Legends of Tomorrow Season Finale Review: Legendary

The Legends of Tomorrow season finale puts the team back where they started. Here's our full review.

This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.

Legends of Tomorrow Episode 16

“I’m not ready to die.”

“Me neither.”

This was a very good episode of Legends of Tomorrow. And you know how I know it was so good? Because they even found an emotional moment for Gideon. The Waverider’s AI had a moment, and I had a moment with her, and that, boys and girls, is something I never expected to happen on this or any other show.

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I’m not sure you can ever call an episode of Legends of Tomorrow “perfect” given the quirks and general weirdness and inconsistencies involved in its time travel premise. But “Legendary” comes as close as this show has ever come. It’s the best episode of the season, and one of the best episodes of any of the DC TV shows all year.

What sets “Legendary” apart? It did two things that many episodes have struggled with: it perfectly balanced its characters strengths and screen time, and the pacing was on point. I guess the pacing thing was simply out of necessity, but damn, I have to wonder just how good this show would have been with a 10-13 episode order instead of 16. Much like the first few episodes of the season there was exactly ZERO time for filler in “Legendary” and I was suddenly reminded why I was so excited about this project early on.

It wasn’t just the efficient storytelling or the boatloads of action. Once again, the visuals really elevated things. And not just the special effects (which were tremendous…seriously, how awesome did Firestorm look in every single scene? How killer was the Waverider tumbling into the sun shot?), but it felt like this one upped its game with the way it was shot. I thought the “Rip hallucinating his family in a sunlit Waverider” shots were beautiful, even cinematic. The big rooftop battle with Vandal Savage and friends was done in bright daylight, something that most of the superhero shows avoid when there’s that many special effects in play. Things just looked solid from start to finish. I should note that composer Blake Neely upped his game tonight, and turned in his best work of the year, and certainly the best he’s done for Legends of Tomorrow.

That alone wouldn’t be enough. I realized within the first few minutes that I did really, truly buy into this team’s journey this season. Everyone’s actions and reactions made sense. I don’t know why it never occurred to me that Sara wouldn’t know that Laurel was dead, so maybe that hit me a little harder than I expected as a result. I never expected to give a damn about Heat Wave in the first place, yet here we are this week, treated to wonderful moments with Mick and Ray (Ray’s reveal in the car was priceless), Mick and Rip, and finally (and beautifully), Mick and Len. I refuse to believe anyone who has enjoyed this show didn’t feel that last one…even if once again, I don’t understand what the actual rules of time travel are supposed to be anymore.

Rip, who has been a screw-up at every imaginable opportunity, including in this episode, finally gets his redemption. And while it’s only one of the legitimate “fuck yes” parts of “Legendary” it does feel like Rip’s was the most satisfying, perhaps because of all the other ways he dropped the ball this season. I never disliked Rip, but I was kind of waiting for him to smarten up and/or catch a break. He does this week, and it felt good. I do hope he’s a better leader next year, for his sake.

Casper Crump was absolutely on point as Vandal Savage tonight, turning in his most convincing performance of the season. I don’t necessarily think he was always served particularly well by the structure of this show, and while it’s unlikely he’ll return, I wouldn’t rule it out. He was pretty perfect in the role, and I couldn’t be more happy with the way he went out tonight. 

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On that note, the exit of the Hawks for season two makes sense. Without Vandal around, it kind of eliminates their main purpose on the show. Plus, I was getting a little tired of how useless Carter was. On the other hand, it occurred to me that Carter has been the hot dude equivalent of a damsel in distress for much of this season, which is kind of awesome. I’m sure the Hawks will pop up on some of the other shows, and it’ll be great to see them again, but in this case, change is good.

I even dug the b-movie vibe of the glowing blue meteors and the hawk blood and the alien invasion angle and…oh, who am I kidding? I’m just avoiding talking about Rex Tyler, because I’m sure all of you heard me screaming with joy when it happened. That means it’s time to get to…

DC Universe Time Bubble

– Firestorm finally learned one of his key comic book powers: matter transmutation! Back in the day, shooting fire wasn’t really Firestorm’s thing (believe it or not…I mean he did it, but it wasn’t his main thing). Instead, it was usually the more cartoon friendly matter transmutation stuff. 

– Now, directly from my notes, any time the team splits up to do different tasks in different places or eras, that’s “a classic Justice Society of America trope” from the comics. I didn’t realize that would be prophetic.

– So, I’m pretty sure the soldier who croaks in France is Sgt. Rock, the wartime hero who wasn’t actually created during World War II, but has a creative pedigree of Robert Kanigher and the legendary Joe Kubert (co-creator of Hawkman and Hawkgirl!). So, for real…was that Sgt. Rock? And if so, wasn’t he a little young to be the grizzled Rock? I’m a little confused. Please straighten me out.

– The idea that the meteor was actually Thanagarian in origin is a new thing, but the idea of combining the mystical and alien elements of the Hawks’ origin story isn’t. Much of Kendra’s modern origin (and what we see in the show) was inspired by David Goyer and Geoff Johns’ reinvention of the characters in the pages of JSA. It kind of merged the best of the Golden and Silver Age Hawk origins into something appropriately modern. It’s not how it played out here, but the basic idea of that merging is the same. It’s pretty cool. 

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– Rex Tyler is Hourman!!! I’m not sure if this is intended to be the original Hourman of the World War II era of the Justice Society, or a descendant of his operating in the future. Either way, this is extraordinarily awesome. 

Hourman first appeared in Adventure Comics #48 in 1940. He’s a founding member of the JSA. Originally, he was just a dude who took a pill to get super strength and endurance for an hour, but later versions of the character gave him some more advanced powers. I don’t want to speculate too hard on this yet, but I gotta love that subtle costume design, which looks a little bit more like the Rick Tyler version of the character than the original.

Special note: at one point the CW was developing an Hourman TV series, but it never happened.

Ladies and gents, thanks for reading my ramblings every week. Well, except for the weeks when I had the great Jim Dandeneau filling in for me, and I owe him considerable thanks, too. I’ll probably be back reviewing Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 in the Fall. I mean, seriously, there’s a JSA angle, there’s no way I’m not doing this, right?

If I missed any easter eggs, drop ’em in the comments! And if you miss my ranting and raving, you can always shout at me on Twitter. See you in the future!


4.5 out of 5