DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Now THAT’s a Season Finale!
The only superhero TV show I’m actively eager to watch these days is DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, because it’s crazy fun. The “time-traveling losers” premise — the team members were selected because removing them from the timeline wouldn’t have any effect — allows for all kinds of stories in all kinds of places and times. They’ve done episodes about how important the movies of George Lucas were to inspiring people to become scientists and one where the women and people of color point out how the 50s wasn’t ideal as well as the usual “band together to save the world” epics.
That’s another reason I like this show — the captain, Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), is a sarcastic woman, and there are always non-white heroes as key decision-makers. And because some of the characters aren’t heroes, and maybe don’t want to be, sometimes the plots take unexpected turns.
Last night, they aired the third season finale, “The Good, The Bad, and The Cuddly”, and it was a darn great episode.
Coming into it, we had — what’s the opposite of a heel turn? A hero turn? — from Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), previously a big bad on Arrow, forced to work with the Legends to save his daughter from demonic possession. Meanwhile, Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) is trying to find the strength to return to her fated history in her African village, which means giving up her relationship with Nate (Nick Zano). (She’s supposed to become the grandmother of the first introduced Vixen in the Arrowverse.)
In this episode, the team has six totems, magic necklaces with power over earth, air, fire, water, spirit, and death. They’re fleeing a time demon, so they head to the Old West to a town that’s a “temporal blind spot”. There, they end up battling vikings, pirates, and Romans, with the aid of Jonah Hex (Johnathon Schaech) and some other surprise guests. All of this was set up earlier in the season, particularly the magic MacGuffin that ends up saving the day in hilarious fashion, but as each reveal appeared, they were lovely surprises, all the more so because they were effective callbacks.
Another fun thing about this show is how the characters change over. The first season was about Hawkman and Hawkgirl fighting Vandal Savage, for example, but thankfully, that went away (although Rory (Dominic Purcell) has a good snark about the “flying chicken people”). In season two, they met the Justice Society and fought the Legion of Doom.
This season we lost Firestorm, made up of Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh) and Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber), but we gained Constantine (Matt Ryan) and Flash Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale). Other characters depart in this finale, but I won’t spoil it.
I haven’t mentioned how much I like Zari (Tala Ashe), a hacker from the near future. She bears the air totem, which resembles the emblem from The Secrets of Isis show way back when, but she’s also Muslim, which meant we got some cool scenes about her observing Ramadan a few episodes back.
The worst thing about this episode was how goofy the winged demon god thing looked, but it is superheroics on a TV budget.
I also have a bunch of questions about Brandon Routh’s Atom (Ray Palmer). When he was first introduced on Arrow, he was supposed to be rich, handsome, smart, clever, and basically the perfect man. On this show, he and Nate are the nerdy white guys. Nothing ever goes right for them, and we rarely see either of them use their powers any more. (Ray has a super-suit; Nate can turn into steel.) Although it was hilarious seeing Nate get high to try and figure out how to use the totems. And they use the phrase “Care Bear stare” accurately!
I think a large number of the plot points for Ray these past few episodes is explained by the woman playing Darhk’s daughter Nora (Courtney Ford) being Routh’s wife, so certain stories were set up to toss them together.
Other things I have tweeted about this show in the past: “We keep applauding the time-traveling, ass-kicking lesbians. I love that about this show!”
“There is something genius about making Helen of Troy into an Amazon.”
Most everything works out okay by accident, but watching how they get there is super entertaining.
The one thing that bugged me about the episode with Ramadan was that they did not once use the words Islam or Muslim, almost coding it. If you didn’t know that Ramadan was a Muslim observance, you wouldn’t have known her faith, and it made her explanation to Rory really, really clumsy. And I thought it was interesting how they used the totem – calling her Isis would have been problematic, as it refers explicitly to another faith, but took the look of the amulet and playing on Isis’ most well-known spell (“Oh, zepher winds which blow on high…”) to give her the air powers.
But, yes, I love this series. “Flying chicken people.”
I read a review that noted the minimal powers for Nate and Ray assumed that it was a budget saving move for the special effects this episode.
That would be my assumption, too, cost-saving. And yes, I did notice that she didn’t say the obvious, but her touching memories about learning to cook with her mom kind of balanced that out for me.
The opposite of heel turn would be a ‘face turn’… :)
Oh, I knew someone would know, thank you!