This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 13
It’s hard to overstate how happy I am with Legends of Tomorrow right now. The show just seems to continually wallow in not just the minutiae of DC continuity, but in general nerdery in a way that would be unseemly on a show that was less earnest about it. But everything about the way nerd culture is used is contextually loving – not appropriative, but lived and shared in a way that other stuff (coughcoughBigBangTheorycough) cannot pull off.
For god’s sake, the title of the episode was a TV series populated by claymation dinosaurs. They’re not even trying to hide it anymore: it’s one long fanservice delivery mechanism. Fortunately, it’s surrounded by good acting, smart writing and a general sense of fun that makes it really hard not to join in.
We pick up this week with Rip in a holding cell on the Waverider and the team trying to figure out both how to fix him and how to get to the JSA’s Commander Steel and the final piece of the Spear of Destiny. Rip uses his voice access to sabotage the ship, turn on its self destruct sequence, and wreak general havoc on the Waverider. Eventually the team gets the ship back (no shit, Jax turns it off and turns it back on again) and knocks Rip out, but not until he’s destroyed the medallion and made them crash land in the Cretaceous period, losing a chunk of the ship in the process. Mick clues them into the Time Masters ability to muck directly with people’s memories – “cognitive intrusion,” used for very vigorous interrogations – so Sarah decides to go in and try and recover Rip to help them get Steel’s location (since the mediallion is now useless).
At this point, the show has settled into a really nice character rhythm. The writers aren’t experimenting with different interactions, they’re sticking with what they think works best, and they’re right. Sarah is joined in Rip’s head by Jax (and a surprise guest), while Stein and Mick stay in the medical bay and Ray, Amaya and Nate go off to bring back the MacGuffin Alternator or whatever it was called. These character pairings are hugely effective: Jax and Sarah are both developing as leaders, but are with very complementary styles; Stein is the group worrier, while Mick is the one who seems to understand team dynamics best; Nate gives Brandon Routh a straight man to help his already excellent comic timing; and Nate and Amaya are maybe my favorite couple in the DC TV universe.
They may get a run for their money from the newest couple in tonight’s episode: while in Rip’s head, Sarah and Jax meet a flesh and blood Gideon, who is, as Sarah points out, “kinda hot.” Gideon acts as Hunter’s interface with what’s real, as his memories and sense of self have been severely screwed with by Thawne and the Legion of Doom (I still can’t believe that’s a thing). Eventually the four of them manage to defeat Rip’s psychic manifestations of each of their worst sides and escape back onto the Waverider, with Rip’s sense of self peaking as he kissed the physical manifestation of Gideon in his brain. It’s a kiss we later learn that OH I GET IT BECAUSE THEY’RE relationSHIPS THAT’S FUNNY Gideon remembers outside of Rip’s mind, opening us up to all sorts of weird innuendo for the rest of the season.
The show tries to inject a little drama into Vixen and Steel’s developing relationship by having the Atom try and wave Steel off, but it doesn’t work. Mostly it fails because Maisie Richardson-Sellers and Nick Zano have fantastic chemistry together. It also fails because this is a show about time travel where they’re chasing an artifact that can rewrite the fundamental rules of reality, so there are literally thousands of ways to get around a predestination paradox, but it’s mostly chemistry.
This episode continues Legends of Tomorrow’s strong recent run, and sets it up as maybe the best DC TV show on the air right now.
DC UNIVERSE TIME BUBBLES
– Not a coincidence that we get a montage of a bunch of spaceship doors closing quickly in an episode named “Land of the Lost.” Mystery Science Theater 3000 was a show where a comedian and two robots were forced to watch terrible movies in space.
– Ray after they crash: “You call that a landing?” Logan in theaters now. (that’s a quote from Wolverine in X-Men one).
-They plug Jax and Sarah into Rip’s head, just like in The Matrix.
– They went into the same forest that Gorilla City is in! There sure are a lot of lizards out in the middle of Vancouver’s winter.
– SUPER Marvel-heavy episode this week: “Gertrude” the dinosaur is, I think, a riff on Arsenic and Old Lace, the teen girl and her pet velociraptor from Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s Runaways.
– Subtle: the Waverider in Rip’s head is lit with green and purple, the classic supervillain colors.
– Line of the night is an open question. I’m down to two entries:
Jax: “Evil Ray. Evil Stein.” Sarah: “Evil Mick. I guess that’s just regular Mick.”
”It really is rather difficult to put weight on when you’re a film student.” Damn that is harsh.
– Did I miss 5 minutes of the show, or did the script? Because it seemed like Ray had been in Jurassic Park for like, weeks (he ate a bunch of omelettes from his stolen dinosaur egg, and he built a big shelter and filled it with little rock dolls of his companions).
– Ray tries to shut down Amaya and Nate by referencing things that the internet tells me happened in the Vixen animated series. Please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong and if Ray and Mari had a relationship on Arrow, but I…don’t really remember them interacting.
– Next week on Legends of Tomorrow they do Apollo 13! Like, the whole movie.