Season One, Episode Four — “White Knights”
By Jarrod Jones. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to discover that The Waverider’s little jaunt to the Eighties wasn’t a Tiffany-soaked neon fest, but rather a chilly Cold War actioner that spent more time on espionage than it did dwelling on episodes of Alf. (Can you blame me? After what this show did to the Seventies?) Legends of Tomorrow continues its precarious high-wire ensemble act, but progress remains a slow one.
Sara needs to straighten out Kendra, which is enough, apparently, to keep them stashed away on one side of Rip Hunter’s ship while the boys get to play James Bond in the Soviet Union. Considering the fellas keep finding themselves in a jam that could be solved with the presence of two warriors, that’s a pretty big bonehead play. But then again, Legends of Tomorrow is quickly revealing itself to be one hell of a bonehead show. It’s a frustrating thing to watch these people blunder their way across time. I hope I feel differently by the season’s end.
WHAT WORKED: With each successive episode, Brandon Routh and Wentworth Miller are forging a formidable bond in front of our very eyes. I know that Mick Rory is supposed to be Captain Cold’s musclebound comic relief, but The Atom is slowly revealing himself to be the Jerry Lewis to Cold’s Dean Martin. Watching Leonard Snart casually saunter through this episode while Ray Palmer struggles to hit a single mark (a subtly touching performance from the hard-luck Routh) was a definite highlight this week. I want to see more from these two, because the chemistry is dazzling.
While Laurel and Hardy up there continue to be the cool kids on the block, Victor Garber and Franz Drameh have stepped up their rapport considerably. It’s only fitting that the union of Firestorm be a tumultuous one, and the sequence where Professor Stein shits all over Jefferson Jackson definitely caused enough emotional tremors.
WHAT DIDN’T: I know that we’re supposed to watch these people overcome their growing pains as a team, but holy Hannah is this getting old fast. It almost seems like the writing team was hired for a single purpose — to heighten each Legendeer’s personality quirks to critical mass — and was never once asked to do anything else. Without nuance and grace aiding these stories along the way, there’s nothing pumping the brakes when everyone veers precariously towards caricature. Poor, dopey Ray is now a bumbling fool, fast-talking Professor Stein has devolved into a frothing egomaniac, and Kendra’s… well, I’m not sure what Kendra’s supposed to be right now. This show has yet to successfully juggle this team’s unwieldy numbers, and this narrative dischord is wreaking havoc on my love for these characters.
Ray: “Really? We’re trying to save the world and you’re lifting wallets?” Leonard: “It’s called ‘multi-tasking’.”
“Guess I’ll bone up on the ballet. Gideon — bone me.” – Leonard.
“Damn, that was cold. Even by Russian standards.” – Leonard.
Rip: “Mr. Rory, how would you like to accompany on a little mission?” Rory: “Do I get to use my gun?”
BEST MOMENT: A scientist on the beat, a scientist in the sheets. Poor Ray. His heart is definitely in the right place, and he’s most certainly an asset whenever Rip Hunter needs someone to folksy up the science lingo, but man. Is he hopeless with women. Good thing Rip teamed The Atom up with Captain Cold; Leonard’s icy demeanor was the perfect fit for the team’s sexy Russian mark. Leonard walks right into the social calamity brought forth by Ray, and I was all smiles the entire time.
EPISODE’S MVP: Snart. Leonard Snart. Captain Cold went full James Bond this week: he uses his cover to beguile a military officer in the Pentagon, he seduces a Russian scientist who is decidedly not what she seems, and he proves himself yet again that he’s the smartest person on The Waverider. The CW should just give Captain Cold his own damn series already.
BE BRAVE AND BEHOLD:
– Love that the women were in officer’s uniforms and the boys were on distraction duty.
– Gideon: “Savage has defected to the Soviet Union.” That would imply that Vandal Savage — immortal maniac would-be despot — was at one point a citizen of the United States of America. Pretty sure that’s not the case.
– Valentina Vostok — otherwise known as Negative Woman in Doom Patrol — first appeared in Showcase #94 back in 1977. While Valentina is decidedly not a bad guy in the comics, she’s definitely on Savage’s side here. I wonder if all her tampering with nuclear power might give way to Legends’ first ever super villain origin story.
– Hey, Rip… did DC Comics pay you to drop “Rebirth” all over us? Are you sure you didn’t mean “hashtag rebirth”?
– Look, Kendra. You already dropped that “two months ago I was a barista” line two weeks ago. Change the record, darling.
– I wonder if we’ll get the chance to actually see Vanishing Point this season. Here’s hopin’.
– Holy cow, Ray & Leonard, it didn’t even look close to being cold outside. It’s tough to sell you’re freezing when the air around you is visibly mild. The show’s post-production team didn’t even bother adding CGI cold breath. Hilarious.
6.5 out of 10
Next: “Fail Safe”, soon.
Before: “Blood Ties”, here.