Sunday, October 16, 2016

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 2, Episode 1: Out Of Time

Legends Of Tomorrow is back for a second season!

Overall I like the show quite a bit, despite the fact it had a very, very uneven first season. The biggest problem last year was without a doubt the whole Vandal Savage story arc. The Legends vowed to kill him, but obviously that couldn't happen too early, so the show was forced to spin its wheels until the season finale.

Now that the unfortunate Savage story arc is gone, the series suddenly has much more storytelling freedom.

Hawkman and Hawkgirl were problematic as well, as the series insisted on focusing on them, despite the fact they were the dullest members of the entire ensemble.

Thankfully the writers seem to understand all that, and have taken steps to improve the series. They've tossed out what didn't work and streamlined the show into a leaner, more well-oiled machine. Well, for the most part.

As always, I like that Legends Of Tomorrow celebrates its Silver Age comic book roots, complete with all the insanity and goofiness that implies. It's refreshing to see comic book characters actually having fun, instead of moping around and trying to kill one another.

There was a lot of plot packed into this premiere episode— maybe too much. When Hunter used the "Time Scatter" to send the Legends to random time periods in order to save their lives. The show could have easily spent an entire episode rescuing each Legend in their respective time period. In fact that's exactly what I expected the writers to do. Instead they're all rounded up in literally two or three minutes, making the whole subplot moot. Why the big hurry?

Sadly, Captain Cold's absence is keenly felt here, although Heat Wave steps up and tries to fill the void left by him. Supposedly Wentworth Miller's supposed to pop up as an occasional guest star on all the Arrowverse shows, so hopefully we'll see him again soon.


The Plot:
Dr. Nate Heywood barges into Star City's, er, City Hall to see Mayor Oliver Queen. Why's he want to see Ollie? So we could have an Arrow crossover, I guess. Heywood tells Ollie he specializes in "deductive historical recreations," which I guess is a thing, and that he's basically a "time detective." 

He tells Ollie he's been noticing small changes in history (which makes no damned sense), and believes the Legends are altering the past. How he knows about the Legends in the first place is left to our imaginations. He says they may have been killed by an atomic bomb in 1942, three years before such a thing was invented.

Heywood convinces Ollie he's telling the truth, and for some reason the two of them take a trip in a submarine (!) and find the Waverider at the bottom of the Atlantic, near New York. They dock with the time ship (somehow) and inside they find Heat Wave in stasis. Ollie wakes him up and asks what happened.

Heat Wave tells them the Legends went to France in 1638 to keep King Louis XIII from being killed, so he could father his son, Louis the XIV. It's a simple assignment that's complicated by the appearance of time-travelling assassins with futuristic weapons. The Legends defeat the assassins, but are forced to use their powers in public to do so. It's a fun sequence, but I'm darned if I can figure out what it had to do with anything.

Continuing his flashback tale, Heat Wave says the Legends were then confronted by Hourman, who told them to stay away from New York in 1942, or they'd all die. I guess this is the incident we saw in the Season 1 finale?

Heat Wave then says the ship experienced a "time quake." Gideon says it was caused by a nuclear explosion in New York City in 1942. Ignoring Hourman's advice, the Legends head for the Big Apple of the past. White Canary uses Gideon to find Damien Darhhhhhhk's Darhk's whereabouts in 1942, hoping to kill him in the past so he doesn't kill her sister Laurel in the present. Confused yet?

Professor Stein and Atom determine that Albert Einstein disappeared just before the New York attack in 1942, causing WWII to last two more years and claim twelve million more lives. They figure the Nazis kidnapped Einstein and forced him to build an atomic bomb for them. Stein says they have to grab Einstein before the Nazis do.

The Legends arrive in 1942. White Canary sneaks off to find Darhhhk and kill him. Atom secretly follows her. Rip Hunter, Heat Wave and Professor Stein find Einstein at a cocktail party. Stein's giddy about the prospect of meeting "the greatest mind the world has ever known," but is disappointed when he sees Einstein acting like a dirty old man, hitting on women half his age.

White Canary finds Darhhhhk, and Atom shows up to prevent her from doing something stupid. They see Darhhhhhhhk is selling uranium to the Nazis, and realize they can't kill him until they figure out his plan.

Professor Stein tries to get Einstein to come with them, but he refuses. Stein ends up punching him unconscious so they can kidnap him. He wakes up in the Waverider's brig, and realizes he's been abducted by time travelers (well, he is the smartest man in the world, after all).

