‘Legends of Tomorrow’ episode 5 review: A female Firestorm, and … Connor Hawke?

Cast -For its fifth episode, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” continued to do its best to try and show you everything that it has going for it, and also at the same time what it has to work on.

Let’s start with the positives since it’s a little bit more fun to be all cheeky a la Ray Palmer: The show does a really good job of playing up some of the camaraderie between some of the team members, and you really do want to root for them to be able to conquer almost any thing that stands in their way. Tonight, we had Mick Rory go out of his way to save Ray inside a Soviet gulag after he took a beating for him; as a result of this, we had some of that good will rub off on Snart as he encouraged Sara Lance to avoid the part of her head that wanted to kill off Martin Stein as a contingency in case things started to go south.

Intensity-wise, this episode really delivered. It was a nice bit of “Prison Break” nostalgia to have Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell around for an episode that involves a literal prison break from one of the most dangerous places in the world during the 1980’s. If they were unable to save Stein, the Soviets could have had the power to create an army of Firestorm soldiers. As it was, they had one courtesy of Valentina Vostok, who quickly found herself merging with Stein before Jefferson came in to save him in the closing minutes. This was probably the character’s strongest moment, since it allowed him to do something heroic independently of most of the team.

Did this moment for Jax start to establish him and Hawkgirl as significant parts of the show? We’re not sure still on that, since they seem to have the hardest time right now meshing with the rest f the group. The good news is that the worst “barista” was not uttered once in this episode.

Aside from the in-progress chemistry and still potentially having a formulaic story (travel through time, stop Vandal Savage, and repeat), the primary issue right now with “Legends” comes in the development department. We still don’t know a lot about these characters, and that spawns from the heroes to the villains themselves. Vostok wanting to become Firestorm, for example, came out of nowhere since we thought she was more of a scientist rather than someone hungry for her own slice of power. Plus, her being able to merge was a complete gamble.

What we’d love to see the show consider moving forward is adopt a model similar in some ways to “Lost,” where you spend at least an episode a season cultivating more backstory for each character, and then tell that episode primarily from their point of view. For example, that would’ve worked perfectly for Martin Stein last week, and this time around you could’ve told a great story for either Jax or Rory if you had switched a few things around a bit.

In the end, “Legends of Tomorrow” is a good show — it just needs some time and some work to become a great one equal to “Arrow” in its best days or “The Flash.” At least the tease at the end, involving a man in 2046 Star City who could be Connor Hawke, was rather cool. Grade: B.

Want to preview the future even more? Then head over to this link right away, or sign up over here to secure some other TV news on everything we cover, sent right over to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: The CW.)

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!