by Billie Doux
So it's Doctor Who with superheroes. I'm okay with that.
They managed somehow to set up the entire series in the first eight minutes, which was impressive -- especially considering that a lot of it consisted of nine people standing on a roof. And getting to know the characters was a snap for those of us who watch Arrow and The Flash, since we've already met all eight "superheroes." Rip Hunter was the biggest question mark, but Doctor Who fans know the actor: Arthur Darvill played one of the Doctor's recent long-term companions.
Rip's reason for raising a team bookended this episode: Vandal Savage not only conquered the world, but he killed Rip's wife and son. Rip pleaded with the Time Masters Council (no, they're not Timelords at all), but did not get permission to take Waverider and change history. He did it, anyway. It also made sense that Rip lied, and our eight superheroes were not future legends. If they had been, their disappearance from the timeline would have been significant.
I liked the Waverider. Didn't love it. Since it's a base for our characters, it should be a little homier, less boxy, maybe more like the Firefly. Although I do want to see the rest of the ship. Are there private quarters? How many? Will our guys have to bunk together? Gideon the AI did nothing for me yet, either. Hey, it's just part one of the pilot. There's time.
Dr. Martin Stein grounds this show. I loved that he just couldn't resist the lure of time travel and adventure. Okay, maybe he shouldn't have kidnapped Jax, but Stein did apologize, and Jax did finally give in. As I've no doubt mentioned before, Victor Garber played my favorite character on Alias, one of my favorite shows, and I have always liked the idea of Firestorm: two completely dissimilar human beings joining physically to become one powerful superhero. Which also gives Garber, the oldest member of the cast, a way to sit out some of the heavier action sequences.
While some of our "superheroes" lean relatively hard to the dark side, Ray Palmer clearly represents the light. Ray was disturbed by Rip's disclosure that Ray and the Atom never made a significant contribution to history, and Ray desperately wants a destiny. I like Brandon Routh and thought he did a good job as probably the only outright and unambiguous hero in the group.
Hawkman and Hawkgirl definitely need a marriage counselor, mostly because she doesn't remember him all that well. Which is a lot more interesting than if they were all lovey dovey and on the same page, so I'm fine with that. The plot in this pilot mostly centered on their discovery that the Vandal Savage expert back in 1975 was their own son, a revelation that I found rather sweet. His death was quite sad.
But forget HawkCouple. My favorite duo by far on this show is Captain Cold and Heat Wave. Everything Snart said and his every expression made me smile, but Mick made me laugh out loud, over and over. And the bar fight was a lot of fun. It felt a bit like Sara Lance was bonding with Snart and Mick while indulging in some much needed release of aggression to the incongruous accompaniment of "Love Will Keep Us Together." It's interesting that Sara, with her new white costume and lack of a mask, still needs to kill things. Is Sara badder than the Cold/Heat duo? She very well might be. And that's cool. Pun intended.
The Big Bad doesn't excite me at all, though, despite the fact that this wasn't the first time we saw him (see "Legends of Today" on The Flash and "Legends of Yesterday" on Arrow). At least we learned that Savage can be restored if only a single cell of his still exists, unless one of the HawkTwo kill him, which explains why he survived his extremely thorough death on Arrow. I think I was more interested in Chronos, the very Boba Fett temporal bounty hunter who works for the Council of Time Masters. And the possibility of time itself being one of our heroes' adversaries.
I do find it interesting that Stein said at the start that "legends" have to be dead. I wonder if that was a little bit of foreshadowing that maybe all eight of our superheroes might not make it to the end of the season? Sara also suggested that Rip's timeline wasn't necessarily their fate. It makes sense that our guys could wind up as A-list superheroes because of these adventures.
Comic book bits:
I have J.D. Balthazar's assurance that he will help me with comic book details in future episodes, but I don't think we got a lot of them this time. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) Most of the comic book lore was about HawkCouple and their past connection to Vandal Savage. J.D. did tell me that there is a lot of conflicting Hawkman/Hawkgirl mythology out there because there are two versions: Egyptian and alien. (I think they're going with Egyptian.) And we heard again that HawkCouple have been murdered by Vandal Savage 206 times.
Can I just say that the appellation "Hawkgirl" bugs me? I hear that she is sometimes called "Hawkwoman." Could we maybe do that, please?
Bits and pieces:
-- Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen/Green Arrow) and Katie Cassidy (Laurel Lance/Black Canary) crossed over to give us Ray and Sara exposition. Oliver tried to discourage Ray from going with Rip. Laurel encouraged Sara.
-- My beloved Cisco from The Flash created Sara's White Canary costume.
-- In a previous incarnation around World War I, HawkCouple were Joe and Edith Boardman. I wonder how many children they've left behind in their 206 incarnations?
-- Rip retrieved Sara Lance from a primitive pub in Tibet. Very Karen Allen in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It's interesting that Rip retrieved the HawkCouple from St. Roch, which is a neighborhood in New Orleans and where their son Dr. Boardman was living in 1975.
-- The Waverider has holographic indigenous camouflage protection, somewhat like a malfunctioning police box. At least it isn't bigger on the inside.
-- Time travel causes physical distress, such as bleeding from the eyeballs, nausea, vertigo, temporary blindness. The longer the trip, the worse the symptoms.
-- Stein doesn't even remember Ray Palmer was one of his students, and dismissed Ray's input as a scientific colleague. I bet that will change.
-- Snart thinks he and Mick can use time travel to become even better thieves. Although if they stole the Mona Lisa right after it was painted, it wouldn't be priceless, would it?
-- Four of our superheroes have died and come back: the Hawks, Sara and Ray. Except Ray was just missing, and very, very small.
-- I have to give the producers credit, because nearly all that we've seen in the trailers up until now came from the first nine minutes of this episode. They didn't spoil us. I hate it when I watch a trailer and it's pretty much the entire episode.
-- In case you're not a fan, "Everybody remember where we parked" is what Captain Kirk said in the movie Star Trek IV after they time traveled to 1980's San Francisco and left their invisible ship behind. I thought it might be a good title for my time travel tracking section:
Everybody remember where we parked:
-- London 2166, The second Blitz: Where Vandal Savage finished conquering the world and not so by the way, killed Rip Hunter's wife and son Jonas.
-- St. Roch, October 17, 1975: To consult with Professor Boardman, an expert on Vandal Savage.
-- Norway, 1975: A Vandal with a nuke cliffhanger.
Ray: "I think we're being punked. Do people still say 'punked'?"
Mick: "Whatever you roofied him with, I'd like some."
Stein: "I did not roofie him!"
Mick: "I'm not judging."
Rip: "All your worlds are about to change."
Sara: "I thought we were a team."
Rip: "This mission doesn't require your particular skill set. Yet."
Snart: "Meaning you don't need anyone killed, maimed or robbed?"
Ray: "Sure it's a good idea to leave these two unsupervised on a time machine?"
Mick: "Hey, haircut. Deafness wasn't one of the side effects."
Mick: (in 1975) "Why does this stupid station play nothing but reruns?"
Mick: "Ah. Dollar beers. You gotta love the seventies. Who wants to listen to some Captain and Tennille? My mother played it. A lot."
Jax: "Fire photon torpedoes or something!"
Snart: "We go out for one lousy drink and you guys somehow manage to pick a fight with Boba Fett."
This pilot worked. It wasn't the best thing ever, but I definitely enjoyed it and wasn't bored for a single second. Opinions? Comments? I'd love to know what you guys thought,
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.