‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 1, Episode 13: ‘Leviathan’
The CW’s latest super-show, Legends of Tomorrow, follows Rip Hunter on his adventures through time, with a team of misfits that includes Arrow’s Atom and White Canary, both halves of Firestorm, Hawkwoman, and Flash rogues Captain Cold and Heat Wave. Arrow and Flash recappers Matt Wilson and Dylan Todd are on hand to deliver our Legends of Tomorrow post-show analysis, Stuff of Legends.
On this week's "Leviathan," the team heads right into the belly of the beast: a Vandal Savage-controlled 2166 London. And they fight a giant robot in the process. The episode was directed by Gregory Smith and was written by Sarah Nicole Jones and Ray Utarnachitt.
Dylan: We went back… to the future, Matt! After putting off the inevitable for a few episodes, the Legends headed to 2166 to finally try and confront Vandal Savage. While their plans went the way all of their plans do, which is to say poorly, I enjoyed that we were actually setting out to accomplish the season’s goal instead of messing around in the Old West or kidnapping their baby selves to prevent time-murder. There were some missteps along the way --- I mean, it’s a CW superhero show --- but it felt fun and fresh in a way that it hasn’t in awhile. My question for you Matt, is this: was this episode actually good, or have the last few episodes lowered my expectations to the point where all I need to enjoy myself is giant, glowing robot?
Matt: As always, it was kind of a mixed bag, but by the point The Atom was going full Ultraman and fighting the giant robot (who was called Leviathan, even though it looked kinda like Chemo), I couldn’t really hold anything against it.
Dylan: This is kind of where I am with this episode. Not great, but good enough. It’s got a good beat. I can dance to it.
Matt: I think my theory about every other episode of this episode being good --- the odd-numbered ones, so it’s the opposite of the Star Trek movies --- holds.
Dylan: Except I will defend The Undiscovered Country to my dying breath. But that’s neither here Nora there.
So our A-plot involved our team trying to assassinate Vandal Savage at the height of his power, which is also mere days before Rip Hunter’s family gets wiped out by Savage’s shock-troopers. This being the Legends of Tomorrow, their plan is basically to show up in disguise at a rally and try and kill him in front of all his soldiers. This is not the worst plan they’ve come up with. Along the way, they make a new friend, score some sweet jewelry and pledge themselves to the Resistance. I will admit that part of my enjoyment of this show is the return of Casper Crump’s Vandal Savage. Those few weeks away made my heart grow fonder.
Matt: The speech he gave right when they got to 2166 was delightfully inept. “Enward to viggtry! Enward to immrtalty!” I don’t know why anyone would line up in jackboots behind a guy who sounds like someone is always holding his nose shut, but I think that’s the beauty of it.
How perfect was the casting of Vandal Savage’s daughter, Cassandra, by the way? Though Jessica Sipos, the actress who played her, lacks Crump’s Danish accent, she absolutely nailed his cadences. She was pretty believably this goofball’s daughter.
Dylan: Yeah, I liked her. I’m hoping we see more of her. We’ll talk about her and Cold in a little bit, but it was nice to see our heroes change their surroundings for the better for a change. It seems like everywhere they go, they make a huge mess and then hop in the Waverider, hoping it all sorts itself out in the end.
Matt: I still can’t get over how they made it so that the Armageddon Virus was released earlier than it had been before. Though I guess that weirdly works to the team’s advantage in this episode, but we’ll get to that.
Dylan: So the Legends find a bracelet that Kendra wore when Savage first killed her and Hawkman back in Egypt times, and that becomes our main plot: retrieving the bracelet, applying it to Hawkman’s old mace and then finally, going after Savage in what Heat Wave described as “The Olympics of Murder.” As much as I like ancient melee weapons and dudes getting mashed with them, I feel like this sort of fell flat a little.
First off, we have Sara, a trained assassin, incredulously asking how on earth they’re gonna kill Savage with a bracelet when I, a guy who has a hard time smooshing bugs, can think of ten different ways that could work. Then we have Heat Wave trying to make sure that Kendra’s up to the task, saying stuff about how she’s never killed anybody before, like we forgot that she was part of the big fight last week that left the Pilgrim as just a pile of ash. Then, finally, the resolution of that whole storyline, which we’ll discuss later, but I don’t know. It did not land for me. How’d you feel about it, Matt?
Matt: It all felt pretty forced, but so does everything with Hawkwoman, right? It just so happened that here other characters got infected with it. Like, obviously Sara would know that you could melt down a bracelet and shape it into a shiv or something, right? And yeah, Hawkwoman has at the very least been complicit in several deaths. It’s all just added complication so the episode doesn’t end in 15 minutes and the season didn’t end in two. Hawkwoman’s stories are the constant reminder that this is a TV show that has to go a contractual number of episodes.
Dylan: Like, just the way the bracelet is shaped --- like a snake with a pointy tail --- you could easily bend it straight and just stab Savage. I’m hoping next season isn’t centered around this sort of implausibility, where people have to be regularly, willfully stupid in order for the megaplot to advance. Them having to come up with labyrinthine excuses why Kendra has to stay on the ship wore out it welcome somewhere around episode six.
