Friday, February 24, 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 2, Episode 12: Camelot/3000

This week Legends Of Tomorrow delivers a fair to middling episode, which as you might guess from the title, is set in the world of King Arthur and Camelot.

Way back in 1982, DC Comics published a miniseries called Camelot 3000, which was obviously the inspiration for this week's episode. The comic concerns the real King Arthur and his Knights Of The Round Table, as they're reincarnated in the year 3000 to fight an alien horde that's invading Earth. It's a pretty good read, and I highly recommend it for Brian Bolland's artwork alone.

Fans of Camelot 3000 shouldn't get their hopes up though, as this episode has absolutely nothing to do with the comic. Too bad.

By the way, look at the cover price of that comic above. One dollar! Yikes! Last time I checked, some comics are up to $4 now! No wonder they're dying off. I have a full time job and can't afford them. How's a kid supposed to?

Obviously I enjoy the various Arrowverse shows quite a bit, since I write about them every week. That said, I don't think I've ever been as aware of a TV series' budget as I am whenever I'm watching one of these shows. That's definitely true this week on Legends Of Tomorrow. They try desperately to deliver Game Of Thrones production values here, but alas, they just don't have the cash to pull that off. Once again, their ideas are just too big for their budget. Somehow that adds to the charm of the show.

Speaking of the budget, apparently there just wasn't enough money this week to include Malcolm Merlyn and the Reverse Flash, who curiously enough sit out the episode.That's a shame, as the writers missed a golden opportunity to have Merlyn meet Merlin!

Lastly, I'm very disappointed there wasn't at least one Monty Python reference in this episode.


The Plot:
We open in Detroit, in the year 3000. Evil Rip pays a visit to man named Charles. who's working in a high tech lab. Charles (whose last name was McNider in the comics) is secretly Doctor Mid-Nite, a former member of the Justice Society Of America. Evil Rip notices that Charles is working on a piece of tech that can suppress or amplify violent thoughts. Convenient! 

Evil Rip then says he's there for the piece of the Spear Of Destiny that Charles is protecting. He tells Rip he'll never find it. Evil Rip realizes that Charles has hidden it inside his body, and brandishes a knife. Yikes!

On the Waverider, Gideon tracks a Spear fragment to the year 3000. The Legends fly there, and find Charles' body, with the name "RIP" written on the floor in his own blood. Now THAT'S hardcore! Back on the ship, Gideon reports that she's detected another piece of the Spear in medieval England. The Legends then head for the past.

Atom and Steel suit up in appropriate period clothing. Atom's excited because he's been a fan of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table since he was a kid. Steel points that the stories of Camelot are just that myth and legend, and real medieval England will be nothing like that.

Meanwhile, Heat Wave catches Professor Stein examining a piece of tech, and asks where he got it. Stein sheepishly admits he stole it from Doctor Mid-Nite's lab. Heat Wave is impressed.

The Waverider arrives on the island of Britannia in 507 AD. White Canary, Vixen, Steel and Atom exit, and make their way through a forest. Suddenly they're captured by a group of knights led by none other than Queen Guinevere, who takes them to Camelot.

There they meet the honest-to-god King Arthur, who's sitting at the Round Table. Atom is suitably impressed, as he's living out his dream. Steel is baffled, as none of this should exist. Arthur summons his wizard Merlin, who turns out to be Stargirl, of the Justice Society.

The Legends take Stargirl back to the Waverider. There she explains that years ago, Rip Hunter asked them to help him track down the Spear Of Destiny. The eventually found it, and the decision was made to split it into four pieces and scatter them across history, to keep anyone else from ever finding and assembling it. 

Doctor Mid-Nite took his piece of the Spear to the year 3000, while Stargirl took hers to medieval England. She then decided to play around with history a bit, and form the Knights Of The Round Table in order to protect her hunk of the Spear. She says the Spear fragment is well hidden, somewhere in Arthur's court. Gosh, I wonder where she could have possibly hidden it, as we see the camera slowly pan across Excalibur sticking out of a rock.

Later King Arthur goes on a hunt, and is confronted by a Black Knight. The Knight turns out to be Damien Darhk, who says he has great plans for the King. 

