Give Legends of Tomorrow credit for taking advantage of its no limitations format. Granted, Shogun came across more like a terrible homage to Seven Samurai, but it did do some necessary course correction to get Season 2 back on track.
The team donned samurai armor and kimonos thanks to another of those wacky thrown into a strange time period plot device. This time, it was due to Nate getting a little over anxious with his new steel like body. Given Legends’ frequently shaky budget, it was puzzling why he needed a Colossus makeover. This was literally a case where the comic character didn’t require special effects. An awesome, snazzy suit? Yes, but not the liquid metal CGI that’s only going to get used in special occasions.
Nate is really excited to be a hero. That makes sense, but Ray had cornered the market on the team’s exuberant character. It’s actually a better fit on Nate since he couldn’t even dream of being a superhero. I’ve always felt the Arrowverse take on Ray has been all wrong. Considering his tragic backstory with his fiance, he’d be better as the more focused, dedicated scientist/inventor. Legends probably doesn’t need two rays (no pun intended) of sunshine characters and Nate’s already better in the role.
Nate had the major story arc this episode. He got to play Gaijin No. 1 who immediately falls for the single lady betrothed to the evil warlord. The budget must have been a bit dicey as the Legends set out to protect a village from the warlord’s samurai, but we never actually see them.
Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) taking out the team Black Panther style was pretty sweet. Amaya may be focused on avenging Hourman’s death, but for as long as she’s around, she’s a welcome addition. I was initially worried her dismissive attitude toward Rory would be annoying, but they struck a nice balance. Their playful banter could become a season highlight as things progress.
Side note: The team needs a way better name than Legends. It works for the show but hearing them refer to themselves as Legends sounds silly.
Hopefully, Shogun marks the end of the whole Atom as Iron Man shtick. That armor has a reliability rate of 3 percent. Besides, the writers feel the need to constantly handcuff Ray’s Atom abilities to provide a reason for the others to shine. A superhero who shrinks probably fits this team’s needs better anyway.
Too often, Ray has been the incredibly bumbling scientist instead of the genius inventor this squad needs. It seemed like a real stretch that one minute Ray is warning the evil warlord that the armor could kill him and he immediately figures out how to work all of the armor’s mechanics. There’s user friendly and then there’s way too convenient plot device.
In the other way too powerful character on the team that constantly has to be sidelined front, Jax and Stein discovered Rip’s secret room. Beyond some major league weapons, the big secret is a message from Barry Allen from 2056. The CW’s shows fully grasp the concept of a shared universe. Sometimes it’s small things and other times it’s a simple recording from Grant Gustin. Another cool Arrow tie-in was the reveal that Masako (Mei Melancon) and Ichiro (Sab Shimono) were Katana’s relatives.
Fortunately, the episode didn’t blow its best possible option with this time frame as Sara went all super League of Assassin-y on the samurai. It was amusing to see Vixen suddenly become so sword proficient that she could take out samurai as well.
Shogun wasn’t perfect, but it left me optimistic that the kinks of this season can be worked out. It’ll take more than one episode, but there’s hope yet for Legends.
RATING: 7.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW
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