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TV Review: Legends of Tomorrow - Season 1 Episode 12 "Last Refuge"

04.22.2016
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EPISODE 12: "Last Refuge"

SYNOPSIS: The team is targeted by The Pilgrim (guest star Faye Kingslee), a deadly assassin who wants to erase the Legends from the timeline by killing their younger, non-superhero selves.  As a protective countermeasure, Rip (Arthur Darvill) decides Sara (Caity Lotz), Snart (Wentworth Miller), Rory (Dominic Purcell), Professor Stein (Victor Garber) and Jax (Franz Drameh) need to kidnap their past selves first before The Pilgrim gets to them.  Coming face-to-face with the younger versions of themselves proves to be both a physical and emotional challenge for certain members of the team who would rather forget their past.  Rip tells them he has a refuge for their precious cargo – an orphanage that raises future Time Masters and where he himself grew up.

REVIEW:

I'm not going to lie, it's been a rough day, my friends. First, DC Comics announced plans to restructure their famed Vertigo imprint - and in the process terminate the label's long-tenured editor Shelly Bond – which resulted to a hefty amount of negative press. Then, just as many were mourning the loss of wrestling entertainer Joanie Laurer aka Chyna, it was revealed that the legendary Pop musician, Prince, was found dead at his home located in Paisley Park, Minneapolis. With all of this weighing heavy on my heart, I longed for a decent LEGENDS OF TOMORROW experience to help clear the fog. Thankfully, tonight's time traveling super heroics did not disappoint, as the show delivered one of its best episodes to date!

That's right, folks. After three straight weeks of my belly-aching, LEGENDS OF TOMORROW roared back to life with a clever and, dare I say it … heartfelt episode. I have a lot of positive things to remark upon, so let's get started.

First, let's give a round of applause to Faye Kingslee and her portrayal of The Pilgrim. While I admit that it would have been cool to perhaps learn a bit more about her, I'm willing to let those sort of details slide given her wicked display of power and lethal combat skills. For real, this has to have been the coolest character we've encountered all season long. First, I loved her look. She wore that form-fitting black long-coat quite well, and I dug the hint of brown on her bubbled shoulder pads. Second, I don't know if there was a single moment in which she did not look like she meant business. Okay yeah, so the team did thwart he every attempt to destroy them, but of course that's what's going to happen. My point is, that regardless of her lack of substance, I thought The Pilgrim provided us with some of this season's coolest action sequences – including, but not limited to a number of fights that didn't always follow the wash-rinse-repeat choreography that's become so familiar across the CW super hero landscape.

Alright, let's do this. It's “Raydra” time, folks! Now, if you've been following my reviews, you know that I feel as if Kendra and Ray's relationship is the least interesting subplot of this program. That said, and at the very least, we got to see these two characters engaged with one another in some real conversation and moments of genuine concern for their future together. Don't get me wrong, it's still a force-fed garbage aspect of the show that the writers should extinguish as soon as humanly possible, but here we are, right? This is now the fourth time I've had to trudge through Kendra and Ray's “It's Complicated” relationship status, and I'm exhausted from their relentless uncertainty. Though I have to admit, I genuinely felt bad for Ray in the moment when he'd heard Sara and Kendra discussing his ill attempt at a proposal. The character is an insufferable goofball, I'll give you that, but as someone who's heard a few “behind-the-back” conversations in his day, I sympathized. For me, Kendra accepting his proposal is just another way to prolong this uninteresting union, but the stakes are higher, now. Marriage is no joke, and neither of them can afford to become one with such a penchant for indecision. Just because you like it doesn't mean you gotta put a ring on it, Ray. Calm down.

Okay, enough of that guff. I want to also give it up for Frans Drameh and his emotional return to the show in tonight's episode. While it might not have hit for some, I thought Jax's struggle in limiting his interactions with his father was some good stuff for that character. Why? Well, how can I put this? I lost my father close to 9 years ago, and I would give just about anything to speak with him again. Taking that into consideration, I can identify with the inner-battle of keeping a secret like that. Jax understands that any attempt to erase his father's death could seriously fracture their shared timelines, but how do you sleep knowing that you didn't take a chance at changing an event that significant? My personal connections to the material aside, I think Drameh delivered decently in his moments of contemplation, suffering, and regret. These scenes are a good example of what I've been harping on for the past few episodes about Jax not being given moments to shine and flex his emotional muscles. His character is much more than corny one-liners or existing only to play second fiddle in Stein's orchestra of science and wannabe sage-like sermons.

