TV Review: Legends of Tomorrow - Season 1 Episode 10 "Progeny"
EPISODE 10: "Progeny"
SYNOPSIS: Rip (Arthur Darvill) tells the team they are headed to the future to take out a powerful ally that Savage (guest star Casper Crump) needs in order to conquer the world. However, when Rip reveals the ally is a 14 year-old boy (guest star Cory Gruter-Andrew) who will one day grow into an evil dictator, the team is split about the morality of killing a child, even if it does save the world. Meanwhile, Sara (Caity Lotz) talks Snart (Wentworth Miller) through a rough patch and Ray (Brandon Routh) learns something that could impact his future with Kendra (Ciara Renée).
Alright, so a few of our readers were left feeling a little salty about my less-than-enthusiastic review of last week's episode. Not that I'm looking to win anyone over, but I'm happy to report that I feel much better about “Progeny” than I did after watching “Left Behind”. My primary struggle with this show stems from knowing that LEGENDS OF TOMORROW has the talent (as well as the budget) to be a great comic book adventure, but in recent times has missed the mark by side-lining its stronger cast members and presenting its audiences with one of the dullest superhero romances in television history.
Whoa, whoa whoa! Hey Steve, aren't you being a little harsh? Eh, I don't think so, but we'll get to that in a bit. First, let's move onto some positives about tonight's episode. For starters, is it me or are the effects for this show getting better? Those Atom drones were looking pretty slick, were they not? Sure, their participation was extraordinarily reminiscent of what we've already seen in films like IRON MAN 2 and IRON MAN 3, but that's the nature of the beast, I suppose. I mean really, how many ways can you animate a fleet of deadly robots? Despite the familiarity of it all, the drones looked damn good both while in flight and as they carried out their coordinated ground assault. This was easily a place in which the effects team could have cut corners to save a few bucks, though it appears as if they'd spared no expense.
Second, I dug the mission objective of tonight's episode quite a bit. And before you jump to conclusions, no, I do not condone the killing of a child to save the rest of humanity. What I liked about this was that it posed an honest-to-goodness moral dilemma on Captain Hunter. Does he compromise an aspect of his soul by murdering a child with the notion that it will help save his family? What if it doesn't work? What if by killing the kid he does in fact prevent the deaths of his wife and child, but is then not able to look them in the eye as a man of worth? This is an example of something I'd like this show to have more of – character defining moments that make or break them as participants in a war against time itself. To top it all off, Rip chooses to let the child live, stating that it's not weakness, but the goodness in him that compels him to make the right choice. Awesome.
Now, because I am a firm believer in serving up what I like to call a “compliment sandwich”, we're now going to discuss a tiresome aspect of the show before moving on to more of the good stuff. Okay, I'm just going to come out and say it. What the hell are we doing with Kendra and Ray? Does anyone really care about these two staying together? To begin, what was with all the 1920 flashback stuff? If the purpose of it was to create some manner of forced friction between Kendra and Ray, it failed. It's just my opinion, but Ciara Renee and Falk Hentschel have zero chemistry with one another. And quite frankly, the same goes for Renee and Routh as well.
I mean, I get it, we're supposed to feel something for a character that is struggling to understand her past. I totally understand that as a concept, I just don't think it's playing well here. I want to see Kendra living in the now, not getting involved in sequences that eat up a portion of the show which only serve to reiterate her origin story. I swear, I think this might be the fifth time we've gone over the circumstances of the Hawks lovers-in-time shtick. I'm saying it's enough already. Carter's dead. Let Kendra go full-hawk rather than be an object of pity in addition to being the leader of the Lonely Hearts Club band. And another thing! If you're going to pair her with Ray, at least make it interesting. These moments of them pussy-footing around one another is pumping the breaks on what is otherwise an engaging 48-minutes worth of entertainment.
Still with me? Nice. Because I really want to talk to you all about Sara Lance. I used to boast that Leonard and Mick (when they were getting along and snarking their way through scenes) were the best characters on this show. That is so no longer the case as Caity Lotz and her White Canary character continue to climb my personal “ladder of favorites”. Beyond the obvious good guy/bad guy back-and-forth of Mick Rory's character, or Snart's unpredictable energy from one episode to the next, Sara is the only character with a clearly defined arc. Having re-claimed her soul and sanity from a Lazarus pit in Nanda Parbat, Sara continues to make strides in re-discovering her compassion for others while persistently keeping her blood lust in check. She's the bridge builder, the Jiminy Cricket on the shoulders of her teammates. While Rip is off using others to fight the war within himself, Sara gets shit done. She organizes, she kicks ass, she invites her friends to see past the veils that cloud their judgment. Sara does all of this while quelling the demons that rage inside her. Seriously, what's not to like?
