TV Review: Legends of Tomorrow - Season 1 Episode 3 "Blood Ties"
EPISODE 3: "Blood Ties"
SYNOPSIS: “Rip decides to weaken Vandal Savage by going after his financial assets. Rip and Sara infiltrate Savage’s bank, but are discovered by his men. Meanwhile, Snart and Rory talk Jax into taking the jump ship back to Central City so they can steal a valuable emerald. Professor Stein guides Ray on a dangerous mission.”
Ahhhh. I sure hope you enjoyed the overwhelming positivity of my last two reviews, because we're about to see the other side of the coin with what I have in mind for tonight's episode. That's not to say that the show has taken a nose-dive, not at all. It's just that I found tonight's adventure to be a tad clunky. Allow me to elaborate.
I've already spoken about how important balance is to a show such as LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, and I think that, up until tonight, the writers have done an admirable job of juggling the antics and actions of our would-be heroes. After “Blood Ties”, though, I'm beginning to see a few cracks in the framework and a bit of pacing issues with regard to character growth. Truthfully, I'm talking about Ray, but we'll get to that soon enough.
In the interest of not going negative out of the gate, let me tell you what I liked about this episode. Directed by Dermott Downs and written by both Marc Guggenheim and Chris Fedak, “Blood Ties” does a great job of giving us a closer look into the characters of Sara Lance and Captain Rip Hunter. Up until tonight, the pair had been given very few moments in which to shine, with Rip receiving what I can surmise as the least amount of screen time out of any one team member, thus far.
In the moments we spent with both Ms. Lance and the Captain, I was privy to more on-screen chemistry than anything shared between the show's resident lovers-in-time, Kendra and Carter. Sara using her life experience to teach Rip a thing or two about becoming more than what you were meant to be struck me as relatively inspirational, and had really served to show depth of her character beyond what we've seen so far on this show.
I'll also add that it was a real treat to see White Canary getting' down with her bad self as she was given the chance to do some major ass-kicking in this episode – and with such style to boot. For real, that moment where she pulled the kunai from her garter belt was super hot! Additionally, it was nice to see Rip join the fray by doing his best Jackie Chan impression when he grabbed that random coat rack and used it to beat a few thugs into submission. In my estimation, both fight sequences from tonight's episode were choreographed rather well. Granted, it wasn't no Daredevil hallway one-take, but a valiant effort all the same.
Okay, now a few negative observations. We'll make this a bit of a compliment sandwich review. Does that sound cool? Alright, what was up with Ciara Renée's fever dream tantrums? Could we not have found time to re-shoot all of her infirmary scenes? True story, I couldn't help but laugh at her constant convulsions and sedative-influenced dialogue. I'm not going to focus on it for too long, I just wanted to note that these moments really took me out of the severe nature of these moments. She could have died on the table right then and there and I wouldn't have been able to hear her final words over the sound of my own snickering. My nit-picking aside, I'm happy to see that Kendra is recovering well by the close of the episode, and I look forward to seeing her train with Sara in the very near future. My prediction is that we'll see some real growth in Shinara now that Carter has been properly laid to rest. After all, closure can do wonders for the body and soul.
Earlier, I had mentioned that I've been experiencing a creeping dis-like for Ray, and I stand by that comment. First, let's get something straight, I've been a fairly big advocate of The Atom ever since he was introduced in ARROW. Brandon Routh is a charming actor who lends a good amount of likability to the characters he portrays … so why is his character – the one who's had the most amount of screen time between both ARROW and LEGENDS – stagnating in regard to assertiveness and growth? I understand the need to inform new audience members about his troubled past, but that's not an excuse to drop him into a lack-luster mission for an entire episode. If you're going to be redundant in your information, at least make the events around that knowledge harrowing, right? Eh, that's just my two cents, but that's why you're here, isn't it?
Oh boy, it looks as if we've made it out of the Negative Zone, and we're back to celebrating the positive aspects of tonight's episode. My biggest take away from "Blood Ties" are the events that it (presumably) sets up for later. That Maximillion Emerald for example! Did you catch that bit of dialogue - toward the start of the episode - where Rip mentions that he's witnessed “men of steel die”? Is there a chance that the emerald could, in actuality, be a piece of kryptonite? I'm just saying. Or, what if it turns out that it's the Emerald Eye of Ekron – the weapon of a rather nasty villainous named the Emerald Empress? That would be sweet!
In the end, I think tonight's episode was solid enough to keep those who enjoyed the two-part pilot watching for the time being, though LEGENDS OF TOMORROW is going to have to hone its balancing act if it wants to keep its audience from tuning out. Hopefully, with Kendra making a swift recovery, the team can now focus on using each others strengths to their advantage in the war against Savage. It's a fact that it's going to take a lot more than inspirational speeches and swift fisticuffs for our legends of tomorrow to win the day.
This week's episode begins with a signature sepia-toned DC flashback, as we find ourselves traveling back to the sand-blasted pyramids of Ancient Egypt circa 1700 BC. Beneath a blood red sky and storm cloud-choked heavens, a shady-as-f Vandal Savage scribbles what I can only assume to be some manner of grocery list for his evil schemes onto a tattered bit of parchment. Then, from beneath a worn cloak emerges Rip Hunter, armed with an ancient dagger in-hand and murder in his eyes. As Savage braces himself for a fight, the LEGENDS OF TOMORROW logo blasts onto the screen, signaling the audience to buckle up for another round of super hero shenanigans!