Beyond a few engaging character moments and nifty wirework, I like that by way of this episode we've breathed new life into the whole “We need to put Savage down” plotline. Though in recent times, I feel like Vandal's just been capering about, in all of his greasiness, acting as a stumbling block as opposed to a true cause for concern. Now, with their infant selves hidden away, and the team's entire existence at risk, the urgency to defeat Savage has been amplified. Basically, it's not just the lives of our heroes that will change, but the interactions they've shared with their loved ones will be forever lost. Imagine being reduced to nothing in the minds and hearts of the people you love. For just a moment, fathom that you're no longer even a memory to them, to no one. Yeah, it's time to gear up and kick Savage's pea coated ass!

Wrapping up, I think “Last Refuge” displayed a far better sense of balance from the show's writers, and was aided quite well thanks to the direction of Tank Girl and Doctor Who alum Rachel Talalay. For real, as much as the final fight scene took place in what could only be described as a minimalist setting, I think it was utilized rather well. Because as decent as the show's effects often are, they can sometimes become lost against the clutter and clang of a fight scene that is constantly changing in perspective. I guess what I'm saying is that I think the white-ass room used for the final showdown with The Pilgrim was a smart choice. Oh, and did you catch that Star Wars: The Force Awakens nod with the paralyzed bullet fired from Rip's six-shooter? Nice!

Here's hoping that the quality of tonight's episode marks the beginning of an exciting journey toward the conclusion of the season. With new purpose given to the hunt for Savage, and the memories of each team members nearest and dearest at stake, I see no reason not to charge headlong into these final episodes with guns, ice blasters, and flamethrowers a blazin'!

RECAP:

The opening of tonight's episode finds us back in the company of the Time Masters Council and their Sharper Image clothing style as they pass their judgment down on a frightened criminal. After declaring the quivering man guilty of his crimes, the felon begins to shudder and falls to the ground in confused agony. As he lays there, convulsing, Time Master Druce explains to him that an assassin has been sent back in time to kill the convicts younger self – thereby erasing him from existence. After just a few short moments, there is nothing left of the guilty party but ashes on the ground.

As we join the crew of the Wave Rider, we see that the group has traveled back to Central City, circa 1990 – to the night Mick Rory's family died in a terrible house fire. Disguised as firemen and rescue workers, the team frantically searches for Mick's younger self, before the deadly time assassin known as The Pilgrim can end the hot-headed teenager's life. Just as The Pilgrim (Faye Kingslee) is about to pull the trigger, Ray comes swooping in with his handy-dandy Atom suit and ruins her shot. With the assassin down for the count, Ray forces teenage Mick onto the ship in an effort to keep him safe from harm.

Safe aboard their time machine, we find Sara and Kendra sparring in what is apparently their favorite hallway of the ship. With bo staves a flying, Sensai Sara verbally notes to Kendra that her skills as a fighter are improving before she begins asking about more personal matters. Upon inquiring about whether or not Kendra's told Ray the details of their supposedly “doomed” relationship, the barista-turned-superhero explains to Sara that she's hesitant to burst the happy but misguided bubble she and Ray are living in.

Next, we find Rip, Professor Stein, Ray, and Rory in the control room, plotting their next move. When Ray asks about The Pilgrim's killing methods – and why she just doesn't go back to a week before her failed attempt to kill Mick – Rip explains that multiple attempts by the time killer would cripple the space time continuum. In essence, The Pilgrim has but one chance to kill each of the would-be legends or her mission will be a complete failure. Thankfully for our team of heroes, Gideon has calculated the time and place of her next hit. Thus, we're off to Starling City circa 2007, where a young and rowdy Sara Lance has been taken into custody by her father's fellow officers.

As young Sara and her father, Officer Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne), exchange words about Sara's poor life choices, The Pilgrim comes storming in and promptly begins wrecking the joint. As The Pilgrim waves bullets away like so many pesky flies after the sweetness of a beach-side cocktail, adult Sara and Mick arrive just in time to beat the Matrix-powered hunter and whisk young Sara off to the confines of their time machine. After their return to the Wave Rider, Rip and Ray learn that Gideon has lost the ability to predict their killer's next location.

