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TV Review: Legends of Tomorrow - Season 1 Episode 13 "Leviathan"

04.29.2016
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EPISODE 13: "Leviathan"

SYNOPSIS: 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.

REVIEW:

Welly, welly well, would you look at what we've got here, folks? Yet another eventful episode of DC's LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, that's what! This week's installment started off with a bang, as our heroes headed straight into Savage's proverbial lion's den - looking to take care of a little business. For me, the episode wasn't without an awkward moment or two, but there was plenty to enjoy about it as well.

To begin, did anyone else feel like the events that transpired in the first few minutes of the show were executed as if in fast-forward? Maybe it was the editing, or that there was a lot to sort out before getting to the core of tonight's daring do - I just felt myself trying to catch my mental breath between cuts. No bother though, I'm not going to complain about the show speeding things along a little if it's for the sake of bigger and better moments waiting in the wings.

So this is it, huh? We're finally going to take Savage out, once and for all? That sounds awesome, only … don't we have three more episodes to go? Heh, I bet something goes terribly wrong. Anyway, tonight's episode was a little bizarre, no? Between infiltrating Savage's lair, Kendra fashioning a weapon that could defeat the time tyrant, Ray going all Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots with Ultra Man's Tron-obsessed cousin, and the legends rescuing a group of resistance rabble, I think tonight's events felt more like a finale than a typical display of super hero shenanigans.

Mind you, that's not a complaint. To be honest, I wish the show had more stand-out moments like this. I mean, even if Ray's embiggening (Thanks, Kamala!) CGI did look awful (and it did) there was still plenty to enjoy about that kaiju-sized robot battle. Snark all you like about the Tron-like appearance of the Leviathan, but I think that thing looked pretty damn cool when duffing out Ray's over-sized ass. Though, I could have dealt with a little less of that camera angle. You know the one I'm talking about. The shot where we were square with the lumbering robot's crotch? Yeah, that's the one. Seriously, we were front and center like, five or six times. Give me David Bowie's crotch from Labyrinth or give me death! 

Other things I liked about tonight was that we got to see our legends performing multiple acts of heroism. Whether it was battling a giant machine, firing off their fancy weaponry, engaging in hand-to-hand combat (though why people are still fighting that way in the year 2166 is beyond me), or rescuing a large group of presumably smelly refugees – it was heroes being heroes. DC has earned itself a bit of a reputation in past years for being “too dark” and “joyless” with their cinematic offerings. That said, DC'S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW has proven time and again that it's more than willing to have a little fun, and save any number of innocents in the process while they do it.

I'll be honest, I don't really think I walked away from this episode feeling like there were any major character moments. Okay, yes, Kendra stepping up to deal with Vandal was pretty sweet. I'll give you that much.I could remark about how cool and collected Cassandra Savage's character was. I liked the way she eventually turned on her father, and how she came off to me as a nice match for Snart's “quiet cool”. I suppose Rip confessing his frustrations about failing his family again and again was something, but I've very little love or interest left for Rip's mission at this stage of the game. Oh sure, I'd like to see the guy get his family back and all - I'm not a monster - I just don't feel close to Captain Hunter or his circumstances, not really.

Jax doesn't get to do very much this episode, either. He gives a kid a candy bar and then plays Tony Burton to Ray Palmer's mechanized Rocky about ¾ of the way through the episode. Kendra does her self-doubt routine, then follows it up with lying to herself (and Palmer) about how she feels toward her current partnership. It's the kind of back and forth that makes you wish either Kendra or Ray would just end things already. The only difference regarding tonight's episode when compared to others is that Kendra's discontent is now more obvious than ever. I think this is deliberate, though. We're now supposed to know for sure that Kendra is torn, unhappy, whatever. It feels like a step in the right direction, but this is also the kind of crap that causes me to emit an exasperated sign of “I told you so” as well. With any luck, Kendra will have had an off-camera chat with Ray, and we can all move on with our lives.

I think that's going to do it, for now. Overall, I think “Leviathan” was one of the better episodes offered this season. I realize that the events of tonight's adventure might have cost a pretty penny's worth of the show's budget, so here's hoping there's enough left to carry us to the end. For me, it feels like the show has a good momentum built up for the remaining episodes to come. But as I'd said earlier, this did have a “finale” kind of vibe to it, but I'm hoping that there's still some surprises waiting for us before we close the book on Savage and the threat he poses to our world.

