There was way too much going on in last night’s Legends of Tomorrow episode, between Amaya and Mick trying to get the Earth Totem from Blackbeard, Ray, Nate and Zari getting stranded on the Waverider in the Bermuda Triangle, Sara going on a date with Ava, and – believe it or not – Rip Hunter and Wally West having a drunken karaoke night. Let’s break it down:
Legends of Tomorrow is a self-awaredly corny show, and that’s a huge part of its charm. However, with all the pirates this week and the over-the-top flamboyance that implies, the show lost that feeling of the show winking at you, feeling hopelessly dumb instead. If you showed a first-time viewer this episode, with its dreadful opening filled with cheap CGI and bad acting, you would have lost them forever.
Probably the biggest instance of the episode falling flat was how the climax tried to emulate the sense of crescendo that comes in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, with everyone fighting and still finding time to get married in the midst of it, but by the time Blackbeard boards the Waverider, you’re rather bored and just rolling your eyes. The Legends feel like they’ve gone to a silly fancy dress party, and not actually caught up in a life-or-death struggle for the Caribbean.
2. Stupid boys
Speaking of Blackbeard trying to commandeer the Waverider, the whole episode was a crash course in what a useless pair of children Nate and Ray are without Sara. I’m particularly struck by how they resembled a pair of wandering kids after pickpocketing Ava’s time travel device while forgetting how to close the portal. (By the way Nate, no one cares what the Queen Anne’s Revenge used to be called.)
Ray feels guilty and sentimental at the end about using the nanite gun on Nora Darhk and winds up getting captured. I’m not going to criticize him for being merciful, but he could have consulted with Sara instead of charging off on his own. For a start, you can’t trust Damien Darhk to keep his promise to give back the Spirit Totem, which is what wound up happening. Sigh.
3. Careless Whisper
I was pleasantly surprised Wally West and Rip Hunter were written into this episode after last week’s tease, I’d assumed they’d just show up at the end again this time. It was a lot of fun, seeing these two spurned men just deciding to have some fun, I wish we could’ve had a whole episode of these two larking around and left all the pirate business until next week. The duo singing George Michael’s classic was just terrific, a well overdue if slightly random tribute to the great man – and boy does Keiynan Lonsdale have some pipes on him. Rip had some pretty cool sounding adventures, drinking with Hemingway and Van Gogh, and visiting China during the Opium Wars, DC should do a comic book, or something (what?).
For the record, I found the actor playing Blackbeard rather weak: maybe I’ve been spoiled by Ian McShane’s performance in On Stranger Tides and Mark Bonnar’s portrayal in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, but he didn’t come across as particularly fearsome. Sure, that was the point, to show Blackbeard’s infamous reputation was largely smoke-and-mirrors, but if an actor is playing someone who was that terrifying in public life but isn’t, then they’ve failed.
Instead, the most remarkable thing about this version of Blackbeard was his odd manner of saying the word “me.” One last comment about this episode’s depiction of the legendary pirate: it goes with the assumption that his real name was Edward Teach, which has always struck me as odd. Maybe it’s because of my bias towards Assassin’s Creed’s version of historical figures, but given how the man’s surname was spelt in a variety of ways, including Thatch, Thach, Thache, Thack, Tack, Thatche and Theach, it always seemed likelier that his name was Edward Thatch.
5. The Darhks
Between the Darhks’ and Kuasa’s constant appearances, I’m really missing the Legion of Doom’s dynamic. The show really needs a third rotating villain, unfortunately, Gorilla Grodd is a really expensive character to use, hence why he hasn’t reappeared again this season, which I suppose it’s the price we pay for all these locations and settings. Speaking of the budget, Amaya’s loss of Spirit Totem feels the ultimate corner being cut. We weren’t getting enough animal powers being used this season frankly.Continued below
– Ray calling Ava a Time Lady, hehe.
– Ava brings up Sara’s dancing. Let’s hope next time Sara talks about her time with Lady Gaga.
– It was really cool hearing Maisie Richardson-Sellers use her own accent, she sounds far less passive when she’s not faking an American one.
Next week: Guess it’s up to Wally and Rip to rescue Ray.