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Legends of Tomorrow Review - Resistance Is Feudal

Written by  Published October 30, 2016 02:41
To make a show primarily focused on time travel is a difficult thing when you rely on the headiness of the plot to anchor the viewer rather than the emotional bonds of less intricately plotted shows. One of the easiest ways to do this however involves making the time periods relevant and interesting enough to tell more self-contained stories within the larger. But with Legends, as we have discussed, there is a serious piece missing from the series, even more than last season’s freshman run. You see, the best parts of the CW superhero lineup on the other nights of the week is the deep thematic approach that is not taken here and those themes tend to make us emotionally connected to them.

While the show has had its very high ups and its very low lows, potential and promise go a long way and it seems to me that Legends just hasn’t found its voice like The Flash and Supergirl did very early on. In the weeks to come I expect to see payoff moments that were built instead of delivered simultaneously in real time as the plot unfolds. I expect to see real emotional hooks get sunk in and the reason why is because of episode 3 – Shogun.

So, let’s get this monkey smoking…

 

***********SPOILERS LIKE GYM SOCK TEA******SPOILERS***********

 

THE SYNOPSIS from TVGuide.com
Season 2, Episode 3
October 27, 2016
Shogun

Nate is shocked to learn he has powers and accidentally lands himself and Ray in Feudal Japan. Sara, Vixen and Rory agree to find Nate and help him master his powers so he can defend a Japanese village from the Shogun and an army of samurai warriors. Meanwhile, Jax and Stein stay back to help repair the ship and find a secret compartment but decide not to tell the rest of the team what they learn.

 

What They Didn’t Tell You

14875091 10207063994228421 1772553833 n

Vixen thinks Rory killed Rex and manages to take out the whole team before taking on Rory, but she didn’t count on Nate waking up as Steel – his body made out of a nearly unbreakable alloy and some strength to match. While training, Nate flies out of the ship into the time stream. So, Ray goes after him. Ray is immediately captured and Nate can’t activate his powers on demand and is stabbed. The Atom armor is stolen by the Shogun, who is a brutal and arrogant man. Nate’s rescuer happens to be the fiancée of the Shogun whose men stabbed him. Vixen and Rory hate each other and are assigned by Canary to go with her to rescue their teammates.

Jax and Stein have the ship in perfect operational order for the first time in forever except they found Rip Hunter’s secret hatch and sequencing lock which they are conflicted on opening but do anyway. Meanwhile the rescue teams rescue Ray but not the armor. Finally, after teaching Nate to Steel up and healing his wounds the team decides to overthrow the Shogun in order to get the Atom armor back. But the armor must be destroyed and this vexes Ray to no end until an old Japanese man gives him another suit of armor. Nate, still not able to access his powers stands up to the Shogun. At the nick of time his powers manifest and the team is able to save the village and destroy the armor, which leaves Ray to build a new one and for Nate more work to do to learn his power. Vixen and Mick make as nice as they will ever get. Jax and Stein discuss telling the others about the secret message from a future Barry Allen.

 

THE BREAKDOWN

14875191 10207063994188420 747134585 nThe journey through episode 3 is all about swashbuckling fun and adventure in Feudal Japan, in this regard the creative team succeeded in all aspects. This is a fun and action packed time tale, in the grand design of the Silver Age. This felt like a comic book giant-sized annual and for that alone the viewing was worth it. The slick and intricate time travel concepts that substitute for thematic parallels are in this episode muted, so as to fully let the viewer be immersed in the period piece of the plot. While that is a valid reason for muting the headiness of the plot, it also enhanced the glaring omissions from the previous season and flawed new approach to narrative.

The show has no emotional anchor anymore – at least in 3 episodes. There is no empathy, relatability or emotional desire to see them succeed. The show has slipped into the 80's action movie approach to the series. Basically, it is this – allow the concept to be the star and the guest appearances to be the hook. This is a common approach to action series but time will tell whether this will work for LoT. Perhaps some of the hollowness comes from the characters we knew from the last season now gone – Rip Hunter, Hawkgirl and Captain Cold. These three characters were the emotional anchor from the show to the viewer and great care was taken to get us invested. With these characters gone it is like having a team of sidekicks trying to convince the viewer they are headliners. While setup in a 20+ episode TV series has a little luxury to take its time creating interest and connection it seems LoT needs to find a way to make the viewer care for these characters.

 

THE VERDICT

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There is no emotional crack like Supergirl, no thrilling family dynamic like Flash and no love/hate relationship with the hero like Arrow. This show has lost its way and needs course correction quickly.

There is a very finite amount of time that guest stars and time periods can carry the interest of the viewer without an emotional connection. LoT is still worthwhile and the new continuity with the other shows will keep comic fans for a while longer but hopefully soon this show will find its voice. Watch Legends of Tomorrow episode to fit in your hero schedule.

Just watch it last.

Steve DAMM

DAMM is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. As one of ENR's founders and passionate comics' lover, he is committed to bringing you fair but passionate reviews as well as breaking news without the overreaction. A Colorado born curmudgeon, comic purist and pop culture crusader, he's on a mission to make new readers aware of the legends who came before in an in-depth way, how they changed comics and why the Silver Age is the most important era to modern American art (comic, commercial & fine). His opinionated style and audacious boldness making him a must read. As a reviewer, opinion columnist and con reporter his objective is the acquisition of truth, justice and the American comic book way, though he's been known to pursue foreign comics voraciously too. A champion for the creator-owned, a proponent for Indies and intolerant of towing corporate lines DAMM brings praise to those who deserve it and lays out the bad news without pretention.

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