Meanwhile, Guinevere invites the Legends to a party at Camelot. Arthur returns with the Black Knight. Arthur grabs Stargirl and holds a knife to her throat, as Darhk reveals himself. He tells the Legends that he's using Doctor Mid-Nite's tech to mind-control Arthur, and demands to know where the Spear fragment is. Stargirl says she'll never tell, and the Legends attack Darhk. 

During the fight, Arthur, who's under Darhk's control, kills Sir Galahad and then puts a knife to his own throat. For some reason, Darhk then leaves, saying he'll return with a mind-controlled army and kill them all if they don't hand over the Spear fragment.

Stein examines the piece of tech he stole, which turns out the be the same mind control device Evil Rip and Darhk are using. Stein says the device requires an abnormally advanced mind to control another person. Jackson suggests the device might operate on intensity, not I.Q. They put a headset on Heat Wave, and his brutal, intense mind is instantly able to overpower and control Stein's precise, ordered brain.

Meanwhile, Guinevere doubts her abilities, saying she doesn't want to lead her knights into battle with Darhk. Canary gives her a Patented The CW Pep Talk, telling her she'll be great. Guinevere then gives her army a rousing speech and they ride off to battle. Atom follows, intent on joining the fight as well. Steel asks him if that's a good idea, and Atom says it's something he's dreamed of doing since he was a little boy. Steel looks worried, as his Big Book Of King Arthur contains a drawing of a knight being buried after a battle, and he looks amazingly like Atom.

Since Stargirl refuses to say where her Spear fragment is hidden, Canary and Vixen decide to take it themselves for safe keeping. Using a tracker, they discover it's hidden inside Excalibur (GASP!), and Vixen uses her powers to pull the sword from the stone. She snaps the end off of Excalibur, revealing the tip of the Spear Of Destiny.

Meanwhile, Atom takes the late Galahad's sword, using the power from his suit to turn it into a light saber. Steel tries again to talk Atom out of fighting, since now that they have the Spear fragment, there's no point in staying. He even tells Atom he saw his death in the book. Atom says he doesn't care, as he's staying and is ready to die for Camelot. Guinevere even knights Atom, as Sir Ray Of The Palms (aka Ray Palmer).

Back on the Waverider, Canary's ready to get the hell out of Camelot. Steel says they can't leave Atom behind, but Canary says he made his choice, and getting the Spear fragment away from the Legion is more important (I agree!). The rest of the crew disagrees, and comes perilously close to mutiny as they all tell Canary she's wrong. She finally agrees to stay and help Guinevere fight Darhk and his mind-controlled army.

Guinevere's army attacks Darhk. There's a fierce, low-budget battle, and eventually Vixen, Canary and Steel join in. Stein places the headset on Heat Wave, and tunes it in to Darhk's army's mind-control frequency. Heat Wave unleashes his intense, dark thoughts on the army, which incapacitates them (!). 

Arthur wakes up, back to his normal self. He attacks Evil Rip, throwing him off his horse and injuring him. Darhk tells Evil Rip he "doesn't do rescues" and abandons him. Canary captures Evil Rip.

Atom pursues Darhk, and the two fight. Amazingly, Atom does a pretty good job against Darhk, who's a several hundred year old assassin. Eventually Darhk pretends to surrender to trick Atom into lowering his guard, and shoots him with an anachronistic gun. He then runs off.

Steel finds Atom, thinking he's dead. Atom wakes up, revealing he somehow had his power suit on underneath all his armor (?), and is OK. 

Back at Camelot, Arthur gives Canary the Spear fragment with his best wishes. Stargirl reveals she's in love with Arthur and is staying. Canary plants a big kiss on Guinevere and says goodbye. Steel looks at his book, and sees it's changed, as it now contains a drawing of Guinevere placing a crown on Atom's head (?).

Cut to Evil Rip in the Waverider's brig. He summons Gideon and she responds, "I'm here, Captain."

• I think Steel does the opening narration this week. It's hard to tell though, as he sounds a LOT like Atom. I'm fairly sure it's him though. Unless it's not.

• For a few seconds I thought we were gonna get a Star Trek: The Next Generation reference in this episode. 

