Season One, Episode Five — “Fail Safe”

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

By Jarrod Jones. The big hook of Legends of Tomorrow — that one day, this motley crew of superhero washups will become as famous and loved as The Flash or Green Arrow — has, for the most part, left us hanging out to dry. CW’s latest superhero show has been chaotic at best, and not in a Rick and Morty-esque “to hell with it” sort of way either. There’s an agenda at play here. A point to be made. And for the most part, Legends has been blowing it.

It’s frustrating to watch a show with such promise deteriorate in plain view (hello, Gotham), but if this week’s episode, “Fail Safe”, has proven one thing, it’s that Legends has some life in it yet. Quite a bit of life, actually; hardline fans of The Flash know how valuable a currency time travel can be for primetime superhero tv, and for the first time in its very short run, Legends let it rain. Vandal Savage continues to underestimate Rip Hunter’s merry band, and it seems, so have we. (I hope.)

WHAT WORKED: Of all the character combos available in Legends, I’m finding that the Mick Rory/Ray Palmer dichotomy functions far more ably than I could have ever anticipated. Yes, Rory’s newest cellmate has a tendency to smile when it’s not appropriate (and in a Russian gulag, that’s always), and sure, he’s probably not the toughest bruiser to have watching your back. But Ray’s ability to take a beating (something that’s quickly becoming a recurring joke for Legends, and not one I’m enjoying, btw) has finally endeared The Atom to Heat Wave — a crazy prospect to be sure. Ray and Mick’s few dire moments in a cell were the most meditative (and genuine) Legends has offered us thus far.

Stein’s words on the state of contemporary Russian domestic policy had a jingoistic tinge to them, but if there was one actor who has the verbal might to deliver them with a straight face, it’s definitely Victor Garber. What made the moment stick out was the obvious chemistry Garber shares with Valentina Vostok, the evil Russian nuclear physicist played by Stephanie Corneliussen. Watching the two verbally spar with each other gave “Fail Safe” stakes, and — for a ding-dang change — a villain we can actually learn to fear.

WHAT DIDN’T: What the hell happened to Captain Cold this week? One minute he’s offering up creepy advice as to how Sara should go about killing Professor Stein, and the next he’s working overtime to convince her against it? Say what? This show needs to figure out how to toe the line between Captain Cold’s honor and his (forgive me) chilling malice. Just when I think everything’s going well with my man Leonard, Legends throws me a sloppy curveball.


There are infinite ways to break a man… and I have an infinite amount of time.” – Savage.

Leonard: (to Rip) “My partner’s in prison too.” “Sara: “And Ray.” Leonard: “Yeah, whatever. (back to RipThe point is…

This isn’t my first prison break.” – Leonard. And… squee.

Get a knife. You need to cut me.” – Jax, to Kendra.

Mick: “You proved something back there.” Ray: “I proved I wasn’t scared.” Mick: “You proved you make a good piñata.”

Barry Allen who?” – Jax, in a considerable amount of pain.

He has impeccable timing!” – Jax, on Chronos. That’s pretty funny.

BEST MOMENT: Soviet Prison Break. C’mon. You know you love watching Prison Break vets Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell run amok all over The Flash and Legends. And this jailbreakin’ episode gave adoring fans the opportunity indulge in some seriously geeky catharsis. The quips, the in-jokes, the excitement… The last twenty minutes of “Fail Safe” is a prime example of how a large ensemble action show like Legends should work. Even if it cribbed from the defunct Fox actioner here and there, I still had a big ol’ smile slapped across my big dumb face.

EPISODE’S MVP: Jefferson Jackson. Finally! I’ve been on Team Jax since the very beginning (and not just because I can’t stand nepotism, Ronnie), but one of my recurring gripes with Legends is that it had, up until this week, systematically marginalized the most crucial facet to the Firestorm Matrix. This week saw Jax take his lumps (that leg injury — ouch), give a speech (with a tear in his eye, to boot), and generally remind everyone why he’s so vital to the DC Television Universe. More Jax. More Firestorm. Forever.

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.


– We were promised Cisco Ramon in Legends, and instead we got a creepy, drug-induced facsimile of Cisco Ramon. *shudder*

– Seems fitting a wanna-be espot would name-drop Joseph Stalin at his earliest convenience.

– I think we all missed out on a golden opportunity for this show to tease KGBeast, don’t you?

– A violent skirmish inside a Russian sauna? It appears the writers of Legends have seen Eastern Promises.

– As a fellow who has torn his meniscus, I can tell you the prospect of running 120 yards in less than 10 seconds is a very daunting one. Poor Jax.

– I’m not saying Jax deserves a drink, but dammit, guys, this is a ding-dang superhero show! Limits!

8.5 out of 10

Next: “Star City 2046”, soon.

Before: “White Knights”, here.