If the rest of the season plays out like this episode Legends of Tomorrow will continually be a strong contender for best show of the week honors. Star City 2046 may go down as the episode where Legends emerged from second-tier spin-off to a complex, funny and creative journey through the DC Universe.
From the Arrow analogy to The Dark Knight Returns, a new love triangle and a tease of dissension among The Rogues, this week’s episode had a lot going on but it was pulled off so masterfully there’s a lot of reason to be Ray-like optimistic going forward.
Amazingly for an episode looking at a bleak, depressing future proved to be by the far the funniest installment of the series with some great character moments. While the show had been making strong headway each week in establishing the character interplay and dynamics of these diverse heroes and villains coming together, tonight seemed to mark the fully matured version of how enjoyable this combination can be the rest of the season.
Crash landing in Star City 2046, the team quickly encounters a Green Arrow-clad vigilante named Connor Hawke aka John Diggle Jr. (Joseph David-Jones). Fighting Connor to a standstill, Rip ordered a retreat to recollect and come up with a new strategy namely finding the necessary equipment to repair the ship and leave this era.
That led to major tension with Rip and Sara, who naturally wanted to help set things right and not abandon her former city to ruin. I appreciate the team continuing to challenge Rip whenever he advises against time stream manipulation since that was his sole purpose in uniting them. As typical anytime a robbery needs to get pulled off, Rory and Snart are added to the field team, but when the foursome get separated, Rory finds this chaotic future completely to his liking.
The scene where Rory exchanges punches with a gang leader before opting to just use his heat gun was perfect as was his quick acceptance to be the new leader. Cold had that bored to tears look familiar to anyone who’s long past ready to leave the club while their friend is still having a blast. This resulted in a minor clash with The Rogues as Snart thinks beating Vandal Savage will make them the baddest dudes of all-time while Rory has no interest in being a hero. The Rogues have been the tightest unit by far of the group and seeing them at odds was a smart move allowing the writers to explore how they function apart from one another.
Jax was crushing on Kendra, but it took a pep talk from Stein to get him to work up the nerve to approach her with confidence. Stein meanwhile opted to help the cause by trying to steer Ray away from Kendra under the guise of maintaining team unity. So often we’ve seen the Jax/Stein dynamic play out as mentor/student or surrogate father/son so it was a treat watching them operate as a unit beyond superheroics. The exchanges over their psychic bond were hilarious.
Realizing Sara and Rip aren’t enemies, Connor agreed to help them find the missing tech from the Arrow cave, where they encountered an older, left arm-less Oliver Queen. Not gonna lie, seeing Stephen Amell with the more traditional Green Arrow facial hair made me want an immediate end to the CW-style stubble immediately. Oliver lost his arm battling Deathstroke II aka Grant Wilson (Jamie Andrew Cutler), who had every bit of his father’s confidence and appreciation for anarchy. This was a great nod to Grant Wilson, the quickly dispatched Teen Titans villain that led to Deathstroke setting up the classic Judas Contract [read that here: The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract].
Oliver was less than warming, but told them where to find the equipment. In the skirmish for the equipment, Connor was nabbed to be publicly executed for Deathstroke’s honor. Not about to let her new ally get killed, Sara told Rip she wasn’t leaving until she helped him even if this was just a potential future that might not come to pass. Sara also reached out to Oliver reminding him that Star City needs a hero.
The only knock on the episode was the lighting was a little too dark at times making it hard to make out exactly what was happening. Thankfully, the main fights of Connor vs. Grant and Oliver vs. Grant were atop a platform so we could distinguish the combatants easier.
Since the earlier shows were focused on time frames without heroes, those settings were easily forgotten, but I’d definitely be up for seeing more of Oliver and Connor’s efforts to restore Star City. Anyone else get geeked out when Connor told Sara ‘Copy that?’ Having the team interact with past and future heroes certainly opens up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities to get me further invested in the show.
And if the rest of the season is more like this episode, we’re in for one heck of an exciting (timestream) ride.
Rating: 9.8 out of 10
Dark backdrops aside, Legends delivered in a major way this week fully establishing itself as a ready for prime-time player on the comic book TV front.