As Legends of Tomorrow time jumps to Tuesdays, the mid-season premiere made it damn clear that the first half surge of Legends is something that’s no aberration. This show has established itself as one of the more solid DC Comics shows on television.
A trend with mid-season premieres is that they can sometimes be a bit of a letdown as they feel like nothing other than filler. But things have changed. And “Raiders of the Lost Art” was an episode that set up what Legends plans to deliver down the line, while also entertaining the hell out of us. I had forgotten how much I’ve grown to love this show this season.
Legends of Tomorrow has done the impossible: it’s acknowledged where it messed up (including making a jab at themselves in the episode with the Vandal Savage line), and it’s been able to correct those mistakes. Somewhere along the way it’s managed to become an even better version of itself. And we couldn’t be more thankful.
Let’s break this down:
Lost and Found (And Lost Again)
One person that hasn’t been present since the season premiere has been Rip Hunter, who has gone off the grid as hell broke loose. In the midseason finale we found him – which appeared to be him living among the normal – and it seemed like the Rip Hunter issue was solved. Oh how wrong we were.
Of course the obvious conclusion we jumped to was that Rip was hiding in history to avoid the Legion of Doom and the sacred object that Rip possessed. But it wasn’t enough to hide within history. No. Knowing Rip – being someone remarkably careful – he had to ensure that there was no way the enemy would get a hold of valuable intel. So he had his brain reworked so now he believes he’s this movie director in the 1960s with absolutely no knowledge of the Legends. Although the movie he wrote and is now directing appears to be a direct reflection of what he’s had pushed out of his mind. Right down to the jab about Vandal Savage not being a believable villain.
When our Legends found Rip — and managed to get to him before Darhk and Merlyn – there was a sense of relief that they’d found him even if he had no memory of what the hell was happening. He just thought he was on a massive acid trip, which was entertaining in itself. But at the end of the episode, Eobard Thawne scoops Rip up as our Legends struggle with the outcome. While Rip doesn’t know where this Spear of Destiny is, the fact is that the Legion of Doom now has Rip in their clutches. And just when the Legends thought they’d caught a break, the break was snatched from their grasps.
George Lucas’ Connection to the Legends
One of the cool things about Legends of Tomorrow – and time travel in general – is how we get to meet figures from the past or early versions of these people that we are familiar with. This week, our team met the famous George Lucas, known for Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Only this was a young version of Lucas, who almost gave up filmmaking and in doing so affected Ray and Nate personally.
A young Lucas was working on Rip’s movie with him, but after he was attacked and nearly killed, Lucas decided to quite filmmaking all together. Only when he decided to give it up, it changed the future. Not only that, but because Lucas never made his films Ray never became an inventor and made his Atom suit. And Nate was never inspired to become a historian – and instead served as a yoga instructor. But most important, Star Wars was never created! How horrific!
But luckily the Legends were on it. They had to find a way to inspire Lucas to keep making films in order to ensure that he creates Star Wars and Indiana Jones, which would make them superheroes again. Because when they faced off against 2/3 of the Legion of Doom, they were powerless to do anything, along with Amaya, whose totem was taken by Merlyn. As they were all nearly crushed by a trash compactor, they helped inspire Lucas to make films and saved all of their asses.
Stein Plays Shrink to Rory
Legends of Tomorrow is absolutely brilliant with the grouping of characters from week to week and how certain events affect certain aspects of these characters. This week, we saw that Rory continued to struggle with this vision of Leonard Snart in his head. The Snart that kept putting him down for remaining a part of this dysfunctional team/family. So when Stein walked in on Rory talking to air, first there was this massive, terrifying defense from Rory. But then he realized that perhaps Stein could help fix his brain.
For most of the episode, Stein acts as a shrink to Rory as he tries to help figure out why Rory is seeing Snart and talking with him. Stein uncovers a device that has been implanted in Rory’s brain – back when he was Kronos. So that appears to be the cause of the issue. And when Snart was killed, he sort of combined with the temporal energy or something (I have literally no idea what the hell I’m talking about.) So basically, Snart would be like a Time Ghost.
But, as Stein later tells him, Snart isn’t a Time Ghost. He’s just a figment of Rory’s subconscious. That means that it’s Rory who has conjured him to a degree. So as Snart has put Rory down about remaining with the team and starting to care for these people, that was actually Rory’s own subconscious perhaps warning him of the dangers that come with putting yourself out there emotionally. Rory isn’t someone who is good with emotions. He’s good at instilling fear. But he isn’t good with expressing those emotions. So there’s a part of him that must be afraid of what could happen if he chooses to open up emotionally. Perhaps this is his subconscious trying to protect him?
Legion of Doom
The villainous trio of Malcolm Merlyn, Damien Darhk, and Eobard Thawne has officially coined a name – although it’s one that Sara refuses to refer to them as. The Legion of Doom, coined by Nate and his love of the geeky, has finally and fully established itself as the Big Bad (group) in this second season. The band of past Arrow and Flash villains have come together to seek out the sphere of destiny, which allows the user to rewrite history. It’s not an aberration, which can be temporary. No, it’s something that would be permanent.
So the hunt for the Spear of Destiny leads them – and the Legends – to a mindless Rip Hunter, who has wiped his own memory clean to protect the whereabouts of this device. Throughout the episode they’re trying to get the location from Rip, only that’s not going to happen. So Merlyn and Darhk take it to the Legends – all the while Reverse Flash is noticeably absent. Until the big fight when he helps kidnap Rip for them.
Obviously there are many reasons why these villains would want to get their hands on this Spear of Destiny are rewrite their story. Thawne, being a speedster, likely knows the future that’s bound for him, which means that he probably wants to change things namely an outcome against nemesis Barry Allen. Merlyn has quite a few things he’d like to change, whether it’s reestablishing the League of Assassins or rekindling his relationship with his daughter or – as a throwback to his true intentions – bring his wife and son (TOMMY!) back to life. But I don’t think Merlyn would be that less-selfish. Then you have Darhk, who is a bigger mystery. Why did he start this mission? What did he want to change? We know that he’s sort of aware that his downfall is forthcoming – after Sara told him – but how can he change something that he doesn’t know? No, there must be something else.
- The fact that Legends of Tomorrow admitted (through Rip’s film) that Vandal Savage wasn’t a viable threat was everything. See, it’s possible to admit that you done screwed up and then fix it for the better. That was probably the highlight of the episode for me.
- The fact that George Lucas is responsible for Ray and Nate being the heroes they are now is beyond awesome. I guess you could say he’s an honorary member of the Legends. Hey, if he wants to make a film about that, I’m just saying…
- Rip Hunter has never been my favorite character on this show. But even I felt sorry for him. This poor alter ego of Rip’s felt like he was on an epic acid trip that made for great television but didn’t make for a particularly good experience for Rip. Well, karma, I guess.
- Can Stein giving Rory advice be a normal thing? Because I need more of those two together. Their personalities are so contrasting and yet they’re a family. Not to mention they play off of each other remarkably well. The comedic timing is on point.
- The duo of Merlyn and Darhk is beginning to grow on me. Obviously they’re villains. And obviously I haven’t been too fond of Merlyn since he’s overstayed his welcome, but the two of the together have a really nice dynamic. They’re humorous, sinister, and seem to be having a lot of fun doing their evil things.
Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.