already advertised as the Big Bad of Season One of "Legends of Tomorrow" so the audience knows his "death" is only temporary.
  • You Owe Me: Malcolm wants to resurrect Savage so he can invoke his trope.