This Legends of Tomorrow review contains some spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 1
For an episode called “Out of Time” the Legends of Tomorrow season 2 premiere wastes absolutely no time at all in getting down to business. Within minutes we meet a brand new character and potential team member, get guest spots from other CW shows, and have a reasonably fresh status quo established…and that’s all before we even get a glimpse of nearly every familiar series regular. It’s tough for an ensemble show with so many different concepts to juggle like this to hit the ground running, but “Out of Time” does it, and does it well.
That new character is Dr. Nate Heywood (Nick Zano) a historian who knows more about time travel and assorted superhero activity than your average academic. It’s no secret that Zano has signed on as a series regular, and his character’s name indicates that he has a superheroic future of his own, but for now, there’s none of that. He’s simply needed to get everything moving and allow for some necessary exposition to get us up to speed about where the Legends have spent the offseason.
Remember what I said about hitting the ground running? How many shows can take you to France in the 1600s then to World War II-era New York City (I love all of these CW superhero shows, but there has never been a less convincing NYC in TV history than what they try to pass off in this one), and then off on a few other side-missions to other eras for good measure? It does all of this while providing more legitimate laughs than any episode of any modern superhero show, too, which is pretty impressive considering that the fate of time often hinges on this team of lovable, high-powered screw-ups.
There’s a hint of what the show’s new structure is going to be like this time around, too. Season one kicked off with a two-part pilot episode that firmly established that Vandal Savage was the team’s primary objective, and that Rip Hunter’s mission to save his family was going to drive him all year long. Not this time. We get only the barest hint of what kind of larger wheels might be turning, even though this episode’s mission (which involves everything from Nazis to French royalty and some other fun surprises) is slightly more than just a case-of-the-week scenario. This looser format should work in the show’s favor, as it’s tough to sustain a single villain when every action potentially changes the past or the future.
Legends of Tomorrow season 2 could potentially sustain itself on fun weekly missions all on its own with this cast and their chemistry, but I suspect that once the bigger threat is made more clear, things will come into focus. On the other hand, I could definitely go for more episodes that are paced like this one, which has the most anarchic “anything can happen” vibe we’ve seen from a show that already delivered on a fair share of surprises in its first season.
Basically, a missing character or two aside, everything you liked about Legends of Tomorrow season one is back for the season premiere, but funnier, more comfortable and confident, and in some cases, bigger and better. The interior of the Waverider has been given a noticeable overhaul, and the show looks decidedly less claustrophobic than it did last year. Legends is a show that always looks good, but maybe this is a sign that the production values have stepped up even more. It’s going to be a fun season.
DC Universe Time Bubble
OK, so this one doesn’t have a ton of specific DC Comics stuff out of the usual, expected stuff (and, of course, the inclusion of Damien Darhk and the surprise appearance of Eobard Thawne at the end), but there are still a few things to get into. The biggest deal, of course, is…
Nate Heywood. In the comics, a super-powered Heywood is known as Commander Steel. But we’re not quite there yet with him.
While the Steel legacy in DC Comics stretches back decades, the Nate Heywood version of the character was introduced in 2007, during Geoff Johns’ tenure as writer on Justice Society. While his grandfather was cybernetically enhanced, Nate ended up being composed of living metal, with all of the advantages and drawbacks that brings with it. It’s not clear how far they’re taking that element of the character for the show just yet, but this is a pretty effective introduction for the Heywood aspect of him. His personality is quite a departure from the comics, though.
– I have to love how Green Arrow is kind of roped into this rescue mission. It’s just an appropriately comic book trope touch.
– Who else thought of Indiana Jones’ “Nazis, I hate these guys,” when Heat Wave confessed his own hatred of Nazis?
– OK…did they say that they shouldn’t hang out in 1942 for some reason? Did I hear that right? Because if that’s the case, maybe it has something to do with the reason that DC superheroes couldn’t just pop over to Europe and win World War II for everyone: Hitler had the Spear of Destiny, which would allow him to control them if they got within range. Is that true?
– When Brandon Routh is wearing that retro blue business suit in the 40s, anybody else get vintage Clark Kent vibes?
– Speaking of Superman, the best “Albert Einstein interacts with superhero lore” story ever isn’t even in a comic: it’s in the pages of Elliot S! Maggin’s Superman: Last Son of Krypton novel. I can’t stress this enough, if you like Superman, you need to read that book.
– Also re: Superman. Somebody mentions the phrase “Somewhere in Time” which reminds me that Christopher Reeve starred in a kinda dull sci-fi romance by that title shortly after he achieved stardom as Supes.
– Is Rip wearing a Navy uniform in the ’40s? Can anyone explain that to me? I’m terrible with military stuff. If it is indeed Navy, I feel like that kind of plays into Rip’s general dorkiness. Why? Because James Bond’s rank of Commander is a Naval thing, so of course that’s what Rip would wear. If he’s wearing anything that indicates he’s a Commander, please let me know.
– Anyone spot Katana’s mask on the Waverider?
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Legends of Tomorrow season 2 kicks off on the CW on Thursday, October 13th at 8 pm.