Legends of Tomorrow – White Knights
The show's flaws are slowly worked on.
”Bone me, Gideon.”
There are still weak links in the cast.
Ah, blessed be Canada and its early release of Legends of Tomorrow episode 4. While Americans were busy enjoying their post-Superbowl bliss (and that awesome Civil War spot), their northern cousins were busy travelling through time and space in another adventure on Rip Hunter’s ship.
I have to say, I am more than happy with that particular development, because this episode was awesome and I am generally impatient. The show seems to have finally found its footing, even if there are still times when it goes a little clunky. Early days, early days.
The team finally made it into the ’80s, still tracking Savage’s moves, and having their plans thwarted by impossible odds, and the good guys’ habit of redacting the good bits out of documents that happen to contain important information, which actually sets the stage for their next adventure. Our future legends need to break into one of the best guarded buildings in the world – you guessed it: The Pentagon.
I have to admit, I liked the entire setup, from the humoristic way in which Palmer’s dreams of being the next Napoleon Solo were dashed, to the suave way in which Captain Cold solved the little hiccup coming their way, to the kickass way in which Sara managed to hold her own when Kendra aka Big Bird lost it. It was one of the very first missions in which they were all involved fully, coordinated by Rip, who seems to settle in his role as a leader. It felt like an episode of Mission Impossible and the music definitely helped with that.
Sure, it ended badly – Hawkgirl flipping out, portions of the building, needing a new roof, but the seeds of the teams potential when working together were planted.Gone are the days of them each working on a piece of the puzzle, the one that benefited them the most.
Of course, it lasted only a few minutes, but the fact that their team effort was so easily ruined by personal issues was actually fitting. They all have different personalities, different backgrounds and very different motives for being there. All they have in common is their want to be remembered as heroes, as legends. But Carter’s death, while working as a motivator before seems to have lost its ability to sustain them in their missions and our barely functional team is already cracking at the seams.
Points to the screenwriter for actually acknowledging that most teams that form under pressure also crack under it. However, I will take those points back, because Rip set a course for the Soviet Union – surprisingly, that is not a tiny village, making his course as broad as telling Gideon to take him to the US, while looking for something incredibly specific. But I digress.
We are reminded that Rip is a rebellious Time Master, when Chronos aka Boba Fett, attacks the ship. Top Gun references, doe eyed Palmer and generally unhappy people abound, but at least they are all alive, despite crashing.
Now, this is where things actually start getting interesting and once more, everyone is given something to do, however in this episode it seems that everyone’s peculiarities and particularities are exacerbated, reminding us all that yes, Palmer is still naive, Snart is a cold-hearted bastard with a plan, Sara and Kendra are struggling with their identities and the list can go on and on. If last episode split them all up for longer than necessary, giving them each the time to shine, as I mentioned before, this time around they were paired up in yet another new combination, bringing different people together and allowing them to play off of each other in new ways. Most ensemble casts tend to show the same pairings over and over again. It’s how ships are born, after all, but Legends of Tomorrow has strayed from that.
Surprisingly, aside from working on a plot level, it actually works in giving us all the opportunity to see new interactions, keeping things fresh week to week.
I mentioned before that Palmer is naive, almost childlike in his belief in giving people second chances and believing the best of them. If said people happen to be female and scientifically inclined, his ability to forgive and forget increases exponentially. With Savage seemingly defected to the Soviet Union and working on a secret plan that will help him conquer the world and a gorgeous scientist thrown in the mix, Palmer decides to play the suave scientist that will sweep her off her feet, taking her in and leading her back to the path of righteousness. I am imagining this is how Palmer’s inner monologue sounded like. The narration of a very average romantic movie. And with the help of ingestible translators he can actually narrate it in Russian too.
As Ray discovers ”reality” hardly works like that and he finds himself rejected before he even got to properly introduce himself to Valentina Vostok (Stephanie Corneliussen). Luckily, my favourite bad guy – Captain Cold – is there to save the day, yet again. I have a feeling – though I could be wrong – that Leonard Snart might soon become a fan favourite. The fan favourite. He’s genre savy, he’s good at stealing, at spinning stories and firing guns and has a code of honour that most bad guys lack.
Back on the ship, Kendra and Sara, two very different women, but sharing a common plight – their inability to always control their rage – are working together towards that exact goal. I have to admit, another thing that I like about Legends of Tomorrow is that they are thankfully avoiding any love triangles, jealous spats between characters and so on and so forth. People get angry, people fight, people lose control, but so far they are focused on the matter at hand, which happens to be saving the world.
Sara and Kendra end up in a situation that might have put them at odds for the rest of a season and lesser writers would’ve focused on that conflict, instead we are regaled to them learning to support one another through the worst of it. I feel like they were given too little to do, the aforementioned large cast always taking the spotlight from one person or another throughout an episode. Ciara Renee still has a lot of work to do, in my opinion, but she is actually better without Falk Hentschel thrown into the mix.
Rip and Rory also team up, against a big bad enemy. Funny enough, it’s one of the neutral guys, one of those obsessed with preserving the timeline pure and untouched individuals, Rip’s former mentor in the Time Masters – Zuman Druce. Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) actually proves himself smarter than most people give him credit for and figures Druce’s plan before Rip does. I liked seeing that, considering that most people see Heatwave as a package deal with Captain Cold and nothing more than that.
Jefferson and Stein are mostly absent from the main story, only showing up when bickering or when saving Rip’s butt from the Time Master’s plan, that Rory ”kindly” informed him of. Jefferson gets hurt and Stein turns into some sort of evil grandfather for a few moments. His intentions are good, but the delivery left a lot to be desired. And he did roofie the kid and abducted him, so I get to call BS whenever he tries to act like he’s got a point.
It might seem a bit like karma struck when Stein gets himself caught, while trying to figure out what Vostok and Savage were working on together, in her evil lair. Okay, it’s more like a laboratory, but she is evil, so lair works. Her project is actually focusing on creating a Firestorm. They are trying to build what only Stein achieved and it excites and frightens him at the same time. Palmer, our eagle scout, who I personally believe should never be allowed on any type of mission without adult supervision, gets the everything messed up because he still harbours the idea that somehow pretty scientists can’t be villains. He pays for it, getting himself, Stein and Rory caught. Cold escapes with the thermocore and a whole load of bottled up anger against Rip, who focused more on the mission than on the people involved in it.
However, I see where this is going and I can see the Prison Break references that will show up in the next episode already. We need that in our lives. All in all, it was a great episode and while Legends of Tomorrow is still working towards ironing out all of its flaws, it’s definitely enjoyable and what the script can’t fix, the actors and actresses make up for with their deliveries.