This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 1
Part of the reason why Legends of Tomorrow was so good so quickly is because the writers and staff had a strong sense of the show’s identity almost immediately. So about a third of the way through the Legends of Tomorrow season 3 premiere, I had a brief flash of terror when I said out loud at my TV “well it’s just a straight up action comedy now.”
I didn’t really need to worry. The show has always leaned towards action comedy, owning its craziness and reveling in the geekier corners of the DC Universe. And this episode still had the strong core of great relationships and solid acting that they spun the jokes around. But they pushed pretty hard on the “loveable screw ups” angle, almost a little too hard, which keeps the episode from being perfect.
The episode starts where last season left off – with LA full of anachronisms and the Legends having no idea how to fix them all. Very quickly, though, time doors start opening, sending the anachronisms back where they belong. We find out that Rip has created a “Time Bureau” to monitor spacetime like the Time Masters did, but with less evil and more paperwork so not much less evil. Rip calls the Legends screw ups, says “We can handle this,” and sends everyone back on their way.
“Back on their way” is almost universally terrible. Sara works in a Bed, Bath & Beyond knockoff, throwing kitchen knives into cutting boards and fantasizing about giving her boss a wedgie. Ray works in a pretty great silicon valley stereotype. Nate is doing his superheroing in Central City with Kid Flash, but he’s dating and it’s not Amaya, who’s gone. Jax is adrift and dropped out of grad school. Even Gideon is deactivated as the Time Bureau uses the Waverider as a stationary training simulator. The only ones who seem to be in a good spot are Professor Stein, who is hanging out at home and about to become a grandfather; and Mick, who fills his days with margaritas on a beach in Aruba, until Julius Caesar shows up and screws up his day.
That kicks off the main story: Sara, Nate, and Ray slowly re-gather the team, steal the Waverider and try and return Ceasar to his own time to prove their value to the Time Bureau. It has a momentary hiccup, but they are eventually successful and are integrated into the greater Time Bureau with some cryptic words from Rip about how they’ll probably be needed for the big bad of the season. It’s all adequate, but sprinkled with fun moments between the cast that keep the show great. Jax and Stein, and Sara and Mick both have emotional moments, and Nate and Ray spend pretty much the whole episode broing down.
“Aruba-con” was a good way to reset the playing field for this season. It’s not going to light the world on fire, but it was a fun, entertaining introduction to the bigger arc that succeeded at reminding the viewer why this show is so much fun.
DC UNIVERSE TIME BUBBLES
– ”Aruba-con” Get it? Because Caesar crossed the Rubicon? Hello?
– Ava Sharpe is Rip’s second in command at the Time Bureau. I can’t find an analogue in the DC Comics universe, but judging by how grumpy she was to Sara (and how badass they were fighting together), they are totally gonna do it before the end of the season.
– There’s a nice touch that I never noticed before: Mick’s arm is covered in burn scars in the one bare-armed scene on the beach, and he’s in a long sleeved undershirt for the rest of the episode.
– King Arthur makes a return from season 2. Here he’s being jostled through Time Bureau HQ before he gets his memory zapped by a definitely not Men in Black memory zapper thing.
– When stealing the Waverider, Sara says to Gideon “Engines to power, turbines to speed,” which is more or less what Robin used to say on the 1966 Batman TV show
– The team’s plan to get Caesar off the beach without making a scene is to create a fake Upswipez profile (the dating app that Ray works for that’s just Tinder but you swipe up and down) looking for hot no strings sex. Caesar, surrounded by frat boys at a beach toga party in Aruba, has all his newfound followers run off to be desperately catfished while Sara kicks the shit out of JC.
– The pic on Gideon’s Upswipez profile is Amy Pemberton, the actress who voices her.
– After beating Caesar, Stein says “We came, we saw,” and Nate and Ray jump in with “ we kicked Caesar’s ass.” Then later there was commercial that used “Higher and Higher” in it. It was a good night for Ghostbusters references.
– Nate to Rip before they head out to take down Caesar outside of Rome: “We’re pretty good at taking down Legions” OH DIP because of the Legion of Doom from last season except also oh no, the Legion is going to be on Supergirl but that’s ok.
-Rip mentions to Ava Sharpe that the Legends are necessary to beat “Mollus,” presumably the season’s main villain. Nobody shows up with that name in the comics anywhere I can find, but let me know if I’m wrong in the comments.
Next week: Somebody puts a tent on that circus shit, as Billy Zane shows up as PT Barnum. Expect an episode FULL of Titanic jokes!
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