DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 1 Episode 2
“Pilot Part 2”
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow concludes the two part opening by continuing the team’s mission in 1975 and moving to address many of the flaws from the first episode.
The first part was heavy on exposition but fairly light on action and character development where this episode was largely the opposite. This left more room to start to explore the team dynamic that has already started to form and have some fun with the concept of time travel as well. It also helped that the episode was confined to a single era which allowed the story to develop more naturally. It seems that this will be pretty close to the form the show will take from this point on.
Martin Stein was the character chosen to play around with the time travel premise. He has the idea of tracking down his younger self to borrow a tracking device that can detect Alpha Particles after Ray loses a piece of his suit that unwittingly speeds up Vandal Savage’s quest for world domination. If you ignore the fact that nobody questions why Rip Hunter’s technologically advanced time ship can’t scan for Alpha Particles then this idea works pretty well. Stein interacting with his younger self was a lot of fun and Graeme McComb was a solid choice for the young Martin Stein. There wasn’t much of a resemblance between the two actors but McComb managed to replicate the mannerisms without copying Victor Garber’s performance.
There was a lot of comedy in this plot from Stein pining for the days of having thick hair to the younger Stein flirting with Sara and having Sara enjoy it. Victor Garber perfectly portrayed the conflicted feelings that the older Stein had about the situation. In his younger self he sees all of the negative traits that he still has but ignores. It causes him to question every decision he has made over the course of his life. Jax reassures him that he is smart kind and selfless which doesn’t quite work considering that Jax was roofied and kidnapped to join the team against his will. Stein’s behaviour is all but ignored but it’s interesting to see that a more reckless attitude still carries over from his younger days.
Stein’s interference in the circumstances of him meeting his future wife was very Back to the Future right down to his wedding ring disappearing. The whole idea of having to be in a specific place at a specific time to allow this to happen is pretty much the same as well. Thankfully it doesn’t become the plot of the episode as a retread of Back to the Future isn’t a good idea but in terms of referencing it did just enough to honour it without copying it.
Sara’s contribution to the episode completely embodies the fun tone that the show is aiming for. She is clearly having a blast as is Caity Lotz. I like seeing a cheery and angst free Sara Lance. She has always been a great character but this show is giving her the opportunity to become even better. At this point she is definitely the best character for me.
Another highlight in the episode was the treatment of Leonard Snart who has taken on so much more depth since his days on The Flash. His father’s influence on him becoming a criminal is brought up and used to find common ground with Ray who is impressed with his engineering ability. Normally these are two characters who you wouldn’t expect to have anything to say to one another but having these unconventional interactions is part of what makes this show so engaging. Snart making light of his past while clearly being bothered of it shows that the over the top way he acts around others is a cover for how he really feels. He keeps things light and theatrical so that he never has to deal with his real issues. It’s a standard psychological thing but Wentworth Miller convincingly plays the cracks forming in Snart’s carefully cultivated persona. Mick is in this group as well and bounces off the other two really well. Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell are an effortless pair at this point but having Ray there shifts the dynamic in interesting ways.
I also like how Snart is always ready to betray the team for his own interests. The only reason he opts to go after the dagger is because he wants to see what else is worth stealing while he’s there. Having his own agenda might get overplayed if it happens in every episode but in this instance it is working really well. This is contrasted by him identifying the team as his “crew” by the end of the episode. Snart is definitely coming around to the idea of being part of this team and is motivated to see that Vandal Savage dies.
Hawkman and Hawkgirl are a pretty unusual pairing as there’s something that doesn’t quite fit about them. The lack of chemistry between Ciara Renée and Falk Hentshel is directly addressed by Kendra not buying into the era spanning love story that they have. It’s a clever way to deal with that and I like that Kendra doesn’t accept the destiny argument as it removes her ability to think for herself which is something she refuses to do.
The biggest problem with these characters is the fact that Falk Hentshel isn’t that good of an actor. Much of his line delivery comes across as wooden and I never find him believable at any point. Ciara Renée is the opposite with a really passionate performance with a lot of vulnerability and self-doubt which makes sense considering that she hasn’t fully processed who she is.
Hawkman’s death so early in the series was a huge surprise. I didn’t expect any of the main cast to be killed off so quickly but doing so really raises the stakes and gives Kendra a lot more dramatic possibilities. These characters have mainly been off on their own so hopefully Kendra will mix with the team a lot more and start feeding into the dynamics that are forming. It was a little too convenient that Kendra suddenly realised that she was in love with Carter just as he died. To me it felt like an attempt to manufacture more tragedy now that Kendra will feel a profound sense of loss but there was enough tragedy in losing a member of the team already. Kendra could have felt guilty for not returning those feelings and now never being able to find out if there connection was going somewhere.
Of course it’s entirely possible that a future version of Hawkman will be recruited since reincarnation is what they do but there are some questions raised here. Does reincarnation still happen when only one of them dies or do both of them have to meet their end for the process to work? Does taking them out of their normal timeline have an effect on this as well? Hopefully this will be addressed as it’s the sort of thing I’m interested in seeing explored.
