‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 2, Episode 1: ‘Out of Time’
The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow follows a team of misfits that includes Rip Hunter, Arrow’s Atom and White Canary, both halves of Firestorm and Flash rogue Heat Wave. Recappers Matt Wilson and Dylan Todd are on hand to deliver our Legends of Tomorrow post-show analysis, Stuff of Legends.
This week's season premiere, "Out of Time," finds a somewhat smaller team facing down a nuclear challenge and a whole new set of villains. Marc Guggenheim and Phil Klemmer wrote the teleplay from a story by Greg Berlanti and Chris Fedak. Dermott Downs directed the episode.
Dylan: And we’re back! Matt, it’s been a while. Have you fully recovered from last season’s finale, which saw our ragtag group of heroes and villains saving the timestream from the dastardly plans of Vandal Savage and the wicked Time Masters?
Matt: I was ready for the show to come back, yeah. I think my brain has washed away enough of the dumb and frustrating stuff from the latter part of the first season so that what I remember is the beautiful joys of Casper Crump and Wentworth Miller speaking aloud.
Of course, we don’t get those things this season. But I like the rest of the bunch pretty well, too.
Dylan: We start this episode with some hunk named Nate Heywood running through Mayor Oliver Queen’s office with a satchel full of evidence that the Legends of Tomorrow are having a rough time in, well, time, being blown up by an underwater atom bomb.
Matt: Nate Heywood, a.k.a. Citizen Steel in the comics. The resemblance to the comics character more or less ends there, though it is a nice little clue as to what’s coming later. In a related note, what the heck happened to Hourman? Last season ended with this cool tease of him being around, and he’s... not around.
Additional side-note: I thought I had gotten away from Ollie Queen, Dylan. I thought I had gotten away.
Dylan: Nobody gets away from the Green Arrow, Matt. nobody. And yeah, I guess Hourman’s home planet needed him, because we went from him showing up to warn the Legends and now he’s just vanished. I don’t get it, but as CWverse veterans, we both know how sloppy these shows can get.
Matt: Yeah. It’s just so weird that we went from this big season-ending tease to, “Oh yeah, he just told us some stuff and left.”
Dylan: Fun! They find Mick Rory, AKA Heat Wave, who ushers in a flashback wherein the Legends have to keep the King of France alive long enough to get his freak on with the queen. Oh, and also there are assassins. Is it just me, or do you wish that we had more of these dumb time shenanigans instead of just getting into the season megaplot?
Matt: I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, this part was really fun. Cardinal Richelieu’s men have ray guns! Things get out of hand and future tech comes out! Sara Lance gets mad rutty with the queen! The costumes are appropriately goofy and the location is clearly just somebody’s house. Versailles it isn’t. It’s the epitome of budget Time Adventure in the Doctor Who vein. A little more violent. Doctor Wham.
Dylan: Doctor Woo-Hoo!
Matt: But if this is all the episode was, folks (maybe even us) would complain about the premiere being directionless. So while I’d love to have more of this kind of thing, I don’t think they could get away with it.
Dylan: As usual, you’re right. So it turns out that some crumbum has kidnapped Albert Einstein and put him to work making an A-bomb for Hitler. Which means our heroes get to wear even more great time-period-appropriate costumes while they try and stop Einstein from getting nerd-napped. And Einstein sure is handsy, huh?
Matt: As Heat Wave said, he’s a “pig.” In the context of the world in October 2016, it doesn’t do Einstein a lot of favors.
As you mentioned, I loved these costumes. I hated everything else about this plot. I guess the idea was just to make everything as simple as possible, which would mean crediting the atomic bomb to Einstein and his ex-wife, Mileva Marić. But it drove me up a wall. Marić just builds a bomb in 1942 like it’s nothing. When in reality, dozens of scientists were involved in determining whether it was even possible to build an A-bomb. What about Oppenheimer or Fermi or Manley? Einstein says outright he’s the only man who could build an atomic bomb. Is he just that much of an egotist or do the writers respect the audience that little?
Dylan: I’m gonna say a little bit of both. Meanwhile, Sara Lance is on a mission to find last season’s Arrow villain Damien Darhk and get revenge for her dead sister, Laurel. (RIP, Black Canary. Everybody misses you.) Oh, and Darhk is working for the Nazis, buying uranium so that Marić can build the Führer a bomb. The Legends mount a rescue of Mileva Marić, but are only half-successful, managing to get Maric, but allowing the Nazis to get away with the bomb and nuke the Waverider.
Matt: I thought it was hilarious that we were getting this B-plot about Sara searching for Darhk in the story Mick was telling Ollie and Heywood. How do you think he set that up? “Meanwhile, as Rip and the gang looked for Einstein, Sara Lance was hunting for a killer…”
And since it’s our job to point this stuff out, Sara asks the taxi driver to take her to “Conway and 5th,” which is almost definitely a nod to Gerry Conway, co-creator of Firestorm, among many other characters on this very program.
Dylan: I just assumed it was a reference to TIm Conway, creator of the beloved impish golf-scamp, Dorf, which would set this show firmly in the Dorfverse. But your thing makes more sense, I guess.
Matt: Just you wait until we get that three-episode golf arc.
Moving along, here’s another big hang-up I had: Why is the A-bomb even a threat at all? We saw last season that Firestorm is more than capable of containing an atomic blast. So what’s the problem?
