DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 2 Episode 16
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow heads into an alternate reality after the Legion of Doom use the Spear of Destiny to create the perfect world for them.
It turns out that their perfect world isn’t all that different from the regular one. They decide to call 2017 their home time despite having all of history at their disposal and hang around on mostly pre-existing sets from Arrow and The Flash. Of course this is a TV show and setting up scenes in this way must be a solid cost saving measure but it feels like a little bit of a waste in an episode where anything can happen.
Now that I’ve got the negative side of the alternate reality out of the way I can happily say that the alternate reality was an awful lot of fun. It’s an old science fiction story to tell but the reason it keeps getting used is because people enjoy it. It’s a break from the norm, lets the actors play different versions of themselves and allows the writers to come up with something outlandishly ridiculous that doesn’t need to have any bearing on the overall story arc.
As I’ve said the alternate reality is largely wasted in this episode but there’s still a lot to like. The episode proves itself to be noteworthy when the episode opens with a vigilante Felicity Smoak being chased by Sara and Amaya who bring her before the Mayor of Star City. The Mayor just so happens to be Damien Darhk who wastes very little time in killing her and adding her mask to his collection of hero trophies. This was a great start as it gave us an uncanny mix of the familiar while making it different. That kind of vigilante activity isn’t something we’d associate with Felicity but it shows us that this reality is very different. I can’t help but feel that Damien Darhk would be more ambitious than to simply make himself Mayor of Star City but there is a possible explanation that I’ll come back to.
The Legion of Doom have all dug themselves into a happy little rut in their new home. Eobard Thawne is allowed to exist and has the Black Flash all locked up where it can’t get at him, Malcolm Merlyn has a family who are never seen but apparently love him very much and Mick is partnered with Snart with both of them going back to their old ways.
Again, these characters could have thought bigger. Thawne basically has unlimited power but can’t really be bothered running the country even though he has apparently solved all of its problems single handedly, Malcolm gets his hand back and Thea apparently enjoys being around him. There is also mention of Nyssa being sent off to live a closeted existence. I suppose this is all Malcolm wants but I would have been interested to see him running the League of Assassins again. Snart and Mick’s fantasy makes the most sense because it definitely is all they ever wanted.
The Legends are all around in different roles. Sara and Amaya I’ve already mentioned and their role suits them as it allows them to kick ass, Nate is a blogger who has no respect or reputation, Ray is a janitor and a bit of a “bro”, Rip is in a drunken haze making cakes aboard a miniaturised Waverider, Martin is a scientist subservient to Thawne and Jax is Martin’s tough guy supervisor. It’s easy to understand why Thawne would keep them around as he would enjoy the humiliation and these alternate roles for them were fun enough but could have been more over the top in order to play with the concept.
It’s Mick that starts everyone on the path to fixing it for largely selfish reasons. We first see him robbing a bank which seems great but there’s no fun in it for him as the police recognise Snart as someone in authority so let them away without a fight. Mick always enjoys the struggle so this doesn’t sit right with him. As time goes on it becomes clear to him that the reality he’s living in is fake and is no substitute for the real one. His abrupt change of heart when he decides to help Nate makes sense because he clearly doesn’t feel like he belongs with the Legion of Doom and has noticed that the dynamic he has with Snart isn’t the same as it once was.
A lot of this will be because Mick has grown as a person in his time with the Legends where Snart has been almost restored to factory settings. One of the best things about the first season is that both of these characters grew in their own ways so having a version of Snart who never had that opportunity is a great contrast to the current version of Mick who has undergone significant growth. As such Snart isn’t the man that Mick remembers and Mick is far from the man Snart wants him to be.
This facilitates him restoring the memories of the Legends but it’s not as simple as joining the team again because he has lost their trust. The recurring gag of the first thing anyone does when their memories are restored being punching Mick in the face was hilarious and also showed how the team are on the same page when it comes to trusting Mick.
When he’s left out of their plan he goes back to Snart which makes sense as he is essentially alone in a reality that isn’t his own so feels the need to do something. The back and forth of Mick throughout this episode works really well as his allegiances have always been fluid and I get the impression that he just wants to feel valued by those around him. He comes to an important realisation when he decides that Snart doesn’t see him as an equal. The dog description from last week is mentioned again and Mick is starting to realise that there is a lot more to him than that. The Legends may not trust him but they do value him and that is ultimately what inspires his decision on who to side with. It almost seems like he’s broadly our for himself now but the Legends will give him some level of recognition.
