Legends of Tomorrow has easily been my second favorite of the Arrowverse shows this season just behind Supergirl. It’s because the show has managed to find what makes it work and expand upon it and find out what hinders it and get rid of it. But it’s also managed to do a complete turnaround.
Legends of Tomorrow’s mid-season finale wasn’t the best episode it’s put forth this season, but it was a solid episode that did what it needed to do and let the characters and their motivations drive the story.
“The Chicago Way” sent our crew to 1920s Chicago where Al Capone’s reign of terror was at its height. But out Legends soon realized that Al Capone was the least of their problems when Reverse Flash, Damien Darhk, and Malcolm Merlyn showed up. Basically it was a set-up because our Legends had something that this Legion of Doom wanted: an amulet that they would use for evil no doubt.
The mid-season finale capitalized on its character dynamics, motivations, and the emotions of the situation all while managing to have fun when it could. That’s spelled success for Legends of Tomorrow in its sophomore season. It’s a reminder to all shows that you can in fact reinvent yourself for the better if only you’re willing to admit you effed up in the first place. Take notes, Arrow and Flash.
Let’s break down Legends of Tomorrow’s mid-season finale:
The Legion of Doom now has another new face. Reverse Flash and Damien Darhk welcomed Malcolm Merlyn to the fray as the threesome plots to change time as we know it. I love John Barrowman, but I am so sick and tired of Malcolm Merlyn it’s ridiculous. He’s overstayed his welcome. But at least he’s left Arrow (for who knows how long) to join a couple of other former Arrow and Flash Big Bads to mess with our group of Legends.
So each one of them obviously brings something unique to the table: Eobard Thawne is a speedster, Damien Darhk is nearly invincible, and Malcolm Merlyn knows the ins and outs of everything — oh and he’s very good at being annoying. So natural team-up I guess.
The threesome were after an amulet that will allow them to do some evil things. Naturally you have to assume that they want to go back in time and get what was taken from them. For Thawne, that’s to defeat Barry Allen; for Darhk you’d have to assume it’s to make sure he doesn’t die; and Merlyn, who the hell knows. It’d be nice to assume it was to bring Tommy back to life, but he’s too selfish for that. Perhaps he wants to reform the League of Assassins and be in control once more. Well, whatever these three want it’s going to be harder for our Legends to defeat them as they stands strong as three instead of one.
One of the many amazing things about Legends of Tomorrow are the character dynamics. And it’s the typical dynamics. It’s the dynamics that come as a surprise but also make complete and total sense. Mick and Amaya are the perfect example of that.
Since Vixen has joined the team, we’ve seen her paired up with possible suitors, all of whom she’s had chemistry with. First we saw her and Ray; then it her and Nate. But perhaps the perfect match of them all is Mick and Vixen. They’re not who you would ever expect to be romantically involved, which makes them the perfect potential couple. They complement each other with their differences. And don’t even get me started on that sizzling chemistry. Sometimes these happy accidents happen and you’re oh so thankful for it. Whether it’s Olicity on Arrow or Captain Canary on Legends of Tomorrow.
I’m not going to lie, I completely fangirled over watching Mick and Amaya flirt like teenagers. And that kiss on the cheek. DEAD. But it’s their connection that attracts me to this couple most of all. They both inspire the other to be great. Whether that’s Mick who has struggled with the kind of person he believes he’s meant to be and between the person he could be.
Mick has often held people at arm’s length because he’s afraid of the attachment.
Losing Snart last season, the one person he cared about in the world other than himself, was something that messed him up real good. Only Mick’s not the kind of person to let it show. He’s never been the share your feelings kind of guy and he never will be. And that’s perfectly fine.
But we’re seeing how Mick actually desires closeness with people. Not necessarily a lot of people. But a few people to say the least. For many years he had Snart, and that was okay. But since losing him he’s been struggling with how to move forward. We saw him try to have Ray replace Snart. It didn’t work. But we’ve also seen how, while Mick can be abrasive, that he’s someone that the team cares about. And while he won’t admit it, he cares about them, as well.
Vixen could be just the thing that Mick needs. Someone he feels he can open up to; someone who encourages him; someone who challenges him; someone who doesn’t take any shit from him. Amaya is perfect. Give us more of this ship!
Consequences of Time
Time is a fickle, fickle thing. And the first rule of time travel is that you don’t mess with time for any reason whatsoever. Especially if it’s something important to you. We’ve seen the temptation and allure of being a part of these Legends — that you have the opportunity to change something as it exists in time — perhaps the death of a loved one. But we’ve also seen the consequences of messing with time. Just look at Barry Allen and Flashpoint. That’s the first and only thing you need to know about the consequences.
This episode presented a couple of different suggestions. We had Martin Stein, who unintentionally created himself a daughter when he talked to his former self in the past. Then we had Sara Lance, who was given an offer to live her life as if she’d never gotten on the Queen’s Gambit, which includes her sister Laurel being alive.
Something that we learned is that you shouldn’t change time to fit your personal, selfish desires. But if history rewrites itself due to unintended consequences that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t accept what it gives you anew. That’s Stein’s circumstance. But the situation with Sara was different.
When Malcolm Merlyn gave Sara that offer of getting her perfect, happy life for real, I spent the entire rest of the episode fearing that she’d take it and that’s how Laurel would return to Arrow. But thankfully Sara didn’t accept, which means that Laurel on Arrow isn’t Laurel.
Sara’s refusal to accept showed just how far Sara has come as a character. She’s grown so much through all of the pain and heartache she’s suffered. She understands what it takes to be a leader and a hero. She knew that she couldn’t change time to bring Laurel back. She saw first hand the consequences that would happen. But she also understood that she was never meant for that life. She was always meant for this one. So while it was incredibly painful to have to decline the offer to get a perfect life and her sister back, Sara did it because she knew that this was her destiny.
The Devil on Mick’s Shoulder (AKA Leonard Snart’s Return)
Our hearts still ache with Captain Cold’s absence. But his reappearance — albeit as a hallucination — restarted our chilly hearts. With Wentworth Miller’s deal to appear throughout Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, and Arrow, we’ll definitely be seeing a lot more of him. Thank the gods. But his appearance throughout all four shows makes me question if Snart might not actually stay dead for long.
We saw Snart in the form of a hallucination as he was the devil on his partner Mick’s shoulder. We’ve seen Mick slowly start to warm up to the team and to a life of not always being the villain. Sure, he has his own ways of dealing with situations that show that deep down he always has those tendencies. But we’ve seen how being a part of this team has helped change him in many ways, including finding a place where he belongs.
So no doubt just as Mick is starting to really settle in with his new family that his subconscious is speaking to him through his old friend Snart. This isn’t who Mick really is, the hallucination says. You don’t belong with these people, the hallucination says. You’re meant to be the bad guy, always the bad guy, the hallucination says.
But Mick has shown otherwise. Mick has shown that while he won’t necessarily be a Barry Allen type hero that he has hero tendencies and a desire within to protect those that he cares about. And this group of Legends — his family — are people that he cares about.