Friday, March 31, 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 2, Episode 16: Doomworld

This week on Legends Of Tomorrow, the Legion Of Doom finally gets to use the Spear Of Destiny and rewrite reality in their own image.

Oddly enough it's a curiously low-key reality, that's not all that much different from our current one. It even has the same president! I guess the Legion's desire to posses the Spear was much like a dog chasing a car— they didn't know what to do with it once they caught it!

Overall it's a fun, if underwhelming episode. It gives the cast a chance to play different versions of their characters, which is always fun— for the actors as well as the audience.

As usual in this type of story, the writers have to stack the deck a bit in favor of the heroes, in order to give them a fighting chance. Logically the Legion should have used the Spear to erase the Legends completely from reality, but for some reason they make the boneheaded decision to keep them alive and just erase their memories. 

Then the writers litter the story landscape with little chances for the heroes to win. Steel just happens to remember the way things used to be. Atom just happens to invent a gun that can restore everyone's memories. Heat Wave just happens to decide to help the Legends win. It's an overused trope of course, but if the writers didn't use it this would be the final episode of the series!

It kind of reminds me of the final Hunger Games movies. The Districts have 1930s Dustbowl-era technology, and are going up against the futuristic Capitol. There's no way the Districts could last more than five minutes against their technologically superior enemy. Author Suzanne Collins realized this as well, which is why she pulled District 13 out of her ass. A previously unheard of District that just happened to be filled to the rafters with highly trained soldiers, high tech weapons and tons of ammo, and gave the heroes a fighting chance. Funny how that just happened to work out, eh?

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Now that the Legion Of Doom possesses the Spear Of Destiny, they've forever altered the world. The Legionaries are all in positions of power, while the Legends toil away in menial jobs, without their powers and with no memories of their former lives.

In Star City, White Canary and Vixen, both clad in black leather cat suits (of course), chase a masked vigilante through the streets. After a brief fight they capture her, and we see she's really Felicity Smoake (from Arrow), who's apparently a superhero in this reality.

The two bring Felicity to the office of Damien Darhk, who's now the mayor of Star City (Really? That's it? Just the mayor?). He monologues a bit, then orders Canary to kill Felicity. OK, so... that was all pointless, other than to get a guest star from Arrow into the episode.

Over in Central City, Malcom Merlyn bursts into a restored STAR Labs, demanding to see Eobard Thawne. Merlyn notices that Thawne has apparently captured the Black Flash and imprisoned him in his office, meaning he's no longer in danger of being eradicated from the timeline. Merlyn wants to use the Spear to alter a few things for himself, but Thawne tells him that's impossible, as he destroyed the Kalobros (aka the instruction book for the Spear). Merlyn isn't happy about this.

Thawne then summons Jefferson Jackson to his office, and asks how the big project's proceeding. Jackson says it'll be up and running that night. Thawne threateningly says it'd better be, or else. After Jackson leaves, Merlyn asks why the hell Thawne let the Legends live in his brave new world. Thawne says it's "poetic justice," which doesn't make the least bit of sense, but lets just move on.

We then see Captain Cold and Heat Wave robbing a bank. As they run down the street, they're suddenly surrounded by cops. The police then recognize Cold, put down their guns and walk off. Heat Wave asks what the hell that was all about. Cold says that all Heat Wave wanted was a life of crime, so that's what he's got now in this reality. An entire world to rob, unfettered by interference from the law. Heat Wave doesn't like the sound of this, and appears to be regretting his decision to hand the Spear over to the Legion.

Meanwhile, Rip Hunter is apparently living inside the Waverider in this reality, spending his days playing Cake Boss (?). This doesn't make the least big of sense, but let's just move on. Gideon, who also apparently still exists, suggests they try and rescue their former teammates. Rip says it's impossible, as the Legion is too powerful.

In a lab that looks amazingly like the Hall Of Doom from the Super Friends cartoon, Jackson berates his employee, Professor Stein, and tells him he'd better get the project up and running immediately. We see Atom works in this lab as well, as a janitor (!).