When we first see the formerly blind Doctor Mid-Nite, he's wearing a device over his eyes not unlike Geordi La Forge's VISOR. Then Evil Rip says, "I see you found a way to cure your blindness," as Mid-Nite removes the VISOR and we see his eyes are working normally. Oh well. They were so close...

• I loved how all of Steel's historical knowledge of the period turned out to be consistently wrong. Especially the part where he said his outfit was historically accurate, only to be mistaken for a leper by Guinevere.

• We get a Lord Of The Rings moment when Guinevere removes her helmet and her flowing locks cascade down her back. Any second I expected her to say, "I am no MAN!"

• Historical scholars can't agree on whether King Arthur was a real person or not. Some believe the myths and legends are based on an actual military leader in the 6th century. Most believe he's a completely fictional character.

Even if he was real, it's a given that Camelot, the Knights Of The Round Table and especially Merlin were not. So how do we explain this episode then? How the hell are the Legends able to visit the world of King Arthur if it never existed?

The writers make a faint attempt at explaining this by having Stargirl state, "When I arrived in Camelot, it was a middling kingdom. To help me protect my piece of the Spear, I fashioned it into the legendary court of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table."

Hmm. She fashioned it. What the hell does that mean? Did she find a small village on the island of Britannia in 507 AD, and use her cosmic staff to brainwash the inhabitants into thinking they're the Arthurian characters of legend? Or did she find the island and use her staff to create Camelot and the Knights Of The Round Table out of whole cloth, like a god?

If she brainwashed the existing inhabitants for her own pleasure, that's a pretty despicable act, making her as much a villain as Darhk. If she was somehow able to conjure up an entire castle full of living Arthurian characters, then she's far more powerful than the Spear Of Destiny, and the Legends should be more worried about her and what she's capable of than the Legion Of Doom!

We never really get an answer here, as the writers (wisely) blur over the matter of creation, hoping the audience won't think too hard about it.

By the way, according to the official Arrowverse Wiki, Stargirl "has the power to shoot fiery blue energy out of her staff, although it's unknown if this energy is magical or technological in nature. She's also able to levitate and fly with the use of her staff."

Note that nowhere does it say she's has the freakin' ability to magically create life!

• The idea of Stargirl posing as Merlin the Magician might have been more fun if the show had A: Spent more than ten seconds on the idea, and B: Hired someone who could actually act.

Seriously, Sarah Grey, who plays Stargirl, is one of the worst actresses I've ever seen on a network TV series. Heck, I've seen more convincing performances in high school plays! Is the talent pool in Vancouver (where the series is filmed) really that shallow?

• Think about all the hundreds make that thousands of different books about King Arthur that have been published over the centuries. What are the odds that Steel would just happen to own the one version that contains an illuminated manuscript of Atom being given a warrior's funeral? 

Besides, as crude as that drawing is, it could be literally anyone!

• In order to pull Excalibur from the stone, Vixen summons the power of a gorilla, an eagle and a bear. I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've seen her use more than one power at the same time.

OK, I get why she needed the strength of a gorilla and a bear here, but what the hell was the eagle good for? Did its power of flight somehow help her lift the sword from the stone?

 I've got nothing to say here, I just wanted to include a photo of Atom's light saber, er, I mean flaming sword.

 This week the Legends pretty much mutiny against their Captain, when Canary wants to leave but the rest of the crew wants to stay and rescue Atom. If she intends to stay captain for long, she needs to shut that sh*t down fast. 

It doesn't matter if you agree with an order or not a Captain's command is law. Canary should have locked them ALL in the brig just to make her point.

 Vixen needs to figure out exactly how she feels about the possibility of the Legion Of Doom acquiring the Spear Of Destiny. 

When Vixen decides to steal the Spear fragment from Stargirl, Canary asks her, "You sure this is the way you wanna do it? Stargirl was your teammate, not to mention your friend." Vixen replies, "The Legion of Doom are closing in on us as we speak. There's no time for sentiment. Do you really wanna chance Damien Darhk having the power to rewrite reality?"

