Spoilers ahead for “Out of Time,” the Season 2 premiere of The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow!
The first season of Legends of Tomorrow was a lot of fun, but also a total mess. Stories that could’ve been wrapped up in an hour stretched into two-parters, while the interesting arcs were crammed into an episode or less. The season-long narrative of hunting down Vandal Savage also left a lot to be desired.
Lucky for all of us, Legends has been retooled for Season 2 — and it’s finally the gloriously goofy show it was born to be.
The good: It's nuts, and the Arrow cameo is fun
Where Season 1 seemed to muddle from era to era chasing its tail (and Savage), Legends of Tomorrow 2.0 opens with a clear-cut premise with limitless possibility: These ragtag heroes fly around in their spaceship serving as time cops, making sure nobody mucks around in the time stream. If the premiere is any indication, this show will finally start paying off on its potential.
The story is framed around the narrative device of Mick Rory recounting the team’s final adventure to Oliver Queen (guesting from Arrow) and new addition Nathan Heywood (a historian played by Nick Zano). Digging into comic canon, Heywood’s grandfather was Commander Steel, a member of the Justice Society of America (something we’d expect to pay off down the line). Zano seems to be having fun with the role, and he was a fun foil for Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen (but how did Oliver get ahold of a submarine so quickly?).
The duo find the long-crashed Waverider at the bottom of the ocean, and Mick fills them in on what happened. The team had been kicking around the timeline righting wrongs (including a hilarious side adventure in 1600s France) but got pulled to New York in the 1940s (an era Rex Tyler, aka Hourman, warned them to avoid) to stop the Nazis from nuking atomizing Manhattan. As expected, the mission goes all kinds of sideways. Seeing these guys bounce around through time chasing anomalies is the perfect format for these characters, and this show.
They spend this episode kidnapping a womanizing Albert Einstein, and the potential for playing on historical stories is boundless (much like Doctor Who). They also finally started having some fun with it, and try embraced the absurdity of the premise and these characters. Hands down, this season premiere was more fun than anything last season. It’s a wild and zany adventure, and finally isn’t afraid to be.
The villains are also great, and it seems this season will be a greatest hits from the Arrow-verse. We meet a younger Damien Dhark, plus a version of Reverse-Flash/Eobard Thawne (from who knows where in the time stream). Speedsters! Submarines! This format gives the producers a chance to just play in these sandboxes and use all the toys, and they take full advantage (Dhark always works best as a mustache-twirling villain, right?).
If you’re buying into the format of what this show is trying to be, there’s not a lot to hate in the premiere. It moves along at a good pace, and has a lot of fun along the way. A few quibbles, though: The series has struggled with Ray Palmer’s boy scout syndrome, and that persists here. He’s a good guy, and that’s great, but good guys can be very boring if they’re not handled well. Also, though Rory holds down the snark department admirably, the absence of Leonard Snart (who will pop up in a recurring capacity) is certainly felt.
Getting the team back together also came about a bit too quickly. It makes sense they’d want to get everyone back on the Waverider, but knocking it out in a three-minute montage (bouncing from the Jurassic era to the Salem witch trials) felt rushed. You’d have to think there could’ve been an episode’s worth of really fun stories to mine there, considering the time they spent to get there.
The biggest question is, obviously, where is Rip Hunter? The rest of the gang was splintered across time to save their lives, but Rip is missing. Not even Gideon knows where he’s landed. The last remaining Time Master left a “final” message for his team encouraging them to keep up the good fight, but you have to think Rip is still out there somewhere.
How will the Justice Society of America come into play? One of the big selling points of the season was the introduction of several new heroes via the Justice Society. We get a sneak peek in the closing seconds, and we really want to see more.
Lines of the night:
“I look like an idiot,” - Mick, in 1600’s France
“Shut your mouth Jax, or I'll cut your eyes out and feed them to you.” - Sara
“I'd rather die than speak German.” - Mick
“He just called you stupid.” - Mick