This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 15
It’s weird, Legends of Tomorrow has been on such a hot streak lately that an episode that was just okay feels like a disappointment. I am probably being a little tough on it, but after several episodes that didn’t even slip for a minute, this one’s problems were magnified because of it.
Part of the problem is how plot-driven the episode is. Legends is moving into the endgame for the season, so there’s a lot of going from A to B this week, and the plot movement takes some time away from character moments that are usually the high points of the show. The spear heals itself on the Waverider, and after Mick zaps it with his fire gun, they see a message on the spear that leads Nate to figure out how to destroy it.
In order to do so, they need the blood of Christ. Rip, being a major party pooper, won’t let them go back to the Crucifixion, so they figure out an alternate path. There were rumors Nate heard at Oxford that Sir Gawain actually brought a vial of Christ’s blood back from the Crusades, and JRR Tolkien was the most prominent scholar who brought it up.
Something about Tolkien’s presence here throws off the calibration of the jokey references that this show is usually packed with. Last week, constantly riffing on Apollo 13 and The Martian was fun, but it felt inconsequential, harmless. This episode, having Nate and Rip do whole bits from Lord of the Rings in front of Tolkien was weirdly gratuitous (and inaccurate – see below).
Meanwhile, the show blows one big interaction, likely out of plot necessity. Mick, who had previously enlisted Stein’s help in getting hallucinations of Len Snart out of his head, sees Snart on the World War I battlefield. Thinking he was another hallucination, he gets into an argument with him and inadvertently explains the team’s plan for the spear. Well, as it turns out, Snart wasn’t a figment of Mick’s imagination: he was the real Captain Cold, snatched from before his death, and now he’s working with the Legion of Doom. So the Legion knows what the Legends are up to.
The gang gets super pissed at him and they all hint that they don’t really trust him, playing into his developing hero-insecurity. The worst of the bunch is actually Stein, and this is a problem. If anyone should be defending him, saying “You know, it’s probably really hard to distinguish between a hallucination and IRL Snart, why don’t we lay off?” it should be the guy who helped Mick previously ditch a Snart hallucination. So of COURSE Mick would eventually betray the Legends and hand the Spear over to the Legion of Doom.
The show wasn’t all bad. It was, as usual, pretty entertaining, and Amaya and Mick had some nice moments together. And Dominic Purcell is doing a really good job – at the moment of his betrayal, to have him call Sarah by her name was subtle and quick and moving. Even though the episode was a step down from its usual quality, there are enough talented actors and enough great characters that its lows aren’t really that low.
DC UNIVERSE TIME BUBBLES
– Aside from the ridiculous amount of Lord of the Rings references, this was a fairly light episode for nerdery.
– Could the World War I setting have been a Wonder Woman burn? WW is set in World War I, and the characters seemed to conclude in this episode that nothing could make that war anything but crushingly depressing. Take that, Zack Snyder!
– I’m going to miss a few, so jump into the comments with more, but let’s take a swing at all the LOTR bits:
The spear has an inscription that only shows up when heated (like the Ring).
The spear glows when it’s near something (like Sting).
Stein saying “One cannot simply walk into the middle of a war zone” is basically begging the internet to meme it.
Rip’s speech to try and get a cease fire has him lift lines whole cloth from Aaragorn’s speech at the black gate in the movie version of Return of the King.
– Next week on Legends: we get one step towards proving my theory about the next season of the DCTV shows as the Legends get to dick around in an alternate reality created by the Legion of Doom.