There’s a gradual increase of quality in Legends of Tomorrow that gives this reviewer hope.
It totally stuffed its pilot and has been fighting to make up ground even since. The kidnapping and release was odd, the drugging of Jefferson was really uncomfortable and the Flash never showed up. The twist that the professor tracking Vandal Savage was Hawkgirl’s son was cool but two Hawk-deaths is two episodes felt double-bagged. Perhaps instead the series should have left Hawk-son in the eighties and gotten Chronos to kill Hawkman at the end of the pilot. This would condense the first two episodes into one and ensure the most annoying character was killed even quicker.
Say what you want about Smallville, but it ushered in this golden age of superhero TV the same way The Dark Knight matured the superhero blockbuster.
In the three episodes previous the show explicitly about time travel has travelled throughout time once. This episode they hop eleven years into the future – to 1986 – and thankfully increase the average.
A blacked out Pentagon memo prompts an infiltration of the Pentagon, naturally. It’s all running to plan when Firestorm stumbles draining the power, exposing Hawgirl and White Canary. The pair battle their way out, igniting the bloodlust from the Lazarus Pit and red-eyed inner-Hawkgirl. There’s a few problems with this.
On Arrow this week Nyssa asked of Sara, and Laurel replied, “Good, whole thanks to John Constantine”. Last week on Arrow it was also underlined that Sara was not facing the same effects as she was restored by Constantine. If a viewer is encouraged to watch four hours of content a week at least make their lore synchronise. Also, Legends can do better than pedal Lazarus Pit drama that didn’t even occur on its own show.
On the flip side the progression of Ray’s hero complex from Arrow put the team in a bind. The writers love the dynamic between The Atom and Captain Cold but as a fan it’s hard to get on board. Watching them squabble over the same woman rather than principals of right and wrong was far more interesting though, less so when she was revealed to be in on Savage’s operation.
Where was Savage? His appearances are nearly as scarce as time travel. It seems he can’t be in the same episode as Chronos because… why? Damien Dhark was shown in the season premiere of Arrow and has overseen most of the season’s events. Comparatively Ra’s was kept in the shadows (mind the pun) until a fantastic reveal further down the line. Even the Flash’s dabbling of Reverse-Flash and Zoom could work if Legends mapped its episodes with any kind of plan.
It is certainly the weakest DC show on the CW right now – though still beating Gotham on Fox – but it does have moments that shine. Such as any moment with Caity Loitz.
Any piece of dialogue she delivers soars. Any action sequence shimmers. Any broody stare is Bold and the Beautiful standard. She’s the breakout star, nudging everyone else towards their potential.
Looking at the team now doesn’t seem so bad. Hawkgirl is solo, giving her space to grow as a character without her boring Egyptian man condescending in her direction. The Atom is likeable, bordering on cocky without Stephen Amell’s Green Arrow to bring him back to earth. Captain Cold will happily substitute, working up some interesting dynamics with his crew while his companion Heat Wave adds a few more traits to his one-dimensional incarnation. Even Rip Hunter has stopped being such a nanny, letting Firestorm resolve their own differences.
In the comics Firestorm’s two halves are always at ends with each other. The Flash touched on it in light banter but never spent the time to slow down and look at the dramatic implications. Legends does, and while this week came off a bit judgey/whiny, it’s the foundation for more interesting adventures.
That sums up this week’s episode pretty well. It’s the foundation to something better, with more time jumps, more villains, more character exploration and more White Canary. Right now the Atom’s actions have landed himself, Dr Stein and Heat Wave in a Russian prison to entice viewers back for next week. This reviewer is obligated to return, but it will be with less displeasure than when this episode began.