TV Review: Legends of Tomorrow - Season 1 Episode 2 "Pilot, Part 2"
EPISODE 2: "Pilot, Part 2"
SYNOPSIS: After receiving a tip as to the whereabouts of the malicious Vandal Savage, the team pose as members of the criminal elite, hoping to score big on the time-hopping lunatics latest munitions shipment. However, Savage wasn't born yesterday, and soon discovers that there are traitors in his midst. So of course, an epic warehouse-style super-hero battle ensues, and The Atom loses a vital component of his suit. Oh sure, he could just build another one, the only problem is, that in the wrong hands that tech could prove to be quite dangerous.
Last week, the inaugural episode of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW hit the airwaves, and like any other debut for a comic-book-related program, fans both casual and fervent were there to enjoy, judge, and deconstruct its every move. Predictably, the introductory event focused very much on establishing Captain Rip Hunter(Arthur Darvill) and his team of misfit heroes. Furthermore, “Part 1” of the pilot had us getting re-acquainted with Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), who it appears is still very much alive after his seemingly deadly run-in with The Green Arrow and The Flash during last year's cross-over finale.
Allow me to get right to it, then. I'm really digging on this show. First and foremost, I appreciate its ambitiousness. I would imagine that it's no easy task to assemble an entire team of over-the-top personalities while simultaneously making certain that each member gets their due (on-screen). It's clear to me now - more so than in the first episode - that the team in charge of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW have been taking rigorous notes while experiencing both the triumphs and failures of shows like THE FLASH, ARROW, and MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.. There's a delicate sense of balance being brought to LEGENDS in regard to the amount of screen-time characters receive, the pairing of personalities when executing missions, and the ever-present struggle of action scenes versus emotional story beats.
Now, I know that some of you are probably saying, “Dude, it's a writers job to make these things work, to make them interesting.” I know that. I just feel that it's always best to keep the loftiness of that responsibility in perspective. That said, I found tonight's episode to be a solid follow-up to the events of the last. The pacing of the show still feels a bit rushed, but I must admit that I'm impressed with the amount of story content the writers have squeezed into this two-part debut event.
Personally, I'm already at that point where I can start sizing characters up and decide for myself who I like best on the team. For my money, Snart (Wentworth Miller) and Rory (Dominic Purcell) have been the stand-outs of this program, without contest. Their relentless snark and insatiable chewing of scenery pretty much has me in stitches whenever they're in frame. To my surprise, Professor Stein (Victor Garber) really stepped up this episode, displaying an assertiveness for dangerous situations during the arms deal scenario, as well as a bit of self-flagellation after having met with his younger self. Moments like those really serve to highlight the fact that he's just a man among … well, not titans, but I think you know what I'm driving at here. I mean sure, he's all powered up when he merges with Jax (Frans Drameh) to create Firestorm, but it's hard not to imagine him feeling inadequate among his powered-up teammates.
Roy(Brandon Routh), on the other hand, is starting to feel a bit lost to me. As it stands, I can't shake the notion that he's coming across as little more than DC's answer to Iron Man. Perhaps that's a bit harsh, but without the charisma and leadership qualities of someone like Tony Stark, Roy is striking me as a bit of a wet blanket. In truth, I think that both him and Captain Hunter could stand to learn a lesson or two in the art of leadership and assertiveness.
On a more positive note, I was glad to see both Shiara (Ciara Renée) and Carter (Falk Hentschel) get a bit more screen-time this episode, and in the process give us more insight as to the depths of their “lovers-in-time” routine. Until tonight, their back-story felt a bit hollow, to me. The same sepia-toned scenario playing itself out again and again, with little to be gained from the repetition beyond that of beating it into our heads that they're destined to be together. So, you can imagine my relief when, toward the latter end of the show, Carter changed his approach toward Shiara - almost entirely! He actually displayed a bit of patience and understanding for her uncertainty in their storied relationship. Good for you, buddy! It's a shame that your destiny is to meet the business end of that sacred blade you wanted so badly.
