Legends of Tomorrow: White Knights

“There is plenty of blame to go around.”

As Billie pointed out last week, Legends tends to follow a pattern: small groups, big battle, many superpowers. This episode held true to that (admittedly effective) pattern, focusing especially on the way the smaller groups form and reform in response to various needs. The problem with those small groups, though, is that they can create situations in which people get left behind. In 1986 Soviet Russia, no less.

The final sequence in the Soviet lab was a nice balance of lighthearted (Ray’s and Snart’s quips) and potentially tragic (Stein’s attempt to save the universe, or at least America during the Cold War). It’s sort of amazing how quickly things spun out of control: Stein weakened and captured. Mick shot and captured. Ray Palmer unconscious and captured. That’s a grim end for a show with so much humor.

But it took us a while to get there. The first sequence—stealing from the Pentagon—was delightful. The highlight, for me, was Snart and Ray as janitors. I love their repartee, and I really loved the sultry shenanigans as Snart tripped, and then caught, the young woman. (JRS is right: Wentworth Miller is a total femme fatale.)

Sara’s and Kendra’s struggles were interesting, too. They are quite similar: both women have immense power that comes at a big price, and are working through their own rage issues. In fact, those aren’t just similar struggles, are they? They’re basically the same struggle. Watching them start off in conflict, and then come around to bonding and helping each other, was pretty awesome.

That’s the other pattern at work in this show: group members at each other’s throats gradually learning to respect one another. Stein and Jax are working towards understanding each other, especially in terms of the balance of power, knowledge, and speaking rights. Ray seems to be coming around to the idea that sometimes bending the rules—like Snart—is a good thing. Rip is holding himself apart, though.

I like all that. I really do. This show is fun. But, as I wrote up this review (my first, filling in for Billie), I started to realize that I was paying very little attention to the overall plot. This episode had a lot of great smaller sequences: the Pentagon thing. Druce scamming Rip. Sara and Kendra bonding through violence. Even the improbable argument between a wounded Jax and a condescending Stein. (Wouldn’t it have been more polite to wait for Jax to get bandaged up before Stein really engaged him?)

But the large cast, various locations, and extensive character-development and plot-development threads might be creating a situation in which we can’t see the forest because there are too many damn trees. As Legends finds its footing, I’d love to see a more streamlined focus in each episode, a bit less reliance on Constant Crises of Faith, and—of course—a heck of a lot more Snart.

Everybody Remember Where We Parked:

• Rory: “You want us to break into the Pentagon? Sounds awesome.”

• Sara: “Everything would have been fine if Big Bird hadn’t freaked out.”

• Snart, responding to Dr. Vostok’s rejection of Ray Palmer: “Damn, that was cold. Even by Russian standards.”

• Dr. Vostok: “You work for the American government.”
Snart: “I’m wanted by the American government. Does that count?”

• I liked the translator doohickeys. They reminded me of both the “ear worms” from A Hitchhiker’s Guide… (that’s what they’re called, right?) and the way that the TARDIS acts as a sort of contagious Rosetta Stone for all of the people who travel inside of it.

• Is anybody else waiting around for Carter’s return? I’m sort of surprised he hasn’t come back yet. Do you think his death is for real?

Three out of four thermal cores.

Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, True Detective, Game of Thrones, and various other things that take her fancy. She is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


tricksterson said...

Couple of nitpicks: !986, not '85 and the critter from Hitchhikers was the Babel fish. Tear ear worm is what Khan used to torture Chekov in Wrath of Khan.

Billie Doux said...

Very Mission Impossible except that everything went wrong and our guys were captured. I'm with you, Josie -- I'm enjoying the show because of the characters. The background plot has yet to capture me. But Snart and Ray were so much fun together, and I also liked the way Sara and Kendra bonded over their similar situations. I actually yelled "no!" when Mick was shot, so moving him into the hero column is working for me.

I loved the translator thingies. There were translator microbes on Farscape, too, along with worms called "dentics" that brushed your teeth for you. "Never eat the dentic!"

Josie Kafka said...

Thanks, tricksterson. I fixed the date.

mazephoenix said...

I think I might be in love with Miller. What a fox. Ahem. Love his look when Valentina turned out to be evil. Ah Ray why are you so naive?
Sara and Kendra are good for each other-who needs boring old Hawkman?

Anonymous said...

Not sure I can keep watching if the overall plot isn't capturing my attention. As you stated, Josie, the "snippets" are good - funny, engaging in small doses. But the show as a whole isn't quite doing it for me. Snart and Sara are by far the reasons I keep watching, for now.