Friday, April 1, 2016

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow 1x09 Review: “Left Behind” (Chugging and Sputtering Along) [Contributor: Lizzie]

"Left Behind"
Original Airdate: March 31, 2016

Once upon a time, there was a show with a brilliantly-crafted plot, smart, analytical characters, a creepy and convincing villain, and ships that made you swoon.

This is not that show. This is not even its little cousin, twice-removed. This is a patchwork mess of diverse and somewhat entertaining characters with a plot so thin you couldn’t even cover yourself up with it. Does it work? Not often, and even when it does, it almost seems like it’s by chance, not by design.

And yet, despite that, Legends of Tomorrow keeps on churning merrily along, mostly on the strength of big brothers Arrow and The Flash, but also because of stand-out moments from Caity Lotz, Brandon Routh, and Wentworth Miller. When good actors/characters happen to bad shows, sometimes, they can save the show.  Other times, though, other times they are just there to remind you of what you could have had. What you expected. What you deserved.

I would almost say it’s time to give up on Legends, except... well, except, at this point, it can only get better, right? I’m asking a serious question here. Can it possible get worse? I don’t think so. And fine. You’ve got me, show. I still care about Snart and Sara. I still want to give Ray a hug. And there’s a Felicity cameo to look forward to! Because she is coming, right? Right? Please say she is. I need a beacon of hope.

(The joke was just there. I couldn’t resist!)

So let’s talk about the decent, the bad, the terrible, and the downright ugly in Legends of Tomorrow, starting with...


Leonard Snart has been many things in his life. He’s worn many faces, taken part in many plots. And yet, the one thing Leonard Snart has never been is a hero. In a way, maybe he’s never wanted to be. Being a hero is hard work. It doesn’t always mean you get to be happy. In fact, most often than not, heroes have to sacrifice everything. But they do it not because they want to, but because they believe in the greater good. They understand that their needs, their desires, don’t come first. Heroes are the people who can put others first.

And that’s exactly what the fearsome Captain Cold did in this episode.

Snart always seemed like a redeemable villain. And yet, it was hard to imagine, when he was first introduced, that he would one day turn his own gun on himself — that he’d be willing to sacrifice a limb in order to save his friends and sister. The end result of him getting his arm back in no way diminishes the sacrifice, though, because he didn’t know the possibility was there to ever get it back. He made that decision consciously, knowing that if he had to cut his hand off, he would do it in order to both stop Rory and save him. And he did. Snart became a hero, and he, perhaps, allowed his friend the chance to someday become better.

Remember back in The Flash when Snart told Barry that he didn’t want to be a hero? We knew he was lying then, but we have proof of it now. Leonard Snart is no longer a villain, no longer existing in shades of grey – he’s now one of the good guys, with all the problems that entails.


Sara’s journey after being left behind by her inept team was the most believable and, at the same time, the most disappointing storyline. The Sara Lance that we knew and loved, the one that came out of the League of Assassins and found a place on Team Arrow, was gone. In her place there was a broken, scared shell of a woman. And that was fine. Wait, no, that was more than fine — that was interesting.

However, Sara was only that way because the creative teams behind Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow had to jump through about 83 hoops to bring her back. They never really wanted her to be this broken. They wanted the old version of Sara back – slightly damaged, but still mostly functional. And so, when presented with an opportunity to take a shortcut and speed up Sara’s journey, they took it. And in doing so they took away half of what made Sara an interesting character.

Now, don’t get me wrong — I still like Sara. I like her more than roughly 75% of the people on this ship. But I was more interested in the journey they didn’t show us than the one that came after. I have already seen this version of Sara find a place in the world, find love, find closure. And sure, this love is going to be different — this time she’s going to change the world or something. But it’s still pretty much the same journey. I wanted to see Sara broken down into tiny pieces. I wanted to see her remake herself. Instead I get to see another ship, and another mission. And that’s fine, but it’s not extraordinary. And it’s definitely not like it could have been.


Look, I love the idea of redeeming Rory. I’ve long believed the show planned to redeem him anyway, because they gave him a likeable backstory with Snart, and because they made him save Ray when he didn’t have to. TV shows don’t usually do those things unless there’s a larger plan at play.

But, and I’m sorry to have to be the one to play devil’s advocate here, can’t anyone see how easy this could backfire? I mean, no one other than Snart, who desperately wants to help Rory, but would rather protect himself by acting like he doesn’t care? Because this is surely going to come back to bite the team, probably sooner rather than later.

But, at this point, I’m not even sure why I’m trying to argue against something that’s endemic to the show. I should just resign myself to waving common sense goodbye and accepting that Captain Rip Hunter and his merry band of morons can prioritize saving ONE man over, you know, THE ENTIRE WORLD. God, sometimes, I wish this mission HAD included Oliver Queen. At least there’d be someone to point out how stupid they were all being.

(Or John Diggle. Felicity Smoak. Caitlin Snow. Cisco Ramon. Anyone but these people would do!)


Legends of Tomorrow already features what is, arguably, the worst villain in DC TV history. And if you’d asked me before this episode aired, I would have told you they featured the worst couple in the history of DC TV as well. And though, logically, they still sorta do, at least now there’s a small ray of hope for Kendra/Ray. And that’s saying a lot.

