When it comes down to it, Legends of Tomorrow is a show comprised of characters that hail from Arrow and The Flash. Those shows are what made this show possible, and it’s why the show already has had such a profound expressive effect on those emotionally invested in this shared universe.
Episodes like “Star City 2046” are what makes this shared universe so amazing. Legends possesses the potential to do literally anything as far as time travel is concerned. And in this super world it’s so much more than just time travel. It’s about exploring certain aspects of this world that fans are already so invested in, and in a way that is entirely unique and mind-blowing.
It’s about traveling 30 years into the future where our group of Legends don’t stop Vandal Savage and are thrust into a familiar city that is unrecognizable amid mass chaos and destruction, and yet feeling a responsibility to save the world.
While we’ve seen a couple of our characters come into contact with their past selves, we’ve yet to see what happens when they come into contact with future versions of familiar faces. And it was only fitting, considering Arrow started all of this, that the first time we saw a crossover with one of Legends’ parent shows that it would involve Oliver Queen.
While I certainly don’t like this potential timeline – that we all know won’t come to fruition, come on now – and how the faces we know and love are no longer with us and Oliver is just a shell of a man, it was incredible to be able to explore the future in such a way. Time traveling to the future and seeing a 60-year old Oliver donning the Green Arrow suit and taking down the new Deathstroke alongside his new partner Connor Hawke was something that Legends will have a nearly impossible time replicating.
But that’s what makes Legends so amazing. These characters that hail from our beloved shows have personal connections to this world that they’re trying to save. It’s not about time travel. It’s about these people fighting for the future of the world – for their own future. And that’s what makes this show important.
A Future Not Set in Stone
The Star City that Legends of Tomorrow introduced us to – in the year 2046 where the Legends don’t stop Vandal Savage – was startling to say the least. While the whole premise of Legends is that the team needs to stop Savage from destroying the world, including the places familiar to our team, it was still shocking to see Star City fall into utter chaos and destruction.
But all is fair in love and time travel. While our team got to experience this ravaged version of Star City 30 years in the future, the good news is that this future isn’t set in stone. This is a world where Sara and Ray never return to Star City in 2016 to help the team defeat Grant Wilson, aka the new Deathstroke. This isn’t what’s supposed to happen. The Star City that we saw in this episode likely won’t be the fate that awaits it. But that didn’t change the fact that it felt incredibly real to us and to Sara especially.
This was a really important episode for Sara as she not only got a glimpse of what her city would become if she and the team aren’t successful, but she actually lived it. The destruction of Star City and the ruin of her friend Oliver Queen really affected her in her core. No matter how much Rip tried to remind Sara that this future wasn’t certain and that it likely wouldn’t come to pass, it didn’t matter because this was very real to Sara.
While there was destruction in Star City’s wake there were certain things that were great to see as a fan of this shared universe. We got to see and hear about Felicity Smoak’s impressive accomplishments as CEO of the renamed Smoak Technologies – which, for the record Ray sounds much better than Palmer Technologies – and also saw the effect that she continues to have on Oliver Queen. He’s completely and utterly lost without her. And you just know that he still loves her. This episode once again proved that a world in which Oliver and Felicity aren’t together will literally burn.
A Shell of Oliver Queen
Some things never change. Case in point: Oliver Queen circa 2046, who is the shell of the man that he was destined to be as a result of an uprising that left him without his partners Felicity Smoak and John Diggle. As Sara said: “He’s dead inside.”
It’s funny because when Sara found this worn version of Oliver – missing arm, goatee, and all – you knew from the second you saw him why he was the way he was. Living in the Arrow lair, blaming everyone else instead of himself, and lost beyond belief, it proved that Oliver is the hero he is because of Felicity and Diggle. So without them – and without everyone that we know on Arrow – Oliver essentially gave up and subjected himself to hiding in this cave, which I found to be quite an interesting parallel to episode 3×02 when Felicity confronted Oliver about living out his life in this cave. It’s also when Oliver told Diggle that he didn’t want to die down there. “So don’t,” Diggle told him.
That is why the Oliver we know and love has survived in our present. And that is why when Felicity and Diggle were taken from him that he subjected himself to that lonely, torturous life. He is literally lost without them. You can change the timeline or change the year, but you can’t change what makes Oliver Queen the hero that he is. We saw that with the absences of Diggle and Felicity. We saw that when Rip Hunter mentioned Felicity’s name and the effect it had on Oliver, which subsequently brought me to tears. These people are what make Oliver who he is. And nothing will ever change that.