RECAP:

Pew pew pew! Tonight's episode began with our heroes taking on heavy fire, while piloting their time-traveling ship, the Wave Rider, through London circa 2166. Wait a minute, hold up, isn't that the time and place in history where Savage kills Rip's family? Ding, ding ding! You are correct! The way Rip figures, this is fixed time in which Savage will be sure to make an appearance. Naturally, you'd want to make a solid plan for an attack such as this, right? Well, good old Rip has decided, “Nah, eff that. Let's just go in guns a blazing and hope for the best! It's not like the entire space time continuum is at stake! To me, my Legends!” Stein tries to caution Captain Hunter about entering Savage's stronghold half-cocked, but Rip doesn't really seem to give a flying …

Anyway, the camera then cuts to a scene of Vandal Savage addressing his army of assholes. The atmosphere looks something like if Pink Floyd's The Wall had angry sex with a Nazi rally. For real, I was almost expecting Smoochy the Rhino to come stumbling out with the intention of singing us a song. So Rip, Sara, Snart, and Rory have infiltrated this thing, and while listening to Savage drone on and on about his plans for world domination, Snart announces that the group has been made by one of Vandal's female soldiers.

Back at the Wave Rider, while keeping a hawk's eye (eh? EH? C'moooooooon!) on her friends, Kendra notices that the female soldier is wearing her old bracelet. Oh snap! That's the bracelet the team has been searching for. You know, the one they can use to forge a weapon that can kill Savage? Jackpot! Shortly thereafter, while our heroes are following Savage and his men to where ever they're about to do more evil, Mick and Snart take it upon themselves to get the party started. Needless to say, things don't go well. And before long Rip and the others retreat back to their ship.

In the Wave Rider's main cabin, the team is discussing the idea of going back for the bracelet, though hopefully this time with a bit more grace and cunning. Suddenly, Gideon announces that she's located a resistance army encampment just beneath their current location. This puts a smile on Rip's face as he figures he can ask the locals if they have any information on Savage that would prove useful in aiding his destruction. As Sara stays behind to help figure out how Kendra is going to kill a time tyrant using a centuries-old bracelet, Captain Hunter, Jax, Ray, and Stein go to mingle with the resistance.

We get a sappy scene of Jax giving candy to the local Children of the Corn, but then it's time for Ray and the Captain to have some real talk. After a bit of prying, Rip confesses to Ray that he's already tried to rescue his family multiple times in the past, but has always been unsuccessful in doing so. Here's the part where we all say, “Well duh.” But after that, the legend's true identities are revealed to a high-ranking officer of the resistance. Rip makes up some bit of fluff about not having time to explain who they are or where they came from, but that they're there to help put an end to Savage no matter the cost. G.I. Jane likes what she hears and brings them in on the ground floor. Before the scene ends, radio chatter of a camp undergoing heavy fire pierces the silence. Savage and his men have claimed more lives. He must be stopped.

We're on the ship again, and we're still trying to figure out how best to strike at Savage and his merry band of Sprockets. Rip seems to think that the answer behind crafting the weapon lies in one of Aldus' old journals. You remember him, right? He was Kendra and Carter's son, the college professor and historian dude. Yeah, that guy. Kendra swears that she's been through his crap 1,000 times and has never found anything, but oh look at what we have here – it's Carter's spiked mace. What if we melted down the bracelet and coated this bad boy with it? You know, that's just comic bookish enough to work!

Meanwhile, Snart and Rory have gone back to Savage's compound, hoping to find the soldier wearing Kendra's old jewelry. After catching up with the decorated woman, the Brothers Weather, (I told you I would end up calling them that again at some point) decide it's best to take her hostage and back to the Wave Rider. Once there, the woman reveals that the group has made a big mistake by abducting her against her will. Oh yeah? Well why's that, exactly? It's because she's … wait for it ….... wait for it ….. Cassandra Savage, Vandal Savage's daughter! DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNN!

With Cassandra safely ensconced in the Wave Rider's holding cube, Snart figures he can poke away at her for information that will help them defeat her father. Naturally, Cassandra is also a victim of Savage's manipulation and lies, so she acts all pompous and tells the Captain of Cold that he's wasting his breath. Across the ship, Mick is with Kendra, melting down the bracelet and pouring the contents onto Carter's ancient weapon. Then, before Mick leaves the room, he questions as to whether or not Kendra will have what it takes to kill their common enemy when the time comes. She reassures him that she'll have what it takes, but Mick doesn't believe her and neither should we.

As we join Ray and Stein in the main cabin, Ray tells the professor that he thinks he's discovered something terrible about Savage's defense system. It seems like the strange areas of the map they believed to be indentations left from bombs, are actually footprints in the pressed earth. Wait, they're what? That's right, Vandal Savage has got a giant robot, and its name is Leviathan. With that realization, Stein and Ray rush to gather all of the refugees of Whitechapel and offer them the safety of their ship. As the cast of Demolition Man's underground sewer dwellers board the ship, Rip starts throwing a hissy fit about rescuing a large group of innocents. With a furrowed brow, Stein begins to make a point about being heroes when suddenly the ship starts shaking. Yup, it's the encroaching footfalls of the Leviathan!

