UK TV recap: Legends of Tomorrow, Episode 16 (Legendary)
Season 2 tease8
Matthew Turner | On 23, Jun 2016
Legends of Tomorrow has had its fair share of disappointing episodes, so you could be forgiven for experiencing a certain degree of nervousness going into the finale. Happily, as with other superhero shows on the CW network (notably Arrow), the show-runners seem to have listened to criticisms of the season and the finale did some notable course-correction, effectively clearing the deck for what looks like a very intriguing second season.
The episode opens with the Waverider arriving in Star City. Despite their protestations, Rip returns the Legends to May 2016 (four months after they left) and informs them that, without the Oculus, there is no way of tracking Savage through time and therefore no way of rescuing Kendra and Carter. Everybody wants to continue the mission, but Rip is out of ideas. So, the Legends disperse and get to see their loved ones. This leads to a powerful, emotional scene where Sara finds out from her father that Laurel has died, cleverly matching up with a scene from the season finale of Arrow. Only one slight problem – if this is meant to be set during the Arrow finale, then shouldn’t the sky be filled with nukes and the streets be awash with panicking Star Citizens? And shouldn’t Quentin at least tell Sara that they could really use her against Damien Darhk right about now? It’s possible they didn’t really think this one through.
Meanwhile, Mick goes right back to thieving, having recruited a new – younger, stupider – Captain Cold. However, the new model is all too trigger-happy, so, um, Heat Wave kills him (or at least sets him on fire), at which point Ray shows up and persuades Mick to come back to the team. Ray acting as Mick’s getaway driver (he wears a mask for no reason at all) is kind of amusing and it only adds to the Mick / Ray bonding we’ve seen in the last couple of episodes.
Anyway, the team all reassemble on the same old rooftop and Ray and Stein manage to signal the Waverider. Rip’s still out of ideas, but he figures they might as well all be out of ideas together. Sara is understandably furious with Rip that he hid Laurel’s death from her, but he explains that if she had attempted to save Laurel, then Damien Darhk would also have killed both her and her father. At this point, it’s easy not to entirely trust Rip, especially with the way the show plays fast and loose with time-travel rules, but both Darvill and Lotz sell the scene with conviction.
Meanwhile, somewhere in time, Savage is laying out his Evil Plan to Kendra and Carter. He needs their blood to activate Thanagarian meteors in three different time-lines so that he can cause a Timequake that will return the Earth to Egyptian times. Whatever, Savage. Apparently, being conqueror of the universe wasn’t enough for Savage – he just wants to go back to his original time instead. Still, at least destroying the time-line is a sufficiently high-stakes threat.
Anyway, Kendra escapes from Savage and runs into a World War II soldier (a subtle tease of D.C. comics character Sgt Rock), whose helmet she just happens to recognise from Rip’s collection of souvenirs in the Waverider. So she leaves a message in the helmet and, lo and behold, it appears in the Waverider and the team come to her rescue. Except they bungle it and have to leave her behind again. D’oh! They do manage to rescue Carter, though, who informs them of Savage’s plan across three time-lines. It also allows the team to have some fun kicking some Nazi ass, during which Firestorm discovers he has a new power, something familiar from the comics but not yet referenced on the show: he can transmute objects by touching them. This will be important for later and gives Firestorm a whole new skill-set to play with next season.
Armed with knowledge of Savage’s plan, the team go after him in three different time zones – Sara and Firestorm in 1975, Rip, Carter and Kendra in 2021 and Ray and Mick in 1958 – and an extremely satisfying, nicely edited three-way fight scene ensues, in which the team get to kill Savage three times over, because he’s no longer immortal or something. This is a great way to spread out the climactic battle and it’s a lot of fun to watch the team delivering the smackdown Savage has had coming all season long.
That leaves the problem of the about-to-explode meteorites. Firestorm transmutes one of them into water (gotta use that new power somehow, right?) and Ray shrinks one of them so it explodes in a puff of smoke, but for some reason the third one is super-powerful and can only be destroyed by Rip sacrificing himself and the Waverider and flying it into the sun. There’s something very Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy about this whole sequence and you keep expecting the name Hotblack Desiato to crop up somewhere, but sadly that doesn’t happen.
