Season One, Episode Sixteen — “Legendary”
By Jarrod Jones. In typical fashion, Legends of Tomorrow employs an all-too recognizable trope for its finale episode. The stakes have never been higher: Vandal Savage is dead set on destroying the timeline. The immortal has his knives pointed at Kendra. So what does Rip Hunter do? He gives up. Again.
Of course on Legends people only give up until they don’t, though the turnaround typically occurs ten to fifteen minutes before the end of the hour. For this (I can’t believe I’m writing this) stunning finale, Legends decides that Rip’s gonna pull his head out of his ass sooner than later, mostly because there is serious business to attend to. It’s a signifier of all the awesome to come — “Legendary” stays on target, all hour long, until the deed is done. No lethal bird-men. No giant Atom-monsters. No “will they/won’t they” with Ray and Kendra. No nonsense. Yes, it wouldn’t be Legends if it didn’t indulge in a little character anti-development, but at least they got it out of the way right out of the gate.
Non-stop action, meaningful character moments, and fleeting lunges at greatness — where was all of this for the last sixteen episodes? Maybe The CW has become supercharged with ambition — after all, they’re responsible for what is becoming widely considered as the finest DC comic-to-screen universe since Justice League Unlimited, and it’s only getting bigger. A multiverse grows, heroes must unite, yada yada yada. With that crackerjack cliffhanger, Season Two looks to be one helluva thing. Though it’s still a shame about the fifteen aggravating episodes that preceded Thursday night’s humdinger. Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and quote Ben Franklin by saying, “Lost time is never found again.”
WHAT WORKED: The kids come home to 2016, only to play catch up with what’s been going on in the Arrowverse. Sara Lance’s moments in Star City get our White Canary up to speed with what happened to her dear, departed sister. (Laurel Lance perished on Arrow not so long ago.) This is one of the bigger highlights of the season, mostly because it illustrates what’s been missing on Legends of Tomorrow: an anchor. Something to bring all this time-hopping madness back down to ground level. Something we can attach ourselves to. There’s a reason why nobody bought Ray and Kendra’s relationship — it never felt rooted in reality. Star City, Central City — these are the touchstones for Legends of Tomorrow, and the show never once took advantage of them. It takes Sara Lance to come home just to say goodbye to remind me why I loved Legends‘ entire premise in the first place. Yes, there’s a whole universe — hell, there’s a whole multiverse — to explore. But never forget where you came from.
It took me a while to get there, but I’d finally had it with Casper Crump’s ineffectual Vandal Savage about three Tube Rockets ago. So there did come a certain satisfaction in watching the Legendeers kill Savage in three separate moments in time, mostly in that his awkwardly-paced (and ultimately pointless) super-plot had finally seen its end. The execution (pardon the pun) of the sequences was top-notch, the sharpest the show had been all year. But then again…
WHAT DIDN’T: …watching Rip, Sara, Ray and the rest take pleasure in wiping out the Immortal Tyrant steered the show into dangerous, Snyderian territory. Hey, the whole purpose of the story was to wipe Savage off the face of reality, but they didn’t have to relish every moment of it. Rip’s anguish and pain — gorgeously illustrated in his wild moment in the sun halfway through the episode (more on that in a bit) — should have galvanized him to see justice done, not find satisfaction in bloody revenge. What kind of show are we watching again? Pretty sure it ain’t called Revenge Guys.
I do know one thing: you can’t kill a Savage without a Hawk. Of course, our team has Hawkman again, or rather a Hawman: the future Carter Hall, brainwashed slave to Vandal Savage, has rather abruptly decided to embrace his winged destiny, because tv show. Of course, there was never that moment for Carter to realize his destiny, as Kendra did about a year ago when she took flight from The Flash and headed straight into Legends. Carter just straps on his weirdo Hawk armor and gets to work. And then Hawkman and Hawkgirl hawk the fuck off, presumably forever.
Sara: “I’m going back to save my sister.” Rip: “I’m afraid…”You should be afraid.”
“I never thought I’d say this, but I think we need a Nazi.” – Marty.
“A time master is never late.” – Sara.
Savage: “You can’t kill me — I’m immortal!” Mick: “I guess you haven’t heard the news.”
“Aw, man, you got my boots wet.” – Sara.
BEST MOMENT: I want to give it to the ending, I really, really do. But there was a moment with Rip Hunter, the flawed mastermind behind all this craziness, that made me finally find some respect for the character. After a gauntlet of episodes where Rip made one dubious decision after the other, we were always told that it was the death of his family that gave him speed. This week, we were finally shown his motivations, in a moving (and terrifying) sequence that placed Rip at the end of his life, about to be swallowed whole by the goddamned Sun. As he careens towards his fate, Rip sees his family — possibly for the last time. It wakes him up, spiritually and otherwise. Hopefully, Rip keeps his head about him in Season Two.
SEASON’S MVP: Sara Lance. There was no other character who was written as consistently as the White Canary. (I’ll let that little business with trying to kill Martin Stein slide, all things considered.) Strong-willed, formidable, and a seasoned vet of the Arrowverse, Caity Lotz gave a reliable performance that lent her character a center when the rest of the show was spinning off the rails. I’m glad she’ll be back next season. Now, about everyone else…
BE BRAVE AND BEHOLD:
– Has Vandal Savage been feeding Kendra while he’s kept her prisoner? Who does he have applying Kendra’s makeup? Yes, I know they’re on a timeship and keeping track of the passage of time can be a precarious thing on this show, but Savage has had Kendra long enough that these thoughts occur to me.
– You can’t sneak a Savages song past me, Show. But your timeline is all screwy: “Slowing Down The World” was released in 2016, but you played it when Mick had his “touchy-feely” moment in 2013. Can’t believe I’m still saying this, but… smarten up, Show. Everyone has Google now.
– It’s likely we’ll be getting into the particulars of this week’s boffo cliffhanger ending in another article, so I’ll just focus on the particulars of this week: Rex Tyler, aka Hourman, is most certainly a member of the Justice Society of America, and he first appeared in Adventure Comics #48 back in 1940.
– So, it looks like Legends of Tomorrow will be teaming up with the legends of yesterday! Which JSAer do you want to see in the CW DC TV Multiverse? (Obviously, Ted Grant is out, considering he popped up as a young buck in Arrow’s third season.) Sound off in the comments section below.
8.5 out of 10
Season One Score: 4.5 out of 10
Before: “River of Time”, “Destiny”, here.