Legends of Tomorrow: Pilot, Part 1

"I hate to nitpick, but doesn't a legend have to be dead?"

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.

Quotes:

Ray: "I think we're being punked. Do people still say 'punked'?"
Sara: "No."

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?"
Rip: "Precisely."
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
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Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.

12 comments:

Patrick said...

I was also pleased with how this turned out. It's going to need to find its footing a bit, and they did kinda hurry through those opening ten minutes or so to get the team assembled, but the show definitely has promise. My impressions of the characters pretty much lined up with yours Billie, though I'm still not terribly interested in the Hawk-folks. Brandon Routh promises to be fun now that he's not playing a romantic obstacle for Oliver & Felicity(his comedic skills really are impressive). It's wonderful having Caity Lotz back as Sara, I have a feeling she & the Rogue boys are going to be quite fun together. I've been a fan of Dominic Purcell ever since he starred in John Doe, and he had many of the funniest lines in this episode. Wentworth's fun too, but when he's playing Snart sometimes it seems like he's putting a little too much sneer into his dialogue. And of course, it'll be great having Arthur Darvill back on my screen.

Yes Billie, Hawkman's backstory is woefully convoluted, they tried creating a whole different version of the character at one point, but didn't quite line it up with one of their big reboot events, then tried to clean it up during ANOTHER reboot event but just confused people even more, it was a mess.

TJ said...

I liked it a lot too. I even thought it was the best season-opener from Arrow/The Flash/LoT-verse.

I was thinking a lot of other shows though. For some reason I was thinking of Alias when I saw Victor Garber here. That never happened on The Flash. The Hawkcouples Egyptian storyline = Stargate SG-1. And this whole contamination of the timeline reminded me of STVoy episode Relativity.

But it all worked out just fine. I will definitely keep watching.

Josie Kafka said...

no, they're not Timelords at all

Nope, not at all. Totally different. They are Masters, after all, not Lords. :-)


I liked this, mostly for the setup of future awesomeness. Nine people is a lot to handle, but I thought they gave a good amount of time to each character.

Mark Greig said...

As much as I enjoyed this episode, it did suffer from trying to do too much too quickly. If you came to this show with no knowledge of Arrow or Flash you would've been completely lost. The writers made the mistake of assuming everyone watching would be familiar with all the characters so they wasted no time introducing them and sending them off on their mission. Hopefully it won't take the writers long to find their groove and utilise their nine cast members as well as Firefly did.

Kelly said...

I also agree it was flawed because they were trying to juggle too many things at once with all those characters, but Sara, Snart and Mick were easily the best parts of it for me. I'm so glad to have Caity Lotz back as Sara, as she can express so much without saying a word, like her expression in Tibet when they first show her.

Billie, I wanted to add one thing re: your comment about the Mona Lisa. Very true! I don't know if you've ever read the short story "Wikihistory" but it addresses that issue, along with dealing with the 'if we can time travel now, let's kill Hitler' idea, all written in the format of forum posts.
http://www.tor.com/2011/08/31/wikihistory/

FlopHairedWuss said...

Like everyone has said, the episode was trying to do too much. There was way too much exposition here making the episode feel unevenly paced. There was also a bit too much time spent on the characters going back and forth on their decisions to stay and leave. Rip Hunter's motivation was hilariously clich├ęd. There was also some weak dialogue, but that's par for the course for CW shows.

Having said that, there is potential here. Pilots are usually quite uneven and with a show balancing this many characters, it'll probably take a few episodes to find it's groove.

mazephoenix said...

This was fun. The Rogues and Sara getting in that bar fight was the best thing here.
Hawkgirl should be Hawkwoman and divorce Hawkman.
Firestorm professor shouldn't drug his partner..
Nice to see Rory timetravelling again.
Very busy ep, but it'll be less busy later. I'll stick around.

Lydia said...

all i could think throughout the episode was all the doctor who parallels "time masters" sound like a "time lord" rip off, oh, also, rory would make an interesting doctor. lmao. someone tell me if i should stick to this show or not.

Billie Doux said...

Lydia, I'm enjoying it and as it starts to near the end of the first season, it's getting better and better. That said, as with everything else, your mileage will vary. I'm sure it's not for everyone.

Deborah Gallegos said...

I think the Hawks backstory as written by Roy Thomas in the 1980s (DC Comics) All Star Squadron is definitely the best - and this show seems to be borrowing from it effectively.

Looking forward to more!

Marianna said...

I agree about Vandall Savage not being very exciting. I prefer the depictions of him where he uses his immorality and considers himself to be a superior being, motivating his quest for world domination using science and intellect. Here I'm just getting generic villain and a lot of "MWAHAHA!!!"

Is there a particular reason why all of the heroes need to come from the same time?

Marianna said...

One thing I forgot to ask, is it significant that Rip Hunter and Reverse-Flash both use Gideon or is it like Siri in the future?