Matt: Yeah, and if we’re going to get into this, why introduce the bracelet now? Kendra seems to know that it can kill Savage, but up to now all we’ve heard about is that knife Savage has. If there are other weapons that would work, why hasn’t the team been looking for those?
Dylan: Next week, she’s gonna try and garrote him with a scrap of ancient Egyptian dress thing.
Matt: A deadly bedpost!
Dylan: A DEADpost! But seriously, 13 episodes into a 16 episode season is not the time to completely change the rules of your game.
Matt: I will say I’m far more willing to forgive that on this show than... uh... some others that change their rules all the time. At least we get fun stuff here.
Dylan: True, true. We also got a side-plot where Captain Cold befriended Vandal Savage’s daughter and then obliterated her mind with Truth Bombs regarding her nasty, nasty dad. How’d this little side-story work for you, Matt?
Matt: It worked fine because I like the two actors a lot. Anyone else taking Cassandra into the room full of refugees and showing her how her dad truly hurts people would have made it cheesy as heck, but Wentworth Miller, man, that guy can move mountains.
I did find it a tad unbelievable that Cassandra would have no awareness at all of her dad’s plans and machinations, though. Like, she’s there directly by his side at every speech. She trains his shock troopers. What the hell does she think he’s up to? Did Vandal specifically keep her away from movies and history so she wouldn’t recognize a totalitarian regime? Also: Where the dang did the Legends get that footage of Vandal ordering the virus release? Did Captain Cold get a hold of some dailies from three episodes ago?
Dylan: He’s very resourceful, apparently. I missed the Per Degaton episode, so I figured that was explained somehow, but I guess not! My generosity towards this show dooms me again.
Matt: I suppose all the meetings of the Kasnia Corporation were recorded, but you’d think Savage would turn off the cameras for that. I guess he’s just kind of a dummy, which scans when you consider Crump’s portrayal. This is a story of a guy failing upwards.
Dylan: The B-plot involved Professor Stein getting emotionally invested in the plight of the refugees displaced by Savage’s march of terror across the globe, the result of which was him getting hit in the gut with shrapnel because they used up all their special effects budget on that Pilgrim episode, so no Firestorm for us.
Matt: In regard to the refugees and their barrel-fire camp, I wrote in my notes, “This is a weird episode of The 100.”
Dylan: The Resistance drives around on Polaris ATVs, so we know that Vandal Savage’s oppressive future still has a Cabela’s.
Matt: Who knew the city of London was so full of all-terrain vehicles?
Dylan: Now I’m imagining Her Majesty the Queen, tearing around Buckingham Palace on a dirtbike. Anyway, Stein’s responsibility for the unwashed masses transferred to Jax, who teamed up with Ray Palmer to --- wait for it --- turn giant so he could have a slow-motion wrestling match with a huge, glowing, green robot. I call this segment “Pacific Ray-m.” I was very into this, obviously, though I gotta admit I’d have been more into it had it not been dodgy CGI and instead was two guys in rubber suits fighting on a stage made to look like a small forest, Tokusatsu-style. Did the Atom/Robot showdown tickle you like it did me, Matt?
Matt: Yes. Despite the PlayStation 2 graphics, it was a huge man in a power suit fighting a giant robot. They hit each other with electrical transmission towers. I don’t see any way not to love that.
Dylan: I wish this show was more of this and less of people having feelings. Does that make me a monster?
Matt: Not at all, though if you do become a monster, I will take it upon myself to grow to 20 stories tall and throw you in a ravine. This is my promise to you.
Dylan: Thank you, Matt. You are a True Friend.
Finally, I guess we have to address the Hawkman in the room and admit that, dammit, Hawkman is back and boy, am I not happy about this. I mean, Savage wiping his mind and reprogramming him is pretty Tron: Legacy of him, but no. Please not Carter Hall. My only consolation is that he will probably wind up sacrificing himself for his True Love Kendra, but Matt, he sucks so bad. The three minutes we got of him and Kendra in 1941, where’s he’s beating up sacks of flour with that mace, was just the most dull and lifeless thing I’ve seen since the pilot for Terra Nova. Is everything going to be okay?
Matt: I don’t know, Dylan. I just don’t know.
I was really enjoying Kendra beating the tar out of Savage with that mace, too. And then terrible, stupid Hawkman had to come rolling into the scene in a shock trooper uniform. It was truly a turd in the punch bowl.
Dylan: Casper Crump talking about destroying Hawkman’s mind with a mouth full of blood was pretty great.
Matt: Yeah! We rag on Crump a lot, but he took that TV beating like a champ.
Dylan: He has slowly become my favorite thing about this show. And next week, we’re getting a lot more of him, as the Legends try --- and probably fail, because, I mean, look at these peoples’ track record --- to contain him on the Waverider. It’s Silence of the Lambs-meets-Alien, only it’s not a xenomorph, it’s a Crumpomorph. “In space, no one can hear you mangle the pronunciation of English words.”
Matt: Gahm ouverr, man!