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Legends of Tomorrow continues its rise in quality but still stumbles on servicing its core premise. The character dynamics are getting better and the characters with less meat on them – Jax, Heat Wave – are getting the time to develop. It still feels like the series is ordering its episodes clumsily or accidentally playing them out of sequence. This is an episode eight scenario, and while the two-parter was justified it prevents the team of time travellers from doing any actually travelling. For a show that rips off Doctor Who so heavily it seems afraid to commit to a new time period each week.

Next week is the highly-publicised future Green Arrow, sporting a comic-inspired goatee and new protégé. Interesting hook that could present some problems, but maybe that’s just my cynicism towards Legends.

In this episode Ray, Heat Wave and Dr Stein are held captive by Savage. Victor Garber spends most of the episode riffing off expendable villians and Vandal Savage and gets into a groove. As the top-billing star it’s enjoyable to see him solo, even if it jars the regular target demographic.

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Elsewhere Ray and Heat Wave delve into the same ethics debate as Captain Cold produced in weeks previous. It’s not as repetitive as it sounds, although the Atom is slipping down the list of likable heroes on the show. He the most heroic of them all and it doesn’t mesh with the ragtag vigilante vibe that’s been accumulating. Maybe some time with Hawkgirl could remedy this.

His sense of ideals were redeemed a little towards the end of the episode – taking the majority of the hits for his teammates like a champ.

Once again White Canary proves to be the standout, with more and more camera time devoted to her. It’s her idea to approach the Russian mafia for assistance, it’s her skills that save them from the situation and it’s her character that picks up the slack when Captain Cold ultimately bails. That was a fun moment, as it both underscored his loyalty to Heat Wave in a very compelling way and proved the writer’s are determined keep him on the bad guy side of antihero.

The Russian Firestorm was novel, if only to parallel another member of the team as younger Professor Stein and son of Hawkgirl accomplished in previous episodes. There’s few characters left – some could say the old Time Master bloke was Rip’s doppleganger – so this formula will not work forever.

It was a lot harder to criticise this episode of Legends of Tomorrow, which is exciting, because it should be fantastic. In the weeks to come it may come to be the same standard of Arrow and everyone can look back at this phase as a growing experiment, much like the awful wig from the flashbacks in the archer’s Season 1-3.

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Mark Halyday

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