Legends of Tomorrow: 1.09 Left Behind/1.10 Progeny
Two episodes for the price of one with a double review; the first fun the second... not so much.
A little recap at the start of Left Behind reminds us that half the Legs have been left in the 50’s and the other half are involuntarily flying through time, being attacked by Chronos.
Sara instantly starts yelling about being left behind and it feels a bit of a stretch that she should get this stressed out this quickly. Even if she has major abandonment issues it seems a bit of a leap for her to assume they’re being deliberately left behind? Come on Sara, these guys are your buddies!
Its nice to see Snart most worried about leaving everyone – even if he does make a dig at Ray. Snart’s loyalty to his team mates is a strong motivator in his change from villainy to heroism. In his attack on the ship Chronos kidnaps Snart and drags him back to his own ship.
With their ship damaged, Rip does some stuff to save it by pressing some buttons and declares they’re free falling through time.
Back in 1950-whenever, Ray, Kendra and Sara are waiting to be rescued. The great use of captions is a really nice touch that puts a little narrative drive into the time passing by flashing up ten minutes later, then ten hours, days, weeks, months etc. During this passing of time we see Ray, Sara and Kendra hang around for a bit then deciding to leave town to avoid savage. Along the way Ray builds a time beacon to send a message out to the Waverider and the rest of Team Legs. The guys wait and decide to stay put to be rescued, with Sara insisting the others are dead and they should move on with their lives. At this point, I have no idea how they’ve got the apartment or how they’re making money? Jump to Two years later and Ray is a collage professor, dressed as Clark Kent - and my heart breaks for what could have been!
Ray is about to propose to Kendra when his time beacon goes off and the ship falls out of the time stream! Rip’s timing, as ever, anything but impeccable.
When dropping out of the time stream Stein has verbal diarrhea which Rip says is because of the time jump. Does this thing run on an improbability drive? I was a bit disappointed that it only took about 11 minutes for the guys to be rescued. Ray being upset, because he and Kendra had set up a life, is a really nice angle and I would have liked to see more establishing their lives together. You want a whole episode just them living in the 50’s.
Turns out Sara has gone back to the League of Assassins to train, it being the only home she’s even known and the League being full of immortals and stuff.
Okay guys, I don’t watch Arrow. I think it’s pretty terrible. So I’d never seen this guy pretending to be Ra's al Ghul. Jesus, who the hell is this bloke? This actor playing Ra's al Ghul is awful! Not only is he a terrible actor he looks like an extra from Eastenders?
Meanwhile… Snart is still Chronos’ prisoner. Snart gets all sassy and then we discover that Chronos is DUM DUM DUM Rory. Like, obviously. We learn in flashback Snart didn’t kill Rory, instead leaving him… somewhere? Not actually sure where or when but left him somewhere crappy. Eventually Rory was picked up by the Time Masters and recruited or tortured or both? Then sent off to kill his former colleagues. Snart insists he was going back for Rory but Rory has gone a bit nutty after an eternity of cruelty at the hands of the Time Masters. Rory threatens Snart, saying he can go back in time and kills his sister again and again and again. Not sure how well the science holds up on that one, Rory.
So, Rip wants to go get Sara from the League of Assassins and it turns out Rip did his Time Master final year dissertation on the League (no, I’m not shitting you, he did), so after claiming to be an expert and saying its impossible to sneak in they go to sneak in. They get there to rescue/kidnap Sara but when they find her, she’s become brainwashed again by the League… it never occurred to Rip, that this ex League member, who felt so alone and abandoned, who went back to the League might have been re-brain washed? How the hell did Rip graduate Time Master University?
Rip simply puts Sara’s behavior down to Time Drift; if you spend time in an alien timeline you forget your previous life. What? Rip is literally making this shit up as he goes. Kendra, who has been weird with Ray since they got back, almost rejecting the relationship they’d developed, realises that Time Drift must be why things weren’t working for her in 1958 too. She wasn’t happy there and pretended she was to help Ray get past being left.
Rip suddenly remembers a clause in the League rules that might help them, as Ra's al Ghul is a stickler for the rules and traditions. What Rip, what? What? So Rip demands a trial by combat. This version of Ra's al Ghul is pathetic! I’m glad I don’t watch Arrow! But then Ra’s picks Sara to fight in his place. Rip didn’t know that Ra’s can pick any champion? So, did he do any research for this dissertation? Or just cut and paste from Wikipedia ?
Back with Chronos, Snart escapes his handcuffs by freezing and smashing his own hand! I actually did not expect that to happen, nice one Legends, that was pretty cool!
