Sophomore slump is a term used by TV insiders which refers to a show that goes into it’s second season and, naturally, gets into a slight dip in quality. It does happen to some shows sometimes (some would put The Flash‘s 2nd season in that category). Other shows however are able to reverse that trend and have a much better second season than their first (Arrow is a prime example of this). Thankfully Legends of Tomorrow‘s second season falls more into the latter as it delivered a fun, exciting, sometimes messy experience for fans of the CW/DC Arrowverse.
Legends of Tomorrow season 2 was exactly what season 1 should have been – a fun romp through time, cheesy occasionally, sure, but also with enough stakes involved to never make it too wacky. The team chemistry improved greatly with the new additions and the loss of Rip Hunter through the first half of the season was handled well, as was his return (first as a bad guy and then a good guy).
Also no offense to Hawkman and Hawkgirl, but they were not missed at all.
One of the biggest improvements, though, was the villain. In season 1 , Vandal Savage was such a boring presence on the screen that he sucked the life out of any scene he was in. Luckily, season 2 gave us much better and fun villains in the Legion of Doom (Malcolm Merlyn, Eobard Thawne, Damien Darhk and late in the season, a Leonard Snart before he had met the Legends). Still, I feel there could have been more to tap from the team having to fight a former friend in Snart, but perhaps they had already used up all those beats by then with the Rip story arc.
The Legion of Doom/Spear of Destiny arc was one part insane , one part wacky but always felt fresh and exciting. It never suffocated the series and led Legends to different fantastic places, whether it was King Arthur’s Camelot to World War I. Adding in guest stars through out the season from the JSA to a alternate reality Felicity Smoak helped make Legends of Tomorrow the best show in the Arrowverse for much of it’s season 2.
So this article is going to go hero by hero and talk about what happened to them in season 2 and take a stab at what we think will happen in season 3. So let us start with the loner who was suddenly thrust into the role of Captain and did one helluva job!
SARA LANCE (The White Canary)
One of the best characters, not just on Legends of Tomorrow but in the entire Arrowverse has to be Captain Sara Lance. Season 2 gave us continued character growth for Sara as she was thrust into the role of Captain of the Waverider and did a great job as leader bringing the team together. In the season finale, Rip even acknowledges that she is doing a better job as leader of the Legends than he ever did. I think this shows that Sara has grown from a loner who didn’t want or need help for anything to a leader who holds together the team. The Legends have become a new family to her, and she was willing to go to any lengths to save that family. Whether it was preventing Jax from murdering an evil, brainwashed Rip to breaking every rule in time to save Amaya, she has proven that this Captain Lance is just as much a hero and Legend as anyone.
In the relationship front, nothing serious happen though Sara did enjoy a few moments with the Queen of France and Guinevere. I did see some moments between Sara and Rip after he rejoined the team, especially during the season finale. The chances of it happening are probably .01% though but I see a tiny spark there. Also for the Captain Canary fans (Snart/Sara), sadly they were never able to get any scenes together when Snart reappeared with the Legion. A wasted opportunity there, as one emotional moment this season was Mick and Sara remembering Snart’s sacrifice at the spot he died at. Sara’s one look at the spot spoke more than any words could have. But with the time storm the Legends created, Sara might be way too busy for any romantic entanglements….
Season 2 Favorite Moment: “Aruba” (2×17)– Sara has the Spear and suddenly is transported to a apartment with Laurel. A wonderful conversation happens between the two. Even with the Spear of Destiny and they opportunity to bring Laurel back from the dead, she refused to do it. She knew that kind of power can’t be used for any personal gain so she uses it instead make it useless. A selfless act from a selfless legend of tomorrow.
SEASON 3 Wishes : Sara continues to grow as a leader, Her friendship with Amaya gets more attention and finally some more interactions with Leonard Snart. (I know what I said but there’s still a few chapters left unwritten in that book) and her reaction to Black Siren now being on Earth-1.
