The time has finally come! After all the hype and all the staging on The CW’s The Flash and Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow has officially arrived. For those of you who apparently live under a rock and don’t watch either of the other CW DC properties, never fear! This new installment works just as well as a standalone show as it does being a part of the “DC Universe” collection. It focuses on a new character named Rip Hunter, who is a Time Master that wants to save the world from certain devastation. He gathers a rag-tag group of heroes and villains, our “Legends of Tomorrow,” to stop the upcoming apocalypse and save the world. So far, this series promises to be one heck of a ride!
WARNING: What you’re about to read contains spoilers about this episode and possibly the Legends of Tomorrow characters in comic book form. Proceed at your own risk/reward!
The episode begins with a quick rundown of the title team and what they are currently doing. Ray Palmer (otherwise known as The Atom) is assisting Oliver Queen and the gang take down Hydra and generally feeling sorry for himself because the world didn’t stop turning when he was presumed dead. Sara Lance is in Tibet trying not to kill people since being resurrected from the dead via the Lazarus Pit. Firestorm, Jefferson Jackson, and Professor Stein are still trying to iron out all the kinks in their new shared partnership. Kendra Saunders and Carter Hall (Hawkgirl and Hawkman) are also dealing with their incredibly complicated relationship. And lastly, Leonard Snart (Captain Cold) and Mick Rory (Heat Wave) are in the midst of their latest robbery. All of them are temporally kidnapped by Time Master Rip Hunter, as he gives them the chance to save the world from evil immortal Vandal Savage. They have 36 hours to decide.
Surprise! They all decide to join the team, for varying reasons. Jefferson, to be fair, is drugged by Professor Stein and dragged there against his will; but the rest make the conscious choice to jump time and save the world. First stop? 1975. Groovy. But first, they have to explore the awesome time ship Waverider, run by Gideon, Rip Hunter’s robot co-pilot. After landing in the past and suffering the normal side effects from time travel (you know the ones: vertigo, nausea, and temporary blindness), the team splits up. Rip, Kendra, Carter, Stein, and Ray head off to meet with Dr. Aldus Boardman, the world’s only expert on Vandal Savage. You may remember him from The Flash. Leonard, Mick, and Sara are left behind because of their propensity to kill people, so they take off to “get weird.” Translation: get a little drunk and raise a lot of hell. Poor Jefferson feels betrayed by Stein and stays with the criminals, only to be left behind when they head to the bars.
The A Team does meet up with the good doctor, and two of the characters receive quite a shock. It turns out the reason he knows so much about Savage is that his parents were one of the previous reincarnations of Kendra and Carter. Whoa! After a brief but weird reunion, Boardman reveals his theories on Savage just in time for Stein to feel Jefferson’s distress. Back at the ship, some armored temporal bounty hunter named Kronos is shooting up the time ship. Never fear, the team reassembles in time to work together and escape to a “time limbo” where they confront Rip and pressure him to tell them the whole story, because he’s obviously left some things out.
It turns out Rip is on the outs with the Time Council and the other Time Masters, and Kronos is out to get him and stop him from changing the timeline. Rip has a personal investment in this mission: Savage killed his wife and son, and he is out to get revenge. Also, he did not select our “legends” because they were destined to make a difference in this world – he did so because they had no effect one way or another on the timeline, and therefore taking them out of their timelines would not disrupt things. Ouch… they’re basically so inconsequential they might as well not exist. Poor Ray takes this news pretty badly, but in the end everyone rallies together. If they have the power to change the future and save the world, they can certainly go from zero to hero.
This episode was an incredibly fun time. It’s a little jumbled and cramped, because so much content is shoved into a short 42 minutes, but you still walk away feeling good. You don’t have to be a Flash or Arrow junkie to appreciate the dynamics and characters, although it certainly doesn’t hurt if you are. But so far, it really does work well both as a standalone series or as part of the CW DC Universe. That, of course, is very obviously the point; the characters are familiar faces, but they have been removed from their normal timelines. They are going to be jumping forward and backward in time, so in theory, when they save the future they can be placed right back where they left off in 2016. So that means they will not necessarily disappear from the two shows they started on. Due to the duality of their timeliness, they can be in two places at once, and not necessarily in the cross-over event way that is so popular with the other properties.
It is certainly interesting, though, to see the characters removed from the environments they usually inhabit. Sara seems more fun and ready to be dangerous and cause trouble, probably much like she was when she was a part of the League of Assassins. You can already feel the chemistry between her and Snart, too, which is surprisingly enjoyable. Ray is much more insecure and vulnerable than he has been in the past, when he doesn’t have his huge company standing behind him. Honestly, Kendra and Carter haven’t been built up enough as characters to see much of a change in them, and Professor Stein and Jefferson are largely the same. The biggest wild cards lie with Captain Cold and Heat Wave (the latter of whom is channeling way too much Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy). Captain Cold has shown us before that his heart is not as cold as his gun, but will he really be able to resist all the temptation the past and future will bring? Does he even want to? When it comes down to it, are those two men really villains, or are they heroes? Because a legend does not necessarily need to fight for the “good guys.”
There are endless possibilities for where this show can go. With all of human history behind it, and a wealth of creative futures ahead of it, there is literally no limit to what can happen. And if all the places the characters visit in time are as fun as 1975, what more can viewers ask for? From the lens on the camera to the clothes on the extras, 1975 was clearly distinct from 2016, and in the best of ways. Just imagine what the 1800s or 1920s might feel like. Oh the excitement!
Between the time-hopping and all the geek culture references (Star Wars, Star Trek, and DC comics, obviously), this show hits nerdom in so many marvelous ways. So far, this seems to be one to watch. Stay tuned for next week, with “Pilot, Part 2.”
In lieu of a preview of next week’s episode, take a peek at this extended trailer for the show in general. Enjoy!