[Review] Legends Of Tomorrow Episode 3×01: “Aruba-Con”

written by Kate Spencer

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

We’re back for another season of crazy time travel hijinks and extremely loose definitions of the word “science”. Last season, the Legends defeated the Legion Of Doom by visiting a timeline they had already been to and teaming up with their past selves. That caused big old timequakes which landed them in 2017 Los Angeles where dinosaurs roam the Earth.

They broke a perfectly good timeline is what they did.

We pick up with the Legends exploring L.A. on foot among the dinosaurs, because why not? Martin blames Sara for breaking time and she defends herself by saying she only did what she did to save Amaya and all of reality from the Legion…except she didn’t, right? The Sara who made that call was Doomworld Sara, who ceased to exist once time was put back on the right track. It was still a Sara, but they’re acting like she was there.

Ray wants to visit Big Ben, which is now in downtown Los Angeles, but they’re about to be eaten by a T. Rex. Suddenly a portal opens and the dinosaur vanishes into it. Another opens and Rip Hunter steps out in a business suit. He says he’s spent the last five years creating an organization to replace the Time Masters and they’re already cleaning up the anachronisms in Los Angeles. He then relieves the Legends of duty.

Six months later, Nate is working alongside Kid Flash in Central City, Mick is soaking up the sun in Aruba, Ray is working at a dating app company, and Sara the assassin is working retail. Yeah, that seems about right. Sara fantasizes about killing her manager and I’m amazed she didn’t go medieval on the whole store within the first week. Seriously, retail is awful. Ray is frustrated with his boss, who’s more interested in selling a dating app like Tinder (but where you swipe up and down instead of left and right) than he is in Ray’s miniaturization tech. “If it doesn’t live on a phone,” he techsplains, “it’s not the future.”

IT’S MINIATURIZATION TECHNOLOGY! You could literally live on a phone with it. You could build a whole house on the surface of a phone! If Ray’s season arc is taking this douche’s advice and creating the iAtom, I’m done with this show.

Meanwhile, Mick is approached by Gaius Julius Caesar of Rome. Guess the Time Bureau is too busy dealing with all of those anachronisms around America. It’s the weirdest thing! There are Confederate flags, statues of Confederate generals, and Nazis all over the place in 2017. That shit doesn’t belong in this time period at all.

Anyway, Mick calls Sara, who decides to get some of the band back together and convince Rip to deal them back into the game. Sara, Ray, and Nate enter the Time Bureau headquarters conveniently located in Star City. They’re stopped by guards who they mock for their fashion sense. Rip intervenes but Nate attacks him, accusing Rip of convincing Amaya to return to the ’40s. Oh, so that’s where she is.

They tell Rip about Caesar and he promises to have the Bureau investigate while he gives them a tour of the facility. He shows them to the Waverider, which is now being used as a training simulator for Time Bureau agents. One group is running a simulation of the Apollo 13 mission seen in Episode 2×14. The agent in the pilot’s seat suggests shielding the command module from the asteroids using the Waverider…then says she’s just kidding. She’s not a complete idiot. Damn, this show is throwing all kinds of shade at its own characters.

Mick tells Caesar his salad sucks. Heh. After Mick tries to take some gold from Caesar, the dictator attacks him and runs into a toga party on the beach called “Aruba-Con”. I GET IT! Seriously, that’s probably their most clever episode title yet. The Time Bureau arrives and Mick tackles both them and Caesar. They’re all dragged back to headquarters through a portal, but when they get there, “Caesar” is actually just a dumb frat boy. Rip says the Legends haven’t changed at all. Sara wants to know why they have to change, since Rip was totally okay with them when he left the Waverider. He says it’s because all of history came unglued moments later. Eh…I’ll get to that later.

RIP: “Using your team to fix anything is like doing brain surgery with a chainsaw.”

…okay, he’s got ’em there. The Legends are shown the door, but Mick stops at a vending machine on the way out and drops one of the coins he lifted from Caesar earlier. Nate identifies it as the real deal. They realize the Time Bureau nabbed the wrong “Caesar” and the real one is still in Aruba. Rather than explaining this to Rip, they steal the Waverider.

SARA: “Gideon, engines to power, turbines to speed.”

Oh my god, Sara, you are such a nerd.

The Waverider isn’t doing so good. It’s able to time jump out of the building, but only three minutes into the future and only just outside. They need a mechanic. Lucky for them, they know one in Central City! Jax is visiting Stein, who has just found out Lily is pregnant. Stein is going to be a grandfather! Jax has dropped out of school because learning about engineering isn’t the same as being on a time ship. The Waverider appears and Stein is reluctant to go, but the others convince him. Sara also comes up with the Legends’ new motto: “Sometimes we screw things up for the better.” You, uh…you might want to workshop that.

Caesar is rallying the attendees at Arubacon to conquer the known worlds, because a bunch of drunk partying college kids could be talked into overthrowing the local Applebee’s using elephants and poster tubes for mounted combat. Sara questions whether Mick taught Caesar English. Think about that for a minute. Okay, before that headache settles in, Stein says “temporal linguistic dysplasia” is a side effect of time travel. And we’ll go ahead and put that lampshade right over there…perfect! Sara tells the others not to use their powers, as it might make the anachronism worse. Ray uses the dating app from earlier in the episode to create the profile of a woman and hit every phone on the beach with a match. Gideon has the perfect profile pic to use.

