Legends of Tomorrow has been amazingly oblivious in terms of handling race in a time traveling show. On one hand, I appreciate the color-blind approach, but the show has often felt tone-deaf in placing its black characters in locations that would get them killed. Abominations finally addressed the elephant in the room, making for a surprisingly thoughtful and strong episode that’s one of the best entries in the series.
I wasn’t excited when the preview for Abominations was released. Zombies in the middle of the Civil War sounded like it could be a bizarre, but fun combination. It’s more that Legends has a pattern of dropping the ball on potentially amazing scenarios. Abominations delivered by exploring the various dynamics that would go into a zombie outbreak in the midst of the Civil War.
Clearly, Legends wasn’t going to go into hardcore Walking Dead action, but it was odd watching the team largely avoid the usual zombie killing technique. Punching zombies doesn’t seem nearly as effective as a couple of stabs to the head or using the flamethrower.
For all of the efforts to protect the timeline, Legends hadn’t done much to look at the fallout from other groups screwing up the time stream. The time pirates present a unique and useful tool to send the team to random locations and giving them a more defined purpose than vaguely searching for Rip Hunter or identifying Rex Tyler’s killer.
But most importantly, Jax got a sizable role this week. He’s been a character that constantly gets sidelined on the field missions while Stein gets to have all the fun. It was shocking seeing the show’s unflinching portrayal of slavery. Legends tends to skew more lighthearted. Obviously, slavery doesn’t provide much by way of jokes and levity and it was refreshing to see the show approach it with sincerity. And watching slave-owners getting killed by zombies won’t ever get old for me.
On that humorous front, Abominations let the infected Rory storyline hold it down with Stein’s irrational fear of zombies. I’m hoping Ray becoming Captain Cold ver. 2 is a short-lived arc for him.
I still wish the writers would be more consistent about how involved the team can be in the past. Helping to free some slaves hardly seemed like a timestream-wrecking event. And what exactly is the harm of going back into time just as Ray perfects the suit and ‘borrow’ it long-term so he can be ATOM again?
Sara as the leader of the team still seems off to me. That would be like making Wolverine or Mystique the leader of the X-Men, which would be a completely bonkers idea. Ray seems like a better fit especially since he’s currently powerless. The writers will just need to write him about 40% less nerdy obnoxious. Nate can handle that geek role just fine now. It certainly seems like there’s a budding slow burn relationship in the works for Nate and Sara.
Abominations was much more of the type of show I was expecting from Legends following its strong final few episodes last season. With the return of the Justice Society next episode, Legends might finally be back on track. Even if this was a rare bright spot this season, Abominations is definitely one worth watching.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW