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Legends of Tomorrow: The Chicago Way

"I'll take a nightmare that's real over a dream that's a lie."

He pulls a knife, you pull an ion blaster. He sends one of yours to the Bronze age, you send one of his to the cretaceous period.

In John Ford's classic Western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Jimmy Stewart's ageing senator sits with a reporter to tell the true story of how he shot Liberty Valance. After hearing his tale the reporter rips up his notes and throws them in the fire, telling Stewart that "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." Legends was appropriately named because it follows that advice to the letter.

Legends of Tomorrow never shows us history as it actually was. It shows us history how we like to imagine it was. We don't see the truth, we see the legends. So when our heroes find themselves in 1920s Chicago it is the Chicago we've all grown up hearing about. This is the Chicago where Al Capone was king and the only man who could bring him down was the untouchable Eliot Ness. That's the legend, not the truth, but the truth doesn't always make for great movies, or entertaining TV episodes.

This season has seen Legends supplant Supergirl as the most unashamedly fun show in the SuperFlarrowLegends (© sunbunny) universe. While Arrow and The Flash delivered death and despair with their winter finales, Legends sent the team on a rollicking good romp to the Jazz Age which led to their first proper confrontation with the Legion of Doom, although there are still far too few of them to be credibly referred to as a legion. We need to come up with a more appropriate name for them.

This episode did a great job in highlighting the four main reasons why the Terrible Trio(?) are working out as better adversaries for the team than Vandal Savage ever did:

1) Matt Letscher, Neal McDonough, and John Barrowman are clearly all having an absolute blast and it is infectious. Honestly, I could watch these three being sassy with each other all day.

2) They actually have a plan. Unlike Savage, these three are not just doing random shit throughout history that ultimately doesn't add up to anything. They have an actual goal in mind, namely acquiring the Spear of Destiny and using it to alter history for their own benefit.

3) They actually pose a credible threat to the team. I never once believed for a single second that Savage was more than this team could handle. But these three? Eobard alone could slaughter the entire team.

4) Sara's personal history with Merlyn and Darhk is more engaging than Rip's with Savage. As Merlyn rather stupidly pointed out, he is responsible for almost all the bad things that have happened in Sara's life. She has every reason to hate these guys, which is why it was so satisfying to witness her kicking the crap out of Merlyn. More please.

I was expecting this episode to reveal to us the fate of Rip. That is the sort of stuff mid-season cliffhangers are made of. I was completely wrong about him being prisoner of the Trinity of Terror (?), they are just as clueless about his whereabouts as the Legends are. Nope, he's in LA in 1967 making B-movies about himself. And he's American! This is nearing Supernatural levels of metaness. Oh please, give us the Legends reacting to the 60s B-movie versions of themselves. Nothing will make me happier than that. Is he undercover and trying to send a message to his crew via his crappy movies? Or has he lost his memory and these films are just his old life seeping through? Whatever the answer, one thing hasn't changed: he is still completely done with the antics of his crew.

Everybody remember where we parked:

--The Windy City, 1927.

--You gotta love how a drunken Rory makes a better team leader than a sober Ray and Nate.

--Sara now knows about Martin's daughter, but so does Eobard. She is so going to be tied to a railroad track at some point this season.

--Although the FBI did exist in 1927 it was known as the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) at the time. It wouldn't become the Federal Bureau of Investigation until 1935. This episode also seems to imply that Eliot Ness worked for the BOI, when he actually worked for the U.S. Treasury Department.

--What are we to make of Rory's Snart visions? Were they a result of too much alcohol, a lonely subconscious or is something else at play here? Whatever the answer, it is good to have Wentworth Miller back.

Merlyn: "The League taught you well. But unless you hand over the amulet, I'm gonna have to teach you a few new lessons."
Sara: "Those who can't do, teach."

Jax: "Stein is about to kill Sara in the library!"
Ray: "With the rope or the candlestick?"

Nate: “You can reverse brain damage? Why haven’t you helped Rory out?”
Gideon: “Who says I haven’t?”

Jax: "The only reason Lily exists is because you convinced your younger self to pay more attention to your wife and less attention putting on a condom."

Three out of four portable planetariums.
Mark Greig is dreaming of a white Christmas. More Mark Greig


  1. I have to think of a trio name I could contribute, but let me first say that I loved the review, Mark. I was also trying to think of a corollary to Sean Connery's famous Untouchables speech about the morgue, but you did a much better job than I ever could have.

    I am so glad they stepped up their villain game. Not only were they absolutely wonderful, but Neal McDonough and John Barrowman completely rocked that wardrobe. I have absolutely no clue what they're doing with Rip, but whatever it is, I hope it makes him a more interesting character. And I have no idea what they're doing with Snart, but I was so glad to see him!

  2. I'm not sure I want a Mick/Amaya romance..please stop with that, show. Just bring Snart back. Otherwise a fun episode.

  3. Thank god you included my copyright. Thought for a second there I'd have to call my lawyer.

    Great review Mark! I was thinking as I was watching how it's the most funnest (© me) of the four shows now. Love that it doesn't take itself too seriously.

  4. I like Amaya and Mick...I don't watch shows for ships so it wouldn't really bother me if they got together...I must say though i enjoy there dynamic..They are fundamentally different but have a great understanding..Similar to Nate and Ray or Ray and Mick they have natural chemistry which does not have to lead to a romance but i personally would not hate it.

    Im sure that is the first scene Malcolm and Sara have had together ironic because as he said he is the one who set her path.
    Pretty cool fight scene...which Malcolm AGAIN weasels his way out of.

    They really need to go recruit Wally West or Jesse..Don't know how long they can go up against a speedster before it gets ridiculous..Eobard could have killed all of them 10x over this episode.

  5. This season has seen Legends supplant Supergirl as the most unashamedly fun show in the SuperFlarrowLegends (© sunbunny) universe.

    With all due respect to Sunbunny, I'd vote for: SuperFlarrends of Tomorrow as the new moniker.

    When Gideon said, perhaps jokingly, that she had repaired Rory's brain damage, I started to wonder if she was responsible for the Snart hallucinations.

  6. Awesome review! With the analogy / connection between Legends and John Ford. Fun to read.

    I don't know anything about this era and had a lot of fun with this episode. These are the kind of "romps" I'm looking for. Legends is the most fun of the Arrowverse series "right now" (in this part of my watching them). Loved the joke about Rory's brain. Poor guy. And yet he saved the day.

    Rip Hunter making movies about himself is kind of reminiscent of the Stargate SG1 episode with the alien with amnesia who was making movies.

  7. Oh, that comment is signed "Frank" btw.


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