Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 Episode 9
This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers. And so does its tagline. Though there’s no way you didn’t see this coming. AAAAANYWAY.
The best part of the first half of this season of Legends was watching Wentworth Miller’s Leonard Snart and Dominick Purcell’s Mick Rory just completely annihilate the scenery every time they were on screen. I have a seriously low tolerance for anything approaching camp under normal circumstances, but they were so committed to being over the top, so ecstatic to be doing it that it was almost impossible to not enjoy watching them work. I understand the dramatic necessity of separating the two – Snart is on a hero’s journey, while Heat Wave is a drunk pyromaniac whose best quality is “delighting in chaos and murder” – but I was still a little sad for half a second when Captain Cold “killed” Mick in the woods like he was a rabid yellow lab.
I say for half a second because the show made no effort to hide the fact that he wasn’t dead. Sure, he was missing last episode, but everything about the “murder” scene with Rory and Snart was deliberate and conspicuous to the point where anyone who’s ever watched a soap opera, any prime time drama, or read a comic book knew what was coming. And when “Previously on Legends of Tomorrow” was growled by Mick, I figured it would be tonight. But even I was pleasantly surprised at how they pulled it off.
Here, I present to you my notes from tonight’s episode:
““PREVIOUSLY ON LEGENDS OF TOMORROW” growled by Mick YAAAAY.
There is no way he killed Mick.
Freefalling through time as chronos bounces with snart.
SPECULATION: Oh my god chronos is future mick rory.
OH MY GOD I WAS RIGHT CHRONOS IS FUTURE MICK RORY”
So Mick got picked up by the Time Masters, brought to Vanishing Point, trained, and cut loose to hunt down his old friends. By the end of the episode, the crew of the Waverider has taken him down and captured him and is planning on rehabilitating him. YAAAAY MICK’S BACK YAAAAAY!
Meanwhile, the B plot of the episode is some weepy-ass metaphor about unhealthy relationships and losing your personal identity when you get involved with someone else. I’m like, 30% kidding with this: Sara, Kendra and Ray, after being left in 1958, at first wait to get picked back up, because the time travelers could be gone for years, but come back at the exact same moment they left. Rudimentary time travel rules, right? So they invert it, and instead the Waverider is gone for about 5 minutes their time, but two years by Ray, Kendra and Sara’s. When they get back (down Snart, who is at that point in Rory’s custody on the jump ship), Kendra and Ray have been living in sin for two years, with Ray teaching Bill Gates’ dad at a college and Kendra being a librarian or something. Sara, we eventually find out, went back to Nanda Parbat to hang with Ra’s al Ghul and rediscover her love of assassinry. When they’re eventually picked up, Rip drops a new time travel concept on them: “Time Drift.” Apparently it’s an affliction where you lose your connection to your old life the longer you stay in a foreign time period. (IRL this disease is known as “getting older.”)
But this is good character work: Without the rest of their friends, their lives are hollowing out: Kendra is bored to tears by the past, Ray is living in the technological dark ages, and Sara is actively backsliding into bad old habits.
Maybe it’s because the characters were so integral to the effectiveness of the plot, but this episode feels like the most complete of the run so far – there have probably been more enjoyable, more purely entertaining ones, but this is the one that did the best job fusing the storyarc of the season, the plot propulsion of a single episode, and character development that has to this point been the best part of the show.
DC UNIVERSE TIME BUBBLES
-Ray reveals that he was an Eagle Scout with “over 100 merit badges” because OF COURSE he was. There are currently 132, and when Ray would have been scouting age, there were different ones, but probably a similar number.
-Side note, do you think Brandon Routh gets to go to bed feeling vindicated every night right now? Not that it’s Henry Cavill’s fault, but it’s got to feel good for him to be a part of the widely beloved DC TV Universe while Superman gets repeatedly abused in the DC Cinematic Universe.
-Atom and Hawkgirl end up living in Hub City, and shame on these producers to drop Hub City into an episode without bringing in its two most famous residents: Ted Kord and Vic Sage, Blue Beetle and the goddamn Question. Both characters were acquired by DC when they bought out Charlton Comics, and began appearing in DC books around the time of Crisis on Infinite Earths. They were the basis for Nite Owl and Rorschach in Watchmen, and later appeared as themselves in the best single issue comic from 2014, The Multiversity: Pax Americana (more on that probably next week).
-Ti’julk Mr’asz is a Vyrgan teleporter conscripted into the Legion of Superheroes who takes the superhero code name Gates. UNFORTUNATELY that’s not the Gates that Ray is referring to in his class. It’s Bill Gates’ dad.
-I’m kind of surprised they didn’t have Ray and Kendra and Sara undo their lost two years by going back to the point where the Waverider first left to pick up their younger selves. I had a whole “AND THAT’S WHY RACHEL SUMMERS EXISTS” rant ready to go, but instead they went with “uh, time paradox gtg.” Oh well. *puts dissertation-length tirade about Hypertime’s applications in the Marvel Universe back in the drawer*
-Watching Sara train are none other than the Demon’s Head, Ra’s al Ghul, who you may remember being run through by Oliver in Arrow or being usurped by Malcolm Merlyn later in Arrow. Matt Nable continues his work in the role, and for a guy who’s going to be perpetually compared to David Warner (Ra’s…’s? voice from Batman: The Animated Series) Nable does well.
-With Ra’s is his daughter. Not Nyssa, the one we’ve already seen in a recurring role on Arrow. No, instead we get the famous one, Talia. Talia Head, the Leviathan, first appeared in Detective Comics #411, created by Dennis O’Neill and Bob Brown. Since we’re fawning over semi-unrelated Grant Morrison work here, you should really also read his Batman.
-Next week! We’ve already been to Star City in 2146, so we’re going to the one place they can definitely kill Savage: back to pretty much 2146! Seriously, they’re going to Kasnia in 2147. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Suicide Squad already went there in Arrow. But it ALSO might sound familiar because it was once the subject of a Vandal Savage plot, in Justice League’s “Maid of Honor.”