CW-verse: Legends of Tomorrow "Out of Time"


Even though she screwed up the most this episode, I'm still not tired of Sara.  Most successful "player" of the team!
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow show is a classic example of the saying “be careful what you wish for”.   When the series trailer first popped up around the end of Arrow S3/Flash S1, I was giddy with excitement.  Though the overall line-up was lacking (basically anyone relevant from Flash and Arrow tossed onto a team), I got the concept—this was the CW’s Justice League.   And watching the first two episodes, everything just seemed to fall into place with Rip Hunter leading this ragtag group into battle against the immortal Vandal Savage to save the Earth. 

…And then I saw the rest of the show, a meandering mess of characters passing about the biggest Idiot Ball I’ve seen in fiction since Dragon Ball Z.   It was as if they came up with a series concept for a show that should have only lasted five or six episodes, but were told at the last moment they’d have to tell a story for thirteen.  So many episodes had nothing to do with anything, and more often than not the heroes would cause FAR more trouble than they’d solve, a respectable adventure storytelling trope to be sure, but NEVER one I want associated with superheroes.

Season two is much the same.  The Time Masters, revealed to be villainous at the end of the first season, are gone and the only protectors of time now are Rip Hunter’s “Legends”, which is probably the most pretentious name I’ve heard for a super-team in recent memory.    Since season one ended they’ve been hopping through time trying to shut down these mysterious attacks on key points in history, only they run into a snare when they discover that somehow the Nazis set off an atom bomb in 1942 and destroyed New York.    After discovering that Damien Darhk is behind kidnapping Albert Einstein and his ex-wife Mileva Maric to allow the Nazis to obtain this information, they have an explosive confrontation with Darhk and some of his men. 

They save Einstein and Maric, but Darhk escapes with the bomb and fires it at New York just as they find him again.  Deciding to prioritize saving New York over his own life, Rip activates a special code that scatters most of the team across time and steers their ship into the bomb, saving New York.   The ship remains lost to time until Hank Heywood, a historian who followed the adventures of the team and realized something had happened to them, contacted Oliver Queen who helped him track down the Waverider.   The last bits of the episode see the team re-form with the help of Hank, then stop the Nazis from kidnapping Einstein or Maric again, only to end up confronted by a version of the Justice Society of America by the end.  And elsewhere, just as Darhk has his Nazi allies turn on him, he is rescued by his silent partner, Eobard Thawne…

Written out like that, it doesn’t sound that bad.  But I’m just tired of the inept behavior of the team.  They’re constantly busting out their powers in inappropriate places, and still creating as many problems as they solve with their cavalier approach to things.  This episode featured Sara attempting to find Darhk in order to murder him before he can kill her sister, even though doing so decades before he dies would doubtlessly have immense changes on the timeline.  No one ever thinks about the potential consequences their actions could have on the timeline, they just seem to DO things and hope they work out, which is terribly boring.

It’s cool that the Justice Society popped up at the end of this but with no Jay Garrick (off in Flash), no Green Lantern (though Obsidian IS still GL’s kid), and no Wildcat (still in hiding/dead after fighting Brick in Arrow season 3), the team itself just isn’t impressive—the coolest thing about it is that Stargirl’s there, even though it’s 1942 and she shouldn’t be anywhere to be found.

Seeing Reverse-Flash team up with Darhk would be exciting, except Legends has proven itself time and again to go for the most uncomplicated stories when it comes to time.  I’m always expecting Doctor Who—a world with concrete rules and clever stories involving time-hopping, but I’m still getting the same lowest common denominator junk that plagued the first season.  It’s disappointing, since much like Flash, I’m quite fond of the cast now that we’re not dealing with needless romances between whichever male and female character they can slap together for an episode or them being outsmarted by one guy barely aware of their existence when they have the knowledge of both the past and the future at their fingers. 

I’m back to give Legends a second chance, but I’m not quite hopeful yet.  The premiere didn't suck, but then again the first episode of last season was great, too. The first step this show needs to be better is a proper villain they can spend the season facing, and presumably with the Legion of Doom that's already in place.  A group of time-traveling villains that are actually more of a threat to the timeline than our heroes is a nice way to help us forget the heroes have no idea what they're doing--at least now it can be said they're not trying to damage time.  The next is I need them to visit more "relevant" time periods to the DC Universe--or at least, ones that can offer more meat on the bones narratively than "Oh hey we're in the 50's/80's".   Let's get more guest-stars on the show while they're hopping through time.  If they can do that, and this season's promo says they probably can, then they might be able to redeem this series.

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