DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 1 Episode 4
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow takes the team to 1986 so that they can go after Vandal Savage who has disappeared behind the Iron Curtain.
With the previous episodes being broadly set in the 70s it’s refreshing to see a change in timeline. Right away the episode is given renewed energy as the team prepares for a different mission. Sadly the execution isn’t as strong as it could be.
The early part of the episode is a heist scenario that plays out like almost every other heist we’ve ever seen in fiction. Key cards are stolen, distractions are created and stylish music fills the background in an attempt to add some flair to the whole thing. It’s not badly done as such but we’ve seen it all before so it feels a little too familiar. The heist further highlights another issue I have with the show around the technology of the Waverider. Apparently the technology exists to create translation devices and clothes but not magnetic keycards. It was the same in the second episode with the lack of ability for the Waverider to detect alpha waves.
As a sequence the heist out as it makes use of the entire cast and shows how these characters work together. The main point of the sequence is to make it obvious that they aren’t a well-oiled team yet and are more prone to failure as a result. Snart is the most competent which makes sense because he’s a thief. His pickpocketing skills prove instrumental in bringing them some success. Ray isn’t too bad either but he doesn’t really do anything which means that he doesn’t do anything wrong. He does make a good point about how ridiculous it is not to want his suit along on a spy mission. Surely shrinking technology would be perfect for this sort of thing. It was the premise of the Marvel movie Ant-Man after all.
The mission goes horribly wrong when Kendra is consumed by some sort of berserker rage and loses control of herself in a fight. Firestorm doesn’t help matters when he triggers the alarm either. Basically the team are fairly incompetent and really need to work on getting better at working together.
Another thing that the scene highlights is that Mick is badly underused in this show so far. His excitement at being involved in breaking into the Pentagon and getting to accompany Rip on a mission that would involve using his gun shows a really playful edge to the character that I would like to see explored. Separating him and Snart seems to be good for both of them.
Snart is the strongest presence in the episode and is given a lot to do. His team up with Ray where he is supposed to run support as Ray charms Soviet Scientist Valentina Vostok (Stephanie Corneliussen) works really well. It’s assumed that Ray will be able to talk to her on her level since they are both scientists but he’s not the charming spy that he wants to be so Snart steps in and shows him how it’s done. His cool demeanour proves to be more appealing that Ray’s obvious desperation. These two characters are proving to be the most engaging dynamic on the show. I like Snart’s effortless swagger contrasting with Ray’s bumbling overconfidence.
The Russian plan to create a Firestorm is an interesting one but doesn’t come into play until late in the episode. Since this is a two part story that’s fine but the reveal comes out of left field and doesn’t really have the impact it should. This is true of most of the things that happen in this show. There were a group of people with super powers trying to break into the Pentagon and this apparently has no effect on recorded history. Considering metahumans are unheard of before the first episode of The Flash in this world the characters should be more concerned about the impact. Rip does say that it will be covered up but surely it gets on the government’s radar in a significant way.
Both halves of Firestorm have some opportunity to develop in this episode. After Jax is wounded the kidnapping issue is brought up again. Just as the overall team aren’t working together very well, Firestorm isn’t functioning as a complete unit. It turns out that the reason for this is both halves aren’t being honest about how they feel. Jax resents Stein for making the choice for him and taking him from his life. It is mentioned that his mother is left alone and would have no idea what happened if Jax doesn’t make it back. Stein’s tantrum at this point is completely insensitive but is designed to make Jax angry enough to reveal exactly how he feels. This is becoming a pattern for Stein as he used the same tactic on Ray last week. I like that Stein returns the favour by admitting that he is afraid of losing Jax the same way he lost Ronnie. As two halves of a combined hole their connection is a close one and it’s good that the show is starting to explore that.
The weakest part of the episode is Sara and Kendra supposedly bonding over their shared issue of uncontrollable blood lust. I’ve had quite enough of this story on Arrow so don’t want to see it done here particularly as there’s nowhere interesting it can go. It’s a little too easy to have the two women on the team put together by default and the training sequences are really boring. I do like the idea of them having opposite sides of the same problem. Kendra won’t embrace her warrior side and Sara won’t embrace her human side. In theory they should be able to teach each other how to fill in the gaps but there seems to be no real difference in their issues.
It also makes no sense to bench them in the latter half of the episode. I can accept that they could both be seen as a liability but Rip has fairly limited resources so sometimes has to take his chances. I can see how both characters would have been useful in trying to bring down the Russian Firestorm project.
Rip is approached by a fellow Time Master named Druce (Martin Donovan) who offers him a deal to turn himself in and face no consequences. He even assures him that he will clean up the mess that has been created. I can believe that Rip would consider this idea as so far their efforts have been less than successful but I can’t believe that nobody else on the team would see the betrayal coming. This story plays out in such obvious ways and the cliché of having Rip betrayed by his former mentor doesn’t help it be any more compelling.
Chronos is also involved in this plot and he’s about as boring as he was the last time he appeared. We know nothing about him and his complete lack of competence makes him seem like a complete joke as an antagonist. The main issue with Rip’s conflict with his fellow Time Masters is that we don’t know enough about how this group works. If more development was done then bringing this conflict in might feel a little stronger.
The action sequences failed to impress this week as they don’t make good use of the team and they’re pretty awkwardly framed when they appear. Snart and Mick’s weapons definitely seem underpowered as nobody ever gets burned of frozen. They are supposed to be powerful weapons but that definitely doesn’t come across. This episode is definitely a step down from the previous two. I did enjoy the aerial dogfight involving The Waverider, Cronos’ ship and the Russian planes though.
As cliffhangers go this one was fairly promising. Multiple members of the team are captured by the Soviets and the situation looks fairly hopeless. Hopefully the second part will be a lot stronger and take advantage of the unique skills of the remaining characters.
An underwhelming episode that fails to capture the use most of the characters in engaging ways. Rip’s conflict with the Time Masters is underdone and full of clichés that make it less compelling. Ray and Snart are consistently stealing the show.
• Snart and Ray’s team up
• the exploration of Jax and Stein’s connection
• Mick’s fun playful edge
• the underdeveloped conflict between Rip and the Time Masters
• unexciting action sequences
• Kendra and Sara’s dull rage themed subplot