Back In Thawne's office, he tells Cold and Heat Wave to keep and eye on Merlyn, who he thinks is acting squirrely. It's the old "Divide And Conquer" trick! Suddenly Steel barges into the office. In this reality he's a conspiracy theorist who live in his mother's basement, and has an embarrassing Lloyd Christmas-esque haircut. He tells Thawne that the world isn't "right," as he's somehow sensed that reality has changed. He calls these subtle differences "scars." Thawne realizes that Steel's onto something, and tells Cold and Heat Wave to take him out and kill him.

The two drive Steel out to a remote location. Just as Cold's about to kill Steel, Heat Wave stops him. The two fight, and Heat Wave knocks out Cold. He then grabs Steel and they drive off.

They drive to Atom's apartment (um... how does Heat Wave know where he lives?), and Heat Wave tells him he needs his help to fix things. Atom says he's just a janitor, but Heat Wave disagrees, telling him he's "a geek, a nerd, a genius." Atom sheepishly admits he also feels there's something wrong with reality, and shows them something he's been working on— a Transreality Multiplexer. He says the raygun-like device will "reset" a person's brain to its original settings.


Heat Wave takes the Multiplexer and shoots Steel in the head with it. Steel shakes his head for a few seconds, sees Heat Wave, calls him a son of a bitch and punches him in the face for betraying the Legends! The gun works! He then shoots Atom with it, and he punches him in the face as well!

Cold meets with Darhk and Merlyn to discuss Heat Wave's apparent defection. Darhk is worried that he's trying to reuinite the Legends (smart boy!). He calls Canary and Vixen, and tells them to find Heat Wave (who has a tracker on him, courtesy of Cold).

Back at Atom's place, Canary and Vixen barge in. They attack the three men, and a big battle ensues. Vixen gets away, but Heat Wave manages to shoot Canary with the Multiplexer, restoring her memory. She also punches him in the face!

Canary says the Legion knows where they are and will be coming from them, so they go to the only place they'll be safe— Steel's mom's house. Canary says the Legion doesn't know she's been restored, so she can sneak back into Darhk's office and "fix" Vixen. Steel wonders how they can restore Jackson and Stein.

Meahwhile in the Waverider, a slovenly and disheveled Rip finishes decorating another cake (?). Gideon announces she's figured out a way to get around Thawne's dampening field, so they can send out a message to the Legends. This seems to recharge Rip, who says it's time clean himself up and finally take some action.

Darhk, Merlyn and Cold discuss Thawne's actions, and decide he needs to be eliminated. Vixen enters and says she was separated from Canary, and that three of the Legends have been restored. Just then Canary enters, apologizing for being late and acting like she's still under Thawne's influence.

Darhk is suspicious of her, and taunts her about killing her sister Laurel. She goes along with it as long as she can, but eventually reaches her breaking point. She punches Darhk in the face (lots of face punching in this episode!) and he levitates her with his magic powers, which have been restored in this reality. Just as he's about to kill her, Canary pulls out the Multiplexer and shoots Vixen with it. The two of them escape.

They find Jackson, shoot him with the Multiplexer and take him to Steel's basement. Jackson says Thawne was having him build some sort of nuclear incinerator, one that burns "a thousand times hotter than the sun." They theorize that Thawne plans to use the incinerator to destroy the Spear Of Destiny, which would cement this reality in place forever.

The Legends then decide to get the Spear back before Thawne can destroy it. Amazingly Heat Wave remembers the Kalobros incantation that controls the Spear, so they'll be able to actually use it once they get it. Because the Legends are still dicks though, they tell him to stay behind, since he's the reason they're in this mess. After they leave, he joins his pal Cold again.

At the lab, Thawne threatens Stein, who says the reactor is finally ready. He powers it up and it hums to life. Meanwhile, Cold & Heat Wave tell Darhk and Merlyn that Thawne is planning to incinerate the Spear. They refuse to let that happen, and decide to grab the Spear while the Legends are attacking Thawne.

Jackson enters the lab and tries to shoot Stein with the Muliplexer, but he swats it out of his hand, breaking it. Thawne enters with the Spear, right as the rest of the Legends AND the Legion arrive. Just as Thawne's about the drop the Spear into the reactor, Heat Wave shoots it out of his hand. The Legends and the Legion then fight over the Spear, as it changes hands many times.

