This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 5
Let me get this out of the way. “Compromised” was another tremendously fun episode of Legends of Tomorrow. I need to state this up front, because I do have to get something off my chest.
Holy moley, for the love of Grodd, can we please start a GoFundMe or something so that this show can do something about its location work? That Miami Vice opening was brilliant. The music was on point. Damien Darhk dressed like Don Johnson in 1987 with the perfect synth music was a legit laugh, and…there we are on the Vancouver waterfront on what looked like a chilly afternoon.
Legends of Tomorrow has been so very good this season, and “Compromised” is no exception, but if you’re gonna do this time-travel jaunt to different eras and places, well, you gotta do a little better with things like this. Would it have killed them to scrounge up enough cash for a potted palm tree on the set? For real?
Alright, now that’s out of the way, let me get back to “Compromised” and how much fun it was. Unlike many season one episodes, (and the relatively weak “Abominations”) this was one of the most perfectly balanced episodes of the show in terms of giving everybody enough to do. I seriously don’t know how they’re doing it, because this is a quality juggling act.
I’m not sure who the “winner” is in terms of screen time or what have you this week, but I really can’t get enough of Mick and Ray right now. I don’t know what’s more adorable, Mick’s earnest attempts to help Ray find himself as a hero again, or Ray’s even more earnest desire to channel Snart if he’s going to work the cold gun. Yes, the whole “be yourself” thing is as transparent as mountain air, but the jokes it earns us in the process are just too delicious. And speaking of delicious, the jelly beans gag was priceless. The idea that Ray has a list of favorite Presidents at all is just a delightfully nerdy detail. I’ll leave his thoughts on where Reagan falls on that list up to you to interpret, but I had a good chuckle.
Of course, Mick’s continued lionization of Snart doesn’t bode well for that character’s eventual return, does it? We know he’s coming back, and something tells me that when he does, he’s not going to be terribly interested in flirting with the side of the angels anymore. How Mick will take all that could define the rest of the season, given how large a role they’ve given him so far.
Bringing the JSA angle back in a big way this week works in the show’s favor, too. It’s a good reminder of some of the show’s larger mysteries but one that still leaves the episodic nature of this season intact. And Lance Henriksen as Obsidian doesn’t hurt, either. There’s still a lot to learn about him (I’ll get into that down below in a few), but I’m really looking forward to spending more time with him, and the revelations still to come, later this season. The fact that most of the team vanished mysteriously in 1956 opens the door for a modern day return (and dare I wish…a JSA spinoff?!?), but again, I’ve saved some more about this for down below.
I’m starting to wonder if my enjoyment of the cast and the tone and the lurking JSA themes is preventing me from being as critical as I should about the individual stories themselves. “Compromised” was a fairly thin story, which is to be expected when it’s busy doing all of this other stuff so well. But at some point, I do wonder if this is going to come back and bite the show later on. Nah, the hell with that, we had the return of Graeme McComb as young Martin Stein, so that’s just another point in this episode’s favor.
My other question is this: Is Damian Darhk really any more compelling a villain than he was on Arrow Season 4, which is to say, not at all? It’s fun to see him popping up in different time periods, and the nature of his partnership with Thawne should be interesting to watch unfold, but as someone who was never particularly invested in (or scared of) Darhk on Arrow, I think they might have to do something other than put him in novelty period gear and get a quick chuckle out of us when he pops up. On the other hand, Darhk’s fascism crack does prove he was well ahead of his time.
But what “Compromised” lacks in story it makes up for in buckets with characterization and style. Sara continues to evolve as the team’s leader, Mick and Ray are a blast (as discussed), Maisie Richardson-Sellers’ Vixen continues to be the perfect contrast to Nick Zano’s Steel and the other quirks involved in a team like this, and Martin and Jax get better and better the more time they spend on screen with each other. I’d love to see if they can keep this up all season long.
DC Universe Time Bubble
Let me just get a bunch of JSA stuff out of the way right up front…
– The vintage JSA team picture kind of reminds me of the photo of the Minutemen from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. Is this a coincidence? Yes, probably. Do I care? Not at all, it’s a nice touch.
– The idea that the JSA was always a top secret government sanctioned organization is an interesting one, and it puts it a little bit more in line with JSA spinoff title the All-Star Squadron, who were specifically formed to fight in World War II (the comic book JSA was originally pre-War, and primarily concerned with domestic issues).
– The fact that they disappeared in 1956 is significant, as well. It’s generally accepted in the comics that the JSA disappeared in the early days of the Cold War (sometimes it’s earlier, sometimes it’s because of McCarthyism, there are conflicting versions), but they’re right in the ballpark here. But they aren’t necessarily dead, and I wouldn’t be remotely surprised to find them in the 21st Century sooner or later, or even more of them joining/replacing members of the Legends.
– I looooove that there was a JSA Academy. The modern day JSA in the comics became a kind of training ground for newer and legacy heroes, so it seems like there were even more JSA members that we don’t know about from back in the day, both before we met them in WWII, and potentially in all of those years leading up to their disappearance in 1956.
– The reason Obsidian couldn’t be trusted could be an allusion to the character’s homosexuality, which is likely to be explored in more detail later this year.
Now, as for some other stuff…
– How perfect was the 1987 vintage Channel 52 news broadcast?!?
– Was it me, or did the Steel special effects look a little better this week?
– Do…ummmm…I don’t really need to tell you what the “never cross the streams” rule comes from, do I? Please tell me I don’t.
– When Mick tells Ray that he’s “just gotta be cool” I half expected him to say “like Fonzie!” and then that made me want to watch Pulp Fiction.
– “Surely by now women are equals,” Vixen says. Ummmmm…well…
– Even though we’ve seen them on these shows several times now, I will never not freak out when I see a Legion of Super-Heroes Time Bubble make an appearance, as it did this week.
What did I miss, Legends? Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter and let me know!