Anyway, I do believe I've gotten all of my thoughts about tonight's episode out to you fine folks. If I can say one last thing it's that I really hope the writers can find a way to get Jax and Stein more involved as the season presses on. For the past two episodes they have very much been a non-entity and I'd like to see that rectified. It looks as if we're off to the Wild West next week, and DC will have another chance at presenting their Jonah Hex character to generations of fans both young and old. I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty stoked about that. In the end, I think “Progeny” was a very good episode. Had we skipped the 1920s flashback business and introduced some more interesting elements into Kendra and Ray's humdrum relationship, it could have been one of this season's best. Here's hoping that Mick is back in the fray next week, and that we're too busy getting fitted for coffins to give Carter anymore screen time.
As the sliding doors to the Wave Rider's holding cell hiss open, we're greeted by the sight of Rip engaging in a conversation with Mick Rory - jailed last episode after the discovery of his moonlighting gig as the time-hopping bounty hunter, Kronos. In an effort to appeal to whatever good is left in Mick, Rip explains to his former teammate that it was he who gave the order Snart to “deal with Rory”. Unfortunately for Captain Hunter, his words have fallen on deaf ears, as it's become painfully obvious that Mick has no interest in hearing what he has to say.
Feeling defeated, Rip returns to the main cabin where his team is busy getting ready for their next encounter with Vandal Savage. The ship has arrived in the year 2147, and has invisibly perched itself in an area known as the Kasnian Conglomerate. The deal with this place is that in the year 2080, governments began to give way to corporations, thus establishing a posh future-city where the rich thrive and the poor who live outside of its boundaries struggle for survive.
The reason that our heroes have decided to make a pit-stop in this time and place is because in roughly two hours time, Vandal Savage is scheduled to attend an important meeting with the city's share-holders. Rip knows that just 20 years hence, Kasnia is the foothold in which Savage takes over the world. So, if the team can discover how the time tyrant's actions in Kasnia lead to his rise in power, maybe they can take him out before it all comes to pass.
What's that? Oh, you're wondering how Savage can manage to gain control of an entire city? Well, he's inserted himself within the conglomerate as a mentor to a young boy by the name of Per Degaton - son of the Kasnian chairman, Tor Degaton. History shows that after the death of his father in the year 2152, Per Degaton rises to power and releases an Armageddon Virus that destroys almost everyone in and around the metropolis. So yeah, either someone needs to take the tiny would-be dictator out or they risk exposing the world to his laundry list of crimes against all humanity.
While exploring the city, Ray becomes confused when he spots an autonomous version of his Atom suit engaged in a chase with what appears to be a fleeing criminal. Seconds later, the robot opens fire on the light-footed felon. As the crook crumples to the ground, motionless, Ray can't help but wonder what's become of the technology he'd invented.
Inside the Kasnia Conglomerate building, Rip has used his handy-dandy technojiggery to elude security and gain access to the share-holders meeting. As Captain Hunter looks down from the balcony, we can see Tor Degaton explaining to his constituents that mass murder is not the proper way to deal with their current population crisis. Okay, so the guy's not all bad, I suppose. Just then, the camera pans to one investor in particular, Vandal Savage! He's there, with his evil swagger and malevolent beard, explaining away the logic behind genocide. What a guy, right? Pfft. The meeting ends, and Rip decides to follow Savage to his next destination - which just so happens to involve checking in with Per Degaton. It's here when Rip puts the pieces together that the scowling little Joffrey Baratheon-like menace is the key to Savage's evil scheme. Shortly thereafter, Rip returns to his ship and informs the team that the little bastard has to die if they're to thwart Savage's plans for world domination.
Understandably, the team is a might hesitant to kill an innocent child. After all, it's not his fault that a vicious wolf-in-disguise is his tutor. Some debate later, the team agrees to abduct Per Degaton rather than kill him. To do this, the team must divide and conquer if they're to disable the Atom tech drones as well as kidnap the prepubescent would-be Adolf Hitler.
