Legends of Tomorrow: Pilot, Part 1 (Review)
Aired January 21st, 2016
This series is my initiation into the Legends of Flarrow (CW DC) universe, so it’s your mission to comment on the easter eggs I miss.
Warning: SPOILERS will follow!
The season premiere opens to a war torn London in year 2166, with Big Ben in shambles and gun fire lighting the night’s sky as civilians panic. Legends of Tomorrow starts off with an exciting scene bringing about thought provoking questions. Rip Hunter pleads with the other Master Time Travelers to help save humanity from Vandal Savage. “Cesar, Hitler, Per Degaton, rank armatures compared to Savage”, Hunter explains to the counsel; as if they do not see what is happening, responding with a cold political answer “…our responsibility is to protect the timeline not humanity.” This opening demonstrates that even though terrible things are happening in the present, their duty is to retain balance in the past, “If we allow humanity to perish at the hands of evil, then what universe are we custodians of?” Hunter continues to plea with them and gets nowhere. We find out later that he is on this mission for his own personal reasons. Does the counsel know he has broken rules and fallen in love? Is this why they are ‘punishing’ him by not helping the 2166 time line fight against Vandal Savage?
As the introduction finishes and the logo screen appears, we’re introduced to the eight people who are to join Hunter. While this group maybe expected to be a rotating cast of characters, we’re shown The Atom (Brandon Routh), White Canary (Caity Lotz), Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), the newcomers Hawkgirl (Ciara Renee) and Hawkman (Falk Hentschel), and finally Dr. Stein (Victor Garber) with his other half Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh) who make up Firestorm. Each member is depicted either fighting crime or committing it; only to be introduced to Hunter before a quick flash of light.
As we see each character being ‘ripped’ away from their current engagements, we get a small glimpse into their stories. The characters are saying goodbye to their current lives, thus allowing small crossovers into Arrow with the Atom and White Canary. Both of these characters recently ‘came back from the dead’, which I find interesting. Ray Palmer is going on the journey because he feels like his previous efforts to change the world went unnoticed. Sara Lance is going to work on controlling her blood lust, while on the team mission, “Be a hero in the light… be the White Canary,” suggests Laurel (Black Canary).
After the first jaunt back to 1975 the characters are presented with a choice to continue on the journey or go home. As each set of characters are making their decisions, different words are thrown around in regards to changing history; destiny, fate, and not upsetting the time line. But in the scene when Professor Boardman dies – it’s almost a notion that even though the characters try to change his fate, it was Professor Boardman’s destiny to die that day in 1975; there was no avoiding it. So, my question is how are these eight going to change their fates? Do they have to go back farther? Or will density and fate win out overall?
“ I can’t live with someone putting a cap on my destiny”- Ray Palmer, The Atom
Unfortunately, new viewers may find Legends of Tomorrow initially intimidating, however this is not totally without reason. Much like The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow should be seen as a companion piece and should ideally be watched alongside the other two DC Comic shows. Without having watched Arrow or The Flash, certain character attributes and backgrounds may create some confusion. For example, the emotional scenes such as when Hawkgirl’s son, Professor Boardman, dies. The audience is empathetic but not with the depth we would feel if we knew more. Yes, the scene is sad, but it’s hard for new comers to the DC world to connect to her right away.
My favorite characters so far are Mick Rorey (Heat Wave) and Leonard Snart (Captain Cold). They provide the comic relief in these stressful situations. But they are simple characters, other than the fact that they are criminals, we do not know much about them. “…we hate working and we love money,” says Rorey. Will these character earn the redemption they seek, or will they stay the comical criminals they are?
In 1975 they have a cheesy bar fight scene where Sara Lance (White Canary) asks for some help, after insulting a guy by eyeing his girlfriend. Is she a lesbian, bi-sexual, or is she just making a scene? She was Oliver Queen’s girlfriend in Arrow, so has she switched teams for good?
Although I am left with many questions, as the show progresses I suspect both the characters and the series will evolve. Unlike their predecessors, these writers will rely less on first person narrative and really flesh out this dysfunctional team dynamic. Oliver Queen (The Arrow) and Barry Allen (The Flash) are the glue holding together their respective show, on Legends of Tomorrow, there’s eight journeys to follow, as the Waverider’s try to stay on course; traveling through time.
Hopefully we will be able to learn more about the characters in Part 2 of the pilot for this epic show, airing, January 28th, 2016.
Tweet me your theories & episode reactions @prmiller20
Writer’s note: I received some expert consulting and editing help from Keinan Sutton, you can find him on twitter @kmsutton03