Back is Ra’s al BlahBlah’s palace Sara and Kendra have to have a sword fight, which is a nice sequence, even if a bit TV scale. Sara is about to kill Kendra but is reminded she’s the White Canary and pauses, then Chronos turns up shooting stuff up. Rip tells Ra’s they won’t be able to kill Chronos. It’s the League of Assassins! Rip, you did no research on that paper at all did you? Team Legends assembles and they manage to defeat Rory but Snart, bursting in with just one hand, won’t let them kill him.
They all say goodbye to Ra’s and his assassins amicably, because he’s only villainous when the plot needs it obviously and set off on their mission.
Turns out Captain Kidnap, Rip, took a convenient DNA sample of each person when they came on board, just in case, so he quickly re-grows Snart’s hand. I think this makes Snart the Fifth Element now?
Kendra turns up at Rays quarters explaining that she actually loves him and wants to be with him, regardless of her 1950s feelings. Kendra explains that this is the first time she’s ever been able to chose who she falls in love with – this is a really nice angle of the Hawkgirl/Hawkman mythos and I like it.
With everyone happy and Rory in the brig (why have they never put Savage in the bloody brig???) Rip decides they should go to 2147 because that’s when he absolutely knows Savage will definitely, for total sure, 100% be there but it’s apparently very dangerous.
He really is just making this shit up as he goes along…
This brings us to Progeny
Rory is still in the prison cell they never mentioned before and didn’t put Savage in (seriously, guys, you had him dead several times and you could have put him in there episodes ago!). Rip has decided they need to go into the future to try and defeat Savage, as it’s a point in time they know where he’ll be.
This is a quite a weak episode, all the Savage heavy episodes feel a bit clunky. The futurescape is fun but very cheap looking with very obvious set dressing and costume tweaks like suit jackets with the collar turned up and top shirt buttons done up without a tie. This future is bright but tough, the rich have all the power and the poor live hard lives. There isn’t anything new or interesting being done in this future, its all a bit dystopian, 1984-lite. Savage is teaching the future ruler, Per Degaton, to be a tyrant who will release an Armageddon virus – the aftermath of which will be the perfect stage for Savage to take over the world. So… where the hell is Superman?
Rip explains that in his time people learn about the child-despot the way we learn about Hitler (in case the story was in any way too subtle). Snart suggests killing the child but they very quickly realise they shouldn’t kill him so they decided to kidnap him instead – which kind of makes sense – and they all set off to kidnap the kid. Meanwhile, Ray goes on the funny side missions to sabotage a robot army based on his atom suit tech and gets stressed out that his descendants are working on making evil robots, he also gets upset that’s he’s someone’s father and didn’t know it. Sensitive soul.
Kendra has a series of flashback in this episode which I actually have great difficulty engaging with. Had she maybe been having these throughout the series I might have been more interested but they just pop up and are pretty boring. This could be because I just don’t care about Carter on any level.
Obviously, kidnapping the kid has done nothing to alter the timeline - but I’m not sure why? So they all go back to the plan to kill him. Jefferson suggests they talk to him, which they try but doesn’t seem to have the desired effect.
This episode is tediously irritating at times and seems to lack the fun of previous episodes. Perhaps its trying to make a statement and fails or maybe its simply that the whole thing is so underwhelmingly cheap. Its full of on the nose references like calling the future tyrant Baby Hitler and Future Hitler. At one point, Ray calls himself Dr Hannibal Lecter as a disguise – which is just stupid. Marty McFly can call himself Clint Eastwood because no on in the old west had heard of Clint Eastwood. Going to the future and calling yourself Hannibal Lector is like calling yourself Hannibal Lecter now.
So the team decide not to kill the kid but then Rip takes the kid out to kill him but can’t kill him even though he realises he’s already really evil, because Rip is a good guy. We end up having a final showdown between Team Legs and the future tyrants dad and some robots in what looks like a car park round the back of a TV studio. The finale looks really unpleasantly cheap with police/solders called in who are just wearing motorbike helmets and hockey padding. There are a coupe of okay CGI moments with the robot army in the end sequence but they’re quick and unexciting and after they all go back to the ship they discover they not only achieved nothing, they’ve actually made it worse.
I was really bored during this episode and almost switched off. The attempts at emotion and drama were shallow and the action poor. I felt like I was watching a low rent 90’s sci fi show and somehow the charm the program usually manages to coast on was missing from the episode. Its nice though to see comic villain Per Degaton get introduced and he'll hopefully be a season 2 villain (anything but Savage!).
At the end, Rory and Snart have a little fight to patch things up, Rory, now kind of back on the team, explains that highest, baddest level of time assassins are coming to kill them. Seriously, I don’t know what the Time Masters are up to but they’ve put a lot resources into teams of people to kill rogue time agents so this must be a regular thing?
And where the hell is Superman?