Then, because the writers are always partitioning the focus of this show, we find Kendra experiencing a flashback to the year 1920. In her vision, she and Carter are a married couple living in a small town while hiding from the ever-watchful eye of their nemesis, Vandal Savage. Kendra is visibly upset in this scene, and as she begins sharing her concerns with Carter, a young boy by the name of Aldus enters the room. Oh snap! It looks as if at some point Hawkgirl laid an egg! What? Oh c'mon, like you wouldn't have taken the opportunity to crack that joke?
Anyway, outside the Kasnia Conglomerate, Sara, Snart, and Rip have successfully snagged Per Degaton while Stein, Jax, and Ray have made their way inside the city's securities building. While being given the guided tour, Ray discovers that his company, Palmer Tech, was the founding organization of the Kasnia Conglomerate. Oh yeah, and that their tour guide is none other than Rachel Turner (guest star Jewel Staite), who just might be Ray's great-great-great-great granddaughter! Obviously, Ray is taken aback by this revelation, leaving him as distracted and confused as ever.
Back aboard the Wave Rider, the team has been informed by Gideon that, despite their successful kidnapping of Per Degaton, the future remains un-changed. As a result, Rip begins scrambling for answers while Sara tries to reason with him. She's of the belief that anyone can chance if given the right set of circumstances. Sadly, Rip is running low on optimism this episode and decides to abscond to parts unknown with the young man in-tow.
Hey kids, do you know what time it is! That's right, it's confession time! In short, Kendra talks to Ray about the flashbacks she's been experiencing and how they're messing with her emotions. To this, Ray then tells Kendra about his maybe-love child back in the year 2016. The couple leave the scene relieved but unsure of their fate and dedication to one another. Meanwhile, in another part of the ship, Sara is chatting up Leonard about his diminishing relationship with his partner-in-crime, Mick Rory. With careful words, Sara urges Snart to get over himself and just talk to his friend.
Next, we transition to a scene in which Rip and Per Degaton are standing beside a waterbed. With a gun aimed firmly at the young boy's skull, Rip begins monologuing about the future, and how only the little dude's death will ensure a brighter tomorrow for all of mankind. Unaffected by Captain Hunter's words, the little shit calls his captors bluff to open fire and the scene ends with Rip placing his light-up six-shooter back in its holster.
As the episode nears its end, the team is attacked by Tor Degaton's men with Savage leading the charge. Rather than just sit back and let themselves be destroyed, Sara, Snart, Team Firestorm, Ray, and Kendra strike back in true superhero fashion. During the confusion, Ray and Kendra make their way inside the Kasnia Conglomerate building to shut down the Atom security bots. While Ray is hacking away at the main terminal, he and Kendra are suddenly held at gunpoint by none other than Rachel Turner. In an attempt to gain her trust, Palmer explains that he's her great-great-great-great grandfather and the founder of Palmer tech. With a cocked eye, Rachel reveals to Ray that she's a descendant of Sydney Palmer, Ray's brother!
Outside the conglomerate building, the battle between our legends and Tor Degaton's army has reached a stand-still as Rip arrives with Per as his hostage. A conversation later and Per is returned to his father while Rip and his team are allowed to go free. Back on the ship, Snart and Rory are trading blows with one another as a way of making nice. I suppose that's just how they sort through their emotions. During the fight, Mick duffs Snart a good one but refuses to dole out the killing blow. Awwwwww! See, Mick's not such a bad guy after all!
Wrapping up: Kendra and Ray decide (for the second time in just two episodes) to remain a couple, Vandal Savage convinces Per to plunge a knife into his father's chest while he sleeps soundly in his bed, and Mick informs the crew of the Wave Rider that an army of time-traveling mercenaries are on their way with orders to erase the lives of Captain Hunter and his friends from the face of history. Dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn!
STINGER: When the team needs a place to hide out, Rip (Arthur Darvill) sets a course for the Old West. Upon arrival, they start a fight with a gang of outlaws, putting the small town in jeopardy. Luckily, an old friend of Rip’s, Jonah Hex (guest star Johnathon Schaech), steps in to save them. Thor Freudenthal directed the episode with story by Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim and teleplay by Marc Guggenheim (#111).
|Extra Tidbit:||The character of Per Degaton made his first appearance in All-Star Comics #35 in June of 1947. He was an assistant to the Time Trust, a group of scientists developing a time ray in order to go to the future and acquire an effective bombing defense for use during World War II. - Courtesy of the DC Wiki|