Season One, Episode Six — “Star City 2046”
By Jarrod Jones. This week’s hour of Legends of Tomorrow finds Ray Palmer scoffing out loud, “Boy, I feel like I’m back in high school.” The Atom, I’m sorry to say, is not far from the truth — Jax likes Kendra, but Kendra might like Ray; Jax’s main guy Marty wants to help him out, so Marty tells Ray that Kendra likes him, which is supposed to make Ray not like Kendra, and — oh god, shut up, Show. Somebody else wanna recap this episode? My ulcer’s killing me. And no amount of crappy old-man makeup on Stephen Amell is making me feel any better.
I don’t know how much longer I can watch Legends of Tomorrow do the cha-cha all over my geeky heart. The two-part pilot had me temper my expectations, so I temper them. Then it gets worse, only to get better. And now, with “Star City 2046”, we’re back to the bad. Makes you wonder if Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Marc Guggenheim are way too busy helping Arrow limp its way to another season finale, or are just completely exhausted making The Flash and Supergirl so great every week. Whatever the case may be, DC’s most ambitious television show yet is already suffering, and it doesn’t look like anyone is trying to save it. Sure, it has the bombast. But it needs to figure out what kind of show it wants to be — dippy melodrama, time-scouring epic, or a cheaply-made infomercial for The CW’s weekly lineup. And it needs to do it quickly.
WHAT WORKED: The Star City of the future is a violent cesspool, and that’s wholly evident by the landscape put together by the intrepid set designers of Legends. I don’t care if it’s just another repurposed Arrow set, Star City under siege looks every bit as dangerous as it should, and that makes me happy. With practical stunts and pyrotechnics, not to mention some clever editing, Legends is finally getting around to proving it can handle scale and spectacle. It’s not hard to imagine what it’d be capable of with a larger budget. (Say nothing of better writers.)
WHAT DIDN’T: Now, I don’t know if Connor Hawke is supposed to be super-archer-plus, or the jarring experience to traveling to the future has the Legendeers all discombobulated, but watching these kids get their asses kicked by one dude with a quiver full of arrows was a pretty lame thing to watch, indeed.
No, no, no. Just because Kendra’s would-be boyfriend is dead doesn’t automatically make her Legends‘ one object of desire ripe for the conquest. Watching Jax stew over Ray Palmer’s flirtations with Hawkgirl is surprisingly antithetical to The CW’s progressive output, to say nothing of its heroic credo. (“Defy your world. Dare to live in ours.“) I’m the first to say that Legends needs to improve its interpersonal relationships from within The Waverider, but this is not the way to go. (Gah — I can hardly watch Ciara Renee pretend to be impressed with these chumps.)`
BEST LINE(s): You kidding me? The druggy after-effects of “Star City 2046” feels like someone took an episode of Saved by the Bell, an issue of Brad Meltzer’s Justice League of America, and a bottle of Xanax and threw them into a blender for our consumption. Nothing great came from this week’s trifle, and I certainly didn’t find a line of dialogue fit for this category. Moving on.
BEST MOMENT: Mick & Leonard have a spat. They make for such a great comedic duo so often in this show that it’s easy to lose sight of what Captain Cold and Heat Wave actually are. As a pair of criminals who operate on a wide spectrum between “right” and “wrong”, the Rogues have yet to really get a chance to indulge in their darker impulses. This week, it’s Mick who gets to flex his darker side, which predictably pits his more noble partner against him. Leonard reminds Mick, it’s removing Vandal Savage from the board — that will free us to pillage and plunder to our heart’s desire. Ah, says Mick. But I have a fur coat and mini-Gerard Butler to do my bidding right now this minute. Watching these two spar was definitely a highlight this week. Hopefully Legends lets its #1 bad boy continue to be bad. Right now, I’m enjoying watching Mick seethe.
EPISODE’S MVP: Sara Lance. Caity Lotz remains the backbone of Legends of Tomorrow, kicking all the ass when necessary (which is often) and keeping Rip Hunter honest (which, apparently, is always). Sara’s glimpse into Star City’s future shows that the former assassin has plenty of humanity left inside that heart of hers, no matter what the Lazarus Pit may have done to bring her back to the land of the living. Plus, watching her run straight into imminent danger remains the burst of energy this show so often needs.
BE BRAVE AND BEHOLD:
– So Connor Hawke is still Connor Hawke, but he’s also John Diggle’s son. I can’t decide whether I’m enjoying this show’s “have cake and eat it” approach to its fanservice.
– Grant Wilson is indeed Slade Wilson’s son — though he’s more commonly known as Ravager. Wilson first appeared in New Teen Titans #1 back in 1980.
– Oliver’s grizzled, one-arm-havin’ look definitely takes a page from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Because it’s not “dark and gritty” unless somebody’s cribbing from Frank Miller.
– “… at a warehouse on Adams and O’Neil.” Oh, Legends thinks it’s cute.
– That “Blackhawk armored car heist” Leonard’s talking about is from The Flash Season One, Episode Four, “Going Rogue”. And for those of you keeping track at home, that’s the first time we ever got to thrill to Wentworth Miller’s exploits in the CW DC TV Universe.
5.5 out of 10
Next: “Marooned”, soon.
Before: “Fail Safe”, here.