There’s a lot of betrayal in this episode with the Legion of Doom in the mix. Damien Darhk, Malcolm Merlyn and Snart don’t trust Eobard Thawne and think they could use the Spear to make a reality that they’d rather live in. It’s reasonable to assume that their lives are only as good as Thawne would allow them to be. Of course Thawne represents a significant threat to them since he’s a Speedster and they aren’t so they have to work together to have any hope of stopping him. It calls back to the “Legion of Doom” episode earlier in the season when it was clear that their partnership is a tense one and is waiting for the first opportunity for betrayal. That’s just what villains do and given that the Legion of Doom is made up of main antagonists from both The Flash and Arrow it’s perfectly believable that they would all want to be in charge. None of them have ever had to be henchmen so it doesn’t sit right that they would be treated that way.
As expected Thawne has no interest in working with them beyond getting what he wants. Now that he has it he has no further use for them or the Spear of Destiny. So much so that he has developed a way to destroy it in order to make his reality permanent. This leads to an excellent action sequence involving both teams working to defeat Thawne because they all have the same goal. The Spear gets passed around like some kind of bizarre hero/villain relay race and the whole sequence is an awful lot of fun. I especially liked Darhk and Jax’s near high five before both of them realised what was going on.
Thawne continues to prove himself to be a competent villain which is consistent with his genius level intellect. Creating reality the way he wants it is only a small piece of the puzzle as he destroys the text that has the instructions on how to use the Spear and makes it his priority to destroy the Spear itself in order to ensure that his version of reality is made permanent. Surprisingly he succeeds which I did not expect but it was a welcome twist to the situation. It certainly raised the stakes significantly and left the team with a suitable obstacle to overcome in the finale next week.
As good as this twist was, Thawne made the typical villain mistake of leaving everyone that could possibly oppose him alive. I get that his arrogance has reached the point where he feels that he’s unbeatable but it seems like a really stupid thing for him to do. Naturally he has engineered his own downfall and seeing that play out might be satisfying.
The Legends suffered a massive loss when Snart used his Cold Gun to kill Amaya. It’s noteworthy that the gun is finally seen freezing people once again and the scene itself was appropriately emotional. The reactions from the team were well acted and the pain on Mick’s face really sold the moment. This loss is somewhat undercut by the fact that this death won’t be permanent. We know how important Amaya’s survival is to the timeline and the whole setup of this episode is rewriting reality so it’s clear that this will be undone.
As for a plan it seems that the Legends are going to travel back to just before the Spear fell into the hands of the Legion and fix things that way. This is a big risk because returning to events they already participated in could have dire consequences. In this case it’s probably worth the risk but I question the logic of this. If Eobard Thawne has rewritten reality then he must surely have done so across all time so in that case World War 1 would be affected by the changes. To be fair this might be the case as it’s only an idea in Sara’s head at this point but I very much doubt it. Still, I’m looking forward to a fun filled season finale.
A fun episode that doesn’t quite take as much advantage of the alternate reality as it could have. It was entertaining to see the Legion in positions that they are content with but the dissent among them is also well handled. Since they were big villains in Arrow and The Flash it makes sense that none of them want to be henchmen and want to find a way to get what they want. Thawne realises this and looks to destroy the Spear in an effort to make his reality permanent. He does make the classic villain mistake of leaving them all alive when he succeeds but other than that his competence can’t be questioned.
Mick’s lack of comfort with the situation is a great catalyst for the plot and his changing allegiances makes a lot of sense. At first he isn’t happy working with Snart because he has developed as a character where Snart hasn’t so there’s friction there. This comes with the realisation that Snart doesn’t value Mick where the Legends do even if they don’t trust him. It’s a great step forward for Mick and shows how far he has come. The episode boasts some entertaining moments such as a vigilante Felicity and the fight involving the Spear being constantly passed on. Amaya’s death also manages to be a shock even though it definitely won’t stick. The logic behind Sara’s time travel idea for next week doesn’t make all that much sense but I’m still looking forward to the finale.