Without his partners there to encourage him, Sara took it upon herself to attempt to inspire her friend the way that Felicity and Diggle has been able to. She needed Oliver to step out of the cave and back above ground to be the hero this city has always needed. And Sara was able to do just that.
When all was said in done we saw a newfound inspiration within Oliver after he fought and defeated Grant Wilson, alongside Connor Hawke, and finally decided to step up and save his city with his new comrade in arms. That’s also something that will never change. Oliver Queen has always been and will always be a hero no matter how dark things may get. He just needs a push.
Connor Hawke’s Origin Revealed
One of the most intriguing things about this episode rested with Connor Hawke’s significance in this time and place. In the comics, Connor is the son of Oliver Queen and Sandra Hawke, but in the DC television universe he is the son of another familiar face – and Connor Hawke isn’t his real name. John Diggle Jr. is. That’s right, the second Green Arrow of Star City is the son of John Diggle.
When you think about it, it makes sense that Diggle’s son would follow in his father’s footsteps in protecting the city. But the backstory about how Connor Hawke came to be the Green Arrow – and why he changed his name – is tragic beyond belief.
Diggle Jr. adopted the name Connor Hawke because he felt he didn’t deserve the name because he couldn’t save his father. Even the thought of a future where John Diggle is dead makes me want to curl up in a ball and weep. Thankfully this is a potential future that, as Rip said, likely won’t come to pass. Because they are going to stop Savage and return to their home in the present.
But watching Connor out there fighting for a city that has clearly crumbled was incredibly inspirational, and you couldn’t help but find traces of John Diggle in Connor Hawke. That strength, that courage, and that heart.
There was something incredibly poetic about Diggle’s son teaming up with Oliver at the end of the hour to protect Star City from the dangers that still awaited it. Connor was carrying on his father’s legacy and working with the man that his father called brother. Connor will look out for Oliver, and Oliver will look out for Connor And that’s how John Diggle’s legacy lives on.
Trouble Between Snart and Rory
The more that Snart and Rory find themselves a part of this mission to bring an end to Vandal Savage, the more that they are drifting apart, as evidenced in this episode.
Snart and Rory, while the perfect pair, have differing ideologies when it comes to the purpose of this mission. While they both live in chaos and villainy on a normal basis, things are beginning to change now that they’re on this team and faced with stopping the worst man to ever exist – or so the show tells us, laughingly.
In this episode, Rory immediately was drawn to the destruction and chaos while Snart remained unsure of what he was doing. But he’s not someone to leave his partner behind. So he went along with it until it proved to be too much. While Rory was only interested in staying in this world where he thrived, Snart was more focused on finding Sara and Rip and stopping Savage from destroying the world. And we saw that tension – the ice and fire – come to a head. And for the first time I began to wonder if perhaps this mission is bringing out the true colors of these characters.
While Snart claims that he’s so adamant about stopping Savage so that they can be the most feared men in the world, he didn’t fool me at all. Snart has finally found something he cares out; something he believes in. And while that scares him it doesn’t change the fact that he needs to help make sure that Savage doesn’t get his way. When people are faced with adverse situations you begin to see who they really are. And we’re starting to see who Leonard Snart is underneath that facade.
So the question becomes: what will happen to Snart and Rory? There’s a clear divide between the two now after Snart knocked Rory out and dragged him back to the time ship. While Snart may have been the boss of him before he made it damn clear that that’s not the case anymore. Perhaps we’ll start to see Rory be his own person. This continuing dynamic between the two is one that will continue to evolve and pleasantly surprise us no doubt.
First Signs of Romance on the Team
We knew that it’d happen eventually, but we saw the beginnings of feelings developing between team members. When you spend so much time together, especially in these intense circumstances where life and death is every Thursday, you’re bound to form strong bonds with everyone that you’re working with…and sometimes those bonds are more than just friendship.
Turns out Jax has developed some not-so-platonic feelings for Kendra in their close work environment. But Jax was too nervous to approach her. With the whole Firestorm connection, Stein sensed Jax’s apprehensiveness and helped encourage him to have more confidence in himself.
But in trying to help Jax, Stein apparently helped Ray realize that he might have feelings for Kendra. But to be honest I’m still not convinced that Ray was interested romantically in Kendra. It felt more like he was sort of messing with Jax than anything. If we were supposed to believe it then they didn’t get the message across.
While the mission is to protect the world, that doesn’t mean that they can’t explore the connections with one another. When you’re thrown into this situation and faced with life and death every single day you’re naturally going to begin to care. And sometimes that caring can become something more. Just look at Sara and Snart, who have been shamelessly flirting, inspiring each other, and killing us with their potential romance in the process.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.