Season One, Episodes Ten and Eleven — “Progeny”, “The Magnificent Eight”

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

By Jarrod Jones. You know that kind of show that you’d move Heaven and Earth to watch, no matter the circumstances? The one you sacrifice a social life and possibly, depending on the subject matter, a romantic one as well? Yeah, Legends of Tomorrow is definitely not that show.

DoomRocket was in Seattle last week to cover the Emerald City Comicon, where we had the opportunity to show our appreciation and support for a show that frequently disappoints us by recapping it on the road, and… well. Have you ever recapped a show in a hotel room? The worst, right? So I opted not to do that. Presented for your approval is this dual episode recap of The CW’s most frustrating superhero show — and where do we find it? Grappling with the conundrum of whether its team should kill a child, or abduct and dump them somewhere far, far away. Legends!

It seems that the tasty Per Degaton Easter Egg from the show’s premiere has been given a chance to fully gestate onscreen, as the Legendeers head deep into our future to stop the ascension of one of DC’s most notorious world dictators. It’s a trope familiar enough for just about anyone who’s lived just before, during and after World War II: if you had the chance to go back in time and kill Hitler before he reigned terror upon the world… would you? *pinches bridge of nose* Yeah. Legends went there. Actually, all things considered, I’m surprised they didn’t do it sooner.

The series’ eleventh episode, “The Magnificent Eight”, doesn’t fare much better. Since our plucky Waverider crew utterly loused up that particular assassination coup, they find themselves on the run from the Time Masters’ other lethal time marauders (seems they’re in no short supply of those), so they head back to the days of the Ol’ West in hopes of dodging them entirely. What’s that? Wasn’t that Future Mick Rory’s job? It appears Rory’s stirring betrayal has been forgiven; he’s back in his civvies drinkin’ hooch with Sara and crackin’ jaws alongside his chillier partner-in-crime, almost like nothing ever happened. That means the team’s numbers have returned to eight with Heat Wave in tow, instead of that number including Johnathon Schaech’s Jonah Hex (as I had previously surmised).

Needless to say, if you were itchin’ to see how this show would finally come to radically altering its lineup (as its writers continue to insist that they’re doing), prepare for disappointment. But I suppose that’s what you get when you continue to place faith in a time-travel show written by people who consider re-watching the Back to the Future trilogy and The Terminator “research.”

WHAT WORKED: Between these two episodes, not a whole lot. I suppose there’s Kendra’s continued existential dilemma, which is given proper time to grow with two week’s worth of semi-intriguing subplots. For starters, “Progeny” finds Kendra suffering flashbacks to the Fifties (where she’s sports a rather killer and oh-so couture bob), but she’s not daydreaming about her time with Ray and Monopoly. So you know what that means — Carter! (And smoochin’!) Yeah, Falk Hentschel returns to Legends as Carter Hall, in one of the few examples of how Legends can expertly play with viewer expectations (to say nothing of their emotions). Later on, “The Magnificent Eight” places Kendra in the gunsights of herself in the 1800s, which leads to one of the more head-bendingest interactions this show has mustered yet. (And I loved the idea of Kendra growing into middle age as a Calamity Jane. Makes perfect sense, and it’s awesome.)

The second season of Daredevil seized the opportunity to provide oft-maligned characters like The Punisher and Elektra a bit of retribution in a live action medium, and for the most part it succeeded. This week, it was DC’s turn to square things with Jonah Hex. (Why? Just trust me; and don’t go Googling Jonah Hex, now.) For the show’s part, there was a marked reticence at play with “The Magnificent Eight” — Johnathon Schaech primarily saunters around in the episode’s background, for one — but that probably worked out for the best. Schaech ain’t no Josh Brolin type, so I suppose any further time with his rather wide-eyed take on the fabled bounty hunter would have probably squandered yet another attempt to give Jonah Hex his due. Schaech doesn’t fumble Hex, so there’s that.

WHAT DIDN’T: Watching Rip stalk menacingly towards a child he wants to kill, brandishing a pair of scissors (and later, his laser pistol), with all the dramatic trimmings that come with orchestral doom was rather unnecessary, especially since we already knew that Rip is exceptionally bad at having people killed — even by his own hand. Once the drama in this sequence is removed — which was almost immediately, by the way — all that’s left was a scene depicting a grown man pretending that he really, really wants to stab a kid — or shoot him in the head. Which is just… no.

So… Heat Wave’s back on the team. Leonard and Mick have a quick fist fight and all’s settled? He gets to go back to his whackadoo life on board The Waverider as though nothing ever happened?

Ray’s decided he wants to save this one-horse town from a group of bandits, Rio Bravo-style. And you can bet your sweet bippy he’s gonna use a corny-ass moniker in order to do it. Yep, Ray’s John Wayne now, just like Marty McFly was once Clint Eastwood. I wouldn’t mind little hat-tips like that, had Legends of Tomorrow not already strip-mined Back to the Future, Parts I, II & III for all they’re worth. Legends needs a writing team shake-up for next season, or I’m gonna have to drop this sucker. This is getting way too dumb for me.

BEST LINE(s):

150 years in the future and people are still wearing wool? Man, I hate wool.” – Jax.

BEST MOMENT: Eh… I’d give it to Kendra’s facetime with past/future self in “The Magnificent Eight” — which was the superior episode of the two — if it hadn’t featured Jonah Hex giving Rip Hunter a much-deserved punch in the gob. That got me to sit upright. Ah, Rip… what a dummy.

EPISODES’ MVP: I’m giving it to Kendra this week. Between “Progeny” and “The Magnificent Eight”, Kendra’s subplot was the only one with any real substance. If the show is going to ever get around to paying off the whole Hawkgirl/Savage paradigm, Kendra’s the one who will lead us there. These two episodes went far in reminding us of that simple fact.

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

BE BRAVE AND BEHOLD: 

– The country of Kasnia gets another namedrop this week, but the Vandal Savage connection — where he secretly builds towards a political coup d’état — hearkens back to the Justice League Unlimited episode, “Maid of Honor”.

– There’s no such thing as an “Armageddon virus” in the DCU, but you don’t drop “Armageddon” on a bunch of Johnnie DCs and not expect us to think of Armageddon 2001.

– Seriously tired of Captain Cold’s freeze gun not freezing things. And like MJ grumbled last night, “why doesn’t Kendra have a mallet yet?”

– Kubert’s Barber Shop. Nice.

– Jonah Hex first popped up in the DC Universe in All-Star Western #10 back in 1972. Despite being completely awesome, he’s had one hell of a time finding footing in any medium beyond comic books. There was that utterly fantastic Batman: The Animated Series episode (“Showdown”) where he faced off against Ra’s al Ghul, but… that’s about it. (Really. Don’t go Googling it.)

– Ol’ Mick got over his drunk rather quickly.

– Hannibal Hawkes was indeed a reincarnation of Carter Hall in the 1800s. He was known as Nighthawk.

– So Marty got to save H.G. Wells’ life. Pardon me while I gag into this brown paper bag. Though Jonah Hex was around in the 1870s, age-appropriate enough to be featured in an episode alongside a prepubescent Wells (Hex was roughly in his mid-Twenties in the 1870s), the irony is too much for me to appreciate Legends‘ flimsy attention to detail.

4.5 out of 10

Next: “Last Refuge”, soon.

Before: “Left Behind”, here.

Follow us: