[Review] Legends Of Tomorrow Episode 2×06: “Outlaw Country”

written by Kate Spencer

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Yeehaw! It’s another Wild West adventure for them Legend folk. So saddle up, cowpokes, and…something something six-shooter blah blah tarnation…you know, for someone who likes Western clichés, I’m really bad with the lingo.

Liberty, Colorado, 1874 – a time pirate with a future tech scanner thingie is looking for ore near some mine but gets shot by some bandits who then take his scanner. Okay, as episode setups go, that one is pretty minimalist, but it leads into another Old West episode so I don’t even care.

On the Waverider, we finally get to see what Sara lifted off Darhk in the previous episode – an amulet of some kind, similar to the one that Thawne killed Rex Tyler for. They don’t know what it is, but it’s probably bad, and so is Darhk working with a speedster. Stein is assigned to do speedster research, even though most of the crew knows Barry and could probably just jump back to Central City and ask him…but whatever. Jax again brings up the Future Barry message, but Stein insists on not telling the rest of the crew because the plot won’t let him yet. Stein also has some kind of attack that he dismisses as a headache.

Nate researches the amulet and determines it’s Judeo-Christian in origin, but can’t find any reference to it in history. I hope he wasn’t searching any records after 1987 because that would be beyond stupid given time travel rules. We’re saved from actually learning anything about the main plot of the season by a ping on the timequake detector, which Ray calls the Trouble Alert. Heh, okay, a Super Friends reference is all right with me even if Sara tells him not to call it that. While getting ready, Ray finds a drawing of a costume that Nate is designing for himself and HEY WAIT A MINUTE. They’ve got a replicator thing that can make clothing out of nothing. Presumably weapons, too, because they’re all armed with era-appropriate guns later. One assumes it can make Nate’s costume. So why, oh why, can’t it recreate the Atom suit? I seriously doubt the Waverider doesn’t have the suit’s schematics or that Ray forgot how to build it. Why hasn’t Ray just made another suit? Giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe the ship can’t replicate the dwarf star alloy of the original suit, but how hard is it to find more?

I do better with this show when I stop thinking about it so much.

The Legends go to 1874, where they immediately come upon Jonah Hex about to be hanged. And yes, “hanged” in this sense is the correct word. A picture was hung, and a man was hanged. Well, I suppose technically a man can also be hu–moving on! Nate quickly springs into action and gives his *ahem* badass “this town ain’t big enough for the five of us” threat. They shoot at him, but with his powers, the bullets just bounce off – except the last one, which he catches in his teeth. Sara shoots the rope, saving Hex from being strangled to death, and Nate shoots a gun to scare the last man away while taunting them in a ridiculous accent. Even Hex is like, “WTF?”

Back on the ship, Hex learns that Rip Hunter is missing and asks how the hell the others have survived this long without him. Right? Hex is after a guy named Turnbull (the leader of the outlaws from the episode’s opener). Nate announces that history is changing – Turnbull now hass control of the entire Old West. Heading back into town, they stop in front of the saloon that Turnbull owns. Sara plays to her team’s vices by sending Mick in to start shit and waits for the bad guys to show up. Amaya is sent in with him as a babysitter. You know, as questionable as this plan is, Rip would have sent Mick in to peacefully gather information and then been pissed off that Mick started a fight. How are the others doing?

Ray: *spits*
Nate: “Are you chewing tobacco?”
Ray: “Tootsie Roll.”

The timestream is doomed.

Ray, Jax, and Nate are sent in as tax collectors to look at the books and find out how Turnbull got his fortune. Some of Turnbull’s goons arrive to stop them and a fistfight breaks out. Wait…Mick is having a quiet drink and the others are starting a brawl in an office? I think an aberration might have affected the Legends. They discover Turnbull is stockpiling some kind of ore, and rather than do the responsible thing and give the information to the others so they can all formulate a plan, they rush off to the mining camp alone. Because a guy without a super-suit, one half of Firestorm, and a guy who barely knows how to control his new powers can’t possibly get into any trouble. Five bucks says they fuck up. Ten bucks says the ore Turnbull found is dwarf star. One hundred bucks says the Legends “save the day” in a way that should logically create more time aberrations than the thing they’re trying to prevent.

All right, let’s check on Mick. He’s cheating at blackjack and flashing his winnings around. Okay, this I expected. Turnbull confronts him, since Mick was winning his saloon’s money, and Mick defiantly burns a bill right in front of him with a lighter. Fun fact! The first lighter was invented in 1823 and was actually quite large, not a portable flip lighter like Mick is using. That wouldn’t be invented until the early 1900s, at least a good thirty to forty years after this episode is set. So what I’m saying is, Mick could have pulled out his flame thrower or a freaking laser pistol and it would be just as much “future tech” as that lighter. What? I like pointing out stuff like that in these episodes.

