Season One, Episode Two — “Pilot, Part 2”
By Jarrod Jones. Well, now. That was certainly fast. (SPOILERS AHEAD.)
Almost just as quickly as he entered our lives, Carter Hall has left us. As to what galvanized the decision to kill off Hawkman just as his spin-off was taking flight… who can say. One thing’s for sure: figuring this is a CW DC television show we’re contending with, the safe money’s on Carter’s swift return, probably sooner rather than later. So dry your eyes for that superhero who enjoyed scarcely four full hours of television. He’ll be back.
So Legends of Tomorrow has thrown its truncheon into the fray only to have it land with a thud. It was a decidedly loud thud, let’s not quibble about that, but as far as first impressions go, I can’t be the only one who’s all, “Eh?”
With this gigantic two-part pilot in the can, what can we say about the aftermath? White Canary and Firestorm are about the only two characters who can function with any semblance of effectiveness — and that can only be said now that Professor Stein has set his brand-new arrogance aside. (Was he arrogant on The Flash? Wasn’t that Ronnie Raymond’s deal? Ah, whatever.) If Thursday night’s um, shocking (yes, that’ll do) ending proved one thing, it’s that Vandal Savage is not one to be trifled with. Hopefully that idea sticks more the next time around.
WHAT WORKED: Though it was decidedly far too brief, Brandon Routh and Wentworth Miller got to mix it up in a quickie scene that played to both characters beautifully. After a whole season and a half of The Flash, we know how Captain Cold handles altruistic do-gooders, but The Atom is a whole ‘nother kind of Boy Scout. I want more interactions between these two, and not just because they’re my favorites either.
Professor Stein preying on his own vanity was an intriguing window into the mind-bending craziness we all know Legends of Tomorrow will become famous for. Victor Garber’s wily Professor Stein has been a consistent highlight on The Flash, and it’s been pretty great to see the 66 year-old Garber get to play with the new guard. And yet…
WHAT DIDN’T: … Professor Stein has been pulling far too much screen time as the brainy half of the hero Firestorm. Sure, Jefferson Jackson gets to embody the hero in his pretty-damned stupendous super-gear (and he even gets the episode’s showiest rescue), but Franz Drameh needs to start to matter more on this show, and quick. Because this two-hour pilot did him no favors.
The death of Hawkman might have mattered in a penultimate episode of Legends, but here? Now? Like Kendra, I too had only just gotten used to Carter Hall enough to care. Brooming him this early in the game elicits zero feels, at least from this viewer. And thus began The Sulking of Chay-Ara.
“I’m no one’s lap dog, Birdman.” – Rory, to Carter.
Prof. Stein: “Keep an eye on the door, and when I get back, stop flirting with me.” Sara: “YOU were flirting with ME.”
“You spend all your time and money building a super-suit, and what do you do with it: you fly around like some Incredible Shrinking Schmuck trying to save the world.” – Leonard, to Ray.
BEST MOMENT: Prof. Stein comes to grips with himself. If the second half to Legends of Tomorrow‘s pilot episode (or it’s second pilot episode, however you want to look at it) took a moment to dig into the psyche of any of its characters, it most certainly took one for Victor Garber’s Professor Stein. I can’t imagine that contending with a younger version of oneself would be an enjoyable experience (I know I’d certainly not enjoy it), and here The Stein gets a big heaping helping of humility. But now that we’ve nipped ol’ Marty’s character flaw in the bud, maybe Jax can start to have a personality?
EPISODE’S MVP: Eh. To be honest, “Pilot, Part 2” got a couple of decent shots in (Captain Cold and The Atom’s forced confinement bro-down, Jax & Prof’s heart-to-heart), but one thing this show hasn’t cinched just yet is its nine-person juggling act. Given a few more trips around The Waverider, Legends will likely find its stride. There’s just too much talent attached to the show for that not to happen. As for this week? I tip my hat to the ensemble, but there wasn’t a single stand-out. Pretty shocking considering that this episode just killed off one of its major characters.
BE BRAVE AND BEHOLD:
– Damien Darhk pops by for his inevitable cameo. Which is fitting, considering he popped by for one in the Vandal Savage debut episode of The Flash, titled “Legends of Today”.
– Ivy University shout-out. Otherwise known as Ray Palmer’s alma mater.
– Okay, Show. I know you don’t like your audience to squawk about discrepancies with your science, but if you’re gonna stick our motley crew in 1975, you’d better make sure the period settings can back that up. “Disco Inferno”? “Disco Inferno” didn’t come out until December of ’76. All it took was one Wikipedia search to dismantle your artifice. Smarten up!
– Not going to make a Back to the Future reference here. Not gonna do it.
– So the Wee Stein won the Carlin Award for his scientific endeavors, huh? That wouldn’t be former Superman Group Editor and DC Executive Editor Mike Carlin you’re hinting at, would it? (I miss Mike Carlin so much, you guys.)
6.5 out of 10
Next: “Blood Ties”, soon.
Before: “Pilot, Part 1, here.