TV Review: Legends of Tomorrow - Season 1 Episode 1 "Pilot, Part 1"
EPISODE 1: "Pilot, Part 1"
SYNOPSIS: A time-traveling adventurer by the name of Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) has traveled to the year 2015 with the intention of gathering a rag-tag group of both heroes and villains of the super-powered persuasion. Once assembled, Hunter asks for their aid in thwarting the world-ending rise to power of the immortal known as Vandal Savage (Casper Crump).
DC Comics is killing it this week! A wild-looking new trailer for SUICIDE SQUAD, a First-Look at WONDER WOMAN, the return of both THE FLASH and ARROW to the CW Network, and now, we've got the premiere episode of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW! After months of teasing, a few all-too-brief character introductions, and an ad campaign that dominated social media outlets and even the pages of select comic books, a diverse patchwork of “legends” are ready to step out as members of a brand new super-powered team!
Developed by Greg Berlanti (ARROW, THE FLASH), Andrew Kreisberg (SUPERGIRL, FRINGE), and Marc Guggenheim (ARROW, FLASHFORWARD), LEGENDS OF TOMORROW started with a bang; delivering us to the 22nd century, and head-long into what's sure to be a grand adventure through time. I'll cut right to the chase, I very much enjoyed this debut episode of DC's latest network television franchise. First of all, you've got Arthur “Rory” Darvill who finally gets to take his turn as the timelord! Hot damn! He's even got his own version of the TARDIS, though the Wave Rider doesn't seem to be bigger on the inside.
Secondly, as a fan of THE FLASH - and someone who watches ARROW - I like that there's a venue for several of the side-characters from both shows where they have their own chance to shine. It's important to recognize that this debut episode is very much a vehicle for “getting the band together”, and not a means of establishing major plot or story elements. I think it was written with a humorous hand and built on a familiar frame-work, so good pacing, great chemistry between characters, and clever dialogue kept things very engaging.
Thirdly, the story elements introduced just in the pilot alone offer hope for an entertaining season ahead. Revenge, romance, heroism, badassery, lots of fun fight choreography... hell, Captain Cold and Heat Wave's killer one liners are worth the price of admission alone.
It's clear to me that the showrunners have learned a thing or two from previous outings with characters belonging to the DC Comics pantheon. LEGENDS OF TOMORROW also displays a sleek visual design that suits the futuristic setting while still managing to look as if if jumped right out of the pages of a comic book. If the whip-smart dialogue, over-the-top villainy, and team dynamic holds strong, we're looking at one hell of a season.
The year is 2166, the day of The Second Blitz, and an immortal madman named Vandal Savage is on the loose - bringing death and destruction to all who oppose him. Among the ruined streets of a city controlled by fear, you can hear the screams of men, women, and children echoing in your ears as an army of jack-booted thugs lay waste to the populace of a burning metropolis. From out of the smoke and hails of laser gun fire steps a bearded figure, scowling, drinking in the frightened stares of his prey. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Vandal Savage: time traveler, psychopath, and first loser in the town of Warracknabeal, Australia's annual Nick Cave Look-alike Contest.
In all of his dictatorial glory, Savage looks on at the destruction, and smiles. With a piercing gaze, the despot focuses his attention on a young woman and her son, cowering amidst the debris. Without warning, the woman is gunned down by one of Savage's henchman, leaving the young boy no choice but to either run in terror, or face his mother's killer. Savage then approaches the boy, and inquires as to extent of the child's bravery. With his back straight, and not a glint of fear in his eyes, the boy spits in Savage's face. Smirking at the boy's defiance, Savage promptly raises a gun and pulls the trigger.
As a man who's had enough of Vandal's savagery, Captain Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) has decided to take matters into his own hands, by appealing to the Counsel of the Time Masters, and requesting that they grant him the authority to erase Savage from their history's time-line. Fearful of the consequences that come with removing an unfortunate but influential figure from time itself, the counsel remains undecided until the camera cuts away.
