This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 9
And that’s how we got Jar Jar.
It’s so easy for this show to slip into outright camp. The closer they get to current events, the further away from character-focused story, the easier it is for them to devolve into the ridiculous. But the camp is pretty much built into Legends of Tomorrow’s marching orders, right? While Flash is a show about trying to explain Hypertime without understanding it, and Arrow is a show about how Batman’s TV rights weren’t really available, Legends is an excuse to explore every ridiculous corner of time travel that they use to explore every ridiculous corner of the DC universe and bounce around time in a semi-Doctor Who knockoff.
The way they get around that is through chemistry. Or at least that’s how they got around it in the first season. The actors played off of each other well, and the writers kept finding ways to mix up screen teams so they all could work off of someone different in different episodes. That chemistry has been kind of lacking this season, and I didn’t realize it until this episode, when right from the start of the episode everyone is so easy and natural and comfortable interacting that I couldn’t help but be happy that Legends is back. And that’s how the gang turned what should be the most ridiculously campy episode in this or any other DC TV property (yes, including Gotham) into maybe the best of the season.
The mission they undertook was to save George Lucas from the Legion of Doom.
I’m gonna just let you sit with that sentence for a couple of minutes. Come back. I’ll wait.
The episode opens by showing us how Rip left the Waverider back in 1947. It says “Six Months Ago” but presumably that’s by the Legends’ accounting and not six months prior to the events of the episode or six months ago today or anything like that. C’est le voyage dans le temps, right? Anyway, it shows him grabbing what turns out to be the Spear of Destiny from a compartment in the Waverider, then the next time we see him is when he’s directing the Legends of Tomorrow porn parody his student film at USC in 1967, where the rest of the team finds him and his conspicuously inconspicuous propmaster “George” under attack by Malcolm Merlyn and Damien Dahrk.
A word about the villains here: each of these guys separately has always been an enormous ham, but tonight was the first time that their repartee really hit home for me, too. They were a lot of fun to watch together. See? All the chemistry is coming together tonight.
We later find out that Rip doesn’t remember who he is, and Nate and Ray are starting to lose their super powers (being, in this case, their exceptional shared nerdery), because as it turns out the attack by the Legion of Doom (Nate’s name for their opponents, and don’t worry, we’ll get there) has caused “George” to drop out of school, thus not making Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark, the two films that inspired our heroes to become a historical detective and a genius inventor respectively.
Oh my god, there’s actually a live action Legion of Doom, oh my god…
Okay. Now that I’ve got that out of my system, the rest of the episode was fairly straightforward. It was a race to find the spear and convince George Lucas to make Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies so Ray and Nate could get their powers and the bad guys wouldn’t have an impossibly powerful weapon in their hands. Honestly, the whole hour moved along very quickly. It was a really effective, entertaining episode, and one that I hope sets the tone for the rest of the season.
DC UNIVERSE TIME BUBBLES
– Anybody else think that the existence of the Spear of Destiny, which can rewrite all of reality without causing timequakes, on Rip’s ship is going to necessitate a massive retcon later? Why would you go through all of season 1 if you could just fix shit, right?
– In the opening, when Rip is abandoning the Waverider, Gideon’s shutdown code is “shogun ballistic,” I think. And when Rip is grabbing the time core from the engine, the prayer he whispers – “Angels and ministers of grace defend us” – is what Hamlet yells when he sees his father’s ghost in Act 1, Scene 4.
– Things that exist in the Legends of Tomorrow universe: Super Friends. That’s what Nate’s talking about when confronted about coming up with the name “the Legion of Doom.” He said it’s from an old Hanna Barbera cartoon he used to watch when he was a kid. So…he used to watch a cartoon of Batman and Superman and Flash but they’ve never seen a…you know what? I don’t think I’m going to put too much energy into this line of thought, as it could only ruin the show for me.
– Also, Disney’s Star Wars. It makes sense to include it, but it’s still a little surprising to hear reference to a series that Marvel is currently adapting and adding to.
– Speaking of Marvel things that shouldn’t exist in this world (or any, really), Howard the Duck the movie. Amaya asks to watch it during the team’s movie night, and gets promptly and rightly shut down by Ray and Nate.
– And finally, the best thing that exists in both worlds, M.O.P. They’re a rap duo from Brooklyn, the ones who brought us that song that Nate was listening to in the Waverider at the start of the episode. And the song I walked into my wedding reception to! Not really, but it was on the first list.
– I don’t need to explain why George Lucas and a group of superheroes getting stuck in a trash compacter is funny, right? We’re all adults here.
– Next week on Legends: Rip gets tortured by villainous Statler and Waldorf while the gang hunts for other shards of the Spear of Destiny.