RAY PALMER (The Atom)
Season 2 gave us our best version of Ray Palmer yet. Instead of the lovesick Ray we got in season 1. (One of the worst parts of season 1 was the awful love triangle between Ray, Kendra and Carter), this season had the perfect mix of heroic yet lovable goof in Mr. Palmer. My favorite trait of Ray’s this season was the bit of comic relief he added to episodes when it was badly needed (Doomworld being a good example of this). This never took away from his heroics, though, as we got to see him have some big-time heroics through season 2. Whether it was fighting aliens with his teammates and old friends Arrow and The Flash or fighting as a samurai in ancient times, Ray continually showed the heart of a warrior. This was never more evident when Raymond lost his suit for a good bit of the season but continued to be a big asset to the team. Once maligned, now Ray Palmer stands as a fan-favorite hero in the Arrowverse.
Season 2 favorite moment: “Camelot 3000” (2×12)– For Ray, being in the times of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable is a dream come true. Ray shows his heart here as Nate finds out that Ray is destined to die in battle fighting for Lady Guinevere. Even with that knowledge, Ray doesn’t even hesitate to fight showing he truly is a hero. (Also getting knighted Sir Ray Palmer is always a sweet and joyful moment)
Season 3 Wishes: A buddy team-up adventure with Mick, a new look for his suit and a meeting with his wife. I want to see Ray reaction would be to meeting a young version of his wife. Would he try to save her and risk another time storm?
Professor Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson (Firestorm)
One of the unfortunate things about a TV show with so many characters in it is that some characters draw the short end of the stick story-wise. Season 2 this happened to happen to Jax and to a lesser-extent Stein. Stein did get a story arc involving accidentally messing up his timeline and suddenly having a daughter. This was a lovely storyline for Stein, but not fully-fleshed out enough for my tastes. Would have been nice to explore it more -perhaps next season. That said, it was way more story than poor Jax got. I want Jax to get a juicy story-line for season 3. A good idea is to explore the darkness in side of Jax that peeked out in a few moments, whether it was wanting to kill Rip for shooting Sara or the awful boss he was in “Doomworld.” I think having a team member besides Mick flirting with the dark side would be a good place to explore with Jax.
Season 2 Favorite Moment: “Turncoat “(2×11) –For Jax , it had to be when he was going to shoot Rip for shooting Sara. It was a excellent example of how much these people mean to him now. Also showed just a tiny bit of the darkness that I feel Jax could have in him.
As for Martin, “Legion of Doom” (2×10)–The scene where Martin and his daughter Lily reconcile after she found out she’s a time aberration. Victor Garber is excellent playing a father and this was just another example of this. A wonderful human moment that lets us see the soft side of Prof. Stein instead of the crusty mentor he is for the Legends.
Season 3 Wishes: Jax: A storyline that is just about him. Nothing to do with Stein and focuses on him. Also maybe more hints at the slight dark side Jax has in him I think.
Stein: MORE SINGING. When you have the angelic voice of Victor’s, use it. Also another interaction with Lily is a must.
Amaya Jiwe (Vixen) and Nate Heywood (Steel)
Joining the team were the two newest members to the Legends in Amaya and Nate aka Vixen and Steel. Also naturally, they ended up becoming a couple again in a story arc that gave me Ray/Kendra vibes from season 1. That might be why sometimes I wasn’t as big a fan of the story-line as I could have been. It did get better later in the season, though the whole “I can’t be with you because it will change time” thing got old in season 1.
As for each character, both had growth that helped explore each character’s growth. For Amaya, it was letting go of what could be in the future and focusing on the here and now. Seeing her powers in action led to some cool moments aka fending off a freaking dinosaur, saving Nate. (This becomes a pattern in the season).