Suddenly, all hell starts to break loose. Rip and the others are like, “Oh shit!” as they scramble to make a getaway from the Leviathan. With massive neon hands, we see a skyscraper-tall automaton grab a hold of the Wave Rider, and huck it like its a Discus hopeful at the Summer Olympics. After the Wave Rider crash lands, the team discovers that they have about one hour before the Leviathan catches up with them. Oh, and Stein went ahead and caught some shrapnel in the abdomen. He begins puffing on about what to do when suddenly he collapses. Time to get more use out of that Medical Bay set, I suppose.

With things continuing to look grim, Snart figures he's going to give talking to Cassandra another shot. This time, he shows Savage's daughter a series of recordings which detail her father's many transgressions throughout history. Cassandra can hardly believe what she's seeing, but in the end, decides to join up with Snart and the rest of the team. Aright folks, it's game time. Kendra's got her new weapon at the ready, Cassandra is on board, and Ray is all set to go full-on Giant-Man and open up a can of Pacific Rim on Leviathan's Tron-like ass. Oh, there's also a scene of Ray and Kendra smooching for good luck, but who cares?

As we press on, Cassandra helps the team get close to Savage, and in that moment Kendra arrives with gritted teeth and a thirst for vengeance. She swoops in and starts to put the hurt on Savage while Sara, Rip, Snart, and Rory take care of the rest of the thug extras. As I was saying, Kendra beats Savage down pretty hard. Then, just when she's about to deliver the death blow, a soldier of Vandal's interrupts, forcing Hawkgirl to deal with, too. She takes care of the situation with a fair bit of ease, but oh no, the soldier she just kicked the crap out of is no other than …. wait for it …. I said wait for it …. still waiting … waiting … it's Carter! DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNN!

As Kendra looks down at the unconscious body of her lover-in-time, Savage begins whispering to her that he's brainwashed Carter, and that only he can restore his memory. So, because Kendra totally believes him, she forfeits the opportunity to kill Savage right then and there. Instead, Rip and the rest of the crew take him hostage aboard their ship. Ah, I almost forgot, Ray totally kicked the robot's ass compliments of a solid punch to the head and a lot of bad CGI. Now, with Savage in their custody, the legends will have to decide how best to restore Carter's memory before their nemesis can elude them once again.  

STINGER: "River of Time" airs May 5th After numerous attempts in many different time periods, the team has successfully captured Vandal Savage (guest star Casper Crump).  However, Savage tells Kendra (Ciara Renée) that he can reunite her with Carter (Falk Hentschel) so she struggles with whether she should kill him.  Rip (Arthur Darvill) decides they will deliver Savage to the Time Masters which doesn’t sit well with Snart (Wentworth Miller) and Rory (Dominic Purcell).  The duo decides it may be time to jump ship and return to their old life.  Meanwhile, Savage taunts Ray (Brandon Routh) about his place in Kendra’s life.  Alice Troughton directed the episode written by Cortney Norris & Anderson Mackenzie.

Extra Tidbit: Who in their right mind would ever procreate with Vandal Savage? Who do you think her Mom is? Could it maybe have been Kendra in one of her past lives? Stranger things have happened. It's comics after all!

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12:00AM on 04/30/2016
Did anybody think the CW was going to let Kendra murder Savage on TV with a mace? They need a PG way to end Savage. To be fair, the limitation keeps things interesting.
Did anybody think the CW was going to let Kendra murder Savage on TV with a mace? They need a PG way to end Savage. To be fair, the limitation keeps things interesting.
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3:28AM on 04/29/2016

It was a much better episode....

I might have even given it an 8 (although that's not a Flash or Daredevil 8). I think the biggest problem with this show is that you don't have a cool hero. Sara is probably the closest thing, but she spends virtually all her time fighting hand-to-hand with a staff, so it's constantly about finding excuses why someone doesn't just shoot her. Firestorm could fit the bill, but for some reason they spend most of their time flying around and missing with fire blasts. I can't remember when is
I might have even given it an 8 (although that's not a Flash or Daredevil 8). I think the biggest problem with this show is that you don't have a cool hero. Sara is probably the closest thing, but she spends virtually all her time fighting hand-to-hand with a staff, so it's constantly about finding excuses why someone doesn't just shoot her. Firestorm could fit the bill, but for some reason they spend most of their time flying around and missing with fire blasts. I can't remember when is the last time I saw the character do anything cool (other than on The Flash). Snart and Rory are equally lame in battle, with their guns never doing anything interesting. Remember when Snart froze Flash's leg so he couldn't run? When's the last time you saw that stunt? I saw him shoot a guy in the chest tonight and the guy fell back like he'd been hit with a shotgun. Since when does a cold gun do that?

They just don't (or won't) seem to find any way to make one of the characters cool and the go to guy. So the fights never feel as interesting as they should. For just a moment, Hawkgirl was actually cool when she was beating down Savage, but then went back to being stupid when she decided to spare him because a future Hawkman had lost his memory (seriously . . . WHAT???).

I hope the rest of the episodes keep up this pace, but I'm not going to be sorry to see the show go. It's been disappointing and I preferred those characters back on their original shows.
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