Aboard a retro-fitted time-traveling spaceship called The Wave Rider, Captain Hunter orders Gideon, the ship's A.I. interface to set a course for the year 2016. That's right, it's time to rally the troops! The first stop on our recruitment journey is to Star City, where Ray Palmer AKA The Atom (Brandon Routh) is doing his hero thing. It's at this point when we experience the show's first super hero cross-over, as Palmer and Oliver Queen AKA The Green Arrow (Steve Amell) trade concerns about The Atom's inaugural re-appearance onto the hero scene. After Ray some fancy sciencing and bad-assery, enter Captain Hunter and his Men In Black neuralizer-esque legend acquisition device.
Next, we're off to the snowy mountains of Tibet, where Sarah Lance (Caity Lotz) - the former Black Canary - is shooting back shots of hooch with broody introspection. The mood goes downhill quickly with a little domestic violence, to which she rightly takes offense, and steps in as only she can - violently. After the kerfuffle, Sarah is greeted by Hunter and his hand-held light show.
Meanwhile, back in Star City, the combined heroic efforts of Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson “Jax” Jackson (Franz Drameh) AKA Firestorm to snatch a gun-toting madman from a facility harboring dangerous materials are in full-effect. In the wake of their success, our two heroes find themselves face-to-face-to neuralizer.
A time-hop later, we're joined by the reincarnated lovers-in-time Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) and Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée). After the successful rescue mission of a young woman. Still struggling with the concept of having a millennia-long romantic history, we find our quarreling heroes visited by Captain Hunter and his mysterious device. Poof!
Lastly, we're joined by Leonard Snart AKA Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and his hot-headed brother Mick Rory AKA Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell). While making their getaway from the Central City Bullion Exchange via mini-van, the sibling's path to victory takes a wicked detour courtesy of Hunter's pension for procuring professionals.
With his collection finally complete, Rip gathers the crew together for his inspirational mission statement. After dazzling his guests with tales of historical daring-do, the Captain proclaims that only the combined talents of legends themselves can defeat Vandal Savage, who stands as a threat to all.
Seeing as the opportunity to re-write history in an attempt to save the world from a vengeful murderer isn't an invitation to take lightly, it's understandable that our legends-in-the-making are going to need to take a moment to contemplate the cosmic consequences of their participation. A montage of reflection later, we're shown an Oliver Queen/Ray Palmer pep talk, the origin of White Canary courtesy of her sister, Laurel Lance, the roofying of one half of Firestorm by the other, and the unique opportunity to be bad guys in time. Aboard The Wave Rider, our legends of tomorrow embark on their trip back to 1975 where an invaluable expert awaits.
As Hunter, Palmer, and the Hawks ascend the steps of Saint Roch University, hoping to enlist the aid of Professor Aldus Boardman, our resident anti-heroes decide that they need a drink and go out to “be weird in the 70s.” Back in the hallowed halls of Saint Roch University, it is revealed that not only is Prof. Boardman an expert in all things Savage, he's also the offspring of the previous incarnation of the lovers Hawk. Taken aback by the news, the Hawks decide – despite Rip's warnings about changing history - that Boardman will join the team on their mission.
After an interesting jaunt, the team runs afoul of a time-traveling bounty hunter by the name of Cronos. Armed to the teeth with futuristic weaponry, Cronos opens fire, damaging the ship and injuring Prof. Boardman in the process. Once safely inside the Wave Rider, the ship takes off to parts unknown to regroup.
Disturbed by the seemingly unprovoked attack, the group look to Rip for answers. Left no choice but to confess, Rip reveals that his mission is unsanctioned and his collected group of legends were in fact chosen for their lack of legacy. In the face of this new reality, these less than legendary legends must re-access their roles as part of Hunter's time traveling bandits.
Wanting to make a difference, and take their fate into their own hands, The Atom, White Canary, Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Firestorm, and the Hawks take the stage, and decide that they're going to be the legends of tomorrow.
Part 2 of this episode finds us becoming even more acquainted with our league of legends, and quite possibly some hot Hawk-on-Hawk action. Stay tuned!
|Extra Tidbit:||For more of Arthur Darvill's time-traveling escapades, be sure to check out Doctor Who - starting halfway through Season 5.|