Friday, April 22, 2016

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow 1x12 Review: “Last Refuge” (He Would Have Been Proud) [Contributor: Lizzie]

“Last Refuge”
Original Airdate: April 21, 2016

I’m going to preface this piece with a warning. If you’ve been following my thoughts on Legends of Tomorrow, you might get whiplash from this review. You are, of course, not the only one. Half of the time, I don’t even know what I’m thinking or feeling. Either I want to quit the show for good or I’m getting emotional over Jax, of all people. That is Legends of Tomorrow for you — a show that only knows how to do extremes. Either it does things really well, or it does them really, really badly.

Of course, even in its best moments, the show is nonsensical. You literally have to turn off common sense and logic before going into every episode. But, as I’ve said before, Legends of Tomorrow really succeeds when it focuses on the characters; when it gives us insight into their motivations, lets its cast do the heavy lifting, and throws plot out the window.

Because these people — they’re good at what they do. And they do it well together. And sometimes, that’s better than plot. It would be better to accomplish both, but hey, if you’re just going to have one, I’d pick this.


The whole plot about how the legends are going to return their past selves, babies not included, to the moment where they were taken and make it so this won’t make a permanent change on the timeline aside, I enjoyed this whole plot twist. It imbues the show with the kind of urgency it desperately needs. It’s time to stop taking detours in time and having fun. It’s time to get Vandal Savage.

Of course, this would have been better if it’d happened about seven episodes ago, but I’ll take it. With just five episodes to go, it’s now or never in the hunt for Savage. For all that he doesn’t scare me one bit, he is the big bad this season. (Unless I’m wrong and Gideon is the actual mastermind behind everything, which, at this point, is entirely possible). The show needs to have him do something other than look vaguely menacing in his long coats and slicked back hair. Please.


If you’d told me last week that Legends of Tomorrow was going to have me straight-up bawling, I would have laughed and asked if you were drunk. But I’m not about to deny it. Legends of Tomorrow got to me. It did so not by being outrageous or funny, or any of the other things it’s tried before, but by bringing a little bit of normalcy into the madness.

Losing a parent is a very difficult thing. Jax handles it in the same way most of us would, badly. For the entire run of the show, Jax has been the one character I’ve had more trouble connecting with. And yet, in this episode, I wanted to go through the TV screen and give him and actual hug. Because I get it.

It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. There’s no sugarcoating this. I lost my dad not that long ago, and it still feels like that knife that Rip stabbed the Pilgrim with is wedged into my heart. I can move, I can function, but I’m not whole. I will probably never be again.

And yet, like Jax, I’ve learned to live through it. Some people say that you learn to live for the people you’ve lost, but that’s not the truth. At least it hasn’t been so for me. You remember how to live because of them, but you live for YOU. Because that’s what they would have wanted. And this sounds like a nice sentiment, but it’s actually a great weight. You place the burden of their expectations upon yourself, and since they’re not around, there’s nothing you can ever do to make that disappear.

“What would my dad think about this?” is something that anyone who’s lost a parent can tell you never, ever goes away. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve lived. You always wonder what that person would have thought, you always wonder if they would have been proud. It never goes away. It never dims. It just is.

In a way, Jax gained something, and lost something this episode — and both are good and bad things. He gained the image, the knowledge that he was loved, that he was wanted. But he lost so much more. He lost his father, when before he’d lost an abstract person who he could have never actually envisioned. Was it worth it? I think we all have our own answers to that question. My answer would be yes. It’s better to have loved and lost, they say. And, I would add: it’s better to know than to imagine. It’s just worse, as well.


No, but seriously, what is the Ray/Kendra ship name? Is it Atomic Hawk? I’m just asking so I can know for sure what tags to avoid. Because, oh yeah, in case I hadn’t been clear before — I want NO part of this.

The past four episodes have been pretty much the same storyline — Kendra has doubts, she makes Ray worry, and then she decides that she does care and wants to be with him. Lather, rinse, repeat. At this point I don’t trust her not to do the same next episode, despite the fact that she said she’d marry Ray now and they shared that supposed-to-be-romantic and very well-framed kiss. Nope, not buying what you’re selling here, Kendra.

And I don’t even know if there’s a way Legends of Tomorrow can fix it. “We’ve been through a lot together,” Kendra tells Ray at one point. And while that might be true, we didn’t see any of it. So we don’t care. All Sara and Snart do is exchange quips in this episode, and yet I could watch them for an entire hour. Kendra/Ray? I just want to forget they’re there. And that they’re together. I especially want to forget that last part.

Other things:
  • I didn’t notice this last episode, but the only thing I could focus on during the “Previously on...” segment was on the fact that Ray and Sara are wearing practically the same sweater.
  • “Time piracy in the first degree” is the most ridiculous term I’ve ever in my entire life.
  • The guy sentenced to death was awfully calm, wasn’t he?
  • How can Gideon calculate WHEN the Pilgrim is going to strike up to a 97% probability? That makes no sense. Wait, this is Legends of Tomorrow. Never mind.
  • The little Kendra/Sara friendship that we’re getting lately is the only thing that’s keeping me from tuning out every time Kendra is on screen. I could like THAT woman.
  • “Yeah, who wants a relationship based on honesty and communication?” Sara Lance, articulating all that’s wrong with Ray/Kendra in 10 words.
  • Ray/Mick bromance is a thing. It’s happening.
  • Considering that Mick now knows all the things, it’d be really helpful if he could help rein in the stupidity, not contribute to it.
  • The Quentin/Sara conversation before the Pilgrim showed up felt sort of off. I know they were going for snark, but they both just came off as blasé about the whole jail thing.
  • We are all Mick Rory appreciating Sara Lance’s awesomeness.
  • First Gideon was calculating where the Pilgrim was going to be with like 97% certainty, and then she can’t find her. *rolls eyes* Can you say deus ex machina?
  • I need a GIF of Snart saying “convenient” to use in all my Legends of Tomorrow reviews from now till the end of time.
  • “He won’t lose you. Ever.” I mean, unless you want to count those years he thought you were dead that first time. Or the time he thought you were dead the second time. Or the time you left on a time machine and missed my sister’s funeral. Or...
  • The guy at the beginning of the episode died very quickly, but when it’s Ray’s turn, the Pilgrim suddenly takes her time. CONVENIENT.
  • Also, how did he suddenly get better?
  • #RayPalmerdeservesbetter2k16
  • Are we still pretending Mick Rory is not getting a redemption story? Are we?
  • Rip’s selective worry about the timeline always baffles me. It’s like he only worries on Tuesdays, Fridays, and every other Sunday. The rest of the days it’s a free for all!
  • Jax is literally the only person on this team who cares about the timeline. The ONLY ONE.
  • I’m gonna call Rip by his given name every time he’s bad. Which is, like 97% of the time.
  • Should I care about Michael’s origin? Because I don’t.
  • If the Pilgrim is the best the Time Masters can do, then why are we even worried about them?
  • The special effects during the battle sequence at the end were kinda cool.
  • Little Michael was a psycho.
  • “You’re too young to understand, but understand...” is actual dialogue from this show.
  • I got Lance family feels a lot this episode.
  • So, Stein DOES remember Clarissa. Good to know.
  • Stakes, finally.
Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.


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