Legends of Tomorrow: 1.06 Star City 2046
Cards on the table… I don‘t like Arrow. In fact, I dislike Arrow almost as much as I like The Flash and I LOVE The Flash. It’s interesting that Legend of Tomorrow feels more Arrowy than The Flashy, even though there are more The Flash characters than Arrow. Now, for Arrow fans this is, I’m sure, a cool episode. For me I found it a bit dull because of my feelings about Arrow but it’s not terrible and I expect an audience member with more casual feelings about the parent shows would find more to like.
After last weeks crash through time, the team are in Star City 2046 and the place looks like crap. Trashed cars and burning tires everywhere. I don’t know why post apocalyptic societies enjoy burning tires so much but there are always tires burning all over the place. After realising the Green Arrow who turned up and started shooting at them wasn’t their old buddy Oliver, Team Legs head back to the ship to plan things out.
Rip explains this is only a possible future and they can change things back if they stop Biff from getting the sports Almanac… or something? The weekly plots seem mostly about setting up a series of fun heists and actions scenes. The formula of the show is really getting set in place now; some impractical scheme to stop Savage, a couple of the team go on a sexy mission, a couple of them go on a funny mission and the rest stay behind on the ship.
Jefferson, being a mechanic, is of course fully adept at fixing a futuristic time travelling space ship, so He, Ray, Kendra and Stein stay on the ship to fix the damage done by Chronos during their tussle in the time stream. Rip tasks Rory and Snart with stealing a magic ping pong ball (it might as well be) that Gideon needs to navigate the ship. Conveniently, Ray’s company was working on developing a magic ping pong ball in 2016 so he reckons it stands to reason they’d have a prototype by now. Obviously guys, keep up.
This episode develops the Ray/Kendra relationship nicely (Rendra? Kray? RayKay?) and we see Jefferson getting jealous as he has a bit of thing for Kendra. Jefferson’s development and storyline have felt a little bitty so far, like he’s on the edges of other more interesting arcs, he keeps skirting everyone else storylines and at the moment he does feel like the third wheel.
Eventually Oliver Queen shows up, looking like a Noel Edmonds tribute act. Stephen Amell is as wooden as they come and he saunters uncharismatically onto screen with an arm missing and talcum powder in his beard. Even in the context of a cheesy show like Legends of Tomorrow, the attempts to make him look old are really lackluster. The guy is meant to be in his 60s here and honestly, no real effort has been put into this in terms of make up or performance. Amell just catalogue models his way through each shot, blandly whispering his lines. It really shows up against the vibrant and energetic performances of the Legends cast. As a comics fan, it was great to see old, armless Oliver – its just a shame he looks more like old armless Papa Smurf.
In some nice lateral thinking, Rory asks Rip if, since this is a possible future that they’re planning to prevent from happening, it’s okay to kill people. The answer is no but Rory takes that as a guideline more than a rule. Rory loves this rough, messy, criminal world and wants to stay, leading to a big bust up with Snart who, for his buddy Mick’s own good, knocks him out. The tension between Rory and Snart has been building nicely over the past few episodes and this feels like a big step in Snart’s development towards Good Guy-ness.
This isn’t a bad episode but it feels cheap, we’ve finally come to the future but the future is just one street of burning tires and the Arrow sets with the lights turned off. Next time we travel forward I want to really feel like we’re in the future with monorails, flying cars and Superman statues.
Once the team have got the magic ping pong ball, re-inspired Oliver to be a hero alongside the new Arrow, fixed the ship and headed on their merry way, Rip gets to deliver a great line during his obligatory Save The World Speech; “I’ve seen men of steel die and dark knights fall”. Ooooooo! This is cool for many reasons, the surreptitious name check of Supes and Bats, obviously but also the (first on screen?) implication that those characters exist in this universe is exciting. For me as well, there was something nice about suggesting those versions of the characters (The Dark Knight, The Man of Steel), their current screen personas so dark and broody at the moment, will fall away but the Legends, with their bright colours, silly quips and stupid, daft adventures will survive them and succeed where they fail. Perhaps the Legends of Tomorrow really are going to save the future of the DC Universe…