[Review] Legends Of Tomorrow Episode 1×02: “Pilot, Part 2”

written by Kate Spencer

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

You know how time travelers (excluding a certain Doctor) are usually very careful about what they do and what they change so as not to disrupt the timeline? How even something as insignificant as stepping on a bug can have far reaching and disastrous consequences in the future?

Well, our heroes fail to stop a nuclear explosion in Norway in 1975, and that’s just in the first ten minutes.

Rip Hunter is getting really tired of everyone’s shit.

To the team’s credit, it’s not like they set off the nuclear – sorry, “nukular” (thanks, Sara) bomb, Vandal Savage did that after they raided his arms deal and Professor Stein blew their cover by insulting his ability to procure enough nukular material “in this era”. Stein makes up for it when he and Jax as Firestorm take the bomb to a safe distance and absorb the fallout. Savage gets away but Rip reveals that 2016 is now a desolate war-torn world thanks to a piece of Ray’s suit falling off and getting reverse engineered by Savage.

Rip is a bad babysitter.

The team is divided, with Prof Stein, Jax, and Sara off to Ivy Town to find 25 year old Martin Stein who conveniently has a device which can track alpha particles – the thing Ray’s suit component emits. Leonard, Mick, and Ray run off to steal the dagger Savage used to kill the Hawks in their first incarnation since it may be the only thing that can kill Savage for good. Meanwhile, the Hawks themselves are attempting to access Kendra’s past memories to figure out what the inscription on the dagger means.

Team A manages to get the plot convenience scanner away from the younger Stein through some clever deception, slight of hand, trickery, and…yeah, Sara just knocks him out when everything else fails. I’m liking her more and more. Especially when she single handedly takes out a room of scientists and guards to recover Ray’s lost armor piece while stoned. Unfortunately on their way back to the ship, they’re followed by the younger Stein who has a plot convenience scanner scanner to locate his plot convenience scanner. That also means he misses the event where he meets his future wife, and Professor Stein’s wedding ring disappears Marty McFly-style.

At this rate, “pissed-off Rip Hunter” is going to become a meme.

Carter pushes Kendra to remember her past life, but in doing so she remembers an intimate moment between the two of them from their first life. Carter takes this as an opportunity to continue that romance, but Kendra rejects his advances, not wanting her past lives to dictate her future. Another attempt at remembering reveals the dagger was a gift from Khufu (Carter) to Chay-Ara (Kendra). The inscription is just poem promising that Carter will wait across eternity for his love to come back to him.

Ray and the Plunder Twins locate the mansion the dagger is in, but Mick and Leonard are for more interested in lifting other valuables instead of being focused on the mission like Ray is. They trigger an alarm that traps Ray and Leonard in a cage, so Mick goes off for help, only to return with a gun held to his head by the mansion’s owner – Vandal Savage.

Savage makes Leonard call the others for help and the rest of the team arrives at the mansion. Firestorm saves Ray, Leonard, and Mick from Savage and they get the dagger to the Hawks who go into the mansion to confront Savage while the rest of the team deals with Savage’s goons. After a brief scuffle with Savage, Carter manages to plunge the dagger into his chest, but Savage just laughs. Since the dagger was a gift to Chay-Ara, only she can use it to kill Savage. He then turns the dagger on Carter, stabbing him in the chest and absorbing his life force.

Yeah. That happened. Hawkman is dead.

Savage stabs Kendra in the side, but the others arrive in time to save her and take her back to the ship for medical attention. A time jump wouldn’t be a good idea with her in such poor condition, so they’re stuck in 1975 for a bit longer. Rip takes the opportunity to take Professor Stein back to Ivy Town to show him that he was able to convince Stein’s younger self to go to the meeting with his future wife, restoring Stein’s personal timeline and marriage. The team resolves to keep going, stop Savage, and undo Rip’s terrible future “for Carter”.