Unfortunately, even though the Legends have saved Einstein from the Nazis, Gideon says the temporal aberration hasn't disappeared. Einstein says the Nazis have probably kidnapped his ex-wife Mileva Maric, who knows just as much about atom bombs as he does.

Atom uses the sensors in his suit to track Darhhhhk's uranium to a shipyard. The Legends hurry there, and find Darhk and the Nazis, who are just about to stuff Maric into a U-Boat. White Canary attacks Darhhhk, intent on killing him. The rest of the Legends attack the Nazis. Things don't go quite as planned though. They rescue Maric, but Heat Wave is injured, and they end up leaving Darhhk and the Nazi atom bomb behind. 

The Legends drop Einstein and Maric off in a safe location, and go after the bomb in the Waverider. Hunter takes the ship underwater (which I guess it can handle?) and chases the U-Boat containing the bomb. The Nazis fire several torpedoes at the Waverider, and then launch the atom bomb.

Hunter uses something called a "Time Scatter" to send White Canary, Atom, Professor Stein and Jefferson back to random time periods in order to save them. He can't send Heat Wave back in time due to his injuries, so he places him in stasis. Hunter then crashes the Waverider into the atom bomb, causing it to explode underwater and save New York.

And that's the tale of how Heat Wave and the Waverider ended up at the bottom of the ocean. Ollie says that's a hell of a story, but he has to get back to his own show and leaves. Before he goes, he suggests that Nate Heywood, Time Detective, join the cast and help Heat Wave track down the Legends who were displaced by the Time Scatter.

And they do just that. In the space of about two minutes, Heat Wave and Heywood rescue the Legends. They find Atom 70 million years ago, and save him from a CGI dinosaur. They locate Stein and Jefferson in 821 England and rescue them from a Prince Joffrey lookalike who's about to execute them. And they track White Canary to Salem, and save her from being burned as a witch. Well that was easy!

Back on the Waverider they try to find Hunter, but can't locate him anywhere in time. Gideon plays his final message for them, in which he says he hopes they'll carry on his work and that he'll see them all again some day. Apparently it never occurs to anyone that they're in a goddamned time ship, and could probably go back and save him.

The Legends decide to stay together and keep policing the time stream. They change history a bit by having Einstein give a press conference in which he publicly acknowledges Maric's contributions to his work, which puts her under his umbrella of security and saves her from further Nazi attacks.

Back on the U-Boat, the commander is angry with Darhhhhk for screwing up the "Operation: Blow Up New York" mission. Darhhhk isn't bothered, as he says his partner wants to move on to bigger and better things. Suddenly a flash of red lightning appears in the sub, killing all the Nazis. We see it's the work of the Reverse Flash, who greets his new pal Darhhhhhhhk.

• Professor Stein gives the opening narration, recounting what happened last season and bringing everyone up to speed. He introduces the various Legends, including "Dr. Raymond Palmer, the Atom" and "Firestorm, the merged super form of Jefferson Jackson and myself, Martin Stein." For some reason he goes on to say, "The Arsonist, Mick Rory."

Um... I thought Rory's codename was Heat Wave? When did that change? 

• I'm struggling to figure out just where this episode fits in the timeline. Bear with me here, it's complicated. 

In last season's finale, the Legends finally manage to kill Vandal Savage. Even though their mission is over, they all decide to stay with Rip Hunter and travel through time with him. Suddenly a second Waverider comes screaming out of the sky and crash-lands next to them. 

Hourman steps out of the ship and says, "You're exactly where you said you'd be. Do not get on that ship. If you do, you're all dead." Heat Wave says, "Says who?" Hourman says, "Says you, Mr. Rory. You sent me... My name is Rex Tyler. I'm a member of the Justice Society Of America."

Fair enough. But then in this episode, Oliver Queen and Nate Heywood, Time Detective, find the Waverider at the bottom of the ocean, with only Heat Wave aboard. He then tells Ollie and Heywood the events of the past few weeks, in which they visited 1600's France and saved New York City from an atomic bomb in 1942.

Then Heat Wave and Heywood fire up the Waverider and rescue the Legends, who've been randomly scattered throughout time. At the end of the episode, the Justice Society (minus Hourman) appears.

So... where does Hourman and his season finale warning fit in? He's not included in the Justice Society's little intro at the end of the episode, so obviously Heat Wave hasn't yet met him. I guess maybe they'll meet in the next episode? And then I suppose Heat Wave will send him back in time to the Season Finale to warn the others not to go to New York? But why? At this point in time (heh), the Legends have already visited New York and saved it, and they didn't die. So why the warning? What purpose did it serve, especially after the mission was successful?

