DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, like most new shows, had a shaky start. While the pilot was a little on the laughable side, most fans were willing to give it a few more episodes to develop its tone and themes and characters. When that hadn’t happened by the third or fourth episode, several jumped ship. That makes sense, since Arrow has been a bit weaker this season, why put your trust in any new ship on the Arrowverse fleet? But it seems those fans deserted too soon, because Legends has finally found its footing and keeps getting better and better. This episode, “Progeny” is arguably the best yet. So if you haven’t been watching, whether because you gave up, or were just waiting for confirmation of quality before even starting, now is the time to start. Go get caught up! It actually is worth it.
In this episode, we get a look at the various progeny (hence the title) of some of the Legends, and even big bad Savage himself, in a way. The effect of parenting, or the lack thereof, on one’s children is discussed, as well as how far a mother or father would go to save their child. Can’t really say more without giving it all away, but if you’re in the spoilery mood, read on!
Last week, Mick Rory was revealed to be the Time Master’s bounty hunter, Kronos, who has been dogging the Legends since day one. Instead of killing their former teammate, or marooning him for a second time, they decided to try and deprogram him. While they haven’t actually gotten around to doing so, the ability to undo his supposed brainwashing very much factors into this episode, as the team heads into the Kasnia Conglomerate circa 2147. What is the Kasnia Conglomerate, you ask? Apparently around 2080, governments started to give way to cooperations, which seems to mean Trump wins if not this election, one somewhere in the future. Le sigh. The Conglomerate is ruled by Tor Degaton (Matthew Harrison), a somewhat benevolent dictator who rules the Conglomerate with the threat of death for disobedience and a squad of robots that look alarmingly like Ray’s Atom suit. He is, however, unwilling to kill those who live outside the walls of the Conglomerate, or “thin the herd” as Savage says. It seems society has split into two factions, the wool wearing elite inside the walls, and the ragged peasantry outside of them. This does beg the question of what happens to those who are allergic to wool? Not-so-natural selection maybe?
The gang is there to try and stop Savage from whatever it is he’s doing that will eventually allow his rise to power. It seems he is there to groom Tor Degaton’s son Per Degaton (Cory Gruter-Andrew) to overtake his father and pave the way for Savage’s tyrannical rule. He has been mentoring the boy for several years now, and the brainwashing is pretty complete. The boy is a ruthless, genocidal baby Hitler. And he’s maybe fifteen. Apparently the boy will become the one who unleashes the Armageddon Virus, killing billions and creating the havoc that leads to Savage’s rule. The Legends are confronted with the hard choice of killing the boy to save the world, or allowing the destruction and chaos to occur. Of course, this goes against the moral code of most of them (everyone other than Rip and Snart), so they decide to kidnap him instead, removing him from the timeline.
Meanwhile, Kendra is having visions of Carter and their child Aldous, back in October 1920. She feels like she’s cheating on Carter with Ray, and is terribly conflicted. Her flashbacks do allow us the opportunity to see how much she cares for her son, though, as she and Carter tell him their story, going all the way back to Egypt, in order that he should have some explanation of their chaotic life. Poor kid is doomed to be screwed up either way.
At the same time, Ray learns that apparently he is the great, great, great, great grandfather of the woman behind the evil robot police. He is the father of robotics, and his child started the Palmer industry that lead to the bots. So, it would seem, he had fathered a child in 2016 before leaving to join the Legends, and this unborn child grew up without him. He is tormented by the thought that he left behind what we assume was his son, since the name carried on. But don’t worry, fans of Ray, it turns out to be his brother Sydney’s spawn.
To make matters worse for the already moody and brooding team, the kidnapping has had no actual effect on the future. The timeline “wants” to happen, because something as momentous as Savage’s rule cannot be so easily undone. It has been set in motion for too long. So they decide to try to undo the brainwashing Savage has completed on Per Degaton. Before they can begin the process, though, Rip kidnaps him again and takes him away in the jump ship, planning to kill him in order to save his wife and son. He can’t, though, because he is the good guy. And he can’t help but hope there is still some good left in Per Degaton as well. He tells him that Savage will betray him, in the hopes that the knowledge will make a difference.
With all this introspection happening, there needs to be a little break for the episodic epic fight sequence. The special effects and choreography during the fights are this show’s bread and butter, so obviously we’re going to get one every time. This episode does not disappoint, and Tor Degaton, Vandal Savage, and the Terminator-esque robots come crashing in and shooting at the invisible ship. How can they know where the invisible ship is, what with its invisibility and all? The world may never know. Long fight sequence short, Savage grabs Sarah and demands that they hand over Rip or he’ll kill her. Rip swoops in at the same time, with a gun pointed on Per Degaton and demands Savage release Sarah or Per Degaton gets it. Against the boy’s protestations and assurances that they’ll just come back for them all in the future, Tor Degaton calls off the troops to save his son’s life. Which turns out to be a poor choice, because they boy ends up killing his father at Savage’s urgings pretty much the next day.
So it was all for nothing. Their intervention really just allowed the timeline to be sped up. For, instead of the Armageddon Virus being released in 2152, it is going to be released five days from now. Oh no! And to add insult to injury, Rory informs them that they’re all going to be dead soon anyway, because now that he has failed to capture them, the Time Masters will release the other bounty hunters after everyone, including him. And they are far more ruthless than he is. Oh boy…
Things are getting very interesting on the show. Rory’s Kronos is leagues for varied, complex, and dynamic than the 2016 version of himself. He has gained some wisdom and depth. He is no longer Snart’s yes man and lackey, but a real character to root for, and maybe against. Kendra has started to suck much less, and while the love triangle they are trying to create between her, Ray, and Carter is seriously overdone, especially on the CW, it is making her a much more watchable character. She has a real dilemma, and mixed feelings, and suddenly feels way less static. Speaking of Carter…one must wonder if her sudden visions are a hint that maybe he is reincarnated by 2147.
While the story is strong, and the comedy and pop culture references are wonderful as usual (Ray tells his presumed future descent that he’s Dr. Hannibal Lecter), there is a major gripe to be had here. Why, oh why, do the Legends keep going FORWARD in the timeline? If they want to catch Savage unawares, wouldn’t it make more sense to continue traveling back in time, to periods where he doesn’t know they’re after him? Maybe that is how he is able to find their undetectable timeship, because he has seen it before. Every time things don’t go according to his plan, he’s going to assume the Legends of Tomorrow have popped back up in that time period. Get it together, folks! Go BACK. Sure, Rip ruined it all by going to ancient Egypt. But Savage in the 1800s or so would have no idea about the rest of them! It’s so frustrating. At the very least, they should go back in time to like 2137, before Savage was Per Degaton’s mentor.
Maybe they go back in time in the next episode, entitled “The Magnificent Eight”. The episode is set in the Wild West and introduces the Arrowverse’s version of Jonah Hex. Should be a good time. Tune in Thursday at 8pm ET on the CW.