'Legends of Tomorrow' 1×08 Review: 'Night of the Hawk'

First off, I’d like to address The CW and their constant need for hiatuses during times when it’s the most inconvenient:
why are you doing this to me
That’s right, after leaving Sara, Ray, and Kendra stranded in 1950s Oregon – you know, a literal monster movie – Legends of Tomorrow is now taking a two-week hiatus during a time where other shows like Arrow and The Flash are currently on break (less than two weeks to go)!
Okay, but focusing on this episode…
The thing with Legends of Tomorrow is that its episodes can fall into two categories: really good where everything is gelling (like “Star City 2046”) or not so good but with really nice moments, like “Night of the Hawk.”
While there were definitely things about this episode that I really liked, including addressing the racism, sexism, and sexuality in the 1950s, overall this episode wasn’t the greatest that the show has produced thus far. It just kind of fell flat overall. I mean overall last week’s episode (“Marooned”) was much better and it had nothing to do with Vandal Savage. It’s because the show focused on the strength of the show, which is its characters. There were bits and pieces of that tonight but not nearly enough to hide the faults of this episode as a whole.
Maybe it’s because I don’t find Vandal Savage that terrifying or significant to this show (I really don’t), but it seems like sometimes the show tries to cater to Savage as this big bad that can destroy the world (which after everything I’ve seen so far from him, I don’t buy that at all). And when they do that the show suffers as a result.
The greatest thing this show can do is cater to the core cast of characters – these Legends that at this point all feel like my babies. I am here for them. I’m not here for Savage, though I understand he’s a huge part of this show. When the characters evolve we are all winners. And while this episode had some nice character moments, with Sara dealing with her feelings and Jax accepting Snart’s actions as heroic instead of villainous, there was too much emphasis on Savage for my liking.

Confronting a Controversial Past

The most important thing that this episode did was tackle issues of racism, sexism, and sexuality during a time where it was most definitely prevalent. We had Ray and Kendra posing as an inter-racial married couple where they were most definitely not embraced and Jax interacting and growing close to Betty, a white girl who was key to helping the Legends discover what was happening. Then we saw through Sara’s time as a nurse at a psychiatric hospital the issues of sexism and sexuality. While Legends of Tomorrow is a show that ultimately exists as this futuristic, time-travel show, the fact that it does go to different times in history and allows for the opportunity to explore important issues like this is something that is so important.
Kendra and Ray posed as an interracial married couple that wasn’t embraced by their neighbors no matter how many fake laughs and good-deed casseroles were delivered. Whether it was outright claims of “that won’t fly in this town” or natural “can you get me a drink because your skin is darker than mine,” Kendra found herself in a world that wasn’t very kind to women yet alone women of color. But in a way she also found herself subjected to sexism as Vandal Savage, not knowing that Kendra knows exactly who he is, decided to get all up in Kendra’s personal space and seducing her to the point of my nausea.
Jax also struggled with racism in this Pleasantville-type town where he was not only frowned upon but openly targeted for speaking with – and getting close with – Betty, a white girl who was not pushing him away but actually interested in him as a person. Poor girl doesn’t belong in this time yet alone this town. While Jax saw confrontations from the white high school boys and the white sheriff that arrested – I mean, knocked him senseless and delivered him to Savage to become a sick monster experiment – him, he did find Betty who didn’t seem to judge him by the color of his skin and instead by the content of his character. Girl is way ahead of her time.
Through Sara’s journey of opening up to her feelings for the first time since she was brought back to life, we saw the issues of sexism and sexuality brought to the forefront. Sara grew close to a female nurse who happened to be into women and someone who was subjected to sexist behavior from the male doctors of the hospital. Sara not only developed feelings for Lindsay, but she helped Lindsay accept who she is and taught her that “lesbian” isn’t a bad word. Well, in the 1950s it certainly was. While Stein seemed to believe that Sara was steering this woman wrong at a time when this was sacrilegious, Sara did genuinely help this woman – and herself.

Sara Opens Up About Her Feelings

Speaking of Sara and Lindsay…One of the things that Legends has been doing right is exploring Sara Lance’s journey back to the land of the living. While she might be “alive” she is someone who has died and come back to life – and gained a blood lust in the process. But Sara also confessed something quite as important in this episode: Since she died and was brought back to life she hadn’t really “felt” feelings. In fact, she didn’t know she could.
Now, I’d beg to differ when it comes to Sara’s relationship with Snart (yep, Captain Canary is strong in this reviewer) that she hasn’t felt some sort of feelings – that natural chemistry between Sara and Snart tells us otherwise. But this was the first time that Sara acknowledged the fact that she was uncomfortable with feeling again.
While I failed to see the sparks between Sara and Lindsay (sorry, you can’t force things that aren’t meant to be), the two did share a kiss, actually two, the first of which scared Sara because it’s one of the first things she’d felt since she’d come back. Stein likened it to her essentially having a first kiss all over again. These are new experiences for her again as she’s been resurrected and living her second life.
While I’d hoped that this would be the pair’s only episode together, now that Sara is stuck in the 1950s, along with Ray and Kendra, I have a feeling that she’s going to go back to Lindsay and grow closer to her. I mean, I guess one can only hope that things get better from here, but we all know that on a show with time travel these relationships in the past – or future – aren’t meant to be.

Kendra’s Reckless Behavior Nearly Gets Her Killed

While I love Kendra, I will admit that at times she can really piss me off with her decision making, as we saw in this episode. I understand Kendra’s anger towards Vandal Savage for everything that he’s done to her and to Carter – especially recently with killing Carter – I don’t understand how she can be so reckless at times.
After Ray stole the dagger that will ultimately spell Savage’s doom if Kendra uses it on him (that is, after he tried to shake the lock on a locked door open on his first try. Really, Ray? A genius and that’s what you come up with?), Kendra felt like this was something she needed to do by herself. Excuse me, but how many times has Vandal Savage killed you before? Why aren’t you willing to accept more help from these people you call your team and your friends?
The thing is Kendra nearly died as a result of her reckless behavior and bad judgment. Though it was nice to see Kendra finally embrace her Hawkgirl badassery – and Sara’s training – to kick Savage’s ass for a bit there. But it’s also lucky that she has people like Ray to help bail her out when she needs it. That’s the lesson that Kendra learned. There’s no shame in asking for help. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you smart.

Questioning Snart’s Intentions

One of the issues that carried over from the previous episode was when Snart took his longtime friend to a remote location and seemingly killed him because he had become a danger to the team. Now, while I remain firm in the camp that I don’t believe anyone is dead until I see a body, this doesn’t change the fact that the rest of the team doesn’t know that. From what we gathered it appears as if either Snart told the team or they assumed that Snart killed Rory before getting back on board the Waverider as if nothing had happened.
While most of the team maintained a “no questions asked” view, Jax was the one who questioned Snart’s actions. He seemed to wonder how Snart could just kill someone he called a friend. He didn’t understand why no one else was questioning Snart’s character.
Something that Legends has always been really good at is tying in storylines to these underlying themes within the episode. After Jax had been injected with that meteorite stuff by Vandal Savage and become a monster straight out of the 1950s, when Snart had the opportunity to kill Jax instead he let him live and the team found a way to reverse his condition. This led to a nice heart-to-heart between the two where Jax not only thanked Snart for what he had done but told him that he finally understood why he had done what he had: he did it to protect the team. This was Jax not only apologizing but letting Snart know that he appreciates what he does to protect the team. Like Jax said, he had been a monster for a part of this episode so he knows enough to know that Snart is not a monster.


Legends of Tomorrow returns Thursday, March 31 at 8/7c on The CW.

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