It is rare that a show can legitimately surprise you, especially in the second ever episode, but that’s what Legends of Tomorrow did last night. Let’s dig in.
1. Well, that changes everything
I have to give the show a lot of credit for the balls it showed in killing Hawkman in the second ever episode. I mean, the show clearly felt that Hawkgirl was the character to focus on, and Hawkman’s role was always going to be to help Hawkgirl ‘awake’ to her reality, but by killing him off this early, it really sped along the process of both connecting the team and giving some additional emotional heft to the show in general.
It doesn’t hurt matters that Kendra is by far the more interesting character, both conceptually and in practice, and so giving her even more of a reason to fight is a nice bit of strategy for the show. I also don’t know how the reincarnations work here – is there, right now, another Khufu baby being born, or does his reincarnation not kick in until Shiera dies?
2. “Spark a doobie”
Look, I get it – part of the appeal of doing a time travel show is to have fun in the various eras you visit, and I’m not trying to hate on that. But the 70’s on this show is essentially a Spencer’s Gifts come to life. And “Marty” Stein is a caricature of that era to an almost Happy Days extent – all that’s missing is him asking Sara to do the hustle and/or saying “Is anyone else worried about Jimmy Carter’s relatively passive tone with the Middle East?”
3. Say hello to the new Stein, same as the old Stein
Victor Garber continues to shine as Professor Stein, and this week had a few great moments of Stein realizing just how little personal growth he’s experienced over the past 40 years. This is a pleasant bit of storytelling, and allows Stein to be both more sympathetic but not undergo any fundamental change. This is as similar to real life friendship as you’ll get on TV – we all have that one friend who throws a fit, and is obnoxious about tiny things, who you then find out was super spoiled as a kid, and then you can excuse it a little more. Stein is the television equivalent of that – he’s not a dick sometimes because he thinks it is funny/the best course of action – he knows he’s a dick, and wishes he could change.
It is also nice to see his love for his wife be a plot point that has actual legs, and not something easily tossed into the background. That was one of the best parts of his arc on The Flash and I’m glad to see it continue.
4. The team needs to let loose
There was a scene towards the end of this episode where, outside of Vandal Savage’s mansion, the Atom, Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Rip Hunter, White Canary, and Firestorm were fighting some of Savage’s bodyguards. Now, I have no doubt that Savage has a pretty well trained paramilitary presence around his property, but these are people either with insane superpowers or incredible weaponry. They should’ve been able to take them out almost instantly, even with reserving their abilities to remain non-lethal.
I know it isn’t as fun to just see Firestorm transmutate their guns into lead, or see Captain Cold freeze their feet to the ground…actually, both of those seem way cooler than an overwrought fight sequence.
5. I’ve seen that ending before…oh yeah, last week.
Looking back, I’m sure that last week’s ending was tacked on when the show was picked up to series, to bridge between the two episodes. “Pilot, Part One” ended with the team committed to helping and about to jump time, and then this week ended the exact same way. I am sure that was done out of necessity, but it felt very same-y (and it should have – it was exactly the same).
In many ways, this half of the pilot was far better than the first part – it was more balanced, slightly less campy, and featured a few nice Easter Eggs (like having Damien Darhk look exactly the same in 1975). I am looking forward to seeing the show continue to ping pong through time, but I hope that the characters’ strengths and abilities are more in focus next time.Continued below
Let me know what you thought in the comments!