Back on the ship, Stein was left behind because he isn’t feeling well. He has Gideon perform multiple brain scans on him. Gideon says his brain appears normal, but Stein insists there’s something wrong and experiences another headache, this time with a vision. Is Stein starting to vibe? Cisco will be upset.

Team “This Will Likely End Badly” finds the mine. Yep, that’s dwarf star. Enough to power the entire West. They also find the tracker Turnbull took from the time pirate and they guess that it’s how Turnbull knew what dwarf star was and how to find it. Yeah, an 1870s outlaw who’s at least sixty years old can operate advanced future tech with absolutely no instructions. My dad is in his early sixties and can’t get the wi-fi to work without my help. They finally decide to get the rest of the team because they can’t carry all of the dwarf star.

Mick has made friends with Turnbull due to them both being outlaws. Hex isn’t having any of it and goes in to collect his bounty. A barroom brawl breaks out, which is fantastic because it’s one of the things this show really shines at. Turnbull starts firing dwarf star bullets which explode on impact – turning a revolver into a grenade launcher. Team Goober arrives just as everyone is escaping and Nate tries to take a bullet for Mick in his steel form, but the bullet actually breaks his metal skin.

Back at the ship, Gideon rates Nate’s chances of survival at 51%. Sara demands to know what kind of history Hex has with Turnbull. He tells her what really happened in Calvert all those years ago after Rip left. Hex encouraged the town to fight back against the outlaws, but Turnbull rounded up the entire town and put them in the church before setting it on fire. Hex was the only one who survived, and that’s how he got the scars on the right side of his face. Sara shares her own desire for revenge against Darhk and agrees to keep helping Hex.

Jax asks Stein about his “headaches” and after another one, Stein describes them as visions of a woman he doesn’t know, but they feel like memories. Memories of a stranger who isn’t a stranger. Did Stein accidentally retcon his own timeline? Does he have a different wife now? Or a daughter?

They figure out that Turnbull’s target is the railroad pass which connects the East to the West. Without that connection, the Army can’t move West and prevent Turnbull from starting his own country. Nate, Ray, and Jax attempt to stop the train carrying the dwarf star. Amaya and Mick blow the mine. Sara and Hex infiltrate Turnbull’s camp and manage to capture him alive. Nate stops the train by going metal in front of it and stopping it with his bare hands. Someone is going to make a “more powerful than a locomotive” joke, aren’t they? No? Wow, they dropped the ball on that one.

Hex says he’s going to take Turnbull alive to the authorities so it doesn’t cause any aberrations to the timeline. How do they know that keeping Turnbull alive won’t cause an aberration? Without Sara’s influence, Hex may have just killed Turnbull on his own and that would have been the natural order of history. Dang time travelers bringing their fancy sense of morality to the uncivilized past!

Jax suggests that Stein is suffering from his own past being rewritten because of his interaction with his younger self – a theory that Stein thinks is likely. He has another memory flash of the woman and realizes he loves her, and now questions whether he’s still with Clarissa in the present.

The team recovered enough dwarf star for Ray to create a new Atom suit – twenty of them if he wanted. But before he started work on his own suit, he made Nate a suit of his own. Sara comes in with news: their friends in 2016 need their help.

I always like an Old West episode, and this one didn’t disappoint, but I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it as much as the one last season. Ray and Nate being complete dorks and trying to fit in using knowledge from Westerns was funny. Those two also have an interesting subplot where Nate worries about his worth as a hero when he’s assigned to tasks like researching the amulet or going undercover as a tax collector. Ray reassures him through the episode and presents him with his own suit at the end, cementing him as a hero, but I think Ray kind of skipped over something else. Certain members of the team have more than one area of expertise, like lots of other heroes. Some missions are going to call for Nate the historian and some are going to require Nate the metal man – this mission happened to need both.

I’m also loving how Sara handles the responsibilities of being team leader and how she plays to her teammates’ strengths and weaknesses by sending them on missions they might screw up, but screw up in a way that turns out okay, like she did with Mick this episode. She’s just as bad of a babysitter as Rip was; she’s just more calculating about it. Sara also does a good job asserting herself as the new captain despite Hex’s doubts. The writers could have gone with the cliché of Hex doubting her and then the mission goes slightly wrong so she starts questioning herself, but they didn’t. Sara knows she’s in charge, she knows she’s qualified, and she knows she’s a damn good captain.

There’s a subplot I didn’t mention in the recap about Mick being nothing more than “an animal who wants to watch the world burn”. Amaya thinks there’s more to Mick than that, so she offers to help him keep the animal in check. It’s okay, I guess, and further develops the until-now semi-hostile relationship between the two, but I just feel like Mick had to backslide a little to make it happen. Last season ended with a much more mature and in-control Mick. He was still a pyromaniac, but he was more self-aware. This subplot makes him out to be like the Hulk or something – an uncontrollable rage monster.

The show is taking a week off for Thanksgiving in the U.S. But when it returns, it will be the fourth part of a four-show crossover between Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends Of Tomorrow. Expect much geeking out.

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

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