Finally Heat Wave grabs the Spear. Both sides try to convince him to hand it over. He finally gives it to Vixen, the only person he really trusts. She starts chanting the incantation in order to undo Thawne's changes. Suddenly she's hit with an extra strong blast from Cold's gun. She freezes solid and shatters into a million pieces (!). Cold grabs the Spear, and for some reason gives it to Thawne. He drops it into the reactor, where it's instantly incinerated!

Both the Legends and the Legion threaten to kill Thawne, but he reminds them that he's a speedster and could murder them all while they're blinking. He then speeds away.

Back in Steel's basement, the Legends mope over their defeat. Canary says they could undo all this if they could go back in time and prevent the Legion from getting the Spear in the first place. Unfortunately they don't know where to find Rip.

Cut to Rip in the Waverider, as he begins sending out a distress call. The camera pulls back, and we see the ship's been miniaturized and is now a decoration on Thawne's desk!

Thoughts:
• Eobard Thawne does this week's intro. I'm pretty sure it's his first time.

• Once again, the Legion's logos replace those of the Legends as they fly onto the screen and form the title in this episode. The last time this happened was a few weeks ago in the appropriately titled The Legion Of Doom!

• Darhk keeps a trophy case in his office, filled with the masks of superheroes he's killed in this reality. Gosh, we've never seen a super villain do anything like that before!

From the top left the masks are:

Ragman   /   Arrow
Wildcat    /    Vigilante
Black Canary    /    The Flash
Unknown?    /    Spartan

I have no idea what the object at lower left is. If anybody has any ideas, let me know.


• Although I liked this episode for the most part, it does contain one whopper of an oddity— the Legion Of Doom's "Brave New World" that they created with the Spear Of Destiny doesn't seem all that different from our own!

Eobard Thane spends his time as a research scientist. Malcolm Merlyn seems content to have his family and his hand back. And Captain Cold and Heat Wave want nothing more out of life than a bank to rob and a star to steer her by, or something like that.

Weirdest of all is Damien Darhk, who's now the Mayor of Star City in this new reality. Really, the mayor? I guess maybe in a few years he'll run for Governor, and if that works out, he'll eventually become a Senator. Then if all goes well, maybe twenty or thirty years from now, he might have a shot at President!

I dunno, I was expecting their custom-built reality to be a little more... grand.

Obviously this is yet another case of budgetary limitations. Creating a bold new world full of wonders we've never seen before is expensive. Showing us one that's more or less the same as ours is cheap!

Another oddity about the Legion's altered reality: When Steel first meets Thawne, he gushes to him about all the wonderful ways in which he's changed the world for the better. He says Thawne eliminated global warming, saved the polar bears, made desalination feasible, figured out cold fusion and more!

Honestly this new reality doesn't sound all that bad! Instead of inflicting pain and suffering on the world, Thawne actually seems to have made it better! So what's the downside here? That some of the Legends are forced to work in menial jobs? The horror... the horror...

• In this reality, Eobard Thawne conducts research in a restored STAR Labs, complete with an intact upper left pylon.

I'm pretty sure this is this is the first time we've seen the building whole since The Flash's Pilot episode!

• Steel barges into Thawne's office and tells him there's something "wrong" with reality. Having Steel be the one who senses the world isn't right is a nice little callback to the first episode of the season, in which he said he was a "Time Detective" who noticed the Legends were making small changes to the past.

Somewhat less than believable was the idea that Atom just happened to cobble together a gun which would restore everyone's memories. Talk about convenient!


• This episode continues the series' (and the Arrowverse in general) tradition of horrible, horrible wigs. Especially Steel's Lloyd Christmas haircut. Was that even hair on top of his head?

Thawne jokes to Merlyn that he kept the Legion alive in his new world, but made sure each was living in their own "personal hell." Is this the normally perfectly-coiffed Steel's personal hell— to live out his life with horrible-looking hair?

• The idea that Rip Hunter's spending his days inside a miniaturized Waverider baking and decorating elaborate cakes is... odd, to say the least. I don't mean the miniaturization thing— that's just par for the course on this series. I'm talking about his sudden talent for baking. He's never indicated any interest in cake decorating, or demonstrated a talent of any kind in any previous episode. So where the hell did that come from?

I assume Thawne knows Rip's inside the Waverider, right? Trapping him in there is part of Rip's "personal hell" and all that? Additionally, Rip seems to be the only one who remembers his former life. Why the hell would Thawne let him keep his memories?