Dylan: The problem is that they need something that can disable the Waverider and give Ollie and Heywood a reason to “get the band back together.” But yeah, it’s really silly.
What did you think of the choice to scatter the rest of the team through time?
Matt: Well, if you weren’t going to bother with Firestorm containing the bomb, which he has the ability to do, it was as good a way as any to get them off the Waverider and out of harm’s way. And it led to some fun --- if too short --- interludes with the team all in different historical periods.
Dylan: Yeah, I could easily have done with a few more hours of Ray Palmer in Land of the Lost, if only for the ridiculous fake beard and wig. We also got Jax and Stein in Medieval Times --- which again, is just a tent in somebody’s backyard --- and Sara getting burned at the stake for sexing up the ladies of Salem, and Rip Hunter in… who cares, he sucks. He’s dead, maybe? One can only hope TBH.
Matt: I really liked the gag with Jax’s “magic mirror.” Witchy Sara was fun, too. Heck, I liked prehistoric Ray a bunch. I would have liked all these bits to be fleshed out a lot more. Do a whole episode with the time-scattered team!
As for Rip, did you get the sense that there was some character rehab going on here? He didn’t do anything extremely jerky --- he made Jax do a bunch of repair work, but told him why directly and in a way that showed he trusted him --- and he got to actually make that noble sacrifice he wanted to make back in last season’s finale.
Dylan: Yeah, it was the least terrible he’s been, and with the Time Masters wiped out and his dead family avenged, there’s no real reason to keep him around beyond Arthur Darvill’s accent.
I gotta say, I’m really missing Captain Cold here, as we’re left with Mick Rory as the sole remaining fun Legend, with everybody else being pretty boring. I’m especially disappointed in how they handled Sara Lance --- who came out of the first season the strongest character --- being reduced to a revenge-seeking horndog who does dumb things because she’s blinded by revenge. I know we’re supposed to have some other additions to the cast, but until then, it’s a pretty bland right now. Agree, disagree?
Matt: I dunno. I think Sara is still pretty fun. I do agree that she seems to have reverted a bit. She should be the leader of the team, full stop. Last season was all about getting her to that point.
Jax is interesting, too, but he’s being relegated to “repair guy.” It’s weird. I think it’s less about the characters themselves than the constraining little boxes they’re being put in.
And trading Rip for Heywood seems like a lateral move at best. Hey, it’s another handsome white guy! And he’s pretty bland. Say what you will about Rip, at least he had a personality, even if that personality was “guy who seems to hate his friends.”
Dylan: Yeah, Heywood so far is just not impressive. Like they just took whoever was on top of the “Generically Handsome Hunk” pile at the CW backlot and had him stand on his mark and say his lines. He works perfectly okay as a POV character who has to ask all the dumb questions so that we can get reintroduced to all of our heroes and their respective backstories and stuff, but otherwise, he’s a snooze. Whatever. He’s fine. It’s fine.
I’m sure we’ll get more out of the main cast as the season progresses, and that this was essentially a second pilot for people who are just tuning in for this season, but everybody but Mick seemed really sketched in.
Matt: You know who I was missing? Hawkwoman. She gave the first season a direction this one hasn’t figured out so far. I mean, she was terribly underused, but she contributed something.
Dylan: Yeah! Also: birdwoman with a mace is a welcome addition to any team. So far, there’s not a solid center to this season yet like the Hawkpersons/Vandal Savage thing we had last season, just the vague threat of Darhk and his new partner in crime, the Reverse Flash. (He’s like the Flash, but, uh, backwards?) Their intentions are (probably intentionally) vague at this point, but for now, they’re just going to do as much timecrime as possible, I guess. What did you think of this addition? Are two villains going to be better than the one we had last season?
Matt: Maybe? We don’t get a whole lot to go on, as far as what they plan to do. I do like Neal McDonough as Damien Darhk. He was one of the only people that managed to make the fourth season of Arrow watchable. He injects the right amount of quirky, campy weirdness into the role to be fun and threatening at the same time. The Reverse Flash I know less about. I suspect he’ll be their mode of time travel, right?
Dylan: Probably, yeah. We actually have only seen this version of the Reverse Flash a handful of times in the Flash show, as he spent most of his time wearing a Harrison Wells flesh suit. One thing is for sure: dude sure does love stabbing moms.
Oh, and hey, the Justice Society! I guess it was only a matter of time until we saw these moldy oldies. You excited for the Grandpa and Grandma Brigade or nah?
Matt: Sure, I can tentatively be excited for them. But like, Hourman showed up and then disappeared, so I don’t really know what to expect. From what I can tell, the team has Vixen(!), a right-out-of-the-comics version of Stargirl (fingers crossed for S.T.R.I.P.E.), Doctor Mid-Nite, Obsidian and Commander Steel, who’s probably related to Nate. Out of all of them, it’d be cool if Vixen hung around.
Dylan: Yeah, I’m thinking that’s the plan, but we’ll see. The JSA is a team I’m very lukewarm on, so we’ll see if this can sway me at all. I know people swear by the David Goyer/Geoff Johns run, but it really didn’t grab me.
Matt: Maybe they’ll jump right ahead to the recreating Norman Rockwell paintings phase of the team.
Dylan: The kids go nuts for Rockwell.