This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 8
Oh my god, is there a TV Injustice Society?!?
It makes sense that there would be. Or at least *pushes up glasses, straightens pocket protector* an Injustice Gang. Or perhaps, as the show is going to call them, a Legion of Doom. Legends of Tomorrow is a show that functions as the equivalent of the DC TV Universe’s Justice League, with heroes from Arrow (Sara, Ray) and The Flash (Mick, Jax, Stein). So having the villains from Arrow and Flash team up is entirely rational and predictable, but that did not stop me from squealing like an anthropomorphic pig who won on The Price is Right when Malcolm Merlyn showed up.
I know our regular feature is “Heat Wave and Captain Cold Having More Fun Than Anyone Else,” but if John Barrowman had been a regular on Legends, he might have given them a run for their money. He very nearly out-mugged Wentworth Miller in his not-so-triumphant return (more on that in a second), and heralded maybe the strongest non-Invasion episode of the team’s second season.
It seems like there’s some kind of overflow from Arrow’s 100th episode: both last week’s episode and this week’s have been particularly emotional for characters from that show. This week, Sara is most of the emotional core, and her growth is shown in a more engaging way than it has been to this point. The team detects a timequake in 1927 Chicago and heads back to discover Damien Dahrk and his speedster pal screwing around with Al Capone’s timeline. Ray and Nate head off to try and rescue Eliot Ness. They don’t quite make it in time, but they do manage to pull him out of the water before he drowns. He is incapacitated, though, so Nate has to impersonate him while Sara, Jax, and Stein go undercover at Capone’s club to gather more intel. Nate and his fed friends go to raid the club, but not before Sara and Stein are rumbled by Dahrk and Thawne. They are brought back to Capone’s hideout, where Merlyn tries to make a deal and Stein is tortured when they refuse.
This is where the crux of the episode happens: Stein confesses about his new daughter to Sara. She’s initially horrified because of all the problems screwing with time causes, but this revelation helps her accept her role with the team both as leader and as a good friend to her teammates.
It also helps that Merlyn’s presence leads to some Arrow-level fight choreography. The climax of the episode takes place on the Waverider – Thawne has used his shapeshifter gadget to impersonate Stein so he can find the rest of the amulet. He lets Merlyn and Dahrk on, and that gives us a huge rumble: Mick and Amaya fighting Thawne, Nate and Ray against Dahrk’s gangster thugs; and Sara against Malcolm. Eventually Thawne gets the amulet, but the team emerges relatively unharmed.
The subplot involves the vastly more disappointing revelation that the Snart in last week’s preview is in fact just in Mick’s head. He’s there to personify Mick’s doubts about still rolling with heroes: Snart gives voice to every shitty thing he’s thinking about his time with the Legends, telling him to run, to steal, to be more of a bastard. Mick eventually comes to terms with it, but he needs a lot of help from Amaya, who sees him as what he is and shows him some appreciation for it by stealing him a bottle of whiskey and definitely not Trader Joe’s maple syrup despite what the set dressing might have forgot to cover up.
Meanwhile, Thawne has his amulet back. When he puts the pieces together, we see what looks like a projected star chart that he says will let him go back in time with his little Injustice Society and grab “the Spear of Longinus” and rewrite the rules of reality itself.
All in all, this was a good episode, and a good way to end the first half of the season. It was a little fluffy and a little aimless, but certainly not bad. However, having a more coherent mission and some more defined roles might help the rest of the season stay on course.
DC UNIVERSE TIME BUBBLES
– I understand the budgetary restrictions on the show, but it is a little irksome to constantly reference Costner and Connery’s Untouchables from a set in Vancouver. They didn’t once have a baby carriage go down a giant flight of stairs in slow motion, and there was only a pair of oblique references to the Chicago way.
– I do appreciate Atom and Steel spending the entire episode geeking out together. They’re a good pair.
– Sara to the team upon finding out that they’re in 1927: “Grab your fedoras.” You got it m’lady!
– The Injustice Gang first showed up in Justice League of America #111 in 1974. They were originally a group of villains gathered by Libra to test a power stealing device. Later, in Grant Morrison’s 1990s JLA run, they were a dark reflection of the Big 7 Justice League: Joker (Batman’s arch-nemesis), Lex Luthor (Superman’s), Jemm (Martian Manhunter’s), Mirror Master (Flash’s), Ocean Master (Aquaman’s), Doctor Light (Green Lantern’s), and Circe (Wonder Woman’s). That’s why they feel like the better analogue than…
– The Injustice Society was originally created in 1947 by Sheldon Mayer and Bob Kanigher. They were the main nemesis group of the Justice Society. Over the years, folks like Per Degaton, Vandal Savage, Sportsmaster, Solomon Grundy, Shade, Count Vertigo, Gentleman Ghost, and Rag Doll have been counted as members.
– Jax: “Stein’s about to kill Sara in the library.”
Ray: “With a rope or a candlestick.” You nerd. But seriously, Clue was a good movie.
– The Spear of Longinus is real. Or real-ish – it’s definitely a historical artifact, but it’s not immediately clear if it can be used to “rewrite the rules of reality” or thrown from the moon to impale a rogue Angel threatening to destroy one of our only Eva unites like was claimed by Thawne here and Gainax in 1996, respectively.
In the comics, it was “the Spear of Destiny” and this is what DC Comics used to explain why the Justice Society didn’t just go ahead and win World War II in like, five minutes. Hitler had the Spear, and with it in his possession, it meant that any hero who came near Berlin ran the risk of falling under the spear’s power, and thus Hitler’s.
– Next time on Legends of Tomorrow: Rip Hunter! Only he’s dressed like (and talks like) he’s directing a 1960s porno. Except that’s not what his actors are dressed like at all: they’re dressed like him in the future!