This was a huge improvement from the last episode. A better plot, more character moments, and several good team moments. Sadly, this came at the expense of one of the characters. Honestly, I was expecting them to eventually kill off at least one member of the team. I didn’t think they would do it so soon though. If you had asked me last week I would have told you Heat Wave/Mick wouldn’t make it to the middle of the season. Although their powers are vastly different, you have two characters throwing fire around. My money would have been on Mick being the first to go. I guess in some ways we had the same problem with Hawkman and Hawkgirl – too similar. I thought the starcrossed lovers plot would run a little longer. Carter’s death came as a surprise and left me in shock for several minutes. While it’s disappointing to see a character fridged so soon, it was done in an effective way.

The character moments I mentioned were also great. Stein interacting with his younger self gave him the opportunity to look in a very unkind mirror and see a reflection he wasn’t ready for. He saw a bright but arrogant young man, and by episode’s end he realized that age was the biggest thing that had changed. Jax is quick to remind him that yes, he is arrogant, but he’s also intelligent, kind, and selfless – and that his past self and his present self are still good men. We’ll see how much this experience humbles Stein in the long run, but it provided some good character growth in this episode. I really liked Jax being the one to assure him that through all of his arrogance, Stein is still a good man. It’s nice to see that Stein and Jax’s relationship doesn’t begin and end at their fusion, that they can be there for moral support to each other. I want to see that mutual respect continue to develop through the series.

Carter and Kendra had what may be the conclusion of their arc this episode. Kendra isn’t going to run from her past, but she won’t let it determine her future. I sort of punched air when she said she wasn’t going to stop thinking for herself just because “destiny” says she and Carter are meant to be. She later admits that their shared history and past lives don’t add up to destiny, but maybe probability. She’s by his side later when he dies, and his last words are the poem he had inscribed on the dagger in his first life. Later, when Kendra is getting medical help on the ship, she laments that she didn’t get to tell Carter that she finally remembered how she felt about him in her past lives. I wasn’t big on the “destined to be together” thing, but that tugged at the heart strings a little.

While I’m sure this won’t be the last we see of actor Falk Henschel in the series, this episode does give the impression that this incarnation of Hawkman is gone for good. Early on, in what seems like foreshadowing now, Rip tells Carter and Kendra that they can’t go back and save their son Aldus. “We can’t go back and change events in which we participated. Time would fold in on itself, creating a temporal vortex.” Time travel is a one-shot deal, if you mess it up the first time, there’s no going back for do-overs. So more than likely, the Carter Hall incarnation of Hawkman is gone for good. But this is a time travel show, and we’re talking about a character who has reincarnated over 200 times. We’ll see him again in some form in some time period, I’m sure.

Ray and Leonard have a little heart to heart over rewiring a security system. Leonard talks about how his dad used to take him along on jobs when he was a kid because tiny hands could get into small spaces and rewire things. Ray suggests that he could have been an electrical engineer and Leonard scoffs at the idea that he could have been like Ray, using his money and talent to build a suit and play hero. Ray suggests it’s better than robbing banks, but Leonard credits his upbringing and way of thinking for making him a survivor.

Mick didn’t do much apart from getting captured by Savage and participating in the big fight at the end. Hopefully some character development is headed his way. Sara had some fun moments flirting with the younger version of Stein while the professor squirmed. Rip was herding cats the entire episode – he’s far more patient than I would be. He keeps the team on task though, and he shows signs of genuinely caring about them.

If there was anything I’d change about the episode it’s the team battles. They don’t quite have the same flow as fights you see in The Avengers. It’s just people in different corners doing their own thing. Firestorm and Atom are usually zipping by so fast I can’t tell what they’re doing, and Rip, Captain Cold and Heat Wave appear to just be standing around shooting things. I think the camera angles are too tight in some cases and the areas they’re fighting in aren’t open enough. The lawn they were fighting on outside of the mansion looked no bigger than my backyard. Maybe brighter, more open areas would help – or concentrating on two or three characters at a time. The smaller scale fight scenes are actually pretty great.

I enjoyed this episode much more than the last one, and if you’re going to watch them I would definitely suggest watching parts 1 and 2 together as a single episode. Part 2 really picks up some of the slack from part 1 and makes the story so far feel a little more complete. I’m hooked now, so I’m going to stick with the show…at least until they Red Wedding a few more characters.

Farewell Carter, we hardly knew you. Seeya in another life, buddy.

Legends Of Tomorrow airs Thursdays on the CW at 8 ET/7 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.

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