One thing I did see a little of that I enjoyed was her friendship with Mick. I honestly felt more sparks from them than I did her and Nate. It looks like however, they will just be friends. I’m fine with that I guess, as long as in season 3 we explore more of their friendship. Polar opposites make for great stories and no two people could be more different than Amaya and Mick. We’ll ignore the subplot of her lover, Hourman getting killed by Thawne in the second episode of the season and then remembered only one other time afterward hahaha. Amaya also had to deal with dying in the “Doomworld” episode, but luckily her friends were able to save her in “Aruba”. The price for doing this however is going to be explored in season 3 as time is now damaged in a way no one fully knows yet.
As for Nate, well it feels like he came a long way from sneaking his way into Mayor Queen’s office in the season 2 premiere to ask the Arrow for help to fighting the Legion in the finale didn’t it? Well of course, gaining powers helped of course, as he could turn his body into Steel hence the new name.
Sidenote : Is Cisco the only person in the Arrowverse that can name a hero/villain cleverly? Yes.
Nate was well received by the fans and I enjoyed him as well. He was a good gateway for the audience commenting and geeking out at all the places the Legends travel through time. The only troubling thing is with Nate there is too much comedy. Save the zaniness for Ray and the smarky one-liners for Mick. Steel can be a great character on there, we just need to see him harden up some more for my tastes.
Season 2 Favorite Moment: Amaya : “Outlaw Country” 2×06 — There is no big battle moment in here but I choose a character moment instead. In the episode we see Amaya and Mick bond as Amaya helps Mick with his anger. A wonderful episode showing the connection these two have.
Nate : “Moonshot” 2×14 — It was a heartbreaking moment as Nate witnessed the death of his grandfather, Commander Steel in a mission to save the Waverider. It showed how much heroism runs in the Heywood family and let us feel for Nate’s loss. That day will always be in Nate’s memory showing the sacrifices a hero makes for the cause of good.
Season 3 Wishes: Amaya : A adventure with Mick, more of her friendship with Sara and a meeting with one of her ancestors.
Nate: A touch more seriousness to him, a meeting with Gene Roddenberry and one moment with his father.
Even though we only got to see Rip in 2/3 of this season’s episodes (due to Arthur Darvill having to go film Broadchurch), Captain Hunter still had a juicy storyarc in season 2. After having separated the Legends to protect them in the season premiere, Rip broke up the Spear of Destiny and disappeared. It wasn’t till the mid-season finale that we got to see what happened to Rip. He had become a long-haired hippie movie director with George Lucas in the 60’s!
The Legends and The Legion find him and after a quick battle , Darhk, Thawne and Merlyn capture and transform Rip into one of the nastiest bastards in quite awhile. Evil Rip was a fun, fresh way to take the character as he was ruthless, nasty and also not a bad sense of humor in doing a lot of evil things to the Legends. From helping mind-control King Arthur (while under a mind-control warp of his own) to breaking Sara’s neck (Thanks Gideon for you healing machine), this Rip Hunter was a masterful villain.
Thankfully, Legends didn’t keep Rip a villain too long and after Sara and Jax took a trip into Rip’s mind, they were able to return the Rip we all know and love. However, Rip noticed how much the team had grown in his absence and especially how great a leader Sara had become. I loved the scenes we got of Rip and Sara discussing how hard it is to be captain of the Waverider and the hint of pride and sadness Rip had at seeing Sara had admittedly became a better Captain than he ever had been.
So, after saving the day and stopping the Doomworld from ever happening, Rip said “bon voyage” to Sara and went to go……..I guess find himself? Which kind of sucks because after good Rip came back, he was exactly what Rip should have been in season 1 — charming, because it’s freaking Arthur Darvill. He’d be charming reading the phone book. And humorous when needed, especially is his drunken cake-making moments in “Doomworld’. This is the Rip Hunter I hope returns to us again in season 3.
(And he will as Marc Guggenheim has already confirmed that basically here.
Season 2 Favorite Moment : “Land of the Lost” (2×13)– A trip into Rip’s mind shows some of his flaws and some of his strengths as we get to see what he truly thinks of himself. Also GIdeon makes a human appearance in Rips’ mind and we see how close Rip is her in a really emotionally charged kiss.
