It’s remarkable how far Legends of Tomorrow has come from that so-so first couple of episodes that presented a concept that was at times incredibly confusing but a cast of characters with the potential to grow.
During the first two episodes it was as if you could sense the youth and inexperience of the show with its execution. But now that Legends has had a chance to thrive with that exposition out of the way, it’s almost as if this is an entirely new show that really flourishes with its unique and charismatic characters.
In episode 5, “Fail-Safe,” Legends presented fans with its most intense episode yet as our team was divided and faced what seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle in the form of preventing the Soviet Union from perfecting Firestorm a few decades before Martin Stein did.
The thing that made this episode my favorite of the five so far was that it was able to exist as something bigger than itself. It presented this situation where the world and the future were literally in danger and had connecting dynamics sprinkled throughout that were all part of crafting the solution to this problem. Whether that was Snart and Rory learning that they had to think of the team before the two of them or Jax connecting with Stein or Sara embracing her humanity, our team would not have escaped this mess of a situation had it not been for everyone else. Everyone contributed something.
And that’s the real beauty of this show is that it shows the importance of teamwork in the grand scheme of things. It’s one thing to say you’re a team, but it’s another thing to understand what it takes to be a team. And once you’ve achieved that you begin to see how all of the members of the team act as puzzle pieces in preventing Vandal Savage from destroying the world and preserving their own futures.
I’ve always found the Firestorm dynamic to be an interesting one. Here we have this concept that isn’t random but one that requires a perfect match. Two people need to be connected in order to make the connection. And when they’re connected they’re linked even when they’re a part.
It’s a concept that I’ve been curious about the show exploring further than we ever got to witness on The Flash. There’s something about Stein and Jax being polar opposites and yet being considered a match that makes this entire thing really intriguing. It’s almost as if it’s preaching the old adage “opposites attract.”
In the previous episode we witnessed a serious divide between Stein and Jax that ended with the two being separated and Stein being held captive by Savage and his team. Now we had these two halves separated and one half in a perilous situation, which made both of them really think about their relationship to this point.
When Jax risked himself to go after Stein – and when he was able to get through to Stein who was trapped inside of Vostok as a Soviet Firestorm – we saw that Stein and Jax have a legitimate connection and understanding of each other. Both have come to the realization that they’ve only wanted to protect each other. But also that despite their differences and their arguments there couldn’t be a better match. It’s what makes them Firestorm. It’s what makes them the perfect pair.
Sara Embraces Her Humanity
Sara Lance has always been one of my favorite characters on Arrow, and I’ve always wanted to explore her internal dynamic and how she handles certain situations after all the darkness she’s experienced in her life. Ever since she was resurrected from the dead and thrust with this bloodlust that has made her question whether or not her humanity has remained in tact, I’ve been even more invested in our badass White Canary.
// In this episode Sara faced her most difficult challenge yet, as she was presented with a fail-safe plan that would prevent her home of Star City from being destroyed in the present 2016. Basically, if she and Snart were unable to save Stein then Rip told her that she must kill Stein in order to save her city’s future. Because a world where the Soviet Union perfected Firestorm would be the end of all days. So what was Sara to do? She understood her mission — to save the world – but she’d have to betray a teammate in order to accomplish that mission. But Sara knew what she had to do: she’d kill Stein if the situation called for it.
But the most interesting part of this storyline in this episode was seeing the moment where she was truly tested and and to have faith – which stems from one’s humanity – that she didn’t have to kill Stein in order to save things. She had to convince herself there was another way. And she did. That was all you needed to know when it came to questioning whether or not Sara’s humanity remains in tact. And the most important thing is that Sara understands that, as well.
This concept of pushing Sara to her limit and watching Sara pull herself back from the edge before she made a decision that she would never be able to take back was incredibly wonderful to watch. It goes to show you that you can have redemption if only you want it. And Sara is someone who, while she feels the darkness inside of her, wants more than anything to be the hero that her father and sister and her friends know that she can be – even after everything she’s gone through.
Snart and Rory Learn What It Means to Work on a Team
Something that I’ve found intriguing from the start and have been curious about seeing evolve is the duo of Snart and Rory, who have always been about the two of them and never about anyone else. So what would happen if you threw them together with a team and tasked the team with saving the world? Character growth. Lots and lots of growth.
The thing that you notice almost immediately is that the concern of both Snart and Rory rests with the well being of the other. They have never left each other behind or been separated so this was a telling experience for both of them. Whether it was Rory’s initial cold shoulder toward Ray, which was thawed after Ray took a beating for him showing Rory that this man that had been a stranger to him sacrificed himself to protect him. It showed Rory not only the good in Ray and the good in being part of a team, but it showed him that he needs to show the same and be a more active part of a team. But, baby steps.
Snart was the one that I always thought was quicker to the punch with accepting being a part of this team. We’ve seen his bond with Sara continue to grow, and we’ve seen how – even if he doesn’t realize it – that he cares about more than just Rory’s safety. But we saw him want to take the easy way out and simply rescue Rory and leave Ray behind. But it was Rory who told Snart that he couldn’t do that. That this man took a beating for him. Essentially, we’re a part of something bigger than just ourselves.
While Snart and Rory were always about each other we saw them progress exponentially toward becoming a part of this bigger group. They’ve realized that despite their best intentions, they cannot keep on this mission just having each other’s backs – they need to have the backs of their team. But more than that, they’ve realized that they are being affected by these people – that Snart and Rory are changing these people and they in turn are changing them.
I’m not saying this will be an immediate impact – with Snart and Rory being full team players – but I feel like they finally understand what it means to be part of a team. It’s not just about you and your buddy it’s about the well being of everyone on the team; it’s about sacrificing for the team; it’s about caring for the team. And this is something that I’m looking forward to seeing develop the more Snart and Rory spend with these people.
You Have Failed This (Star) City
One of the amazing things about Legends of Tomorrow is the reach that it has when it comes to exploring this vast DC universe on The CW. The concept of time travel coupled with that universe allows for a plethora of possibilities, including visiting different times in these familiar places and seeing how things are going.
// Thanks to Cronus hitting them with a missile that sent them off course of the timeline, our Legends crash landed in Star City, where Ray immediately noticed that his Palmer Technologies had been renamed Smoak Technologies – Felicity 1, Ray 0 – but more importantly it was burning to the ground. But they also came across, what was to Sara and Ray, a familiar face in Oliver Queen when the Green Arrow confronted them. Only it wasn’t Oliver. It was Connor Hawke, who has apparently taken on the Green Arrow mantle. And let’s just say this Green Arrow is not too happy to see them.
The great thing about this storyline that will be explored in the next episode is that the team will witness firsthand what will happen should they not be able to stop Savage. In a way they’ll live it. In a familiar place. But it also will be interesting when our Legends do find Oliver Queen – who is very much alive in his old age of 60-something – but with his bright future ruined at the hands of Savage managing to destroy this world.
So in a way, this storyline will be an extra source of motivation for the team to right their wrongs and even more motivation to stop Vandal Savage because, for Sara and Ray, they’ll have seen how their friend will be affected should Savage succeed. It’s the difference between hearing about something and witnessing it for yourself. This just makes me even more excited to see how Legends approaches this next week.