DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 1 Episode 9
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow returns to screens after a two week break and picks up with Ray, Kendra and Sara trapped in 1958 as the Waverider is commandeered by Chronos.
This episode took the idea in a direction I didn’t expect. I thought that they would spend a few days in 1958 before being picked up again and the adventure would continue but having them stuck there for 2 years and their characters being forever altered by what they experienced was a good move that really takes advantage of the time travel premise.
I’ve had my issues with the believability of Kendra and Ray’s relationship because it came out of nowhere and their connection felt a little forced but having them build a life together for 2 years has gone a long way towards fixing that. They spend much of this episode conflicted on how they feel about being rescued. Kendra is glad that it has happened but Ray feels somewhat regretful as he was clearly happy with their life and had given up hope of the team finding them.
Brandon Routh does a great job of showing Ray visibly hurt by Kendra being so quick to forget the life they built together. It’s something that they don’t really discuss right away despite Ray’s insistence but the eventual reasoning on Kendra’s part makes a lot of sense. She is suffering from what Rip calls “Time Drift”; an affliction caused by spending too much time in another time period that causes someone to disconnect from their old identity. For Kendra, that means that her ability to “Hawk Out” –I love that phrase- disappears and she starts to forget all of her past lives so loses a huge chunk of who she is. That knowledge may be relatively recent to her but it’s clear that Kendra feels complete now that she has it and losing it was unsettling to her. Returning to the Waverider solves that problem so she starts to feel more like herself again.
Ray also appears to suffer from “Time Drift” but he doesn’t seem to forget his old life and instead simply embraces this new one. It has been established over in Arrow and in this show that he doesn’t really have a sense of belonging any more so his life with Kendra that started in 1958 gave him that. It’s easy to see why he would be reluctant to leave that behind but his hand is forced.
Kendra and Ray’s relationship is more believable as a result of this episode but it isn’t all the way there yet. A lot of this has to do with their life together not really being shown. We see how it starts and how it ends but nothing in-between so we have to rely on the dialogue and performances to fill in the blanks. This doesn’t quite work as I don’t get the sense that they are a couple madly in love despite how passionately Kendra claims to feel about him. I do like the idea of her being glad that she finally gets to choose the man she falls for rather than having it decided by fate and it’s interesting that Kendra has known Ray far longer than she has known anyone else on the team but there’s so much of this relationship that we don’t see so it can only go so far.
I would have liked this entire episode to be set across the 2 years that they were stranded in 1958 with the Waverider crew trying to repair the ship and get back to them while Snart is held captive by Chronos. It would have ticked all the boxes for a superhero action show and allowed Kendra and Ray’s relationship to develop organically over the course of the episode. What we got here wasn’t bad by any stretch and I can understand why it was done this way considering this season has a relatively small number of episodes. Still, I can’t help but think that “Blood Ties” could have been sacrificed to expand this story to its full potential. I’d also be interested to find out what the reaction to the sudden disappearance of a college professor and his wife is. What happens do the apartment they live in? It’d be amusing if Ray or Kendra come across a 50 year old missing persons case with their faces. It would further enhance the consequences of time travel that are beginning to be explored.
Sara also has to deal with “Time Drift” as she completely reverts back to what she knows and goes back to the League of Assassins under the control of Ra’s Al Ghul. Since she has been through the training before she quickly becomes the favourite and really seems content with her surroundings. This makes sense as her time with the League of Assassins was life changing for her so it stands to reason that she would be able to slot right back in there.
The team go to retrieve her but she doesn’t cooperate and has them captured to prove her loyalty to Ra’s Al Ghul. This causes Rip to challenge Ra’s to a trial by combat as a way to save his team. Ra’s chooses Sara as his champion and Rip chooses Kendra so the two have a brief fight where Kendra manages to get through to Sara by reminding her of the White Canary name. This was a nice touch as it shows Sara’s bond with her sister Laurel who gave her the name. Being reminded of Laurel’s encouragement to be a hero is enough to snap her out of her “Time Drift”. Sara has likely been significantly changed by this experience and it’s bound to affect her in future episodes.
Ra’s Al Ghul was a bit of a divisive presence last season on Arrow but he works well enough here as a background presence. Having him shows up adds to the scope of this shared universe and serves as a reminder that his influence stretches across time much like Vandal Savage. Matt Nable’s Ra’s Al Ghul is a much more complex character than Savage and certainly has more of a legacy. This episode also introduces his better known daughter Talia Al Ghul as a very young girl which I found to be a well done nod to the comics and finally confirms her existence in this universe. I imagine the embargo on characters from the films extends to Talia but having this little cameo was a welcome addition.
Chronos is finally given some personality with the reveal that he has been Mick all along. This is the next logical step in the breakdown of Mick and Snart’s partnership but the reveal was pretty heavily telegraphed by the constant questioning of why Chronos would specifically kidnap Snart. I also like the angle that Mick is looking for vengeance but has also been manipulated by the Time Masters who seem more corrupt every time they are mentioned. Surely using Mick as an assassin for them is interfering with the natural course of events? Fair enough it’s a response to what Rip already did but I would think it would make the whole thing worse. I would much prefer it if they became the true villains of the season.
Snart and Mick’s conversation is really passionate and interesting as Snart points out that he had to do what he did for the good of the team. Mick naturally feels betrayed but his behaviour made him a danger to everyone and he had to be stopped. Snart makes no apologies for it but he is clearly distraught by what Mick has become and takes it as his responsibility to put it right.
Mick is so cold in his threats to have Snart watch him kill his sister over and over again by travelling through time. He knows exactly what buttons to push to get a reaction and has no remorse when doing so. Dominic Purcell turns in a great performance that is noticeably different to his old personality. He’s much more intense and focused which really comes across as unsettling. Before he was unhinged and unpredictable but now he’s calm and measured. It really is impressive character work.
This reveal resulted in a really touching moment where the team all agreed that they needed to work together to undo whatever conditioning the Time Masters had done to him because he once fought by their side and deserves to have them help. Mick is in a dark place and the road back will be hard but nobody is going to give up on him. This is a group of people who believes in second chances as shown by Sara being brought back from the brink of doing something she would regret.
There were a lot of good sequences in this episode such as Ray, Kendra and Sara all taking on Chronos in a really varied and exciting action scene. Kendra and Sara’s fight was really done as well. It showed a ferocity to both of them that ties in with their more primal combat tendencies that have been established before.
Another memorable sequence was Snart’s escape from Mick. It was really intense and brutal when he used his gun to freeze his hand and shatter it. It’s undone by the end of the episode when he gets a new one but it doesn’t downplay the moment too much. I also have to question the competence of the “highly trained” League of Assassin Ninjas when Jax can so easily knock one out. He should be no match for one really. There’s definitely a Stormtrooper mentality to any villain’s henchmen in this universe.
An excellent episode that makes good use of the time travel premise by showing the effect being stuck in a time period can have on the characters. Ray and Kendra’s relationship is more believable than before but showing their lives when stuck for two years might have enhanced this further. Sara’s connection to the League of Assassins is well handled and shows how much of a connection she feels to her old life as well as to her current team. The reveal of the identity of Chronos gives a pointless character some much needed personality. This episode is a hallmark of quality for the show and gives us an idea of what it is really capable of.
- Kendra and Ray’s relationship becoming much more believable
- solid use of the time travel concept
- really memorable action sequences
- more “tell” than “show” on the life that Ray and Kendra had when stranded