It’s been two episodes, and Legends of Tomorrow is already way better than it was all of last season.
No, seriously. Not a little better – but way better. This is surprising, considering they’re missing who was, arguably, the strongest character of Season One, Leonard Snart. But it’s there. I’m seeing it. You’re seeing it.
Maybe it’s because they needed to find their footing. Perhaps it’s just a matter of time and perspective. Or – possibly, they just stopped taking themselves so seriously and decided to go for all around good fun.
If it’s the latter one, then all we can say is kudos. We’re here for the fun, Legends. And there’s plenty of it to be had in this episode.
So, here are 10 things that we loved about “Justice Society of America”:
Sara Lance, leader. (And, in charge of the voice-over)
This has been a long time coming. And, if you think about it, it makes all the sense in the world. Sara Lance is the better known, most loved character in Legends of Tomorrow. We’ve been following her journey for years. We know how far she’s come, how good she is at making decisions on the fly, how much she cares. In fact, though I’d never given it much thought, when Stein declared that Sara was the perfect leader for this team, I might have screamed: YES out loud. Because duh.
Of course she is.
“We are no longer saving the world, we are saving history,” she says in the voiceover. (Because she gets to do the voiceover now. How badass is that?) and it sounds like a lofty goal. But hey – Rip Hunter was an absolutely disastrous Captain, and we still sorta liked him. It’s not like Sara can do any worse, and she can do a great deal better.
Take it away, Captain Lance! (hahahaha). We’ll follow.
A worthy villain
Oh, Thawne. You were really so underused in The Flash. You’re delightfully evil and always one step ahead of our heroes in a way that doesn’t feel artificial. Where have you been all my life? Or like, at least all of Season 1? I already don’t remember the name of the guy with the beard who was supposed to scare me in season 1.
I really and truly don’t.
The Justice Society of America
They’re just cool. They are. Superhero teams have this vibe about them, and the JSA is such a well-oiled machine that it’s hard not to enjoy them. Of course, they’re also a little ….how do I put it…too dang perfect, but that doesn’t take away the fun, no. It just provided even more of a contrast.
At the end of the day, this is not a show about the JSA (though, hey …I wouldn’t mind that!), this is Legends of Tomorrow. So they’re just there for us to gawk at for a bit, and for our team to learn a lesson or two. And in that respect, they do their job perfectly. They might even learn a thing or two themselves.
And, hey, at the end of the day, they’re still pretty dang cool.
Raymond freaking Palmer
Ray gets a bad rep. I’ve given him a bad rep. I blame the Arrow writers for not liking him at first. Legends, however, has mostly done right by him – even when they put him in the middle of that Kendra mess, he came out smelling like roses. And yet, everyone, and by everyone I mean absolutely everyone and their mother, rages on Ray for not being a real hero. He doesn’t have powers, he doesn’t have training. All he has is a suit.
Well, that, and his brain.
Raymond Palmer’s real superhero is that he’s just so much smarter than all of us combined. And yet, in this episode, Vixen really lays on him, going as far as to say “If it’s any consolation, you’re not really a hero,” which rude girl, rude. Especially because we know it isn’t true.
Later, she changes her tune, after Ray practically saves her (because, of course) telling him that he’s not a superhero, he’s a hero. He gets a chance to prove it later, when, without thinking; he sacrifices his one chance at superpowers by injecting Nate with the nazi super serum that he modified.
This speaks to his heart, as well as his brain. Raymond Palmer is a genuinely good, smart guy. He might not have the superpowers, but he doesn’t need them. Team Legends is lucky to have him, just as he is.
Mike – from Suits!
That’s what I’m calling him. Period. Well, not that it matters since he’s dead, but you get my drift. Patrick J. Adams is a cool dude, and I didn’t really expect him to stick around for long, but I’m also sorta sad he’s gone nonetheless. Rex was grumpy, but also …he was Mike. So I was predisposed to like him.
Casting has been one of the strongest parts of Legends of Tomorrow since the beginning, and this is just more proof. Take a character with a history, yes, but one that most TV viewers won’t know about, give him a face people already love, and voila. Much more good will than this character probably deserved, to be perfectly honest.
Nate Heywood as a character
How in love are we? I’m going to go with plenty, and it’s been two episodes. Can we go back in time and erase Kendra and Carter from our collective consciousness and replace them with this guy? Can we? No? Dang it.
Thing is, Nate wants to desperately to fit a standard of hero that, in a way, he doesn’t realize that, despite his disease, he already is one. Heroes come in different shapes and forms, and the man who was willing to leave his life behind to save these people he’d never met – well, that man is already a hero. You don’t need superpowers for that.
Family connections – Commander Steel and Nate
Well, that came out of left field. And in a good way, really. You should all join me in avoiding spoilers. It does wonders for you enjoyment of the episodes. Though, maybe, in this case, you’d have to avoid the comics too. I’m not sure.
Point is, last year Legends dropped some characters on us (the Hawks, the Hawks) and gave us backstory without ever getting us to connect with them. So, they were there, but we never really cared for them one way or another. This year, however, with Nate, they’ve taken the completely opposite tactic, and the character – and the show, are better for it.
I already care. I’m invested. I like him. And I felt his disappointment at getting to meet his grandfather only to be dismissed by him. I felt his pride at the end, when Commander Steel told him that “You don’t have to be a soldier to be a hero.” Yes, Legends gave me family feels again, and this time, it was with two characters I really had no business getting attached to, not in two episodes.
The Legends causing a mess – because Ray can’t say Heil Hitler.
It was hilarious and ill-advised and just the thing they would do. I’m not expecting these people not to make ill-advised decisions, I’m really not. All I expect them to do is entertain me – and they’re doing a pretty good job of it so far.
Also, watching on TV is one thing, but standing there and being Ray Palmer, annoyingly good and nice and perfect Ray Palmer and having to say Heil Hitler ….well, we all saw it coming, didn’t we?
Moments of levity
This show was so, so serious at times, during Season 1, and it had absolutely no business being serious. This is a ridiculous thing, executed in a ridiculous way. The show has to make fun of itself it they want to make it. And boy, did they, this episode.
From Nate’s: Can someone help me operate this thing? in regards to the WaveRider compute, to Stein always calling Ray, “Raymond” (Did his mother call him that? I’d really like to know. He always looks somewhat sour when he hears the name) and describing him as the incredibly-shrinking-man, to Jax’s adorable crush on Stargirl and Sara trying to appear shorter as she stood beside Stein, this show is all the better for the moments of levity – even while fighting nazi’s.
Also, Victor Garber singing. Victor Garber SINGING. I mean, I knew he could sing, but for a moment there, I’d forgotten how good he was at it. I’m never forgetting again.
Doesn’t it feel like this is a new show? Like anything and everything is possible? It feels so to me. And I’m not even talking just about plot, I’m talking about characters, I’m talking about possible romances, I’m talking about friendship.
I could be convinced to ship five different things, root for 3 different BROTPs. And I’m game for that. Convince away, Legends. Don’t lose this chance.
Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8/7c on the CW.