Friday, January 22, 2016

DC's Legends of Tomorrow 1x01 "Pilot, Part 1" (Legends? Try the Opposite) [Contributor: Lizzie]

"Pilot, Part 1"
Original Airdate: January 21, 2016

I have never been a DC girl. Before Arrow, I was a Marvel girl through and through. Maybe it’s because those were the only comics I read as a kid. Maybe because Batman was too broody and Superman too perfect, and those were my only two DC references growing up. Either way, it took Stephen Amell (and Emily Bett Rickards, really) to convince me to give DC a try.

You can probably imagine what happened next. I fell in love — with Arrow, and later, with The Flash. With the shared universe, really. With the possibilities. DCTV managed to hook me in a way the movies never did. And so, when DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was announced, I was on board. I was 100% sold.

After watching the pilot, I’m really; really glad I don’t have to take that sentiment back. Really, I can’t possibly put into words how glad I am. But I’m going to try.


Here is a run-down of our hero squad, just in case you’ve forgotten:

There’s Ray Palmer, also known as The Atom. Ray is a sorta-funny millionaire who’s really just mostly an overgrown child. He’s very, very smart.

There’s Sara Lance, also known as the White Canary. She was originally The Canary, and after being shipwrecked on Lian Yu with Oliver Queen, was trained by the League of Assassins. She also has recently died, and came back to life.

There’s Firestorm, which is composed of Dr. Martin Stein, a physicist who was the team leader for the F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M project, and Jefferson Jackson, a football player who — after a bad injury — had almost given up on making a difference in the world.

There’s Leonard Snart, also known as Captain Cold. He is a world-class thief with an attitude. And yet, deep down, he actually cares about being a hero and making a difference.

We also have Mick Rory, known as Heat Wave. He is hot-headed smart-aleck who really, really likes trouble.

And, there’s Hawkman. His name is Carter Hall, and he is the 207th reincarnation of Prince Khufu. Kendra Saunders is his partner, the 207th reincarnation of Priestess Chay-Ara. They’re who Vandal Savage is really after, and the reason for his power. Every time he kills them (and they’re sort of 0 for 206 in the "stopping him" department), he absorbs their power. Theirs is a tragic story about how Vandal Savage was in love with Chay-Ara, and she didn’t exactly return his affections. So he killed both her and her lover, and has now been hunting them for centuries. Because that’s real love, right?

We round out the team with our time-traveling rogue, Rip Hunter — a former Time Master who really has no idea of what he’s gotten himself into.


All the promos and the beginning of this episode, really, hinge on this one statement made by Rip Hunter as he’s trying to convince this makeshift group of people to join him: “In the future, you’re all legends.” These people might all have their personal reasons to sign onto this quest to stop Vandal Savage, but the legends part sure helped each of them with the decision-making process.

But we knew it couldn’t be as clear-cut as Rip was painting it, though. Because when we think of legends, we think of the Green Arrow, and the Flash — we don’t necessarily think of this rag-tag group of people people. We also got a very big hint at the beginning of the episode, what with Rip defying the Time Masters (who sounds like a boring bunch of guys, to be honest — no attachments, all zen-like living. Maybe they took a page from the Jedi code?), but we didn’t know for sure. Not until a Boba Fett-like bounty hunter appeared to take them down.

And seriously, Rip, did you think the Time Masters (Lords, Masters, I’m going to mix them up with Doctor Who sooner rather than later) were just going to stand around and let you alter the future? I understand that you thought that whatever sacrifice you had to make was worth it, but if you’re to be the leader of this volatile and diverse group of people, you have to put more thought into this whole thing. Oh, and communicate better. Yes. That would be good (boring, but, you know, effective).

In the end, though, the fact that Rip chose these people NOT because they’re actually legends, but because they aren’t — because their absence would not affect the timeline — makes the premise of this show a thousand times better. Mostly because it makes sense; but also because, like Sara said in the end, everyone deserves a chance to change their own fate. And these people got theirs.


What’s more surprising? That we didn't see the whole “mother” thing coming, or that we got the reveal in episode one? Because Hawkman and Hawkgirl have been together in different incarnations for centuries. Surely, at some point, they had kids. I’ll be surprised if this is the only child of theirs that we meet, or if this is the only one they had. But boy, when the professor uttered those words, it was like a punch in the gut.