By the way, did you notice Rip's Doctor Who cake? If features a time motif, surrounded by a ribbon filled with clock face numbers...

...that is very reminiscent of the current opening titles of Doctor Who

That had to be deliberate. Both shows are about time travel, not to mention the fact that actor Arthur Darvill, who plays Rip, also starred as Rory Williams a few seasons ago on Doctor Who!

• Thawne's other lab, in which Professor Stein is working on the nuclear incinerator, looks amazingly like the Hall Of Doom from the Super Friends cartoon. It's where the animated Legion Of Doom held their monthly meetings.

That. Is. Awesome! For all my whingeing, I really do love this show!

• At one point we see Thawne on the phone, saying: 
"Yes, Mr. President, you know I'll be there. You know I love receiving medals. And then, uh, golf on Sunday. And dinner at your hotel after? All right, all right, best to Mel. Bye-bye."


Naturally Donald Trump is still the president in Thawne's dark new reality!

I'm not exactly sure when this episode was filmed, but it has to have been pretty recently, as they very accurately referenced Trump's constant weekend golf retreats. He's our country's first forty hour a week president!

One thing they missed the ball on though was the "Best to Mel" line. Our new first lady doesn't even live in the same goddamned city as her husband, as she shudders at his very touch. In fact I doubt they've been in the same room since the inauguration!

• After Thawne remakes the world, he plans to build a nuclear incinerator so he can destroy the Spear Of Destiny, which will cement this reality in place permanently. A couple things here:

First of all, why does Thawne order Jackson and Stein to build the incinerator? Can't he just use the Spear to create one instantly?

Secondly, Thawne needs the incinerator to disintegrate the Spear, since it can't be destroyed by conventional means. Does he really need the incinerator? Is the Spear capable of destroying itself?

Lastly, all through the episode Thawne threatens and badgers Stein to hurry up and finish the incinerator. What the hell's his hurry? I get that he wants to destroy the Spear to cement his new reality, but why does it have to be eliminated RIGHT NOW???!? Is he afraid the rest of the Legion might get ahold of it and undo his changes?

• Did you notice that in the video game Atom's playing, he's shooting what look like Dominators from Invasion!, last year's big four part Arrowverse crossover event?

• Really, Legends? Last week you were all such insufferable dicks to Heat Wave, that you caused him to defect and join the Legion. It could be argued that you're partially responsible for this whole mess.


Then this week Heat Wave tries to undo the situation, and you all STILL act like dicks to him, refusing to let him go on the mission to retrieve the Spear!

I'm starting to think you all deserve your crappy jobs and bad haircuts!

• My favorite part of the episode? When Steel used the Spear to knock Thawne into last Tuesday, and he and Darhk came thissss close to high-fifing one another. Hilarious!


• Nice to see the Blue Laser™ getting work again! When Thawne drops the Spear Of Destiny into the incinerator, it disintegrates and releases a massive amount of energy, that for some reason takes the form of the standard superhero movie blue laser that shoots straight up into the air.

• At the end of the episode, pre-reformation Captain Cold kills Vixen. I wouldn't mourn too hard for her though, as there's no way she's gonna stay dead. If she dies here, then her granddaughter, the modern day Vixen, will never be born, which would screw up Arrow's continuity. I'm sure she'll get better next week (which will totally undercut her emotional farewell in this episode).

• All through the episode I assumed Rip & the Waverider were marooned in the Vanishing Point (which I'm sure is what we were all supposed to think). Nope! Turns out that the Waverider's actually been miniaturized and is acting as a decoration on Thawne's desk! Did NOT see that coming!

Let's hope that in addition to shrinking the Waverider (and Rip), Thawne remembered to shrink their mass as well. Otherwise that's gotta be one strong desk!

The "Waverider Desktop Reveal" was actually telegraphed earlier in the episode. In one scene we see Thawne has a couple of aircraft models sitting on his desk!

Once I saw the reveal, I went back through the episode to see if I could spot the Waverider on the desk in any scenes. There's an early shot where you can see something vaguely ship-shaped on Thawne's desk, but I can't tell for sure if it's the Waverider or not.

