Legends of Tomorrow: 2.03 Shogun
At the moment the Legends feel a bit without direction but that kind of works and allows for episodes like this, cheesy to the max (hay, it is Legends of Tomorrow) but a great exercise in honing the shows ensemble cast story telling. One of my biggest, legitimate, issues with the first season was with so many characters, members of the team could find themselves just hanging around the ship or sent on distraction side missions. This episode is one of the strongest so far in terms of giving the whole team something to do.
The episode opens with Vixen, having stowed away, trying to kill Mick - who she has decided by putting two and two together and getting eleven killed the guy from Suits. After a very quick chat with Sara and the casual promise she can hurt Mick if he serves it, she just kind of joins the team and thus, operation replace season one characters who left is complete.
Things kick off after Generic Nate rerealises he has now got superpowers from the Nazi super serum that saved his life last week. Kudos to the show for the steel FX. It's impressive that they've gone full hog CGI and its looks pretty good. However, I still don't care about Generic Nate. After a training accident leaves Generic Nate and Ray stranded in Feudal Japan (where else) the team have to launch a rescue.
I'm now really starting to love Caity Lotz. I wasn't hugely invested in her character at the start of season one and found her performance a little subdued but her new position in the team and the story arc she went through to get there has really opened the character up for me. Not to mention the martial arts and fight work she does her self on the show is excellent, I feel like her whole character has been energised.
This episode shows that new leader Sara has a better grasp of time travel than Rip ever did. Aww man, I miss Rip. The uselessness of the team is great, they've kind of found their roles on ship now and nothing feels forced and I love that they’re a rag-tag, bickering, mismatched group holding things together with sticky tape and crossed fingers, they're not shying away from the fact they're sort of useless. It's like if the Starship Enterprise was being run by the Red Dwarf crew.
It's amazing how Feudal Japan looks in no way like Southern California. I think where this show really falls down is with its locations, Feudal Japan looks the same as Nazi Germany. It's like old episodes of The Saint when they would flash up the word Marrakesh on screen, then cut to Roger Moore in the same hotel room they used every week. So stranded in Japan, Generic Nate meets nice, wise Japanese villagers and Ray meets a nasty, oppressive Shogun. So all clichés covered. Mick's insistence and near obsession with Ninjas and Vixen's equal insistence that they don't exist is a great side gag, especially when Sara declares that she is basically a Ninja. While I appreciate Ray taking his translation pill when he arrives as a narrative reminder, he's already taken one before? Do they not last forever? Do they poop them out?
Jax and Stein stayed on the ship to fix the damage done when Ray and Generic Nate had their accident and Jax discovers that Rip had a secret room on the ship! A secret compartment that was so secret he didn't program Gideon to keep it secret? There's that Rip idiocy I've been missing. Generic Nate is a bit of a douche in this episode, he moans a lot about wanting to have super powers and comes across as a bit of a jock. As much as this story is about him finding humility, he's still a bit of a jock. Also, he keeps pronouncing Shogun Show Gun.
Some great moments this week; Mick is especially good with lines like 'Goofy bastards' and Generic Nate referencing Yoda as his mentor when trying to impress the beautiful yet empowered young Japanese villager is fun. Also Ray, who has some really good soul searching stuff about who he is without his suit, has a really nice conversation with the magic old Japanese villager which is just the right side of cliché to be subversive. I wish Brandon Routh was still Superman.
The plot of this episode is far more balanced and structured than a lot of episodes. The splitting up of the team works really well and hopefully they manage to keep up this level of balance. The Atom suit exploding was a little underwhelming to be honest but I guess they spent all the budget on the Steel FX. However the Shogun was defeated, the village was saved, people were empowered and lessons learned for all our team, so jobs a good'un.
Oh man! Barry Allan and his secret message! Squeeee!