This article contains spoilers for Legends of Tomorrow. Mike Cecchini will be back as your regular reviewer next week to geek out about all things Legends.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 2, Episode 3
Legends of Tomorrowis quickly becoming one of the most consistently fun shows on TV. It is really learning how to play to its strengths in season two, with “Shogun” starting off like an episode of Fireflyand quickly morphing into an episode of your favorite 90s family adventure show (think Xena: Warrior Princess). “Shogun” introduced some major plot points, doled out a serious consequence for the Waverider gang, and was filled with laugh-out-loud moments throughout. Strap in, everyone. We’re heading to 17th century Japan…
“Shogun” began like many an episode of the aforementioned Firefly, checking in with the many members of the Waverider crew as Amaya knocks them out one-by-one. (TV shows make like head injuries aren’t a big deal, but I don’t think this is true.) Amaya is convinced that Mick killed Rex (really, we know it was Reverse Flash) and would rather bop people over the head than ask some cutting questions. A newly-steel Nate manages to take Amaya out and Sara convinces her that Mick didn’t erase anyone from the timeline. No, he’s much too distracted by his apparent obsession with ninjas for that kind of thing…
But let’s take a second to back up and talk about the fact that Nate went full-on Citizen Steel in this episode, going from a hemophiliac who spent “half of his childhood” in a hospital to being able to accidentally rip a hole in the Waverider with his steely muscles. Of course, there is a little bit of a learning curve when you get superpowers overnight. When Nate gets sucked out into the time vortex, Ray, who has been appointed by Sara as Nate’s new superhero mentor, flies out after him. An adventure in feudal Japan ensues.
As Mike has written about in his previous Legendsseason 2 reviews, this time period-of-the-week format is working much better for the show. The one-episode adventures have a sense of urgency that last season often lacked. Before we know it, Ray has been kidnapped by evil samurais and stripped of his supersuit, while Nate has been rescused by a beautiful Japanese woman who is betrothed to the cruel, power-hungry shogun currently torturing poor Ray. Yeah, one of these guys obviously landed in a better place than the other.
Nate may be invincible when his steely powers are activated, but, when he tries to fight the shogun’s minion, he has, um, performance issues and is stuck with a sword. It’s a really effective way to demonstrate the limits of Nate’s powers and the fact that, even though he may be nigh invincible in his steel form, he is far from invincible on the whole. Still, his hemophilia is gone, so, all in all, Nate is still having a pretty good day.
By the time Sara, Mick, and Amaya show up to rescue Ray and Nate, the shogun has managed to figure out how to work the Atom suit and Nate is in like with Masako, the beautiful woman who rescues him and gives him baths and listens to his paraphrasing of Yoda’s teachings. He refuses to leave without helping her avoid marriage with the shogun, and Ray would rather not leave without his supersuit. Thusly, this village is defended.
But a shogun in a supersuit is not an easy adversary. While Sara demonstrates her ninja skills, Mick breaks out his heat gun, and Amaya harnesses the power of her totem to defend the villagem, Ray tries his darndest to take down the shogun with some borrowed samurai armor. It’s a valient effort, but it’s not enough until Nate is able to activate his steel armor, joining forces with Ray to pierce the Atom suit in its one vulnerable position, causing an explosion that destroys the suit.
This is a big move for Legends, but it definitely pays off. It not only works as a consequence to the gang’s time traveling shenanigans, but makes Ray face his own insecurities that, without his supersuit, he can’t be a hero. It is a nice touch to see the relationship between Ray and Nate factor in here as well. It’s a smart move on Sara’s part to make Ray Nate’s mentor, and it’s sweet that it is ultimately the two men working together that leads to the shogun’s destruction.
Still, what is going to happen with Ray’s Atom persona? Will he try to rebuild the supersuit — something he mentions took him years and billions of dollars — or will he have to find another way to be a Legend? Only time will tell…
While most of the Waverider gang is goofing off in feudal Japan, Jefferson and Stein are back on the Waverider “fixing the ship.” Well, they are fixing it, but they are also distracted by the discovery of a secret compartment Rip was hiding from all of them. Once inside, they find a message from a Barry Allen 40 years in the future. We (frustratingly) don’t get the bulk of what Barry says, only his plea that Rip not tell the rest of the crew, but it sounds serious. And the fact that Stein and Jax don’t share what they learned with the rest of the crew certainly speaks to its potential scariness.
Seeing Sara take over as the leader of the Waverider crew in Rip’s absence really worked for me. Like, maybe she should be the leader all of the time? Because she’s really good at it. Caity Lotz continues to be one of the most underrated parts of the Arrow-verse. Even in Legendsworst moments, she is consistently great. And can we talk about her ninja fight scene? Because it was amazing. She is amazing.
I’m not sure if there are any Farscapefans in the house, but Nate reminds me a lot of John Crichton, the main character from that delightful science fiction series. Like Crichton, Nate is a man far away from home who continues to make pop culture references in situations where no one will get them but himself. It’s some kind of coping mechanism, I think, and it totally works with both of these characters. Trust me, Nate Heywood. The comparison is definitely a compliment.
Watching both Nate and Ray on their own in the time vortex was a super efficient way to raise the stakes of this world. Sure, they’re mostly safe in the Waverider… unless it gets a hole in it.
Sometimes I forget how much of a team player Stein can not be. Then he does something like prioritize finding Rip’s secret compartment over fixing the time drive.
Mick’s character arc in this episode was literally to prove that ninjas exist, and it was amazing.
Ray’s teaching style involved building a shogun scarecrow ridiculously fast and hitting Nate repeatedly with a stick in an effort to get him to activate his armor. This is why Sara needs to be the leader.
I don’t have the comic book knowlegde that Mike Cecchini usually boasts at the end of his reviews, but I can recognize a great quote when I see one (these skills are comparable, right?). Here were some of the best quips from another hilarious episode of Legends…
“Feudal Japan is my jam.” — Nate
“All I know is ninjas live in trees.” — Mick talked about ninjas for this entire episode. It was literally his character arc, and it was amazing. He also takes naps.
“If I’ve learned one thing from Lost, it’s that you don’t go opening secret hatches.” — Jay, being smart. I love how reference-y this show is.
“League of Assassins, Class of ’09.” — Sara learned that introduction from Felicity, didn’t she?
“In the mean time, everyone just shut up and let me do the flying.” #Leadership
The best line of the evening goes to Mick, as is so often the case when he answered Ray’s “I designed it so an idiot could use it,” with, “An idiot does.”
“I nearly died learning to shrink.” This line came at a very emotional moment for Ray, but I couldn’t laughing a bit at the gravity with which Brandon Routh was forced to deliver this silly line.
“Your powers are within you. After today, I’ll have nothing left.” Yeah, this line worked much better.
“You’re saying I don’t need a suit of armor to defeat the shogun.” “Don’t be ridiculous, he’ll kill you in seconds.” Ichiro and Masako definitely fell into some awkward wise Asian stereotypes, but they were also pretty funny in their tough love honesty about what they thought the Legends’ chances were.
“This master Yoda is very wise.” Word.
“Konechiwa, scumbag.” — Mick is in his own TV show, and he is always playing Bruce Willis.
“Who is your master?” “I have no master.”
“I don’t want to shoot your guys. I love ninjas.” — Mick
“Told you ninjas were real.” — Mick, after pulling off his ninja disguise.
“Why are you two goofy bastards so happy?” — Mick, to Ray and Nate. One gets the impression that he wants to ask this question fairly often.