While the episode managed to be fun with the period setting as each pairing of characters got to interact with the decade in their own specific way, the main villain is starting to actively hurt the series.
Vandal Savage is probably the least threatening big bad we've ever had in the collective Flarrowverse. That doesn't mean he isn't doing evil big bad type things, he's just not as scary as I imagine the series creators hoped he would be. I don't know if it is the casting, or the way he is constantly allowed to live when circumstances are almost perfect to kill him off. He just doesn't work. Especially as an evil psychologist, mutating teenagers into hawk men for his own nefarious reasons.
Speaking of which, what was Savage's plan? Use the Nth meteor to create an army of those creatures to take over the world? How would that work, when he couldn't control the ones he had already created? Eh, I guess it's not an awful idea when you have an unlimited amount of time to train and harness the potential of those clearly lethal creatures. It just seems a little too mustache twirly, and not entirely practical for a five thousand year old immortal monster.
On a positive note, the anachronisms were pretty well done, keeping them exclusive to our time travelers. I just wish the costume choices weren't quite so on the nose. What I loved was how our characters didn't even bother trying to fit into the time period, waving their progressive freak flag at every opportunity. Especially with the Jax and Sara plot-lines, which were the best parts of the episode.
Jax had some really good scenes, and some very cool interactions with Betty. I kept expecting her to turn into a bird monster, but instead she turned out to be a very genuine person with a progressive attitude. In a show about superheroes and one-dimensional villains, Betty was pretty well drawn. So was Sara's love interest, Lindsey, who didn't get all that much to do, but was a character that should have had more screen time.
Actually, I think that's where I wish this show should go. Take out Savage, and have our heroes go on adventures a la Quantum Leap. Focus on character dramas, and dilemmas that draw out our heroes' powers in a way that makes sense. Those bird monsters would have been a perfect opportunity. Imagine this episode without Savage in the mix, and there would have been an interesting case of the week involving a mysterious monster and an alien influence... and I can't believe I'm advocating for this series to become episodic.
Two last little thoughts before I go to bits. First, what is everyone's thoughts on the Ray/Kendra romance? I don't really buy it, and I imagine it has something to do with their total lack of chemistry. Second, did anyone else think that Snart was woefully underutilized in this one, especially with the potential fallout from what happened with Mick (which was not fully explained I might add)?
Everybody remember where we parked:
This week: Harmony Falls, Oregon 1958.
There were at least two blatant Back to the Future references. Jax called one of the teenage bullies "Biff". The second was when Ray asked if Jax was going to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.
I loved how Jax basically summed up the entire episode in his description of old horror movies he watched with this mom.
Kendra's memories are a bit inconsistent. I guess she can't remember all of her lives, but wouldn't she at least have an idea of what it was like to live as a woman of color in the 50's?
Jax called the town Pleasantville, which I imagine is a reference to the movie of the same name.
Stein: "Seeing white picket fences, and perfect family houses. It's enough to make one nostalgic."
Sara: "Or nauseated."
Stein: "Oh, come on, Miss Lance. Even someone as jaded as yourself can't deny how idyllic this time was."
Jax: "Yeah, if you're white."
Sara: "And a man, and straight... and..."
Stein: "Okay, okay, I get the point."
Jax: "Even if this town wasn't full of small-minded idiots, it'd still be creepy as hell. I used to watch all these old horror movies with my mom, and they all started off in places like this."
Sara: "An unhappy cheerleader. Now that is scary."
Savage: "Do you believe in fate?"
Kendra: "Fate is a prison. When freewill is gone, what's left?"
As a standalone, this had some nice character moments and some good guest roles. As a part of the whole, I'm not sure it stood out.
2 out of 4 Teenage mutated hawk teens straight out of a 50's horror movie.
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.