Later the crew's ready to mutiny against Canary because she doesn't want to jeopardize the mission to save Atom (which makes sense). Vixen then says, "I've already lost one team. I'll be damned if my decision rips the Legends apart too." Canary says, "What are you saying?" Vixen says, "Listen to your gut, Captain. Don't abandon Ray. It may be sentimental, but the team should come before tactics."

Um... those are completely opposing viewpoints. I guess she's entitled to change her mind, but these people are trying to prevent a group of psychos from getting hold of a weapon that can literally rewrite reality. They need to accept the fact that it might be necessary to sacrifice a team member for the good of the universe.

• How the holy hell was Atom able to hold his own in a sword fight against Darhk for more than five seconds? Darhk is supposedly hundreds of years old, plus he was trained by the League Of Assassins. Yet somehow Atom, who's never even held a sword in his life, somehow isn't instantly killed by him.

Yes, Atom did have an electrified light saber, but still...

 I have absolutely no problem with Canary's sexual orientation. Really, I don't! That said, is she going to put the moves on EVERY confident, self-reliant woman from history that she meets? Isn't it a bit insulting to imply that every strong, independent, "I Don't Need No Man In Order To Live My Life" type of woman throughout history was automatically a lesbian?

 I'm hoping that when the Legion Of Doom inevitably collects all the pieces of the Spear Of Destiny, that it'll magically fuse itself back together. I'd hate to see them have to wrap it up with duct tape.

• The Legends capture Evil Rip and throw him in the brig on the Waverider, hoping they can somehow restore his mind in a future episode. Too bad no one thought to restrict his access to Gideon before locking him up. At the end of the episode he simply calls to Gideon, and she obediently answers, which can't possibly be good...

• This week's best lines:
Heat Wave: (sensing Stein stole something) "Thieves. They have a certain smell."
Stein: "I thought that was just because you didn't bathe."

Steel: "The Medieval world was a time of turmoil. It was the collapse of Rome, which led to the collapse of civilization itself. And don't even get me started on the health and sanitation."
Vixen: "Yeah, please don't."
Steel: "Cholera, diphtheria, uh, typhoid fever, and I'm not even touching skin diseases."

Guinevere: (to the Legends) "I am Guinevere. We shall escort you to Camelot. But your leper must remain outside the castle walls."
Steel: "I'm not a leper!"

Canary: "From what I see, Camelot lives up to its reputation. Where is the good king?"
Guinevere: "On the hunt. No doubt chasing a boar through the brush as we speak."
(From Guinevere's dismissive tone, I wonder if this was a subtle Game Of Thrones reference? In Season 1, Queen Cersei was always complaining about King Robert going out on boar hunts...)

Atom: (to Galahad) "Apologies, you must get this all the time, but I must tell you, I am a really big fan."
Galahad: "A fan. So you make wind?"
Atom: "No, no, no, no, no, um... Well, I mean, maybe after all this food. No, what I mean is I'm a... I'm a big admirer of yours."
Galahad: "You've heard tale of my exploits?"
Atom: "Yes! Yes! Since I was a wee lad."
(Galahad gives him an odd look, as they're the same age)
Atom: "It's hard to explain."
(this episode will go down in history as the one that brought the fart joke to the Arrowverse)

Damien Darhk: "The king has left the building! You don't get the reference? Ugh, pity."

Darhk: (to King Arthur) "Hey, Sir Drools-A-Lot, prepare the rest of your tin men to get ready to march."
Steel: (seeing Atom's makeshift light saber) "Please tell me that's not Galahad's sword."
Atom: "I know, it's not historically accurate, but I couldn't resist."
King Arthur: "It's like a saber made of light."
Atom: "Yeah. Uh, just don't call it a light saber. Major trademark issues, right?"

Stein: "I have more patents than Mr. Rory has felonies, and that's saying something."

Darhk: "Give it up, Raymond. You're a glorified nerd, not a knight.:
Atom: "I'm Sir Raymond of the Palms, and on behalf of my 12-year-old self, allow me to retort!"

Stein: "Surely you must admit that it's not a superior intelligence, but rather the murky depths of your mind that proved vital." 
Heat Wave: "Just admit it, my brain saved the day."
Stein: "I will admit nothing of the sort."

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