When it comes to superheroes on television or in movies the fear is often an overabundance in the market. How much is too much when it comes to superheroes? Especially on The CW? My answer is, never enough so long as you’re able to craft unique shows that don’t feel like carbon copies of others. Because that is a risk. But when Greg Berlanti is involved you have no need to fear.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was able to differentiate itself from counterparts Arrow and The Flash with a nice balance of seriousness and humor that quickly set the tone for what we can expect from the series. Simply put, this show is going to be one hell of a fun ride.
We begin Legends of Tomorrow where the world ends, fittingly, as Vandal Savage wreaks havoc on the world in the year 2166 and suddenly the lyrics “it’s the end of the world as we know it” have never sounded so fitting. We watch as Vandal comes across a boy, Jonas, who has just watched his mother die. He also spits in Savage’s face when confronted. And if you thought Savage had some kind of compassion towards children you would be wrong as he has no hesitation when killing the boy. But clearly this boy has to have some kind of significance. Which he does.
We then meet up with Rip Hunter and the Time Masters as Rip is begging them to help him in his mission to rid the world of Vandal Savage, who has wreaked havoc throughout time and has no brought about the end of the world. But these Time Masters are not warriors, and they cannot supply Rip with such. But all Rip needs is a time ship to do his bidding. And to go back in time to assemble his team.
Rip’s journey begins in Star City with Ray Palmer, who we see has been helping Oliver Queen and Team Arrow, Sara Lance involved in a bar fight — that’s my girl — Firestorm in a heated argument, Kendra and Carter discussing Kendra’s slow progression, and Leonard Snart and Mick Rory doing their bad guy thing. Rip assembles his disjointed team on a rooftop in Star City to begin his pitch. He’s arrived from the year 2166 and needs their help stopping the immortal, villainous Vandal Savage. And the selling point: “You’re not just heroes. You’re legends.” But what really does the trick is showing the group what the future will look like under Savage’s reign of terror. Rip gives the group 36 hours to ponder the decision whether or not they want to join.
Ray talks it over with Oliver, and he reveals that he wants meaning in his life, and that Rip has offered him that. Kendra wants to run away while Carter wants to go — they battle for it, and he wins. Sara discusses it with her sister Laurel, where she reveals her fears about being unstable with the Lazarus Pit revival and all, but Laurel encourages her to “be a hero in the light. Be the White Canary.” Snart and Rory are in, but not for the hero part. And we see both halves of Firestorm once again disagree, shocker I know. But Stein actually drugs Jax and drags him aboard the mission.
So, where’s a group of misfits to start when hunting down the most evil man to walk the face of the Earth? We’re going to the ’70s.
The team travels back to October 17, 1975, where they’re there to find the expert on all things Vandal Savage, Aldous Boardman, who’s about to die in less than 24 hours. Well, Rip, Ray, Stein, Kendra, and Carter are going, anyway. Boardman instantly recognizes Kendra and Carter and we learn that Boardman is actually their son — from their past lives. I know this show is supposed to be crazy but that was craaaazy. So obviously Kendra and Carter don’t want their son to die and insist on bringing Aldous back to the ship.
Sara, Snart, Rory, and Jax’s skill set isn’t particularly needed for this meeting, so they’re stuck in the time ship. Bored with the reruns on 1975 cable television. So eventually the trio of Sara, Snart, and Rory hit up the town — a bar more specifically — for some drinking and bar brawling which made for one of the hour’s best scenes. It’s evident that these three need more scenes together as they bring a level of humor to the show that is seriously so refreshing already. Snart stands back and watches Sara beat the crap out of a bar creep before she asks for some assistance from Snart and Rory as they get into an all-out bar brawl. “I love the ’70s,” Rory exclaims. So do we. Especially if we get scenes like this. And seriously when will anyone learn that you don’t mess with Sara Lance unless you want your ass kicked?
Back at the ship poor Jax is stuck out of his mind being mocked by a computer program, and he’s seriously so done with this already. But then a bounty hunter by the name of Chronos makes things more interesting when he attacks the ship and suddenly being bored on a time ship in the middle of the 1970s doesn’t seem so bad. So when the team returns back to the ship all hell has broken loose. Stein and Ray rush back to the ship — and Jax is seriously impressed. Stein and Jax merge to become Firestorm as Ray gets his Atom suit to battle this Chronos, who has no problem killing someone if they have no importance to the timeline. But Aldous is fatally injured as he’s heading back to the ship and later dies, just as time said he would only the circumstances were different. You can try to change the course of history, but sometimes things that are meant to be are meant to be.
Suddenly Rip is forced to come clean about why he really assembled this team. He admits that he is a Time Master and Chronos was sent to bring him in. Oh and he also lied about their futures. While he told them that they’re all legends from his time, they’re actually nobodies that are expendable and won’t mess significantly with the timeline. Nothing like being told you’re a legend in the future and then learning you’re a nobody. Kind of makes you rethink a life that you haven’t fully lived yet.
But we do learn the truth about why Rip went rogue, so to speak, and has risked everything to find and bring an end to Savage. Turns out that boy Jonas, you know the one in the first minute of the episode that we knew had to be significant, was Rip’s son. Savage murdered his family, and Rip is hellbent on destroying the evil son of a bitch. While that lessens the anger a bit, the group still needs to rethink whether or not they want to continue on this mission.
Jax and Stein talk things over and Jax actually has a change of heart. He talks about how when he used to play football the thing he enjoyed the most was being part a team. And he feels like he has that being a part of this team. Ray is having serious doubts about this entire thing as his worst fear is realized: he’s destined to be a nothing. But Sara gives him an inspired pep talk, as Snart and Rory listen on. This entire operation is about changing the future. So if they can change the impact Savage has on the future, why can’t they change their own fates in the process? (And I admit I was smiling like a dork because White Atom feels already, guys). So the whole team agrees to move forward with stopping Savage and saving the world, and perhaps saving their own lives in the process. Now, for that lead that Aldorous gave them…and they’re off!
Meanwhile, back in 1975, only in Norway this time, we see that Savage has gotten his hands on a nuclear weapon. And he’s trying to make the world a better place, one war at a time. Well, we obviously have different viewpoints on how to make the world a better place.
Join us to discuss this episode during our Legends of Tomorrow roundtable this Wednesday!
NEXT TIME ON “LEGENDS OF TOMORROW”
“Pilot, Part 2” (Episode 1×02)
Thursday, Jan. 28 at 8/7c on The CW
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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