Rip Hunter takes more of a back seat this week to let the team handle things. He is quick to dress everyone down for all the mistakes they are making but he doesn’t brief them extensively enough to prevent certain things. Some of it may be common sense like not leaving technology lying around where people can steal it but Stein isn’t given enough warning of what not to do when interacting with his younger self. He does show himself to have a bit of a heart by the end of the episode when he fixes the problem of Stein avoiding meeting his future wife. At this point he feels distanced from the rest of the group but I think he will allow himself to relax at some point.
Vandal Savage is a bit of a problem for this show as he’s just not engaging enough as a villain. Casper Crump does his best but he doesn’t have the presence necessary to be the threat he needs to be. He is responsible for the death of a team member and I still don’t feel that he’s a threat. Damien Darhk (Neil McDonough) has a cameo in this episode and manages to appear far more menacing with very little screen time. At this point Vandal Savage feels like middle management for the real bad guy rather than a world conquering psychopath who should be feared.
This episode is blessed with some excellent action sequences. There are two major set pieces and both are great. With so many people involved it would be easy for it to look messy but there’s a clear indication of what everyone is doing and where they are in the battle. One major thing they offer is variety with plenty of hand to hand combat, super powers and technology on display at once. For fans of this genre there is something for everyone and they are starting to gel as a team.
Some notable visual highlights include Ray Palmer’s entrance appearing out of Stein’s pocket and Firestorm absorbing a nuclear blast. Special mention should be given to the little toy Atom suit. It did look a bit plastic but what a great way to carry it around.
All I can say is, roll on next week so we can have more fun with this great concept. I look forward to seeing how everything develops.
A fun episode that already starts to address and fix the flaws that appeared in the first episode while building on the established characters.
The first part was heavy on exposition while being light on action and character development where this episode was largely the opposite. This left more room to explore the team dynamic and have some fun with the concept of time travel. It helps that the episode was confined to a single era which allowed the story to develop more naturally. This is most likely the form the show will take from now on.
Martin Stein is the character who plays around with the time travel premise. His interactions with his younger self were a lot of fun and Graeme McComb does a really good job of capturing Victor Garber’s mannerisms even though there was very little physical resemblance.
There was a lot of comedy in this plot from Stein pining for the days of having thicker hair to the younger stein flirting with Sara and her enjoying it. Victor Garber perfectly played Stein’s conflicted feelings about the situation. He sees the negative traits in his younger self that he thought he still has but ignores. It causes him to question every decision he has made. Jax is there to reassure him but it doesn’t quite work considering what Stein did to get Jax to come along. That behaviour is all but ignored but it’s interesting that a reckless attitude carries over from his younger days.
Sara’s role in this episode completely embodies the fun tone the show aims for. She is clearly having a blast as is Caity Lotz. It’s great seeing a cheery and angst free Sara.
The treatment of Leonard Snart was another highlight. His father’s influence in him becoming a criminal is used to find common ground with Ray who is impressed with his engineering ability. It’s an unconventional interaction but that’s the beauty of this show. Snart making light of his past while clearly being bothered by it shows that the way he acts is a cover for how he really feels. Wentworth Miller shows the cracks in Snart’s persona convincingly.
I also like that Snart is ready to betray the team for his own interests. He agrees to the mission as he wants to see what he can steal. It’s also interesting that he’s starting to feel a sense of loyalty to the team by the end of the episode.
Hawkman and Hawkgirl are an unusual pairing as there’s something that doesn’t quite fit. The actors lack chemistry but this is addressed by Kendra showing no interest in a romantic relationship with Carter. It’s a clever way to deal with that.
The biggest issue is that Falk Hentshel isn’t that good of an actor. Much of his line delivery is wooden and I never find him believable. The opposite is true of Ciara Renée.
Hawkman’s death was a surprise as I didn’t expect that to happen so early. It raises the stakes and gives Kendra more dramatic possibilities. Hawkman and Hawkgirl have been largely on their own so Kendra can now mix with the team. It was a little too convenient to have her realise she loves Carter just as she’s about to lose him. It would have been better had this not been the case as it felt like an attempt to manufacture more tragedy. It’s entirely possible that a future reincarnation of Hawkman will be recruited but there are questions around the resurrection rules that have yet to be answered.
Rip Hunter takes a bit of a back seat and spends most of his time dressing down the team for interfering in the timeline. It doesn’t quite work as he doesn’t warn them against doing things before they leave. He does show himself to have some heart when he fixes the problem of Stein missing out on meeting his wife.
Vandal Savage is a problem for this show as he’s just not engaging enough. Damien Darhk accomplished more menace in a cameo than Savage can manage in the entire episode. This will need to be fixed as I’m not believing the threat level.
The action sequences were excellent and had a lot of variety to them. If you’re a fan of this genre then there’s something in it for you from hand to hand combat to technology and super powers. It all looks great and is exciting. I can’t wait to see how this show develops.