Legends of Tomorrow: 2.02 The Justice Society of America

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Ahhhh Legends of Tomorrow, its like you never went away!

Picking right up from last week’s cliff hanger The Legends have come face to face with the 1940’s JSA. This is kind of a TV level JSA but its still pretty exciting to see. In a scene that escalates perhaps a little too quickly, both teams start fighting (the JSA assume The Legs are Nazis, obviously). Jax seems to have taken on a new role of teenage pervert and instantly starts trying to hit on Stargirl, I’m not too keen on this development, it feels a little shallow so I hope it doesn’t stick! The music in this opening fight scene is amazing, the music on Legends has always been strong and this is an instant favourite for me.

This is a mixed bag of an episode, there is some great fun stuff going on but a big part of it is integrating Generic Guy (Nate) into the group and frankly, even after this episode, I don’t really care about him, even if I can see where he’s ultimately heading, super hero wise.

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A sticking problem I had with this episode is that the 1940’s JSA team don’t look 1940’s. Rex in particular just looks like a 2016 American TV actor. Commander Steel is the only member of the JSA who looks like he comes from the 40’s, the rest of the actors kind of undermine the illusion, especially when the script makes little effort with the dialogue and moments like the gag of Rex assuming Stein is the leader because he’s an old white man, don't quite land because of it. Caity Lotz, Brandon Routh and Victor Garber on the other hand, all have very classic looking faces and look great when dressed up in their 40’s outfits.

I love that Thorne is a villain here, he’s a far more interesting player to have at the table than Savage or Darhk, as he can actually time travel as opposed to just being immortal. I really like the messy dynamic the team have now they’re running around unguided. I realised while watching this episode how much I’ve genuinely grown to really like these characters, in particular Sara, Ray and Stein. Jax and Mick always kind of played second fiddle in season one so hopefully there’ll grow a little more this season.

So, the usual shenanigans ensue; Generic Guy needs to save Commander Steel (and the rest of the JSA) to secure his own future. Stein, who has been casually appointed leader, comes up with a plan where he will pretend to be Hitler’s favourite singer, who he happens to look like, to infiltrate a Nazi nightclub. Obviously. Great plan. Inevitably Stein has to make good on his charade and sings a genuinely poignant rendition of Edelweiss for the Nazis… and of course he’s a great singer, he’s Stein! (Garber of course being an excellent song and dance man, most famously in a certain biblical tale where he got to wear an ‘S’ on his chest…) I’m pretty sure this entire sequence was set up just for a Back to the Future reference.

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The Nazis have some super serum which turns one of them into a massive, TV quality CG Hulk guy. That’s pretty much it. There are a few good fight scenes and the CG doesn’t look too bad but its not the best the series has offered. Eventually the team manages to defeat the Super-Nazi with a JSA ordered airstrike. Generic Guy saves his granddad and ensures his own future. That is until they stop in the middle of the airstrike to have a ”We did it” moment and laugh and immediately get hit by the airstrike in a Wile E. Coyote moment.

Generic Guy, who is a hemophiliac, is on the edge of death (Gideon can re-grow limbs and hold people in suspended animation but can’t deal with hemophilia???) but luckily Ray, who was captured along with Vixen, stole some super serum, which fixed him. So that’s all okay then.

There is a lot to like in this episode, seeing the JSA – Stargirl in particular looks really close to the comic which is cool – and the overall story of Stein trying to lead the team and realising that Sara is in fact the natural leader is very strong. There is some great Team Legs interplay as well and I love how messy and incoherent they are as a group, the contrast of their haphazard approach v The JSA’s very focused method just makes the Legs more lovable and when Stein told Sara she should be their leader, I got genuine tingles. Victor Garber is a class act.

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Where the episode falls down is in its main focus as introduction for Generic Guy. Nate is so generic, so TV actor, catalogue model bland that I can’t after these two episodes find him even vaguely interesting. I guess when the show started it had the advantage of bringing together pre-established characters from other shows and here they’re throwing in someone totally new but still, the original line up, with the exception of Carter, were all interesting, flawed and quirky individuals. Generic Guy is just a generic guy. I’ve got the feeling we’re going to have to go through a few episodes of adding new team members before we can settle down to some good, clean, stupid, fun.

We end with another pretty good cliff hanger and I suspect I know who will be joining the crew of the Waverider as of next week.

I miss Rip…

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