Legends of Tomorrow 1.08: Night of the Hawk
This is an episode I’ve really been looking forward to and it doesn’t disappoint, in fact it surpassed my expectations in a way I didn’t expect a show like Legends of Tomorrow to do.
The reason I was looking forward to this episode is that it’s directed by Joe Dante and I am a huge, huge Dante fan. Responsible for films like Explorers, The Howling and of course, Gremlins – getting him in to direct this 50’s set, B-movie style episode was a stroke of genius!
From the opening shot, the episode has a bigger and fuller feel to its style and Dante brings a cinematic quality to the proceedings that works nicely. After some classic 50’s teens crash their classic 50’s cars and find a glowing meteorite, Savage turns up and carts the meteorite and the injured teens away. Obviously, where Savage goes Rip and the gang aren’t’ too far behind (though I’m impressed Rip managed to find him considering his track record).
The gang start mooching around this 1950’s town, searching for Savage. Ray and Kendra pretend to be a couple and move into a house to spy on Savage’s neighborhood while Sara gets a job at the hospital where Savage is, according to history, working as a Doctor. There are some nice scenes where Stein opines that even though we live in a better world now, there was something nice and wholesome about 50’s America – until its pointed out to him that’s only the case if you’re a man and straight and white! This is the first little mention of 50’s era prejudice and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t the last.
The episode, of course, has a few nice nods to Back to the Future – hay, LoT is nothing if not up front about where it gets its inspirations!
So Kendra and Ray manage to befriend Savage, disguised as Dr Knox, when he brings round a tuna casserole – the evil bastard. Something that’s not been touched on before and I would have liked to see a bit more of, is the idea of Savage having relationships and keeping his villainous life secret. Here, his wife seems little more than a front but the idea of him being in love with and having meaningful relationships through history – yet keeping his true identity and intent front those partners – is interesting. I want to see more depth added to that side of his character… but hay, whose got time for that when you have giant bat-people to deal with!
Because it turns out, Savage has been using the meteorite to try and replicate the accident that created Kendra and Carter in the past but instead of getting hawk powers everyone he exposes to the meteorite gets evil winged monster powers!
Jefferson has another bitty episode unfortunately. He’s on a grump about Rory, which feels a bit forced, as if someone on the team had to object to killing/dumping Rory and Jefferson didn’t have much else to do this ep. He does have some stuff though, being tasked with befriending the girlfriend of one of the injured teens from the opening, who is now mysteriously missing (spoiler: he’s been turned into a bat-hawk-man-thing). The episode does such a good job of establishing the bigoted attitudes of the town in such a short time that when the girl is injured and Jefferson is rushing her to Gideon for medical help and the cops turn up, it really is terrifying wondering what they’ll do to him.
Sara helping a nurse express her sexuality is a really nice little side story and Stein worrying that its unfair to seduce a women then leave her in a sexually repressive situation is an interesting concern to bring up, especially with Sara’s reasoning that she’d love someone to drop into her life and tell her the future will be a better place. I was surprised, throughout, how touching this episode was in places and how much of the narrative was spent on exploring the repressions and prejudices of 50’s America. I’d expected a few camera winky allusions to racism and suppressed women’s rights but I felt they really went for some depth. With the locals being sniffy about Ray and Kendra (a mixed race couple) and Jefferson getting straight up racial abuse, the whole episode is remarkably focused on exploring these issues and not just in a throwaway fashion.
Eventually, Jefferson gets kidnapped and turned into a monster-owl-gargoyle-man. Ray manages to steal the dagger that can kill savage, so Kendra decides to go alone to try and kill him but he overpowers her, with Ray turning up and blasting Savage out a window… THEN THEY LEAVE! They don’t follow, out the window, pick up the dagger and stab the stunned Savage. They don’t do that thing. Why don’t they do that thing? After failing to kill Savage AGAIN, they restore Jefferson (who patches things up with Snart over the killing Rory) and all the other teens back to normal and get ready to leave. There are a few ‘maybe I’ll see you again’ moments with both Sara’s nurse crush and the now restored teens, which makes me feel we might come back to this town and meet these guys as old people some way down the line?
The whole episode has a wonderful, rich B-movie horror feel and tone which I loved and Ciara Renée, looks stunning in the 50’s fashion!
Last scene, Chronos turns up, forcing the ship to time-jump leaving Sara, Ray and Kendra behind in 1950!
Dum dum duuuuuum!!!