Season One, Episode Three — “Blood Ties”
By Jarrod Jones. If everyone bailed on a show after sitting through a lackluster pilot, none of us would ever have to watch television. Legends of Tomorrow, based on its premise alone, is allowing this viewer to gloss over any inadequacies that come our way for at least five episodes — but, my god, the last two weeks have been rough. Fortunately for me, “Blood Ties” is heads and shoulders above its messy two-part pilot, mostly due to the fact that it does what CW DC TV does best: delving into character, furthering an engrossing (enough) arc, and dropping more Easter Eggs than you can fill a basket with. It does this by acknowledging its limitations. This week, we took two steps forward, a few steps to the side, and zero steps backward. That, my friends, is progress.
WHAT WORKED: Now that all of Legends‘ chess pieces have been put into place, it’s time, to quote the vernacular of masters, “to boogie.” And Sara & Rip’s excellent journey through the foundations of Vandal Savage’s empire was precisely everything I wanted out of this show. Two broken people finding solace in each other — not through romance, mind you, but through teamwork, sharing, and a pair of killer fight sequences. Arthur Darvill (who’s been shockingly wooden up until now), and Caity Lotz (my frequent pick for Arrow‘s MVP) have displayed a unique chemistry that is — of all the potential unions that can be made here — surprisingly well-balanced. Sara and Rip bond over their innate desire to kill (because what else), and the manner in which it taxes your humanity. Who knew this man from the future and this Lazarus-spawned warrior could help each other “become better”? Certainly not me.
I’ll save Captain Cold’s quiet little moment for later.
Though I’m not happy to have anyone sit out an episode, Kendra Saunders’ little bout of Tony Stark Syndrome (metallic shards shooting through your chest and straight for your heart) gave Ray Palmer an opportunity to get some serious mileage out of his A.T.O.M exosuit. Watching The Atom fly through Hawkgirl’s bloodstream to blast away shards of Savage’s blade gave me the Silver Age willies like crazy.
It’s something I mentioned in my prior write-ups for this show: once the particulars were put in place, we could begin mixing and matching each cast member into some very interesting dichotomies. And that’s largely what made “Blood Bonds” a step up from the previous two weeks. They applied an ancient adage: Divide and conquer.
WHAT DIDN’T: I want to know whose idea it was to turn Professor Stein into a raging asshole. Whether he’s manipulating his younger self into giving him what he needs, drugging the one person who should trust him more than anything, or outright lying to somebody just to give them “a push”, Stein’s exhibiting behavior I don’t recall seeing in The Flash. There are moments where Leonard Snart gets a wee bit more sassy than his cold exterior would otherwise allow too, but for the most part, the only character Legends can’t seem to get right is Marty Stein. It may be time for a recalibration, and soon.
“I have seen men of steel die and dark knights fall…” – Rip. Now who could you possibly be referring to, Hunter.
Prof. Stein: “It’s the size of an iceberg. Seems highly unlikely that you’d miss it.” The Atom: “Huh. That’s probably what they said on The Titanic.” Victor Garber, you were lucky enough to have lasted this long without it coming up. Welcome to The CW, pal. You’re forever “That Guy From Titanic.”
Rip: “I thought I said ‘no weapons’!” Sara: “You can thank me later.”
“Exactly how many knives do you have?” – Rip, to Sara.
Jax: “You’re screwing with history, man.” Leonard: “Yeah, well, history screwed with me first.”
“I didn’t have you pegged as the ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ type.” – Rory, to Sara.
BEST MOMENT: Leonard has a pep talk with himself. We all know Wentworth Miller has the bonafides to hold his own. (Go marathon Prison Break and have a ball.) He’s the most famous Rogue this side of The Trickster, and that’s not just because he’s easy to look at. Last night we discovered a whole new facet to Leonard Snart: Miller exhibited pathos far beyond anything we’ve seen from him before this week, and all it took was one look at the innocent boy his character once was. Maybe Rip’s “you’re legends” line stirred up something inside of Captain Cold, because for a single moment, all I could see was a man who wanted nothing more than to become a better person in spite of himself. Stuck a lump right in my throat.
EPISODE’S MVP: White Canary. Caity Lotz has long been a favorite of mine, and I’m so glad to see her finally removed from the oppressively dour surroundings of Arrow. Now that Sara Lance has left that show as a frequent series guest-star, Arrow has room to breathe, and so does she. Here we watch Sara contend with her resurrection, the ramifications that come from it, and her ability to adapt to any situation given to her. Sara’s no-bullshit approach to helping Rip Hunter this week will ever remain a series highlight.
BE BRAVE AND BEHOLD:
– I love how the light of The Atom’s helmet casts a shadow over Brandon Routh’s eyes. It makes him look like an Alex Ross painting.
– Rip’s “men of steel/dark knights” tease got me to thinkin’… maybe we’ll be seeing Terry McGinnis one day?
– Of course, once Grant Gustin runs his little yellow boots over to National City later this year, that “men of steel” line will finalize its validity.
– Tonight’s “remember the Seventies?” track: “Fight the Power”, by the Isley Brothers. Time-appropriate. Sequence appropriate. Much better than last time.
– People on Twitter are squeaking about a Jonah Hex Wanted poster, but I guess I missed it. Never get old, kids.
– So Ray Palmer’s fiance was named Anna Loring. ‘Course, in the comics The Atom’s wife was named Jean. But we can’t quibble about that — an older version of Jean Loring appeared on Arrow back in its second season, so I suppose that’s about as close as we were ever likely to get. I’ll take it.
– Really, really disappointed that the green rock in all those Legends promos turned out to be a ding-dang ruse. No one ever explicitly said there’d be Kryptonite, but dammit — they sure as hell implied that there would be.
– “Guess we’re heading to the Eighties.” – Ray. Because Warner Bros has the rights to Depeche Mode.
7.5 out of 10
Next: “White Knights”, soon.
Before: “Pilot, Part 2″, here.