First things first — Kendra was a jerk in this episode. Over and over again, she dismissed what she and Ray had shared for two years, refused to have an honest conversation with him, and — when pushed — sounded very happy to be back to “herself.” As if the version of Kendra that Ray had loved for the past two years had been merely an impostor — a shell of the real Kendra.

Now, I don’t actually believe that’s true. I think Kendra is just really bad at relationships. Or at least, she’s really bad at relationships that aren’t with Carter. We have to remember she’s had the same partner for like, a gazillion years. She doesn’t know how to be in a relationship with anyone else — and that can translate to not knowing how to be in a relationship at all. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t care, it just means he was more comfortable within the parameters of their boring 50s life, and that when she was brought back to the Waverider – back to the person who remembered what it was like to love another man — she just couldn’t deal.

This, of course, was extremely hurtful to Ray, who had probably been himself every second of those two years. That’s just who Ray Palmer is — a genuinely good guy who has only ever wanted love and a chance to be a geek. The end scene where Kendra finally manages to communicate with him just proves that. He’s in this relationship. In fact, he’s so much into it that it’s actually sorta cute, albeit in a I-still-don’t-buy-this-and-please-stop-kissing way.

Which brings me back to my problem with Kendra/Ray, which is that, like Sara, we missed the good moments. We missed all the little things and moments that made audiences fall in love with Olicity, and the things that made us yearn for WestAllen. We’ve been told they happened between Kendra and Ray during those two years, but the cardinal of writing is “show, don’t tell.” Legends of Tomorrow has so far told us (repeatedly) that Kendra and Ray are good together. And yet, they still haven’t shown us that this is true. They’ve managed to make us more involved in a couple that, in this episode, didn’t share one scene together (CAPTAIN CANARY FOR THE WIN!) than we are in a couple that had the equivalent of four marital spats and is now cohabitating.

Now, I’m not saying the show can’t fix this; I’m saying they don’t know how. So, I’m not too interested in Ray/Kendra, whatever their ship name is. I am, however, interested in Ray. So don’t you break his heart, Kendra. He’s a fragile, gentle soul. YOU TAKE GOOD CARE OF HIM, YOU HEAR ME? Or I’m coming for you.

Other things:
  • “Kronos” totally didn’t want to kill anyone when he attacked the Waverider. Mick’s an old pro at this. He can’t be THIS bad at shooting. 
  • What exactly is “superior time master technology”? Wait, why am I asking? You’re never going to explain, Legends of Tomorrow. You probably don’t even know yourself. 
  • Free-falling through time (whatever that is) sure looks a lot like being electrocuted. 
  • Was anyone surprised to learn Ray had once been an Eagle Scout? Anyone? 
  • Similarly, was ANYONE surprise to see that Mick was not only alive, but that he was “Kronos”? 
  • Even if it’s not romantic, the contrast between Ray’s optimism and Sara’s realism (and occasional pessimism) makes every interaction between them feel real and charged. Talk about opposites. 
  • Sara literally had her bag ready to leave. Either that or she doesn’t need much to look awesome. I can work with both. 
  • This show’s costume department must have had a laugh giving Brandon Routh the Clark Kent makeover. 
  • “Your son is Bill Gates?”
  • I could believe that the temporal navigation system was compromised if Legends of Tomorrow had maybe, perhaps, given me a little more information on how it worked. As it is, I smell plot device. 
  • Why couldn’t they just go back to like a week AFTER they left them? A month? Two? I don’t get it. They don’t get it. No one gets it. 
  • Mick Rory is 98726265352732 times the villain Vandal Savage is. 
  • The fact that Kendra had to get to the Waverider to question WHY Kronos had taken Snart and not Rip tells you all about the level of advanced thinking the three men on the ship were actually engaging in before she got there. 
  • Also, it was Kendra and Ray who somehow leapt to the conclusion about where Sara was. Rip -79, rest of the team -3. (They all suck; Rip just sucks more)
  • SO CONVENIENT THAT RIP DID HIS THESIS ON THE LEAGUE OF ASSASINS. SO CONVENIENT. I wonder why he didn’t mention this to Sara before.
  • Lazarus Pit = life-extending-jacuzzi. “Nanda-I-can’t-believe-I’m-back-here-Parbat.” Fine Ray, you are funny. 
  • By joining the League in 1958, Sara essentially created her own future. You’re so meta, show. So meta.
  • Ray, for the love of God, never again go into a mission WITHOUT the Atom suit. I don’t CARE what Rip says.
  • I don’t even know what the plan of finding Sara was supposed to be – Rip goes for Sara and everyone else walks around aimlessly? Does that sound right? 
  •  “If we die, at least it would be in pursuit of a greater purpose” is said... by the one person who’s sure to reincarnate. 
  • For all of Ray’s token protests at Kendra being the one to duel Sara, he didn’t actually try to stop her. Ray Palmer, the feminist. 
  • Okay, what happened to Talia? Why is Nyssa Heir to the Demon?
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.


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