With members of the team off brainstorming ideas about where The Pilgrim could strike next, we discover that Ray has been raiding Rip's stash of vintage cereals and wants to share some of the sugary snacks with his beloved Kendra. Placing the breakfast treats aside, Ray confesses to Kendra that he misses the simplicity of their life together – back when they were stuck in the 1920s for two years. He continues to say that he no longer wants to live in the past, and just when you thought things couldn't get any more redundant, he positions himself to once again ask for Kendra's hand in marriage. But oh no, just as he's about to pop the question (again), he crumples to the ground in distress. Evidently, the time assassin has caught up with Ray in another time and place and is slowly killing him. It's time for action!

In the next scene, we're taken to Palmer Tech (Star City, circa 2014), where Ray is currently getting his ass handed to him. After Palmer is tossed around like a rag doll for a little bit, Rip and Team Firestorm arrive to rescue their friend. During the scuffle, Captain Hunter uses one of Ray's Iron Man hand canon … I mean The Atom's wrist canons to blast The Pilgrim out a window – and quite nastily I might add. Back aboard the ship, as Ray's vitals begin to stabilize, he misinterprets Kendra's words into thinking she said yes to his marriage proposal. Uh oh! Is it me or did it just get a little … HAWKWARD in here?

With the crisis of losing their teammate narrowly avoided, it's time for Rip and his merry band of time traveling defenders to figure out a way to beat The Pilgrim at her own game. Thus, the team decides to travel back in time to the days in which each of them were born and hide their infant selves away until they can come up with a better solution. Before they embark on their child-thieving journey, Sara catches up with Kendra as the hawk-themed warrior is contemplating Ray's botched proposal. Sara then promises to help her sort it out after Kendra helps her infiltrate the postnatal ward where a newly born Leonard Snart awaits them. Only, before the scene cuts away, Ray comes walking out from around a corner of the ship. The poor guy heard everything.

With baby Snart safely aboard the ship, it's now time to abduct infants Stein and Jax. As Stein begins waxing rhapsodic about the joys of fatherhood and the prospect of holding his infant self in his now adult arms, Jax tells the professor that he never got to meet his father – at least not really. It's then that Jax shares with Stein a story about how his father died after being deployed for combat - just two short weeks after his birth. After this touching scene, we're off to Ivy Town circa 1950 – to when and where Professor Stein was born. Rip and Mick arrive on the scene - Rory dressed as a doctor and Rip looking like he'd raided Humphrey Bogart's closet. Heh. Anyway, they grab baby Stein and return to the ship where the others are waiting.

Next on the list is baby Jax. In charge of stealing the child is Professor Stein, who then fixes the abduction to allow for the adult Jax to speak with his father - who's there looking in on his newly-born son. In my opinion, this amounts to one of the show's more tender moments as the two men speak with one another about what the future might bring to the little bundle of joy. Before they part ways, Jax makes an effort to tell his father about the tragic accident that will claim his life, but he hesitates and allows his father to leave without warning.

Okay, they've got all the babies, but where are they going to stash them for safe keeping? Well, according to Rip, that parts already taken care of. It seems Captain Hunter grew up in a halfway house for potential time masters, and he's going to ask his adopted mother to look after their collective pudgy-faced newborns. She agrees, and before long the team is back on the ship and cooking up a plan to stop The Pilgrim once and for all.

After a short but agonizing commercial break, we find Jax crying in one of the Wave Rider's many hallways. Feeling his partner's distress, Stein approaches Jax and inquires as to what is troubling him. Jax then shares with the good professor that he's feeling guilty about blowing the opportunity to warn his father about his untimely demise. Stein then tries to comfort Jax, reminding him that even if he had spilled the beans there's an infinite amount reasons why it wouldn't have mattered. Nice, Stein. Real nice. Jerk.

Following Team Firestorm's little counseling session, we find Kendra confessing to Ray that her former self (that she met in last week's Western-themed episode) expressed caution about her getting involved with anyone besides her lover-in-time, Carter. Understandably put out by her confession, Ray tells Kendra that she needs to figure out how she feels and to let him know sooner rather than later.

As we wind up to the final moments of this week's episode, we discover that The Pilgrim has appointed herself with a new mission – that instead of destroying the lives of our heroes, she'll go after their friends and family instead. Rip replies to the assassin's directive by stating that he's willing to make a trade – his life for that of her hostages. Some shifty eyes and a bit of concerned banter later, we join Rip, Rory, Stein, Jax, Rip's mother, and Captain Hunter's younger self as they're involved in a good old fashioned hostage negotiation.