That’s the beauty of time-travel as a narrative device — you can do the strangest things, bring out the strangest feelings in people, and it’s all (for the most part) acceptable to do. Common sense is hardly ever invited to the time-travel party, and if it is, it’s just invited as a matter of explaining your show's particular set of rules, and then calling it even.

For the record, I’m not sure I really understand this world’s particular sense of time-travel rules yet, but it's only the pilot. The writers have time to explain them to me. I just hope they don’t take long, because I spent half this episode waiting for Rip Hunter to yell and tell everyone that the professor had to stay and die. This, of course, sucks, but time travel in general is just like a ticking bomb. This time it was Kendra and Carter’s turn to deal with the painful effects of time travel first-hand — soon enough, it’ll be someone else’s turn. After all, Rip Hunter’s ship can also travel to the future. And can you imagine THAT minefield?


That’s the million dollar question. Why is Rip Hunter so desperate to destroy Vandal Savage that he’s willing to break all the rules in order to do it? The revelation that Vandal Savage murdered Rip's family (specifically his wife and young son) is enough to ground this whole mission. For him, it’s personal.

It also kinds of explains his detachment throughout this episode. He wasn’t very understanding with Kendra and Carter when they were talking about saving their child, and before we found out about his kid, we might have thought it was because he didn’t care. But later, it became clear it was because he did care. Too much.

Idealism as a reason for this mission only works in characters such as Ray Palmer and Martin Stein. The rest of our heroes, because of their personalities, need a more grounded reason to go on a trip to save the world. And I’m really glad that in a very packed episode, they found a way to showcase the difference between these people.


I hate to end on a less than positive note — especially given the fact that this is only part one of a two part pilot — but as fun as DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was (and I had a blast), there’s not one character that I love, not one storyline that’s got me itching for the next episode. I’ll watch it for sure, but I’m not dying to, and I’m not going to spend tomorrow speculating about what’s coming.

This could all change, of course, in the future. The first hour was fun, well-balanced and engaging, but if this is going to be more than just a show people put on if they want to see funky outfits and well-choreographed fights, the writers need to get to the bottom of who these legends are and what makes them tick. Or, at least, they need to make me want to know. They need to give me a reason to care. Because if this show is just about stopping Savage, I might not stick around. However, if this show is about how everyone (even so-called villains) can change their own fate? Well, that’s something I can get behind.

Other things:
  • I’m always here for more Oliver Queen. Always. But it’s so weird to see him being the voice of reason. And also, again, Stephen Amell can be on my TV screen any time he wants, but wouldn’t it have made more sense for Ray to talk to Felicity, not Oliver?
  • Once Rip’s actual thought process was explained, why Oliver and Barry weren’t even around made MUCH MORE SENSE. So there’s that. 
  • I enjoyed Mick Rory about 250% more than I expected to.
  • Vandal Savage is not really doing it for me as far as villains are concerned. Maybe it’s because I’m a bad person and I find it hard to care about uncertain doom in far, far away futures. Give me immediacy. 
  • Kendra and Sara are the best part of this show so far. 
  • Ray Palmer is about 15 times better in one hour on Legends of Tomorrow than he ever was on Arrow. Not only because the overall tone of the show fits him better, but because there’s no one else like him.
  • ... But he sure picked the worst time ever to remind Professor Stein that he had a doctorate. You still need to work on your timing, Ray. 
  • The Laurel/Sara scene was poignant and beautiful. I’ve always said these two characters bring out the best in each other, and — once again — Caity Lotz and Katie Cassidy proved it. 
  • And, interestingly, after Laurel told her to go be a hero in the light, it was actually Sara who provided the pep-talk these “legends” needed to stick around. 
  • Is Gideon the same Gideon from The Flash? I assume so, but inquiring minds want a confirmation. 
  • Does Savage retain all his memories? What happens when he eventually meets one of the Legends in the past? 
  • Finally, we’re assuming Malcom Merlyn brought Savage back to life. But the question is WHY? 

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