Eight episodes into “Legends of Tomorrow,” and we are finally starting to get to the point where we understand some of what the show does wonderfully, and also where it needs a little bit of work.
Where shall we begin here? It feels like a safe place is by discussing the fundamental flaw in the show’s premise: Feeling the need to jump through time almost every couple of episodes. Why not do something a little bit bolder, such as spend an entire season in an era? You can establish a villain, get to understand them, and also figure out just why it is so important to stop them. This limits logical leaps, gives you plenty of opportunities to be patient, and allows you to play to your strengths.
With that, we’d say that Thursday night’s new episode really helped the show’s biggest asset (its cast) rise to the surface. We traveled back to the 1950’s in order to stop Vandal Savage from conducting a series of experiments. The obvious problem here is that there was zero rhyme or reason as to why we were here now versus a few weeks ago. This show almost doesn’t have a consistent arc at all beyond “here is a bad guy and we must stop him.” Still, what the show did here was touch on some really important stuff when it comes to race and sexuality that is topical today. It’s not often that superhero shows on The CW can do this, but “Legends” did by having Jax (who was amazing in this episode) try to help a woman in need, only to find scrutiny all around the tiny Oregon town the team was in because of his race. The same went for Ray Palmer and Kendra, who were undercover as a married couple at a time when interracial marriage was not accepted.
The show handled most of these elements with a deft touch, working to ensure that there was truth to the interactions while also probably not making the prejudices as depressing as they probably were in the time. The same goes for Sara, who was able to convince a nurse she was working with while undercover that it is okay to love whoever she wants.
As for the mission, of course the team was able to pseudo-stop Savage as he was breeding his own race of Hawkmen in order to build a super-army. Some cool effects, but pretty boring otherwise. The same goes for Chronos, who really just seems to exist to annoy the heck out of everyone.
If you were able to ground these Legends in a more specific time, we feel like you’d have a much better show. As it is it remains very much entertaining, but mostly just because the actors are bringing it, and they make us care for some of these miniature worlds we visit in a short span of time. Grade: B.
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