Staying “In Time” with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

29 Jan

legends-of-tomorrow-posterBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

*Spoiler alert; read with caution.

Part two of the pilot to CW’s Legends of Tomorrow is a far more productive launch to this series than last week’s episode. Instead of a recap and recruitment heavy story to begin the show, this week gets the team figuring out who they are and if the story can move beyond the essential three figures — Kendra Saunders, Carter Hall and Vandal Savage — who drives this series. This second episode places emphasis on Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) past and present self. He starts to comprehend who he is, warts and all. To understand where his arrogance comes from is welcomed.

While the series places emphasis on Rip as a not-so reliable leader, perhaps in due time the team can trust his direction. Since he did recruit the team, his motive is just as arrogant as Stein’s instead of pure, enacting on virtues of chivalry. He wants to prevent the death of his wife and son moreso than to change the time-line of Earth’s unfortunate future, where Savage has become a despot ruler.

In this second episode, the team remains in 1975 and they are looking for Savage. During a skirmish in Norway, where an arms auction goes severely wrong, a piece of Atom’s armour falls off and gets left behind. This detail is important because when it gets found, it will be studied since it looks like it’s not of this Earth. After Ray reveals that it’s an essential part of how his suit functions, it has to be retrieved sooner than later otherwise the consequences of altering the time-stream cannot get changed. Rip compares the time stream to cement, an interesting analogy. Once an action occurs, the results do not settle in right away. That is, while the substance is still vicious, it can be reshaped or molded; but can it be truly cleaned up?

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Altering time is tricky, and oddly enough, nothing is said about residues or whether or not branches to alternate time-lines will happen Back to the Future style. Unlike the science fiction comedy where the Doc Brown wants to restore the time-line, this series is trying to prevent paradoxes from happening. That includes Martin Stein getting to meet his younger self. These moments made this episode refreshing. These characters get the chance to see who they are in the past and for their present selves, they can reflect upon the question of do they like who they have become. At some point in the series, Captain Cold and Heatwave will have to evaluate who they are too, and if a life of being a bad-ass criminal is truly what they want. Seeing Heatwave approve of Stein’s behaviour in this early act is a memorable moment. Eventually, each of these heroes will see either a younger or older version of themselves.

Another scene where Kendra is trying to understand her destiny is added to remind viewers about where she stands with Carter. With him out-of-the-way, temporarily at least, perhaps the next episode will focus on her examining her feelings for him. The shock to see Hawkman go down fast is left-field. The idea is good because it sets up the fact that Kendra will be the one knowing her destiny, and reactions from the next Carter trying to believe these two are meant to be together for all time will be refreshing. Although he’s only been talking about their love for only two and a half episodes, the dialogue is getting stale. Hopefully this change of pace will give the series writers a better way to approach talking about their romance.

However, a piece of continuity will have to get addressed — Hawkman’s body is left to rot while Hawkgirl is rushed to get medical attention. To leave Carter behind, especially when he’s from the future, should technically cause a new time rift. This issue was addressed with Atom losing a part of his suit, and oddly, leaving a body behind is not even considered. Thankfully, Hawkman did not have any other weapon on him, except for the dagger that was stolen from Savage earlier.

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The revitalized Savage will no doubt keep the helmet as a trophy and have the body disposed of. Should this detail come into play for when the next Carter will appear, perhaps more about how Hawkman “awakened” and what he did prior to looking for Hawkgirl will get addressed. As for when the gang will seek out his next reincarnation means travelling to another time where he can be plucked out of the timeline without affecting all the events that has occurred up to 2016. This series will have to be very careful in not to contradict itself with the characters established histories within the series. With only two episodes broadcasted so far, there’s not much to get mixed up.

But as the series progresses, just how this series works has to juggle issues that not even The Doctor has to deal with. It’s a shame this series is not like Quantum Leap, where every time jump and its consequences are self-contained.

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