written by Kate Spencer
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
Last season on Legends Of Tomorrow reviews…
“Weary, can you write a review of Legends of Tomorrow episode 1?”
“I guess I could maybe come up with–”
“Great! I need it by tomorrow. kthx love you bye!”
“Weary, I need you to review the whole season now.”
“How did you even get this number? I’m in Witness Protec–”
“You rock, bye!”
“Oh beautiful and benevolent review goddess, I humbly request that you review Season Two. Grant us your amazing puns and smite the mischaracterization, plot holes, and bad science!”
The season opens with Nate Heywood running past security to get to that guy you’d be forgiven for thinking is Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Oliver Queen. He tells Oliver that the Legends are in trouble. In order to convince him of this, he tells him he knows Oliver is that guy you’d be forgiven for thinking is Batman, a.k.a. Green Arrow. Nate shows him several historical documents proving that the Legends are popping up throughout history. This culminates in an account of the Waverider plunging into the Atlantic in 1942, followed by an underwater detonation of an atomic bomb – three years before the first atomic bomb was successfully tested. They conclude two things: time is changing and the Legends are dead. Wow, Season Two was even shorter than Season One.
Cut to Oliver and Nate exploring the undersea wreckage of the Waverider, where they find Mick Rory in stasis. After he’s woken up, he tells them that the Legends took over for the Time Masters – jumping from year to year, putting right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that their next leap will be the leap home…or something. He starts with a tale of an adventure in France circa 1637 to save King Louis XIII from an assassination attempt by time pirates. YES! Now this is what I want to see – not Vandal Savage nonsense. Rip, Stein, Jax, and Mick are on the lookout for assassins, Ray is guarding the king, and Sara is…”guarding” the queen. The assassins pull laser weapons, so Ray grows to normal size and starts blasting things, Jax and Stein merge into Firestorm, and Sara beds the queen.
Sometimes I really love this show.
Rip chastises the superheroes for using superpowers. Rip, seriously, if you wanted to remain inconspicuous, why did you recruit Iron Man and a guy who flies and is on fire? Sara defends herself by saying the queen seduced her. Mick brags that at least he didn’t screw up this time, but Rip takes some jewelry Mick stole. It’s the first “Rip Is A Bad Babysitter” of the season! The ship shakes due to a massive “timequake” – New York was just nuked in 1942, the year Rex Tyler told them not to travel to.
They figure out Einstein was kidnapped in 1942, which led to the Nazis developing the atomic bomb. So they ignore Rex Tyler’s warning and travel to 1942 to kidnap Einstein themselves! This is going to go horribly wrong even before the Waverider crashes, isn’t it? Sara splits from the group to find Damien Darhk, with Ray in pursuit. They find Darhk selling uranium to Germans, but keep him alive so they can track down the uranium. The others kidnap a womanizing Albert Einstein by knocking him out.
Einstein deduces that he’s been kidnapped by time travelers. He reveals that his ex-wife also knows how to build an atomic bomb – she’s the one who was kidnapped. They find Darhk and Ray starts defusing the bomb while Sara attempts to kill Dahrk. It doesn’t go well – Mick is shot, Ray’s suit malfunctions, and they’re forced to fall back.
Back on the ship, Mick recovers and Rip has Jax finish some last-minute modifications to the Waverider. They pursue Darhk’s U-boat, but he fits a torpedo with the bomb and fires it at New York. Rip pilots the Waverider to intercept the torpedo, but admits he’s not sure if the ship can take the blast. He activates a fail-safe which sends all of the Legends except himself and Mick to different points in time, then puts Mick in stasis just before the torpedo hits.
Back in 2016, Nate and Oliver ask what happened to Rip, but Mick doesn’t know. He figures it’s up to him to find all of the Legends again. Nate questions if the Waverider is in any condition to fly. Mick concludes that since the fridge still works, the ship must work, and then takes another swig of his beer. To be fair, that’s pretty sound logic – if something minor like the refrigerator still works, surely the major systems like the time drive still work. Oliver has had enough of this and volunteers Nate to help Mick before ditching them. Wow, Ollie is a dick. “Nope, sorry, I don’t have time to rescue my friends. Have fun doing that yourselves, guys I just met.”
