This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Episode 10
Well, I have to hand it to Legends of Tomorrow. “Progeny” might be the weakest episode of the season. Or at the very least, it’s the weakest episode that I’ve reviewed of it (I’ve been leaving you all in the very capable hands of Jim Dandeneau while I work on assorted top secret Den of Geek projects the last few months). But I would argue that a “weak” episode of Legends of Tomorrow is still a damn sight better than a “weak” episode of some of its superhero TV cousins.
So really, “Progeny” was okay.
The thing is, there really hasn’t been a ton of filler on this show. Without a standard villain of the week format to fall back on, adventures tend to be stretched out over two episodes, and each episode is more about a quest or an idea than it is about a big fight. That’s what you get for having such a large, diverse team, I guess. And trust me, it’s better this way. The collection of B and C list DC heroes is one thing, but if the writers were trying to throw them against filler villains each week, well…it wouldn’t be pretty.
If anything, “Progeny” falls into the same traps that several other episodes this year have. While there haven’t been any “filler adventures” I can definitely say that not all of these should have been two episodes. The stakes are a little bit higher this week, what with the threat of impending genocide and all, but there were long stretches where maybe it didn’t feel enough like they were.
Some of that is the lingering Ray/Kendra stuff. I get that we missed two years of their lives together, but it still doesn’t quite feel organic. I’m not sure about Brandon Routh and Ciara Renee’s romantic chemistry, either. I like them both well enough, and of course I’m rooting for these characters to succeed. It’s just that setting Ray up for such an obvious fall here seems extraneous, and the 1920s flashbacks, which would be a pretty serious tell under the best of circumstances, just came off feeling a little extra ponderous this time. I’m not against any of this, but it sure does feel like there was a lot of talking/explaining of relationship stuff that we’re already pretty clear on this week.
The Per Degaton thing was interesting, though. Here we have the classic variation of the “if you could kill baby Hitler” thing. Rip can’t do it, and yet again, I can’t help but feel that a Berlanti superhero show is leading the live action DC superhero universe by example. Here’s a guy with every reason to put a blast in that kid’s head, and he ultimately refused to. And I don’t think it was a matter of nerve, either. Vandal Savage would have done it. Because that’s what a bad guy would do.
And while I made a solemn vow not to think too hard about how the time travel stuff stops making sense the minute you start thinking too hard about it, this week is another one of those where I can’t help but feel that the future should have been changed so profoundly already that the entire mission would be in jeopardy. This isn’t necessarily the kind of thing I deduct points for, but I do think that a genocidal act coming about several years earlier than it should would have even more profound effects than what they’re hinting at.
On the other hand, after all the time spent in the past (and we’re going back there next week!), it’s funny how very much more at home things start to feel the closer we get to Rip’s era. There’s a surprising amount of time left before the season finale, so I’m curious to see if they just make a full on sprint for the finish line once we clear out of the Old West.
DC Universe Time Bubble
– This one borders on what part of the review it should fall in. I have no record of a Sydney Palmer existing in DC Comics, although I believe Ray did have a brother named Danny. But the whole “brother who looks exactly like you” and then “I no longer have to feel the weight of responsibility over fathering a child I never knew” thing was another one of those “erred too closely on the side of bullshit” moments in this episode for me to fully get behind. It was a dopey reveal.
– Per Degaton is one of the oldest villains in DC Comics, believe it or not, although the version we meet here isn’t much like his comic book counterpart…and not just because of his age. Per Degaton was a Justice Society villain, and he’s been kicking around the DC Universe since 1947. He was never the heir to a dictator, but he always had dictatorial ambitions and a fascist fashion sense (more on that in a minute).
I have to confess, I was kinda hoping they would save Per Degaton as the potential villain for a future season of the show. I’m sure there’s still time for that to happen, given how the future can shift in a show like this.
– Oh, and the Kasnian army/Degaton’s soldiers all basically look like the comic book version of Per Degaton, which was a nice touch.
I’m so out of my mind on cold medication tonight that I may as well be a time traveler myself. If I missed anything, please drop ’em in the comments or just yell at me on Twitter, and I’ll update this!