by Billie Doux
As I've said before, the fact that I don't have comic book background knowledge makes it a lot harder for me to review this show.
See, I'm sure the JSA is cool and if I'd known who they were, I would have been going "Ooh ooh ooh." But I didn't, and introducing six new characters at once didn't work for me at all. It was easy to tell Vixen from Stargirl, but I kept confusing Rex Tyler with Commander Steel, and Obsidian and Dr. Mid-Nite were part of the flying furniture. I'm sure they deserve better than that. (If the JSA is sticking around, I'm sure they'll get better.) That said, I liked that they focused on a couple of interesting storylines: leadership of the Legends now that Rip is gone, and Nate Heywood's relationship with his grandfather.
Was there perhaps a bit too much of a contrast between the well-organized and obedient members of the JSA and the chaotic Legends free-for-all? Some obvious sexism in the way Rex Tyler immediately chose Martin Stein as the Legends leader because he's the old white guy? Wouldn't a team as diverse as the JSA functioning so well together be a little less conventional, even in 1942? At any rate, it was obvious that, since the Legends needed a "war time consigliere" in Godfather-speak, it would end with Sara Lance in charge.
But it was a lot of fun getting there. I'm a Victor Garber fan because he played my favorite character on Alias, and I was going, please tell me he's going to sing -- and he did. (Garber has a background in musical theater.) The Sound of Music reference was really funny, and the song "Edelweiss" in particular reminded me of The Man in the High Castle. I also loved how the Nazi said that "Max Lorenz," Hitler's favorite singer, was supposed to be six feet tall and Sara immediately ducked down to make herself look shorter. Ray trying to make himself do the Nazi salute and the big fight in the bar were also highlights of the episode.
In fact, Ray has already been a lot more fun this season than last, and I enjoyed his interactions with Vixen, who for me was the JSA standout. (Maisie Richardson-Sellers also impressed me with her extended Claire Holt impression on The Originals.) But I kept getting the feeling that they were already making her a love interest for Ray. Come on. We just got rid of Hawkgirl. Don't do this to us.
Since I'm complaining, let me add that Baron Krieger made a truly ridiculous Incredible Hulk. I know The CW doesn't have the budget to do CGI like an Avengers movie, but come on. I was also ticked that they had Obsidian turn out the lights in the opening scene because it made the initial JSA vs. Legends fight difficult to see.
But I did like what they did with Nate Heywood and grandfather Commander Steel, especially the bit that they were wearing the same set of vanishing dog tags. And that Nate is a hemophiliac who had a sheltered childhood and who longed for adventure. That's certainly a disease that would make superheroing tough for him -- unless that special serum Ray gave him just changed Nate's physical make-up somehow. I liked the contrast that Nate had always wanted to be like his grandfather, but that Commander Steel wanted to create a world where people wouldn't have to do what he does.
I was surprised that the episode ended with Rex Tyler's death at the hands of Eobard Thawne, mostly because Rex hadn't made last season finale's time trip yet. How is that going to work?
Everyone remember where we parked:
-- This week was pretty much all 1942: JSA Headquarters, Paris, Fontainebleau. I'm enjoying the period clothes, especially Sara's bar get-up and Jax's suit. The JSA costumes were cool, too.
-- Sara did the saga sell, which was a major hint that she was about to take Rip's place as the Legends' leader.
-- Arthur Darvill is still in the cast. Of course, we did see him in flashback.
-- Rex Tyler suggested that they sacrifice Ray and Amaya. How long could you keep a team of superheroes together if you're that ready to sacrifice their lives? I assume people with powers are rare, too; wouldn't replacing superheroes be a problem?
-- The ingestible translator made me laugh. It was in the fine tradition of Farscape and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
-- How did Ray analyze the serum and alter its structure in five minutes?
-- Thank you to tricksterson, whose comment on my review of last week's premiere saved me from doing a lot of superhero research.
-- By the way, we're looking for a writer to cover Legends of Tomorrow because I'm reviewing too many other things. If you're interested, here's how to apply.
Martin: "Simply put, we've come here as time travelers to identify aberrations in history and correct them."
Ray: "We're superheroes. Like you guys."
Rex: (on the phone) "Yes, Mr. President, sir?"
Ray: "FDR! Tell him I'm a big fan of the New Deal."
Ray: "Fighting Nazis is kind of our thing."
Mick: "Yeah. Last time we tried, we ended up at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean."
An enjoyable but flawed episode. Would that make it two out of four amulets?
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.