They start in South Dakota, seventy million years in the past, where Ray is being chased by a T. Rex…okay, Rip is kind of a dick too. He’s saved by Mick and a puking Nate (glad they didn’t drop the time travel side-effects thing). Luckily Jax and Stein ended up together, bypassing that whole Firestorm connection problem. They’re in England in 821 where they’re court wizards to some medieval brat who orders them executed on a whim. Nate, Ray, and Mick save them in no time and they’re off again to Salem in 1693 to save Sara. Wow, I thought the whole rescue mission would take an episode or two. Sara’s about to be hanged for witchcraft. Yikes, what did she do?
“You’ve corrupted the women of our village!”
“In my defense, they were happily corrupted.”
Once she’s rescued, they board the Waverider and ask Gideon where Rip is. She doesn’t know, but she plays a final message from Rip. He’s rather cryptic and wishes them luck on their mission and says goodbye. The Legends are left wondering what to do next, and after safeguarding Einstein and his wife in 1942, they decide their new mission is to stop the rogue time traveler who’s altering history.
Speaking of, the Nazis are about to kill Damien Darhk for failing to give them a bomb, but a speedster runs through the U-boat and kills them all. Seems Darhk’s partner in time crime is Eobard Thawne – the Reverse-Flash.
The Legends are about to leave 1942, but they’re stopped by another group of heroes who have some questions for them: the Justice Society Of America.
All right, let’s talk details. What was good, what was bad. I like that they’re not shying away from Sara’s sexuality, but I really don’t want them turning her into Captain Jack Harkness. If you’re not familiar with Doctor Who or Torchwood, he’s a time-traveling pansexual character whose propensity for flirting with everyone and everything in the universe is often played for laughs. Sara “warming up” the queen of France and “corrupting” the women of a village during the Salem witch trials are fun gags, but I’d much rather see her developing relationships like the one with the nurse last season. It’s not that I didn’t like those scenes, it’s that when the episode was over I felt myself wondering if the jokes would have been used or even been as funny had they involved straight characters. If Ray shacked up with the queen or Mick had seduced a town full of women, would those jokes have made the cut? Of course as I say this I’ve already made an image to accompany this review with a similar joke, so maybe I’m a hypocrite.
I’m glad Mick is still Mick. We saw him grow as a person in Season 1, and there are hints of a good guy beneath the grumbly exterior, but in the end he’s still Mick. I don’t need him to be a noble selfless hero because we’ve got plenty of those. He can still be “good” while still being a selfish crook.
I’m sure we’ll see Rip again, but his abrupt departure seems a little off. He wanted Jax to learn everything he could about the Waverider so that in his absence, the team could still function. Nate being a historian kind of fills one of the voids Rip leaves behind, but I much prefer having an experienced time traveler there to keep the team on track. Besides, Rip scolding the team for screwing up is never not funny.
Since the episode focused on the flashback, there wasn’t much time to get to know Nate Heywood. I’m interested in where they take the character and how (or if) he gets his powers. If you’re not familiar with the character, Nate Heywood is Citizen Steel in the comics – a member of the JSA who’s got nearly indestructible skin and super-strength. Considering both Oliver’s guards and Sara flattened him, I don’t think he has powers yet.
Speaking of Oliver, I have a question I hope someone can answer: why was he in this episode? Yes, he gave Nate the means to find the Waverider on the bottom of the Atlantic, but other than that he pretty much made snarky comments, complained about having better things to do, and passed any heroic responsibility onto Nate and Mick. I gave up on Arrow before the end of last season, so I’m a little unclear – did something happen to make Oliver even more of an asshole? Two of his friends are lost in time and he passes the buck to a glorified historian and an arsonist? He doesn’t even act like he cares, even when he thinks Sara and Ray might be dead. When he finds out they’re alive but stranded in time, “well, good luck with that. I’ve got shit to do.” WTF, Oliver?
As a season opener, this was good. Plenty of time travel shenanigans, heroes being…well, mostly heroes, and a good setup for what to expect this season. There were some missteps, but I liked it overall. Next week we meet the Justice Society Of America and another new member of the team. I hope they know something about causality or the timestream is doomed.
Legends Of Tomorrow airs Thursdays on the CW at 8 ET/7 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.