… … …*swipes up*

*ahem* Anyway, Sara decides to kick Caesar’s ass while the fratboys are distracted. The Legends carry the unconscious Caesar back to the Waverider and debate whether to turn him over to the Time Bureau or take him back to Rome themselves. Rip appears via hologram and asks them to return Caesar to him. Sara agrees, but the Waverider needs repairs first. While Jax works on the engines, he talks to Stein about staying with the Legends. He wants to continue being a hero, but he can’t do that without Stein. Sara gets a weird pep talk from Caesar about forging her own destiny or something and that makes her change her mind about bringing Caesar back to the Time Bureau. Instead, she and Nate drop him off in Cisalpine Gaul circa 49 B.C. Nate blabs about Caesar’s future assassination right before Sara wipes his memory. Nate takes a selfie and they send Caesar on his way…but Caesar has Nate’s history book.

Gideon informs the Legends that the United States is now Magna Hesperia. Ray asks what that means. “Great Western Lands,” I’d guess? Nate says it means Caesar went on to conquer the known world and then the rest of it. Well, yeah, that too. Nate also remembers his book. Wait, so Caesar still speaks and reads English? Or is he just looking at the pictures? It’s okay, it’s okay, we can fix this before the Time Bureau finds out they fucked up–aaaannnnd too late; Rip is here with the agents.

Three agents go in to capture the book and wipe Caesar’s memory, but it’s a trap and one of them (Agent Sharpe) is captured by Caesar and his men. Wow, they screwed that up faster than the Legends. They are more efficient! The Legends go in to save the day with Firestorm claiming to be Ares, the God of War (Stein corrects him). Ray and Nate get the book with Nate telling one of Caesar’s soldiers “dormeo stricta, amicus” which he translates as “sleep tight, buddy”…eh, close enough. Sara rescues Sharpe and the two actually make a pretty good team fighting the soldiers.

Sharpe says “I’ve gotta say Miss Lance, now that I’ve seen your team in action with my own eyes…” They’re even worse than– “You are even worse than I imagined.” LEGENDS OF TOMORROW IS STEALING MY JOKES AGAIN! Make them stop!

The Legends manage to convince Rip that he needs field agents and that they’re somehow up to the task. Yeah! Look at how they solved that problem they created in the first place! As Rip and the agents leave, Mick reveals that he pickpocketed a time portal-creating watch, a communicator, and a memory eraser. Sharpe doesn’t think the Legends should be trusted with this responsibility, but Rip think the Legends are the best hope of stopping what’s coming. We get a vague mention of “Mallus” and how the Legends are somehow responsible for whatever it is. Rip thinks that sometimes, time needs a chainsaw. He then asks Sharpe to open a portal back to headquarters since he “misplaced” his watch. Uh…they’re not more concerned about that? I mean Rip acts like he knows the Legends took it, but as far as anachronistic technology ending up in the wrong time period goes, a time travel watch is a biggie. Might want to make sure it was one of the Legends and not Caesar, right?

Stein has decided to stay aboard the Waverider. He reasons that he’ll make it back in time for the birth of his grandchild and the Legends are as much his family as Clarissa and Lily. Nate is pining for Amaya, but decides she’s probably happier in Zambesi.

Cut to Zambesi, 1942. A group of soldiers try to attack a village, but are stopped by Amaya who uses her totem to summon several animal spirits to attack the soldiers and brutally rip them apart. Uh…I’m not sure what mood they’re trying to set with this scene. Amaya says the soldiers are poachers and rapists, but the screams of terror and pain as they’re slaughtered combined with Amaya’s creepy glowing eyes and the ominous music suggests this might be a bad thing. I don’t know.

So that’s the season premiere. It was okay. I think it suffers a little bit with its rushed conclusion to last season’s cliffhanger and sort of hurried plot. It’s understandable since this one episode is burdened with setting up the status quo for Season Three. The fights and effects were great and the dialogue is punchy and funny. Seeing what Sara, Nate, and Ray would do if they weren’t saving time was amusing. The anachronisms and Caesar and “temporal linguistic dysplasia” are all eye-rolling, but that’s part of the charm. It’s just goofy Silver Age goodness, and that’s what I’ve come to love about this show.

The episode went a little heavy on the “Legends are incompetent” jokes. I’m not just saying this because they’re stealing my bit; they really kind of overplayed the Time Bureau and Rip’s lack of faith in the team. A few times was funny, but it started to get downright mean-spirited after a while. It’s kind of setting up an ally/antagonist which mistrusts our down-on-their-luck heroes, and theoretically in the end the heroes will prove them wrong. But instead, the Time Bureau and Rip were telling the truth in a way that made the Legends look like fools who the viewers should be rooting against. It’s like a Spider-man comic where Spidey is causing millions of dollars in property damage and constantly fouling up every heroic act he tries to do. You’d be like, “Yeah, that Jameson guy has a point; Spider-Man is a menace!”

I know five years have passed for Rip and he’s been cleaning up a lot of the mess caused by the fallout from Season Two’s finale, but he’s really kind of hard on the Legends this episode. He’s absolutely right about them, but he’s being an asshole about it. Not to mention that the little tiny time-breaking event, the paradox of meeting their past selves and ripping a hole in time? He was there for that. He was there and offered very few objections. Even afterwards, he was talking to Sara like she had made the right call and that she was a far better captain than he ever was. It just comes across as really weird.

Also, former Time Masters who attempt to kill immortals with ties to historical figures of every era, strand 1940s superheroes throughout time, and get themselves brainwashed into helping collect a magic item that rewrites reality shouldn’t throw stones.

Next week: the Legends go where they belong – the circus. Haha! I made that joke before the show could! I WIN! Heh…hehe…I’m still relevant. *sobs*

Legends Of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays on the CW at 9 ET/8 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.

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