Before “Legends of Tomorrow” premiered earlier this year with its first season, there was some excitement; however, after watching the season there was just something about it that didn’t quite work. The story felt too jammed-together, we had a romance in Hawkgirl and Ray Palmer that simply did not work, and too may episodes upon reflection felt completely inconsequential to the larger story.
So for season 2, we entered it with a cagey feeling, but over the course of the first batch of episodes, we found ourselves pleasantly surprised with the end result. We still won’t say that this is the greatest part of the CW – DC Comics universe, but there was a lot of fun to be had in the story so far and there were several key improvements that helped the show find more of a groove.
The first welcome change is something we should mention right away: Giving the show a main lead in Caity Lotz. It may still be an ensemble, but having her be the face of the Waverider and the leader of the team was a smart move. She’s one of the most dynamic characters, and there’s something great about having an LGBT character in a lead role who can be someone all audiences can root for. This show allows for Lotz to show off some comedic chops, while still doing the action sequences and some of the heavier moments. She’s also got a great conflict this season knowing that Damien Darhk, one of our primary villains, is someone responsible for killing Laurel Lance. This adds so much to the drama that wasn’t there with a character like Vandal Savage, who only had ties to other new characters rather than people we already knew.
Another change came via the overall arc of our main villains in the Legion of Doom. The arc was set up similar to a season of “The Flash” in that we see a part of the threat in the early going, only for it to increase exponentially over time. It feels like more of a natural build, and we learn more about them and their motives over time. It’s also helped to make every episode in one way or another matter.
Oh, and we should also point out that some of the new characters in Nate Heywood and Amaya have worked better than the season 1 newbies, and that having the DC crossover in this first batch brought another dose of relevancy and significance to the show.
What still needs work – Romance is still probably the thing this CW universe struggles with the most, and while we like the idea of Rory and Amaya in theory, the show still struggles with making it feel natural. Meanwhile, it also struggles with tying Jonah Hex — a character we love — into the larger narrative. While we enjoyed his episode this year, it doesn’t feel all that important in retrospect.
Also, we still feel like there’s all sorts of untapped potential Ray Palmer; there was literally a story earlier this season about him not knowing his place, which was so meta for the show since he’s somewhat adrift as a character. It’s hard because he’s such a goody-two-shoes in some ways, but we want to see him morally conflicted in some way, or in a romantic relationship where he’s the woman’s first choice rather than another option that comes into play.
Overall – “Legends of Tomorrow” may not be in must-watch-live territory just yet, but the show’s infinitely more fun than in season 1 and it’s very much enjoyable to watch. It’s definitely not a show that can be skipped anymore if you’re checking out the larger CW universe. Midseason Grade: B.
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