UK TV recap: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 1, Episode 2
Younger self shenanigans8
Effects and fight scenes7
Matthew Turner | On 12, Mar 2016
Warning: This contains spoilers.
Presumably, there was a lot of discussion, both on The CW in the US and Sky in the UK, about whether to air both episodes of the Legend pilot back to back. Ultimately, it was probably a good decision to split them up, because with all the necessary-but-time-consuming set-up stuff out of the way, the show can really start to move forwards, which is exactly what happens this week.
In terms of house-keeping, I’m just going to go ahead and assume that everyone reading this knows who the characters and actors are by this point, but just in case you need a refresher, read our cut-out-and-keep explanatory guide in our review of Episode 1.
So, with the team still in 1975, they decide to immediately go after immortal criminal Vandal Savage (it’s important to note that Vandal isn’t time-travelling each week – he’s just already there because he’s still alive in that period), which they do by infiltrating a weapons auction and confronting him. Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), the current Big Bad on Season 4 of Arrow, is there too, for some reason, but that doesn’t really add anything to the story other than to show up just how much better Darhk is as a villain compared to Savage.
Anyway, Stein arrogantly reveals that they are time-travellers, which leads to a pretty decent fight sequence, with the show retaining its commitment to movie-level special effects, even if all the different flashes of red and blue light (cold guns, heat guns, Atom rays, Firestorm firebolts) do get a bit tiresome after a while. In the ensuing scrap, a bit of Ray’s Atom suit falls off, which could have Grave Consequences For The Future. (Something tells us that concept is going to come up a lot.)
So, in order to retrieve Ray’s tech, Stein, Sara and Jax have to visit Stein’s younger, 1975 self (played by Graeme McComb) at Ivy Town University (a nice comics nod, as that’s where Ray was a professor) in order to get hold of an alpha particle tracker (it’s best just to let the actual science wash over you) that Young Stein just happens to have been working on.
This leads to a lot of fun sequences, with Stein getting increasingly annoyed at the arrogance of his younger self, before realising that actually, yeah, he’s still a bit like that, isn’t he? He even apologises to Jax for kidnapping him last week. That’s character development, people! The whole sequence, apart from gleefully riffing on Back to the Future with Martin’s disappearing wedding ring, also offers up some extremely enjoyable character interaction, particularly Sara and Jax’s reactions to Young Stein inviting them to smoke dope with him (“It helps me think”) and then, later, Sara still being able to kick bad guy ass despite being high as a kite. We also enjoy Martin telling Sara not to flirt with Young Martin because “We wouldn’t want my former self tempted by a sexy assassin from the future”, to which Sara replies “Aww, you think I’m se—” and Martin interrupts with “Do not finish that sentence”.
Meanwhile, Ray accompanies Leonard and Rick on a mission to steal the dagger that, when wielded by one of the Hawk-people, can kill Savage. We get a nice bit of bonding between perpetually-upbeat Ray and cynical Leonard and it becomes very clear here, as with the stuff with Sara, Jax and Martin, that the mix and match of personalities and how the characters all interact with each other is going to be a key part of this show. We would also guess that Leonard is potentially going to have the biggest arc, as he learns that he rather enjoys being a hero – either way, the groundwork is laid here, as it’s suggested that his criminal behaviour largely came from wanting to please his father.
Though the dagger theft is successful, the team are interrupted by Savage, who ends up – Gasp! – killing Carter with the knife, as well as stabbing Kendra with it. It’s a bold move to kill off a main character this early on, but a welcome and even necessary one. Hentschel was by far the weakest link in the acting ensemble (next to Crump’s Savage) and his scenes with Kendra were easily the worst part of this episode, removing her from the rest of the action and even getting a little bit creepy as he tries to force her to remember her feelings for him… which she does, just before he dies. With Carter gone (obviously he reincarnates, so he’s not gone forever, but hopefully he’ll be gone for the remainder of the series), Kendra is free to interact with the rest of the cast in more interesting ways and hopefully her character can develop a bit more than it has up to now.
At any rate, no-one seems all that upset about Carter’s death (they have only known him a few hours, to be fair), but at least it gives everyone a new reason to get behind the takedown of Savage, with even Leonard agreeing that if you mess with his crew, you are going down.
As for Rip, he doesn’t get all that much to do this week, other than getting annoyed at everyone for letting Ray’s tech get found, but he does at least have a sweet scene at the end, where he saves Stein’s marriage by introducing Young Stein to his future wife, their initial meeting having been sabotaged by getting stoned with time-travellers from the future. Stein appears to see Rip in a new light after this. Character development, you see?
Other enjoyable moments this episode: Ray getting to use his shrinking powers to fly around inside the nuclear bomb (and only making things worse); Firestorm absorbing a nuclear explosion; and Mick’s deadpan delivery of “You’re welcome, Norway”, when Rip is shouting at everyone.
An improvement over the first episode, Legends of Tomorrow continues to display enormous potential, not just in the set-up, but also in the possibilities for character development as everyone gets to know each other. It’s going to be fun to see where the show goes from here and we, for one, am fully on board.
Legends of Tomorrow is available on Sky Box Sets. Don’t have Sky? You can catch up on-demand through NOW, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription, no contract. A 7-day free trial is available for new subscribers.
Photo: © 2016 DC Comics. © 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.