Legends Season 2 Grows Better With Time
Main Cast: Caity Lotz, Brandon Routh, Dominic Purcell
This review contains a spoiler for Green Arrow that is revealed quickly in this season.
Mick Rory: (Voiceover) “Seriously, you idiots haven’t figured this out by now? It all started when we blew up the time pigs — The Time Masters. Now history’s all screwed up and it’s up to us to unscrew it up, but half the time we screw things up even worse. So don’t call us heroes, we’re something else. We’re Legends. (beat) Who writes this crap, anyway?”- Legends of Tomorrow, “Turncoat” (Season 2, episode 11)
Legends of Tomorrow beat the odds. The show gave supporting characters from across the Arrowverse a spotlight, threw in time travel, and still managed to be a great show.
Can the second season keep it up? Or will Tomorrow’s failure be legendary? Let’s find out.
(Heatwave sees Steel’s new uniform)
Mick: “Celebrating July 4th early?”
Nate: “Ray made it for me.”
Mick: “You look like a star-spangled idiot.”, “ Invasion!” (Season 2, episode 7)
The Legends needed new blood following the departure of Captain Cold and Hawkgirl. The first new character is Nate Heywood (Nick Zano), a historian who found the Legend’s Timeship and learned its crew had been scattered throughout history.
Nate reunites the team with Heatwave’s help, and is exposed to a super soldier serum. The serum gives Nate the ability to turn his skin into metal, giving him super strength. He adopts the name Steel and joins the Legends.
The other newcomer is Amaya Jiwe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers), ancestor of the modern hero Vixen. Amaya uses the same codename as her descendant and can harness any animal’s power. Vixen is a founding member of the Justice Society of America and helps the Legends during a mission. When her lover is murdered by a time traveler, Vixen joins the team to avenge him.
Amaya: “What are you doing up so late?”
Nate: “Just trying to figure out what the Legion of Doom wants with those two amulets.”
Amaya: “The ‘Legion of Doom?’”
Nate: ”Darhk, Merlyn and the speedster. It’s from a Hanna-Barbera cartoon I liked when I was a kid.” – “Raiders of the Lost Art” (Season 2, episode 9)
Legends of Tomorrow gives viewers two extra teams to play with, the Justice Society of America and the Legion of Doom.
The Justice Society is a WWII-era superhero team consisting of lesser known heroes Vixen, Hourman (Suits star Patrick J. Adams), Obsidian (Dan Payne), Stargirl (Sarah Grey), Doctor Mid-Nite (character actor Kwesi Ameyaw) and Nate’s grandfather, Commander Steel (character actor Matthew MacCaul).
Vixen is the only JSA member to receive much screen time because the others go into hiding to protect the season’s MacGuffin.
The Legion of Doom are the anti-Legends, made up of the Arrowverse’s greatest villains. First up is Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher). Due to events in The Flash, Thawne has become a living temporal paradox. He is searching for the Spear of Destiny, a reality-alerting artifact that can resolve the paradox. He travels through time, recruiting allies for his quest.
Damien Darhk (former Green Arrow voice actor Neal McDonough) is an immortal assassin who can use dark magic. Thawne revealed to Darhk that he would die in combat with Green Arrow and offered to save him in exchange for his help. They then recruit Green Arrow’s archenemy Malcolm Merlyn (Doctor Who’s John Barrowman).
Both teams are a treat to watch. The JSA features the live-action debut of many obscure heroes and the Legion compensates for the first season’s lame villain, Vandal Savage.
Gideon: “In the unaltered timeline, Dr. Palmer sees Star Wars as a child and is inspired to become an inventor. Likewise, Dr. Heywood chooses to be a historian after seeing Indiana Jones instead of becoming a yoga instructor.”
Nate: “Oh, man.”
Sara: “Wait, so you’re telling me that because some film geek drops out of school, my inventor and my historian are now essentially useless?” – “Raiders of the Lost Art” (Season 2, episode 9)
Following the Time Master’s destruction, the Legends must deal with time travelers and mishaps. These Time Aberrations are as simple as Al Capone capturing Elliot Ness or as crazy as a bio-weapon causing a plague of Confederate zombies.
The Aberrations give the Legends interesting reasons to keep time traveling reminiscent of Quantum Leap or Sliders.
Laws of Time
(A de-powered Steel, Vixen, Atom, and George Lucas are trapped in a trash compactor.)
Nate: “You have to say it out loud!”
Ray: George Lucas, what do you really want?
George: “What I really want…what I really want… What I really want IS TO DIRECT!” (Steel and Arom spontaneously get their powers back.) – Raiders of the Lost Art” (Season 2, episode 9)
Yup. That happened in an episode. It was even dumber than it sounds.
Legends of Tomorrow takes a page out of Doctor Who’s book by creating random laws of time to suit the plot. George Lucas decides against making films? Get him to scream “I’ll do it,” and boom, history is back on track.
A future version of the Legends needs to work with their past selves? No! Interacting with their own past would screw with history. That rule might hold more weight if a younger version of Victor Garber’s character hadn’t guest starred twice.
Things get fanciful fast. For plot purposes, the Legends need Christ’s blood to destroy an artifact. They try time-traveling to the Crucifixion and are immediately stopped by Captain Rip Hunter (Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill). He all but name-drops DW ’s concept of fixed points in time to explain why they can’t do the smart thing and get Christ’s blood straight from the source.
Reverse-Flash : “You know, my allies keep giving me the same, simple piece of advice.”
(Reverse-Flash vibrates his hand through a cloned Atom’s suit and tears out his heart)
Reverse-Flash : “ They were right, I should have done that ages ago.” – “Aruba”, (Season 2, Episode 17)
The Reverse-Flash is far and away the deadliest character in Legends of Tomorrow. He could slaughter the entire team in a flash. Early in the season, not killing them is excusable because he’s on the run from the Black Flash, which kills speedsters who abuse time travel. As the season goes on, it becomes obvious that the Legends are relying on Plot Armor.
At one point RF gets angry enough to time travel repeatedly and create an army of time clones to kill the Legends. One RF is an unstoppable force. An army of him is a worthless CGI storm. He’s great fun to watch in The Flash, but Legends’ writers do him no favors by having him play a less competent character to avoid having an overpowered villain face the team.
Legends’ second season improves on its good first season and is worth your time. Several obscure characters show up this season and provide enjoyable science fiction. The show can borrow from its predecessors too much and still has trouble addressing its overpowered antagonist, but Legends of Tomorrow has claimed its place as the best Arrowverse show.