Then, as the exchange is being made, a fight breaks out. The Pilgrim starts going full-on Max Payne in response to the assault when suddenly, she's stabbed (repeatedly) by a pint-sized Rip Hunter. With a look of astonishment and defeat in her eyes, the combined attacks of our legends reduce her to nothing more than a pile of black ashes upon the ground.

As we begin to wrap this week's adventure up with a nice big bow: Rip returns the children to his mother for safe keeping, Jax warms his father about the mission that ends his life, Sara shares a nice moment of goodbye and good luck with Detective Lance, and Kendra finally says “Yes” to Ray's marriage proposal. Shortly thereafter, Rip explains to his team that the time from which their younger selves were removed has already begun to set. Meaning, if they don't get their act together and move on destroying Vandal Savage as soon as humanly possible their lives might not have any hope of returning to normal. Thus, the plan is to travel to the year 2166 in an effort to stop Savage once and for all. 

STINGER: "Leviathan" airs April 28th Rip (Arthur Darvill) takes the team to London in the year 2166, three months before his family is killed.  He believes this to be their final opportunity to take out Savage (Casper Crump) who is, unfortunately, at the height of his power. However, the team discovers two key elements to defeating him – Savage’s daughter (guest star Jessica Sipos) and the means to kill Savage once and for all.  Gregory Smith directed the episode written by Sarah Nicole Jones & Ray Utarnachitt.

Extra Tidbit: Tonight's guest star, Faye Kingslee, will provide the voice of Faith - the protagonist of the Dice video game Mirror's Edge: Catalyst

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3:16PM on 04/22/2016
First I want to say this, Steve your reviews are great. I think you need to do ALL of the Superhero shows, or everyone who does them should follow your format. That is an ACTUAL REVIEW and then a recap. Everyone else's "reviews" are just recaps with a line or two buried within. You actually do a full review and then recap it for everyone. Good show man and everyone else reviewing tv shows should take fucking note and follow suit.

Yeah this was a solid episode. Sadly there was still the worst
First I want to say this, Steve your reviews are great. I think you need to do ALL of the Superhero shows, or everyone who does them should follow your format. That is an ACTUAL REVIEW and then a recap. Everyone else's "reviews" are just recaps with a line or two buried within. You actually do a full review and then recap it for everyone. Good show man and everyone else reviewing tv shows should take fucking note and follow suit.

Yeah this was a solid episode. Sadly there was still the worst love story that I have ever seen in a comic book show/movie, but hopefully thats comes to an end soon for the love of god. However the rest of the episode was really fucking good. Rory in my opinion was the standout. I really like what they've done with the character since reclaiming him from his Kronos persona. And Purcell showed some nice chops there. Equally as interesting was the Rip backstory. Rip's character has been pretty bad overall frankly. But this episode gave him some depth and it was cool to see how the time masters recruited their ranks. The pilgrim and her fights were fucking awesome. And yeah I can see why there were rumors of this show only having one season due to cost before it premier to such large numbers for the CW. While some of the effects are at times a bit weak, for the most part for tv they are stellar. Combine that with the amount of sets required for this show and it probably cost what Arrow and Flash cost combined. Though I wish the show would keep up this level of excitement and meaning. We got to see various times and set pieces and it all made for an interesting story rather than just feeling like a gimmick like so many other episodes. Keep it up LOT.
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5:13PM on 04/22/2016
Ha ha ha! I thank you for your kind words and enthusiasm, Wopolopolus. It's nice to know that the effort I put into making these reviews entertaining hasn't been missed. I work with lots of talented people here at the site, and everyone brings their own brand of game to the reviewing field. I'm glad you appreciate my approach. Cheers!
Ha ha ha! I thank you for your kind words and enthusiasm, Wopolopolus. It's nice to know that the effort I put into making these reviews entertaining hasn't been missed. I work with lots of talented people here at the site, and everyone brings their own brand of game to the reviewing field. I'm glad you appreciate my approach. Cheers!
7:44AM on 04/22/2016
I agree with your review of "The Last Refuge". I add that Dominic Purcell also did a fine job acting when actually given something to do. Rory was highly interesting when interacting with his younger self. Furthermore, Ciara Renee is doing a better job of acting. Initially, I disliked her on-screen. However, she has upped her game a lot over the episodes.
I agree with your review of "The Last Refuge". I add that Dominic Purcell also did a fine job acting when actually given something to do. Rory was highly interesting when interacting with his younger self. Furthermore, Ciara Renee is doing a better job of acting. Initially, I disliked her on-screen. However, she has upped her game a lot over the episodes.
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