Of all the various time travel stories Legends has tackled, the show’s take on The Terminator easily offered the potential to be one of this inconsistent season’s best offerings. It’s hard to top an assassin using the ultimate cheat to kill our heroes as children and babies. While the concept provided some strong moments, going through the Legends of Tomorrow filter weakened what should have been a phenomenal episode.
The biggest problem was trying to do too much in one episode. The show runners haven’t been shy about extended a story arc to two episodes and this one was definitely worth letting it play out instead of cramming every idea into one outing. Beyond the time traveling rescue missions, Rip introduced the team to his adopted mother at a Time Masters sanctuary where a young Rip Hunter was running around.
Rip’s real name is Michael, which hopefully doesn’t mean he’s the CW DCTV universe version of Michael Jon Carter aka Booster Gold. I’d really love to see an arc inspired by the Booster Gold run where Rip directs Booster to major time events to keep the established continuity rolling uninterrupted. With Booster joining the team naturally.
One issue the show keeps struggling with is setting up these time villains as major threats only for the team to easily take them down in the end. If a little teamwork was all it took to beat The Pilgrim (Faye Kingslee) why would Rip bother with gathering all the younger versions of the group in the first place?
And The Pilgrim’s decision to toss and throw Ray around in 2014 instead of just shooting him once to kill him was one of those idiotic moves that made her more plot device villain than real threat.
With Pilgrim a better villain in theory, the episode’s best moments came from the team’s more personal moments. Jax definitely had the best as he encountered his father hours after he’d been born just before he headed off to a war zone and was killed in action.
Jax’s emotional conflict was the best character spotlight for the frequently afterthought member and his conflict was compelling. Who cares about respecting the delicate balance of the timestream when you could prevent the father you never knew from dying?
The show finally explained why Stein has been so cavalier about his marriage — he assumed Rip would be able to put them right back in the exact moment they left. While it’d be nice for him to actually mention his wife occasionally it made a little more sense now.
Rory trying to smarten up his teen self was less engaging since adult Rory ended up consoling his younger version it wasn’t his fault for the fire he set, which killed his parents. That’s the defining moment of the character so it kinda is actually and their whole interaction never really clicked.
I’m really enjoying the Kendra/Sara scenes. I dig that they’re the group’s top fighters and are constantly working to hone their skills and in the downtime work in personal conversations. That’s a pairing I didn’t necessarily would work thanks to Kendra’s more simplistic character development, but it’s refreshing to see two women hanging out as pals shooting the breeze.
While she flip flopped, Kendra did come around and accept Ray’s proposal. Getting characters engaged seems like a wasted storyline in season 1. It could have been a lot more interesting if Rip’s squad is from different time periods. Imagine the logistical issue of 2050 Kendra and 2016 Ray getting engaged.
The entire concept of amnesia pills was a bad idea. Part of the fun time traveling dynamic is for the characters to avoid their past/future selves or loved ones so as not to upset the gentle time/space continuum. Skirting around that challenge for the characters as they could give all their loved ones a forget it pill felt like a cheat. Legends already feels like things are generally far too easy for the group anyway.
Rip decides now is the time to confront Vandal Savage in the future since the team has been out of the timestream for too long. Vandal Savage episodes have always proven to be weaker installments of the show. Hopefully that trend will end with next week’s episode.
Rating: 7 out of 10