This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 6
What happened to Legends of Tomorrow?
Hi everybody! You might remember me from such Legends of Tomorrow episode reviews as “Heat Wave and Captain Cold Gnaw On Scenery” or “Screw You, Archaic Yet Prescient Racism!” I’m back following a stint in the time stream where I introduced Jeff Zucker around a meeting of New York City real estate developers back in 1995, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t change anything.
Anyway, I reviewed several episodes last season, and I watched every episode almost immediately. I was really taken by how well they danced around DC continuity, how invested I was in the characters and the story they were telling about the Time Masters and Rip, and how well developed the rest of the crew was. The actors clearly enjoyed their jobs and their coworkers, and the writers did a good job mixing and matching the ensemble so everyone got a chance to play off of someone else.
I think I just answered my own question, there. With a couple of tweaks, everything is the same this season as it was last except for one big thing – the acting is still excellent, the writers mix things up well, and we’re up to our elbows in DC deep cuts, but Rip is gone, and with him seems to have gone the meaningful central narrative that drove the story forward.
This episode is a perfect example: we return to the old west and hang out with Jonah Hex again, this time with Sara in charge. This was one of the most entertaining episodes from last season – honestly, the only way it could have been better would have been if Brandon Routh had told Dominick Purcell “I’m your huckleberry”. But that episode also showed us a lot about the characters – that was the one where everyone found some injustice to try and fix, and we cut to the core of just about everyone.
This episode we’re back in the old west, but we’re entirely caught up in a wheel-spinning one off: there’s a timequake in 1874, and we find out that Quentin Turnbull has been mining dwarf star ore and will eventually control the entire country west of the Rockies (commonly known as “the safe area from World War Z”). Mick gets into a bar fight (always fun), Ray gets some more dwarf star ore to power a new suit, Ray and Steel get into a dweeb measuring contest about Western clichés (okay that was really fun), Hex gets revenge and Sara yells about having to save 2016. It all felt…insubstantial. Like back in season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. before Civil War came out, when they were spinning their wheels on a monster of the week, only if it had also been good before that.
There were hopeful signs. Probably the most meaningful part of the episode is Sara laying out her understanding of her leadership role with the team. It was a quick moment, but her acceptance that the change she can make is limited and her attitude towards that understanding seems like it’ll be a turning point for her, and may retroactively add some depth to the episode that feels missing. We also get some quality character time with Vixen and Heat Wave that mostly added some depth to Rory’s character. But it was still mostly fluff. Entertaining fluff, but not “holy crap I gotta get home for tonight’s Legends” anymore.
DC Universe Time Bubble
-Quentin Turnbull is actually a Jonah Hex villain. Created by Michael Fleisher and Tony DeZuniga in 1974, Turnbull in the comics was a Virginia plantation owner looking for revenge on Hex for the death of his Confederate soldier son. It sounds like, from what Hex was yelling during the punching scene, they borrowed more from the Turnbull played somehow by John Malkovich in the inexplicably terrible movie, who was a former Confederate general who committed atrocities that Hex didn’t care for.
-Nate gets his new costume at the end of this episode, after Ray sees his drawings at the beginning. You’ll likely recognize Nate’s drawing as very similar to Alex Ross’s cover to JSA #7 from 2007.
-The most popular pop culture instance of a man with super strength punching a horse is probably Mongo from Blazing Saddles, and you cannot imagine my disappointment when Steel did NOT punch a horse despite multiple opportunities. Not cool, Legends of Tomorrow.
-Nate stops a train with his bare hands, and that’s a move as old as comics. Superman, Colossus, even Gambit (I think) have done it. They keep doing it because it’s pretty cool.
-That’s all for this week, the last episode before the big Dominator crossover with Flash, Arrow and Supergirl. Let me know what you thought of the episode in the comments. I’m off to catch up on the news from the last week and see what I missed WHOA JESUS CH-.