Season 3 Wishes: A return to the Legends sooner rather than later, more moments with Sara and Gideon (Rip’s chats with Gideon are funny and yet also highly emotional at times) and for us to find out what Rip has been doing while he’s been gone.
MICK RORY (Heat Wave)
Mick is a good example of the Legends team in a nutshell. Like the team, Mick is rough around the edges, sometimes makes terrible choices but you find yourself rooting for them to succeed. Mick’s character in season 2 continues to be himself, but also slowly finds a new family in the Legends. Hell, he even gave Ray a gift — Captain Cold‘s cold gun early in the season.*
*Sidenote: This is one thing I wish the show had continued on –Mick and Ray’s friendship. Would have been interesting to see the effect they had on one another if they got closer. Instead they had Ray paired up with Nate more in the back half of the season. So be it.
Mick also had a bond with one of the new team members, Amaya. Some people even saw the hint of romantic sparks between the two as their friendship grew more as the season progressed. Unfortunately the return of Leonard Snart caused a rift between Mick and his new family, thanks to the return of his old one. Combining with that some moments of mistrust from a few team members (not all, however) and Mick did a very bad thing. Seeing Mick give the spear to the Legion of Doom was sad because it felt like such a regression for him. He went back to his old ways for just a moment and fucked everything up – causing “Doomworld”
Yes, Mick helped the Legends save the day by reuniting them and going back in time to stop himself from giving the spear to the Legion…..BUT this does make you wonder: Will he do this again? He did the right thing by sending back Snart to the time right before they met the Legends, but the inkling that he might mess up again has to be in the back of a few team members minds. Mick Rory’s character growth is continuing and I think he has more to go as we head into season 3. I hope that we get to see more softening up of the big heat-loving teddy bear.
Season 2 Favorite Moment: “Doomworld” (2×16)– Mick has the spear in his hand and the choice of whether to give it back to Leonard or hand it to Amaya. A sort of battle between his old life of crime with Cold and the new one he has with the Legends. Unlike what he did in WWI , handing the spear to Cold and the Legion, Mick makes the right choice this time to stick with Amaya and give her the spear. A heroic moment by Mick that shows how much he has come to love the Legends.
Season 3 Wishes: More bonding with Amaya, Mick fighting a dinosaur (Seems like something he’d enjoy) and a adventure where Mick gets to be the leader.
QUICK THOUGHTS ON SEASON 2
- The cameos this season were really fun. From Oliver Queen‘s in the season premiere, Jonah Hex’s return, Felicity Smoak in “Doomworld” as the last hero standing and Laurel Lance’s in the finale all served a purpose and continued to anchor the Legends to the Arrowverse world they are a part of.
- In the episode “Turncoat” we saw Mick help good old George Washington and have a statue made of himself for it. How much do you want to bet that Mick really wants to steal that statue of himself?
- Not only did the Legends of Tomorrow save the Star Wars franchise but the also saved Hamilton. HAMILTON. You’re welcome, world.
- Sara calling Nate, Rip and Mick “The Backstreet Boys” was hilarious.
A QUICK PEEK AT SEASON 3
So we left the Legends in season 2 as they crashed landed in 2017 Los Angeles thanks to a time storm of their creation. Everything was fine at first glance…..till you saw dinosaurs mixed in with regular buildings and futuristic structures. Yep, The Legends have left quite a mess in the wake to fix the mistake of “Doomworld”.
Will we see new heroes join up with the team to help fix the time aberration?
Where has Rip Hunter gone and when in season 3 will he return?
Will Ray bond with these dinosaurs unlike the ones he met before?
These questions and more will be answered in season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow coming in Fall of 2017!!!!**
**Unless there is a writers strike. PLEASE DON’T LET THERE BE A WRITERS STRIKE.