Anyway, while flying the meteor into the sun, Rip hallucinates visions of his wife and child and basically changes his mind, jettisoning the meteor and time-jumping back to Star City in 2016. Which could, like, totally have been the plan anyway? Still, it’s a great-looking sequence with the Waverider framed against the sun and the scene also provides emotional closure for Rip over the fate of Miranda and Jonas, so let’s overlook the rather extreme nature of Rip’s plan, especially since it all works out for the best.
So, that’s pretty much it. The team reunite and it’s high-fives all round and everyone sort of goes back to their families. Sara gets another nice moment with Quentin at Laurel’s graveside, where she decides that the way to honour her sister’s memory is to continue her fight. Jax and Stein get a lovely scene with Clarissa, where Jax persuades her (and Stein) of Stein’s worth as a superhero. And Rip takes Mick to a fixed point in time, where he can have a final moment with a pre-Legends Leonard. This scene is another emotional high-point, heightened strongly by Dominic Purcell’s keeping-it-together performance, which, together with Miller’s comparative meanness as Leonard, shows just how much Mick and Leonard’s characters have changed throughout the course of the show. And, in another nice time-travel touch, there’s a hint that it’s Mick that sets Leonard on the path of being a hero.
Anyway, the fact that Rip tells Mick he can visit Leonard there at any time leaves the door wide open for bringing him back somehow – which he has to anyway, since Wentworth Miller is confirmed for future semi-regular appearances in both Legends and The Flash. I also still think that ring that he gave Mick before he died will turn out to be important somehow, but the writers are keeping that to themselves at the moment.
Oh, right. Kendra and Carter. Well, with Vandal Savage dead, their story is pretty much done and while everyone else returns to Rip and tells him that they want to keep on travelling through time and righting wrongs, Kendra and Carter just say thanks for everything and fly off to begin their new pre-destined life together. Ray doesn’t seem all that bothered, which rather increases the pointlessness of the whole Ray and Kendra romance subplot, but there it is.
Along with (finally) killing off Vandal Savage, Kendra and Carter leaving the show (it’s been confirmed that Hawkgirl, at least, won’t be returning next season) is an excellent example of the show course-correcting, because their characters never really gelled with the rest of the team the way the others did. Part of that was the writers not knowing what to do with them and part of it was Falk Hentschel’s wooden acting, but either way, it’s probably good that the show has benched them. Although, having said that, if the show is going to do the Thanagarian Invasion next season – as hinted at in this last episode – then presumably they’ll be back, since the Hawk-people are both supposed to be of Thanagarian origin. (They do get a chance to confirm that ,here, when Carter explains Savage’s plan, but they don’t take it.)
It’s also fair to say that Savage was an often disappointing villain, part of which was again down to the writing and also a lack of sufficient menace or presence in Casper Crump’s performance. (Once you get it into your head that he’s doing a bad Christoph Waltz impression, it’s impossible to see him as anything else.) Hopefully, next season will involve either a greater variety of super-powered villains or a big bad who’s worth his salt.
Which brings us to the cliff-hanger. Just as the Legends agree to stay together and bid goodbye to Carter and Kendra, another time-ship arrives and a man named Rex Tyler gets out, explaining that he’s been sent – by the Legends themselves – from the future to stop them making a terrible mistake. Asked where he’s from, Tyler explains he’s a member of the Justice Society of America, which is pretty damn exciting and opens the door for all manner of interesting characters and concepts next season.
All in all, this is a very satisfying finale that delivers action and emotion, wrapping up a variety of loose ends and clearing the decks for Season 2. Here’s hoping the show continues to learn from its mistakes, since, as a handful of episodes have shown this season, it’s capable of great things when it’s firing on all cylinders.
– According to the internet, Rex Tylr is the secret identity of a character called Hourman, who is indeed a member of the JSA. The original JSA were created in the 1940s, making them the first superhero team in comic books, but it looks as if Tyler’s version may be based in the future. Time will tell, anyway.
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Photo: © 2016 DC Comics. © 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.