‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 1, Episode 6: ‘Star City 2046′
After a half-season of set-up in both Arrow and The Flash, it’s finally here: the CW’s latest super-show, Legends of Tomorrow. Featuring Arrow’s Atom and White Canary, as well as both halves of Firestorm, the Hawkpersons, and rogues Captain Cold and Heat Wave from The Flash, the show follows Rip Hunter and his team of misfits across time.
Our longest-serving Arrow and Flash recappers, Matt Wilson and Dylan Todd, have joined forces to deliver our Legends of Tomorrow post-show analysis, Stuff of Legends. This week's episode, "Star City 2046" finds our heroes stranded in a desolate, future version of a city some of them call home. Things are not as they remember, to put it lightly. Steve Shill directed the episode and it was written by Marc Guggenheim and Ray Utarnachitt.
Matt: Well, Dylan, they finally did it. They managed to get me to watch what amounted to two episodes of Arrow in a single week. The cast of the 34th season of the show is pretty different: We’ve got Deathstroke’s son, Diggle’s son, mopey old-age-makeup Ollie, and roaming gangs of criminals. Also, Star City is constantly on fire. What’d you think of this little trip to the Star City of 2046?
Dylan: I have never laughed as hard as when Old Man Ollie walked out of the shadows in that old man makeup.
Matt: It looked like current-day Stephen Amell saw something really scary that turned his hair gray and then got put in a microwave and melted a little. Beyond that, I was simultaneously disappointed and delighted that he wasn’t Dark Knight Returns Green Arrow, but was instead the natural endpoint of Arrow: An even more sour and depressed Oliver Queen who is incredibly invested in playing the blame game.
Dylan: It was 100% Arrow, for sure. Just a continual Bummerville where everybody talks really seriously about really serious things while scowling and having very nice muscles. Overall though, I liked the episode. There was a lot of plottiness --- and some thrilling footage of Rip Hunter looking at stuff in a warehouse --- and you definitely had to have paid a little bit of attention to Arrow to get some of the story, but it was a nice diversion from the continual threat of Vandal Savage.
Matt: Looking around in a warehouse, then being attacked by goons is yet another Arrow hallmark.
The team-ups this time around seem to be the defaults. Professor Stein, Jefferson, Ray and Hawkwoman stay on the Waverider to make repairs, Captain Cold and Heat Wave sidle off to go do some time crimes with the horde of marauders, and White Canary and Rip go to Smoak Technologies (formerly Palmer Tech) to find a macguffin. I have a suspicion as to what your favorite team-up was, but I’ll ask anyway. Which one did you get into the most?
Dylan: While I liked a lot of this episode, my heart belongs to the Captain Cold and Heat Wave part of the episode. I mean, the minute Heat Wave put on that gigantic fur coat and took over duties of the Dirtbike Deviants of 2046, I was sold on the episode. I also liked what it did to Cold and Heat Wave’s relationship, which, judging by next episode’s teaser, looks like it will have repercussions going forward. Which team up did you like the most, Matt?
Matt: I’m with you. Captain Cold and Heat Wave all the way. I loved how Heat Wave attained the Fur Coat of Leadership by giving up on a fist fight and just blasting a guy with fire. I loved how he let it all go to his head immediately. I loved how he was pining for this urban hellscape by the end of the episode. And it allowed Captain Cold to shine as the pragmatic member of the duo, eventually having to lock Heat Wave up and talk some sense into him. That stuff is everything I want from the show.
What did you make of that love triangle plot between Ray, Jefferson and Hawkwoman? It was sorta kinda fun to see Professor Stein trying to act as a matchmaker, playing up his lothario youth, but it was a foregone conclusion where this was going, right? Hawkwoman’s lover through the centuries died just a few days ago. It all felt pretty forced to me. You?
Dylan: I… kind of loved it? It’s the kind of silly soap opera stuff you see in superhero team comics, so it was really welcome here. And Stein essentially playing head-games with Ray to see if Jax had a shot with Kendra was a lot of fun. At this point, they writers are looking for any reason to keep Kendra on the ship, so having her have to chase off all the boys on the ship is preferable to, say, having her lay around while Ray Palmer played IRL Asteroids in her bloodstream.
The resolution was straight-up BS tho, and not just because Hawkman sucks. Everything we’ve seen from Kendra has shown her to be a strong-willed, independent woman, so her constantly backing out at the last minute because of some reincarnation mumbo jumbo is disappointing.
Matt: She was also kind of a non-entity in the whole thing until the very end, when she politely shot Ray down. I mean, I get it. That’s what trying to ask someone out is like. Guessing at their preferences, wondering if they’d be interested, pining. But I’d like to have seen her side of things, just for some balance and so it wasn’t two guys fighting over a prize.
Dylan: I agree with this wholeheartedly.
