The final CW Superhero show but the one that concluded first. A much shorter season than the others but not necessarily a more concise story. Season 1 had a definitive story arc (even if there were some major plot points that weren’t dealt with properly) and even though there were a few filler episodes and some terrible acting, the central arc remained solid. The same cannot be said about season 2. Let’s have a chat about it and see where it went wrong.
As always there will be major SPOILERS from this point on.
Legends of Tomorrow – Season 2
First and foremost, the majority of the season was fun. It’s very clear Legends doesn’t try to take itself too seriously and to be honest I don’t think it would work well at all if they did try. The team is a ridiculous ensemble of secondary characters from the other CW shows who have little to know chemistry and the scenarios the team get involved range from hilarious do downright bizarre. So before we dissect it let’s talk about the general season plot.
The Legends have taken the place of the Time Masters (who they murdered!!), correcting time aberrations. Eventually they get wind of Eobard Thawne, with some help from Damian Darhk and Malcolm Merlyn, trying to get hold of the Spear of Destiny in order to re-write reality. Basically the team are trying to stop this from happening. Much of the season is spent with each team, the Legends and the Legion of Doom, fighting over pieces of the spear. So what’s good about the season?
The Legion of Doom were brilliant. You can see the three actors had a great time on set, John Barrowman and Neil McDonagh especially, their banter was hilarious and their sometime childish rivalry was very entertaining to watch. It was also a breath of fresh air to have some bad guys who actually acted like bad guys all the time. In their own shows they were all guilty of doing something evil, then letting the heroes rally and counter. But in Legends they had something they wanted, went for it and destroyed anything in their way, not caring about the consequences of their actions. I would gladly watch a spin-off of these three, though now that SPOILERS Thawne was properly erased from existence by Sara and the Black Flash, we probably won’t get anything like that.
We also saw that these villains weren’t flawless and can be tricked. At one point the Legends steal a bit of the spear right from underneath Thawne’s nose! One of my favourite Legion scenes was inside the bank vault when Merlyn and Darhk held Thawne hostage in exchange for equal partnership less they allow the Black Flash to catch him. Brilliant acting and great villainy. The only criticism I have of the Legion is they use the spear to change only minor aspects of their lives. They have the power to alter reality and all they do is appoint Darhk as Mayor of Star City, Thawne as head of STAR Labs and Merlyn gets his hand and family back. Why?
Mick Rory got a lot more development this season and even though Dominic Purcell is still playing him as an exaggerated thug it works for the show. He is the gruff presence contrasting the rest of the team’s super-heroic and kind temperament. I think being without Snart enabled his character to grow a bit more. There was even a hint at a romance with Vixen at one point! Yes okay he did betray the team towards the end of the season but he redeemed himself, I think he has learned his lesson. He is a hero, even if he doesn’t want to accept it. Rory has plenty of great moments, fighting ninjas was a particular highlight!
Evil Rip was great too. By the end of season 1 I was getting bored with the reluctant selfish hero who though he was better than everyone else. When he had his mind re-written by the Legion of Doom we got to see Arthur Darvil flexing his bad guy muscles. Heeding no quarter and using the knowledge of his team against them he was actually a bigger threat to the Legends than the Legion were. Following that, the episode where Sara and Jacks go inside his head and fight evil versions of the team was a very different kind of episode and was fun to watch. It was a little weird that Rip has developed an almost romantic relationship with the Waverider’s AI Gideon…ewwww.
I was impressed with Sara and Ray this season too. Both were much stronger characters than previously, Sara particularly becoming the captain of the team, rising to the responsibility but still showing she can kick ass! She is very unlucky though, she died again! Evil Rip snaps her neck but luckily Gideon brings her back to life. I didn’t particularly like her finale “dream chat” with Laurel as she tries to use the power of the spear but her sass on returning to the real world defeating Thawne was great.
Ray was really funny and has become a much more capable fighter. During the first half of the season he loses his suit and goes through a big self doubting phase where he questions his role on the team without his suit which humanised him a lot. Before that he had just been the supersmart Iron Man clone. I did also like his relationship with Nate Heywood/Steel. They felt like best friends and brothers, mucking about like siblings do and competing against each other at every opportunity, sometimes to the detriment of the team! Ray’s finest moment was when he bested Eobard Thawne inside the Apollo 13 rocket but then had to work with him to survive. Great scenes.