I'm very confused here. it's like there's an episode missing, or they're out of order or something. Or the writers forgot what happened last season.

 Heywood tells Ollie that he's been noticing small changes in history, and believes the Legends are subtly altering the past. If that's true, how the hell does he know about it? If the Legends change D-Day from June 6, 1944 to June 7, wouldn't everyone— including Heywood  just remember it as always happening that way? Why's he immune from the timeline changes?

Legends Of Tomorrow has had a problem with this since the very first episode. The show's time travel rules change drastically to fit the needs of the script, and very little of it ever makes any logical sense.

• For some reason Ollie and Heywood hop into a submarine and search the ocean floor for the Waverider. Where the hell did Ollie get access to a submarine? Does Queen Industries have its own sub? I wonder how often that gets used.

• This isn't a problem, just an observation/coincidence. A few years ago on Doctor Who, Arthur Darvill, aka Rip Hunter, played Rory Williams, husband of Amy Pond and friend of the Doctor. In the Pond's final episode, they time travel to the 1930s to save New York City from the menace of the Weeping Angels. Here Rip Hunter time travels to the 1940s to save New York City from the menace of a Nazi atom bomb.

• Speaking of Doctor Who: Starting with this episode, the Waverider has a spacious library filled with artifacts from various time periods. It's definitely a different room than Rip's office, which we saw last season. So where the hell did it come from? Rip has a line about Jackson building it, but when did he find the time (not to mention skills) to do that? This episode seems to take place right after the season finale. 

And how is there room inside the ship for this spacious room? I'm starting to think the Waverider is like the Doctor's TARDIS, and is bigger on the inside than the outside.

 In 1942 New York, White Canary hails a cab and says, "Take me to Conway and Fifth." The Arrowverse writers just love to name the streets in their scripts after comic writers and artists, and Gerry Conway (along with Al Milgrom) created Firestorm.

 In 1942, Professor Stein, Hunter and Heat Wave rescue Einstein from the Nazis. Stein is positively starstruck at meeting Einstein, whom he's long admired. Unfortunately he's horrified to see his idol acting like a horny fratboy.

I thought the idea of portraying Einstein as a horndog was lazy writing, and even a bit disrespectful. Turns out it's not that much of an exaggeration. Ol' Al really did have an eye for the ladies, often cheating on the women in his life.

It's a long and twisted story, so I'll try and be brief— Einstein met Milina Meric in college in 1896. They had a daughter outside of wedlock (gasp!) in 1902. The child was either adopted or died in 1903— no one knows for sure (!). 

Einstein and Maric married in 1903, and had two sons (can you imagine the pressure you'd face being the son of freakin' Einstein?). They lived in Berlin for a while, but a few months Maric moved to Zurich with her sons, after finding out that Einstein was screwing around with a woman named Elsa, who was somehow both his first AND second cousin (yeah, I don't get it either). Einstein and Meric divorced in 1919. Einstein later married Elsa (!). 

• Hunter uses the Time Scatter to save the Legends' lives by sending them to random eras in the past. Later Heat Wave uses the Waverider to round up the Legends from their various time periods. In every case, he manages to rescue them from certain death in the nick of time. But most of them were in absolutely no danger.

OK, so maybe Atom was in trouble, since he apparently didn't have his suit and was being chased by a dinosaur. But Stein and Jackson were being menaced by King Joffrey a boy king, who ordered their execution. Big deal! All they had to do was form Firestorm, and they could have made quick work of anything the Medieval world could throw at them.

Same with White Canary in Salem. She could have kicked the asses of all the Puritans surrounding her without breaking a sweat. So why is the show trying to get us worried about the Legends' lives here?

• By the way, in the Medieval castle, Jackson tries to entertain the boy king by showing him his smartphone. Um... how's he charging that in a culture without electricity? My phone battery dies in less then a full day. Surely they've been stuck there longer than that.

And isn't it fortunate the Time Scatter just happened to send Stein and Jackson to the exact same era and place?

• At the end of the episode, Damien Darhhhhk reveals his new partner  the Reverse Flash. Once again, I'm not even going to try and attempt to figure out how the Reverse Flash still exists, after he's been killed and/or wiped out fo existence several times now.

And what the hell is the Reverse Flash doing in 1942? He meets Darhhhhhhhk on a German U-Boat, for corn's sake! I guess Barry Allen travels back and forth in time as easily as you or I walk to the supermarket, so I suppose he can do the same.

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