That brings me to the final moments of tonight's episode. I don't know about you, but Carter being taken out by Savage was definitely an “Oh snap!” moment for me. Not only did I not expect it, I'm also a bit foggy as to how the Hawks re-incarnation factor works. I mean seriously, Savage hoovered up his life energy like Shang-Tsung at a soul buffet! Needless to say, I'm very curious to learn how the show plans on dealing with this surprise move, as well as the fallout once Shiara has recovered from her injury.
New information as to the shady dealings and whereabouts of the odious Vandal Savage's has surfaced, and it's up to Captain Rip Hunter and his band of would-be legends to take advantage. The word is that Savage and other members of the criminal elite (including Damian Dahrk (Neal McDonough) have gotten their mitts on a munitions shipment containing some pretty serious gear. Understandably opposed to their enemy adding to his already-nasty collection of armaments, the team, lead by an over-confident Professor Stein, infiltrate the shady get-together.
Before long, Professor Stein and his friends are discovered and all hell breaks loose. It's during all that sweet kicking and punching choreography that a valuable component of The Atom's super suit breaks off and ends up in the sinister clutches of the enemy. Smooth moves, Ray! Doom all of humanity and time itself, why don't cha? Ah, I'm just kidding. I like Ray. He can be a bit of a wet blanket, but I think that's just because he's still finding his place among his other super-powered team members.
Ashamed by his incompetence in the field of battle, Ray looks to Professor Stein for help in recovering the potentially-dangerous part of his suit. Naturally, Stein's solution is to muck with the world's fragile time-line – even though they've been instructed expressly by Captain Hunter not to – by paying his younger self a visit. Whoa, whoa whoa! Are we just going to completely ignore the sage advice of one Dr. Emmett Brown about the consequences of interacting with yourself when experimenting with time travel? You'll create a paradox, man! Black holes! Maybe even the erasure of the entire human race! Cats and dogs, living together, mass hysteria! * huff puff huff puff * What? Oh right, this is a comic book show. For a moment I almost forgot.
With Stein, Sarah (Caity Lotz), and Jax headed toward Ivy Town University - the Professor's old intellectual stomping grounds - Shiara and Carter have uncovered a vital piece of information that could very well help turn the tide in their millenia-long war against Vandal Savage. Using guided meditation, Shiara remembers that a sacred dagger – a gift from her beloved Prince Khufu – is capable of ending the life of their mortal enemy.
Upon the Hawks sharing their memory of the dagger with the remaining members of their team, Ray, Snart, and Rory make haste for a not-so-well guarded mansion where the precious dagger resides. Unbeknownst to them at the time, that mansion's owner is none other than Vandal Savage himself. It doesn't take long for the time bandit to discover the his intruders, which then inevitably leads to more punching and kicking.
Before long, the remaining legends show up to lend their endangered teammates a hand. Unfortunately, this battle will not have gone down without its grave consequences, as we bear witness to Shiara incurring a near-fatal wound, and the untimely death of Carter Hall AKA Hawkman – both at the hands of a dagger wielding Savage. That's right, folks! It's only episode two and we've already got our first character death!
With their teammate lost, Shiara significantly injured, and the mission more-or-less a complete failure, the legends return to the Wave Rider to regroup. As this week's episode winds to a close: Shiara takes up residency in the medical bay, Carter is (I assume) transported to the morgue, and our battle-torn team is left to contemplate their purpose in what is clearly a war not just against Vandal Savage but with time itself.
NEXT ON LEGENDS OF TOMORROW: "Blood Ties" - airs February 4th In an effort to weaken Vandal Savage's bank roll, Rip and Sara make moves to infiltrate the bank where the mad tyrant keeps his stash. In the meantime, Snart and Rory coarse Jax into taking the Wave Rider back to Central City for a bit of thievery, and Ray joins Professor Stein in recovery of an individual who could very well help turn the tide in their fight against the meticulously manscaped murderer, Vandal Savage.
|Extra Tidbit:||Young Professor Stein exclaiming, “Let's go spark a doobie and rap about physics.” was hands down the dialogue highlight of this week's episode!|