Some soul-crushing advertisements later, we join our team of legends-to-be aboard the Wave Rider, as they arrive in Leipzig, Germany during the year 1975. In the medical bay of Hunter's time machine, a fitful Kendra is experiencing prophetic fever dreams while simultaneously fighting for her life after being stabbed by Vandal Savage at the close of last week's episode. As her condition deteriorates, its up to Professor Stein and Ray to save their fine-feathered-friend from meeting her beau in the afterlife sooner than any of them would hope. Their solution is to mount an expedition that will take them into Kendra's body using Ray's suit and miniaturization tech. Once inside, Ray will need to discover the complications within Kendra's body and remove them post-haste.
With Ray and Professor Stein off being all sciency, the rest of the team can be found contemplating their recent losses in the ship's main cabin. With their warp drive still damaged, its requested that Jax hunker down and use his mechanical acumen to make the necessary repairs. In the meantime, Sara and Rip devise a scheme that will serve to ruin their common enemy's bankroll, by infiltrating the bank where he keeps his riches – and destroying them. It's not a bad idea, really. Without money, how else is Savage supposed to fund his villainy?
Now that Sara and Rip have a plan, it's time to devise a good old fashioned bank heist! Wait, did someone say bank heist? Well, Snart and Rory want in on that action, and they're not about to take no for an answer. Oh yeah, and maybe Snart lifted Captain Hunter's access key while to the Wave Rider while the Weather Bros. Participation was being discussed – but shhhhh.
Back in the medical bay, Ray's all suited up and has been injected into Kendra's bloodstream by way of a fancy-looking syringe. Things appear to be going swimmingly, until Ray has something of a PTSD episode and needs to bail part of the way through the procedure. Confused, Professor Stein confronts Ray about his hesitance, and quickly learns that DC's Ant-Iron Man has a few ghosts from his past still hanging around in that big smarty-pants brain of his.
Next, we join a dapper Rip Hunter and an elegant Sara as they infiltrate the evil Bank of Evil (that's not really what it's called) where Vandal keeps his stash of priceless goodies. Before long, the couple is discovered because of course they are, and we get to see some of White Canary's sweet moves as she takes down an entire crowd of cronies. With a fair amount of asses kicked, Rip and Sara escape with a high-level bank employee by the name of Mr. Blake, who has information about where Savage will strike next.
Meanwhile, back on the Wave Rider, Snart and Rory are found having a friendly chat with Jax. After a bit of smooth talking, Leonard and Mick convince Jefferson to pilot the Wave Rider and bring them to the location of a priceless gem - the Maximillion Emerald. Once the expensive stone is in-hand, Snart intends to travel to his childhood home and give the stolen emerald to his father – thereby erasing the act of thievery that landed his father a five-year-stint in the slammer.
Frustrated while in the Wave Rider's Interrogation Room - because what state-of-the-art time machine ship doesn't have one of those? - Captain Hunter and Ms. Lance can be found attempting to heatedly slap some information out of their poor-mans David Bowie-looking guest. After being banged up pretty good by an enraged Captain Hunter, worst-bank-employee-of-the-month gives up the goods that Savage will be holding a ceremony of sorts, and that their lost-in-battle teammate, Carter, is the guest of honor.
Some even fancier clothes later, Rip and Sara gain access to Savage's fancy Hellfire Club-like ceremony, and are left aghast when they learn that Savage aims to drink the blood of their fallen teammate, Carter. It doesn't take long for the pair to be captured, and for Savage to begin monologuing – like egotistical villains always do – about his supremacy and blah blah blah. While this is going on, Professor Always-Has-An-Inspirational-Speech-Ready-To-Go has helped Ray get over his fears, and so once again The Atom gets to play tiny doctor.
Oh, let's not forget about Jax, Snart, and Rory, who've now traveled to Snart's childhood home, wanting to leave the emerald in Snart's father's possession. While there, Snart encounters his younger self and gives the child some very personal advice about self-respect. Mid-speech Snart is interrupted by his old man, who also happens to be pointing a gun at his son's very grown-up skull. Snart wastes no time in giving him the emerald, but not before he lays down a few ground rules about Papa Snart's future.
Shortly thereafter, Rip and Sara accept an invisible Best At Getting Captured award as they're quickly found out by Savage's crew and are taken hostage. A suave-looking Vandal then makes his big entrance, and promptly begins cutting at the throat of one very dead Prince Khufu. As Carter's blood flows into a goblet, Savage begins to drink, gaining what remains of the prince's life energy. Things could be worse, I suppose. Oh wait, with the blood still on his lips, Savage gives the order to have Rip and Sara killed – but not before a returned Snart, Rory, and Jax come busting in an effort to rescue their teammates. In the tussle, Captain Hunter lands a fatal blow on the blood-thirsty time lord, though it will only serve to delay rather than put an end to his evil deeds.
After the fight is over, the team return to the ship to find Ray, Professor Stein, and a very-much-alive and recovering Kendra. There's an impassioned speech about taking their mission more seriously followed by a brief and dismal burial for Carter's remains. With that bit of nastiness behind them, the legends are off to 1986, where Vandal Savage will again be waiting.
NEXT ON LEGENDS OF TOMORROW: "White Knights" airs February 11th - When Vandal Savage retreats behind the Iron Curtain in the early 1980s, a string of nuclear scientists starts to disappear.The team then follows Savage into Russia, where they plan to make contact with a Soviet scientist by the name of Valentina Vostock (Stephanie Corneliussen) - who, our legends believe, has information about the details of Savage's plan. Meanwhile, back on the Wave Rider: Sara begins training Kendra, team Firestorm has a meltdown and Snart channels his inner Rico Suave.
|Extra Tidbit:||If you're a Captain Cold fan, you should totally check out The Flash, Vol. 1: Move Forward from DC Comics. Written by Francis Manapul with Art by Brian Buccellato - this marks the start of Barry Allen's DC New 52 debut and includes a very cool fight against Snart beginning with issue #6!|