Legends of Tomorow: 2.04 Abominations
It's a rainy Thursday afternoon in the Legends of Tomorrow writers room, the wall is covered with little cards with random words on them. The writers casually throw darts at the wall and we get...
TIME PIRATES & CONFEDERATE ZOMBIES
So, I have to be honest in this review. This episode is really good. I mean, actual good. Not just Legends good but proper good.
The premise is the usual Legs craziness, a Time Pirate crash lands in 1863 carrying a zombie like virus. Luckily it's the Confederates (aka the Bad Guys) who turn zombie so it's all good to kill them.
After finding and destroying the Time Pirate's ship the team encounter a Union spy being chased by Confederates - who it turns out are zombies, obviously. In the quick fight the spy gets killed and Mick gets bitten. Dun dun dun!
From here we diverge into three separate story stands; Jax takes the place of the now dead spy along with Amaya to help out, Ray and Stein stay on the ship to try and cure Mick and Sara and Generic Nate head of to see General Grant and warn him of the zombies. The shows ability to split the team up is definitely getting better by the week. Ray, no longer having his suit, being assigned to stay on the ship makes sense and Stein opting to stay with him because he has an irrational phobia of zombies just about works.
We basically split into three genre stories; a spaceship based horror, where Mick stalks Stein and Ray on the Waverider. A slightly lighter historical zombie horror in which Sara and Generic Nate help fight the undead horde and finally and most interestingly, an emancipation of slaves story.
The three strands are all very well paced, Ray and Stein’s ship based horror is genuinely tense and very atmospherically shot and staged while Sara and the Union army provide a nice backdrop of action to the episode. Where Abominations pulls it out the bag and really surprised me this week was in Jax’s slavery storyline. We’ve seen Jax deal with racism of the past in previous episodes, though sometimes its almost been presented as a joke, allowing the audience to laugh at the bigotry of the past from the comfort of our enlightened 21st century lives. Jax’s story was not only handled with a genuine dignity, I found it emotionally engaging in a way I hadn’t expected from Legends. The performances from the guest and supporting cast were excellent and it was refreshing to see Jax actually have something to do. Stein showing concern about Jax witnessing the horrors of the time period and Jax himself, after reassuring him he could deal with it, being shocked when confronted with the actual barbarism was especially effective. As was Jax not intervening to protect the slaves in order to avoid damaging the timeline.
Of course, this is Legends of Tomorrow and bad guys are bad guys. Eventually Jax and Amaya do free the slaves and burn down the plantation. Yay!
Generic Nate is getting better. He is absolutely no replacement for Rip (Rip, come back, I’m sorry for making fun of your coat in season 1…) but he’s calmed down a little. He does though now seem to be a kind of Diet Coke version of Ray, getting excited and geeking out at history stuff. Though with Ray maybe shifting his role within the group slightly, maybe that could work going forward.
All three strands of the story are of course brought to a satisfying conclusion, history is saved and Mick cured. Sure, this episode has the usual Legends daftness, some terribly anachronistic dialogue, useful coincidences and putting the word “Time” in front of other words to make them sound science fictiony but its entertaining, thoughtful and very well constructed. Don’t worry… I’m sure next week we’ll be back to bat-shit crazy.