• This Week's Best Lines:
Steel: (to Cold and Heat Wave) "Look, I don't understand. If this is about my work, nobody pays attention to it. My mom's the only person that reads my blog."
Heat Wave: "Stop talking."

Steel: (again, to Heat Wave) "This could be one of my scars talking, but I'm sensing you're telling me the truth."

Merlyn: "I knew we should've killed them all. It was a dangerous oversight to keep them alive in any capacity."
Cold: "Does that include Mick?"
Merlyn: "At the very least we should've wiped his brain, such as it is."

Heat Wave: (to Atom and Steel, after their minds have been restored) "Hey, if it wasn't for me, you'd all be dead."
Steel: "Yeah, Mick, thanks a lot. You trapped each of us in our own personal hell."
Atom: "Do you have any idea how many toilets I've cleaned? (shudders) So many."

Atom: (to Canary and Vixen) "I know this may sound crazy, but doesn't it seem like there's something wrong with this world?"
Canary: "Yeah. Rory sold out the boss."
Vixen: "To throw in with you losers."
Steel: (to Vixen) "Losers? I'll have you know in my reality, you and I had sex, and we both liked it very much!"

Steel: (trying to prove to Canary and Vixen that he's a superhero) "Okay. Allow me to demonstrate my superpowers. Okay?" 
(Steel grunts as he tries to "steel" up)
Heat Wave: "Knock it off, you idiot. The Spear took away your powers."

Heat Wave: (after three of the restored Legends punches him) "One more person hits me, I'm gonna punch back!"

Atom: (after the restored Legends meet in Steel's basement) "Your mom's basement? Really?"
Steel: "I pay rent, so legally it's my basement, kinda."
Heat Wave: "Mommy makes great sandwiches."

Rip: "I don't know if I can do this, Gideon."
Gideon: "I believe in you. Now, let's get to work."
Rip: "First I'm going to vomit. And second let's do this."

Cold: "When your minions bring Mick back, I want to arrange a meeting with Thawne. When I say 'arrange a meeting,' I mean..."
Merlyn: "One between Thawne and his maker? Cute."
Darhk: "A little mustache-twirly for my taste."
Merlyn: "You're really gonna have to step up your tactics, Leonard."
Darhk: "Yeah, you didn't think that Thawne was actually gonna fall for that fake meeting trick?"
Merlyn: "This is not The Godfather."

Darhk: (using his magic to kill Canary) "I'm gonna miss you, Ms. Lance. Having you around to attend to my every whim was too enticing to pass up. Plus, it's so hard to find good help these days."
Cold: "Really? Now's the time for a bad guy monologue?"

Jackson: (in Steel's basement) "There's just one thing I don't understand. If Thawne made this world to punish us, how are your mom's sandwiches so good, bro?"
Steel: "Her condiment game's on point, right?"
Atom: "She even had gluten-free bread for me!"

Jackson: (after finding out Thawne intends to destroy the Spear) "Okay, we better get that Spear before he can make that happen."
Vixen: "But even if we find it, we don't know how to access its powers."
Canary: "Rory does. You were there, right, when they used the Spear? "
Heat Wave: "Mm-hmm. They read out of some book called the, uh, Calibrick... Cal... Caliber... Kalablow... Kalabalos... uh, something like that."
Steel: "Do you remember what language it was in?"
Heat Wave: "Aramaic."
Jackson: "Dude, how do you even know what Aramaic sounds like?"
Heat Wave: "Passion of the Christ. Good movie."

Jackson: (trying to restore Stein) "Did you just press the silent alarm?"
Stein: "What? No, it's It's a secondary radiation sensor for the nuclear core."
Jackson: "Grey, you are a crappy liar in any reality."

Thawne: (to the Legends) "Well, looks like you losers managed to remember who you are. I should've wiped you from existence when I had the chance. Do you have any idea how infuriating it is to know that Merlyn was right?"

Cold: (after freezing Vixen solid and shattering her) "I am sorry about your friend, Mick. I know you loved her to pieces."
(you just know Wentworth Miller loved delivering that line!)

2 comments:

  1. Could Rory, er Rip's cake-baking be a nod to Clara Oswin Oswald's penchant for baking souffles?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I forgot all about that. Could be!

    ReplyDelete

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