Lastly, it’s always good to see other comic book characters and this season most of them poped up as part of the Justice Society of America. I know very little about the individual characters but it’s always fun to see other enhanced people in action, although I was very disappointed that they didn’t actually do anything with Hourman!! Stargirl, Citizen Steel and of course Vixen were good when fighting, Dr Midnight however was shit, what even was his ability?
Now onto the bad stuff and unfortunately there is a lot so I’m going to try and summarise most of it.
Vixen. I hated her so much that I haven’t even bothered to remember her character’s real name. I don’t think she was acted very well or perhaps her dialogue was poorly written. Her relationship with Nate was not believable in any way and she is probably the biggest hypocrite on the team. She had this huge rant at Nate about wanting to change the future for selfish reasons but then went and did the same thing herself. I don’t like saying this but I was glad when her character was killed off towards the end of the season. It was a good scene but I found her grating every time she was on screen.
Even her powers didn’t make sense. The majority of the time when she channelled the spirit of an animal the related abilities would be exactly the same! During the Dominator crossover she channels an elephant but then proceeds to fight hand to hand as she already had been, surely she should have just bulldozed through the aliens. There were a couple of times where it made sense, but only really when she channelled a seal and a dolphin so she could swim underwater. Let’s not talk about when she channelled a dinosaur.
Nate was more interesting without powers. He started out as a self titled ‘time detective’ who had noticed discrepancies in history and had even figured out that Oliver Queen was the Green Arrow. He was a hero at heart and put himself in harms way without a second thought, even though he was a haemophiliac which made him even more vulnerable than the average human. When he developed his ‘Coloussus’ powers he became a headstrong macho strong man.
Yes, okay there was a period where he couldn’t get control of his powers but before long he became the power house of the team and very rarely used his natural intelligence which was one of the teams strongest resources. I will admit it was cool seeing him stop a train but why did he feel the need to ‘steel-down’ after every punch? That just makes him vulnerable. The hero worship of his grandfather was cringe worthy at times, making a later episode difficult to watch especially when Citizen Steel sacrifices himself to save the team by blowing himself out into space. Less of Nate please.
There was not nearly enough of Firestorm this season. Too much of Professor Stein just being Professor Stein, Jacks was reduced to being a glorified mechanic most of the time and when Firestorm was present he was dramatically nerfed. He should be one of the most powerful beings in the universe, after all he is the Nuclear Man and can now transmute atoms meaning he can change any substance into any other! We need much more Firestorm and a resolution to the problem of the daughter Stein created. She is a time aberration that the team have decided to allow!
I feel that the main problem with the show was its reliance on pop culture and historical references. I understand with a show about time travel people want to see familiar or famous places and periods but this season they went way overboard. The American Civil War, World War 1, Medieval England, Prehistoric times, Los Angeles 1967, Feudal Japan, 1874 Colorado, 1927 Chicago were some of the times they travelled to but do they always have to play a part in the big events of the time?
Can’t they just have their little mission in the background of these events instead of sometimes being the cause or solutions of the situations themselves. I don’t care what you think of the show but Rip’s World War 1 cease fire speech was ridiculous. The team meet Al Capone, George Washington, George Lucas (who apparently saves the world with films!!) and even J R R Tolkein. Lucas must have given the show a lot of money because the sheer volume of Star Wars references was astounding. The King Arthur episode didn’t even make sense. Nate took great pains in explaining that the majority of the Camelot story was a myth and there was no real evidence the Knights of the Round Table or Excalibur existed, so when they tracked a piece of the spear to England and found Arthur’s Court with Stargirl filling the role of Merlyn Nate was actually right in saying that things shouldn’t be that way. Stargirl had drastically changed time and nobody else seemed to care!!!! Pull back on the references a bit and concentrate on the relevance to the story.
Before I rip the show apart too much I’ll round this up. As I said before the show was a bit of fun that you can’t take too seriously. There were lots of funny and entertaining moments and most of the action was good to watch. I sincerely hope that next season we get less of Vixen and Nate, more Sara, Ray and Firestorm and hopefully the team spend more time in the future! I am impressed that the show tries to deal with temporal paradoxes (even though a lot of time they don’t do it correctly) but even the end of the season showed that the slightest change can have huge ripples. The team crash land in 2017 Los Angeles but things are not as they should be, unless every American City has dinosaurs roaming the streets! Let’s wait and see what the Legends have in store for them next year!
Legends of the Tomorrow gets 6 beans on the Geekstalk