Matt: Sadly, I’m not sure this episode did Sara’s character any favors either. She came off as brave here, but also willfully thick-headed. Despite knowing it’s 30 years into the future, she constantly has to be told that things aren’t exactly the same as they were when she left. I want the clever, happy-go-lucky, girlfriend-stealing Sara Lance of the pilot to come back. How do you feel about it?
Dylan: Oh, I agree. I liked that she was willing to call Rip Hunter on his Time Dingus-ness, but her bullheadedness made no sense beyond, “This drives the story forward.” I get that she feels protective of her hometown and her friends, but it was disappointingly dull.
Matt: This episode also leads to the pretty wild conclusion that Star City is going to become such a wasteland because Sara and Ray left to go on their time adventure. I like to explain that as Ollie just looking for someone to blame for his own mistakes because he’s a terrible jerk. Wasn’t it more or less inevitable that Star City would end up this way, Dylan? To be frank, it’s not that markedly different from Star City 2016.
Dylan: Yeah, beyond the Smoak Technologies sign, the whole thing looked a lot like Regular Old Star City.
Matt: I’d like to note here that Ray goes absolutely bananas that the name of the company he oversaw for... maybe a year has changed. And he actually changed the name of it when he took it over! (It was originally Queen Consolidated.) He doesn’t often come off as an egomaniac, but that was certainly the feeling here. (Frankly, I’d be into seeing a slightly less all-smiles side of Ray.)
Dylan: Yeah, he’s a little one-note. It hasn’t started bugging me yet, but I can see that happening if they continue to paint him as the Shiny Happy Person they have so far.
Matt: They’ve hinted at some depth, so we’ll see. Heat Wave is turning out to be positively layered, so it’s totally possible.
Dylan: I hinted at it earlier, but Cold’s turn on him was completely unexpected and kind of… mean? I get that Cold is the more heroic of the two, but him knocking out Heat Wave, dragging him back to the Waverider, putting him in a cell and then Cold telling him he’s a dummy and to just do as he’s told seemed like… a bad move.
Matt: I’m not sure if there was any intent on the writers’ part, but I bought it from the perspective of two close friends with competing philosophies. Heat Wave wants to just take what he wants where he can get it, and Captain Cold is insisting on seeing the big picture. Cold’s trying to do the tough love thing. It really worked for me.
Dylan: Oh, I think it’s intentional. And yeah, I really enjoyed it. Cold’s so used to Heat Wave following his lead that he literally can’t even when his crime pal decides to, you know, do crime. And if you’re Heat Wave, a postapocalytic future where you’re the fur-coated king of a roving band of dirtbike meanies with a Coyote Ugly-style bar with a goldanged stuffed bear in it is kind of the best retirement plan you can hope for, so go him. Stop harshing his crime-vice, Captain Cold.
Matt: Speaking of people being total meanies, we have to touch on Rip Hunter: Time Hypocrite, who is super gung-ho about saving his family in the future, but pitches a hissy when someone else (Sara) wants to help out her friends. First, he tries to explain it with some “time in flux” nonsense. Then, when Sara confronts him straight-out with the fact that he wants to change the future himself, he just huffs about it. He has to be convinced to finally help.
We’re supposed to hate him, right?
Dylan: I sure hope so. As big of a Time Turd as he’s been, it seems incredibly intentional at this point. I kept thinking this entire episode how much better a leader Sara would be for this team.
Matt: No kidding! At least she’s got principles. Rip is increasingly turning out to be a weasel.
Dylan: Never trust a time ship and a smile, that dude is poison. Oh, one more question: how hilarious/awkward was it when Ray told Diggle Jr, “Rip Hunter recruited us to be Legends, remember?” Like, how did that line make it past the first draft?
Matt: “A guy you don’t know asked us to do some vague job that we don’t even really understand! You have to remember something like that from 30 years ago!” I liked Dig Jr.’s answer, too: “I don’t know any Legends!” Dude in a green hood has no knowledge of Zelda at all.
Speaking of Dig Jr., who prefers his made-up name Connor Hawke, I love/hated the whole notion that the big battle in Star City is Arrow Jr. vs. Deathstroke Jr. How did Deathstroke have a son? He’s in an island super-prison! And Dig doesn’t have a son, he has a daughter! Where’s she?
Dylan: I liked how Sara, still forgetting it’s 30 years in the future and thinking it was Deathstroke Senior (who would literally be a senior citizen at this point), asked him how he got off the prison, and that goofy-mouthed dude just ignored the question. Fair enough!
Matt: I do have to say this: I loved that they kept Ravager’s comics name, Grant Wilson, because it was just close enough to my name to make it feel like they were saying I had made Star City a pit of fire and despair. If I could go to that fictional place, that is what I would do.
Dylan: Haha! Katanas for everybody!
Matt: And for those that don’t get katanas, hilarious homemade signs!
Dylan: This is the best television show ever made by human beings.
Matt: At the very least, we’ll get to test that theory next week, when we encounter a spaaaaaace muuuuutiny! Can Roll Fizzlebeef save the Waverider? Only time will tell!
Dylan: I am quivering with space-anticipation!