UK TV recap: Legends of Tomorrow Season 2, Episode 1 (Out of Time)
Promising new set-up7.5
Matthew Turner | On 05, Nov 2016
Warning: This contains spoilers.
The superhero shows in the Arrow-verse (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and now Supergirl) have often been distinguished by their willingness and their ability to course-correct when something isn’t working. The Season 1 finale of Legends of Tomorrow was an excellent example, dumping all the elements that hadn’t quite panned out in one fell swoop – namely, killing off season-long villain Vandal Savage, dispatching Hawkman and Hawkgirl to Hawkworld (or wherever they went) and consigning the Time Masters to oblivion. That left the series in a very promising position for the new season.
The first season’s cliff-hanger involved the Legends getting a visit and a warning from Justice Society of America hero Rex Tyler / Hourman, but rather than pick up at that point, the show instead introduces a whole new character, Time Historian Nate Heywood (Nick Zano), who tracks down a guest-starring Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) in present-day Star City and quickly persuades him that Ray, Sara and the rest of the Legends are in trouble and need his help. Oliver, of course, protests at Nate just assuming he’s the Green Arrow, but Nate is all like ‘Hello, Time Historian. Also, it’s not a coincidence that the Arrow arrived in Star City at the exact same time you returned from that desert island, innit?’
Anyway, Oliver agrees to help Nate and ponies up a submarine (not exactly sure how, as the Queen fortune has long since disappeared, but that’s not important right now), whereupon the pair travel to the bottom of the Hudson River in New York and discover the Waverider. Once aboard, they find that the crew have vanished, all except for Mick Rory, who’s been left in stasis. After a swift revival, Oliver and Nate listen,
as Mick explains what happened.
The story picks up some six months after the events of the Season 1 finale, with our heroes enjoying themselves as the all-new Time Guardians. Sure, Mick is still sad about Leonard Snart dying and Sara is still thirsting for revenge because her sister Laurel got killed on Arrow last season, but other than that, they’re all doing okay. We join them on a mission in 17th Century France, which involves the men being dressed as the Musketeers and doing some swashbuckling and Sara seducing the Queen of France for some reason.
Despite Rex Tyler’s warning (recounted, rather than shown) to never, under any circumstances, visit New York in 1942, the Legends decide to – yes! – head to New York in 1942, after they discover an alternate timeline in which the Nazis nuke the city. After some moderately amusing shenanigans involving the kidnapping of Albert Einstein (Joe Rubinstein), the team discover that, actually, it’s Einstein’s ex-wife, Mileva Marić, who builds the nuke, so team leader Rip decides to take out the bomb by, um, crashing the Waverider into it underwater.
In order to save everyone on board, Rip activates something called a Time Scatter, which sends everyone into a different point in time, with the exception of Mick, who’s wounded and apparently wouldn’t survive the trip. (“I knew you never liked me!”, growls Mick). As for Rip himself, he appears to have made the ultimate sacrifice for the team, at least according to the maudlin holo-message he leaves everyone. Anyway, so the Waverider saves New York by crashing into the bomb, but for some reason, it doesn’t blow up and, in fact, isn’t even remotely damaged, making you wonder a) how Rip knew Mick would survive, and b) why he Time Scattered everyone away in the first place.
Anyway, back in the present day, Time Historian Nate reckons he knows exactly where to look for the rest of the Legends, so they fire up the Waverider and, in rapid succession, rescue Ray from a hungry dinosaur in the Jurassic period, Martin and Jax from an imminent beheading in medieval England (possibly King Arthur, but too briefly sketched for that to register), and Sara from being burned as a witch, by the concerned citizens of Salem after she seduces, um, “all the womenfolk”. Man, they are really going heavy on Sara’s bisexuality this episode – it’s a shame it’s all treated as a rather puerile joke, rather than adding up to anything meaningful. Hopefully, there will be some pay-off to this in the future.
As much as it’s fun to pay flying visits to three different time periods, there’s this section feels really rushed and represents something of a missed opportunity. We should have seen a lot more of that dinosaur, for a start. Also, given that Ray has been there long enough to grow an impressive Robinson Crusoe-style beard, we can assume they’ve been trapped in the past for quite a while, which rather trivialises the events of one of the first season’s best episodes, Left Behind, in which Ray, Kendra and Sara all got stranded in the 1950s for two years. That episode explored the psychological consequences of such an event in a way that really developed all three characters, whereas this two-minute segment just treats it all as a bit of a laugh. Oh, and while we’re at it, there’s no way the battery on Jax’s iPhone would have lasted that long in medieval England, either.
Oh, right, the Sara sub-plot. Okay, so, while the Legends are Nazi-bashing in New York, Sara discovers that Arrow villain Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough, on board as a regular for this season) is involved in the Nazi bomb plot and vows to kill him, out of revenge for killing her sister, even though Oliver already killed him in Arrow. We think she’s maybe hoping to save Laurel by killing Darhk before he kills her or something, except that that would mean the whole of Arrow Season 4 didn’t happen and… let’s not go there right now.
Anyway, she’s about to punch Darhk to death, but Ray shows up and stops her, which leaves Darhk free to be the Big Bad for the rest of the season. However, there’s an extra twist – Darhk turns out to be working alongside Flash villain Eobard Thawne (aka Reverse-Flash), which nicely lays the ground for the Legion of Doom (a comics-ordained supervillain team-up) threat that the Arrow-verse shows are presumably going to face in the upcoming four-way crossover event. So that’ll be nice.
Anyway, with the Legends now re-united, they manage to save the day in 1942 New York, with Nate now properly on board as Rip’s replacement. Is Rip dead? No one seems all that bothered, despite the seeming finality of Rip’s message. At any rate, he’s out of the picture for the next few episodes, while Nate takes his place. Oh, and right at the point where viewers are getting justifiably annoyed that the show hasn’t once referred to the Justice Society of America, up pops the Justice Society of America just in time for the episode’s cliff-hanger.
Action-wise, the episode is pretty decent, with a couple of standout sequences, most notably Jax pulling off a pretty cool move, whereby he jumps off a roof and effectively dives into Martin to create Firestorm. We also get plenty of shrinking Ray action and that’s always fun. That said, they could have had a lot more fun with the Musketeer sequences. Ah, well.
All in all, this is an entertaining and fast-paced opener that packs in a lot of super-powered punching and does a good job of establishing the new set-up for the rest of the season. We don’t get much in the way of emotional character development (Sara’s revenge quest aside), but we do get plenty of humour, thanks to the usual bickering between the characters. On a similar note, the way the show plays around with different time periods suggests they’re going to have an ongoing time-period-of-the-week format this season, while the lightened tone suggests the focus in Season 2 will be firmly on fun. Tune in next week for Justice Society of America!
Footnotes of Tomorrow
– The suit Ray Palmer wears in the 1940s makes him look a LOT like Clark Kent. That’s surely no coincidence, given that Brandon Routh played Superman?
– Oliver Queen is kind of wasted, but hey, at least he’s a good listener.
– Full disclosure: I am not at all familiar with the Justice Society of America. However, a selection of the finest D.C. brains on the Internets have informed me that the team we see in the episode’s cliff-hanger comprises of Golden Age members Commander Steel (Matthew MacCaull) and Doctor Mid-Nite (Kwesi Ameyaw), more recent members Obsidian (Dan Payne) and Stargirl (Sarah Grey), and Vixen’s grandmother, the original Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers), who is set to become the second female lead on the show, filling the spot vacated by Hawkgirl.
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.