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DC's Legends Of Tomorrow: Season 1, Episode 1 - Pilot Part 2 Review

Image for DC's Legends Of Tomorrow: Season 1, Episode 1 - Pilot Part 2
★★★★★

There are legendary spoilers to follow in this review, so be warned, because there's no time ship available to take you back to before you read it.

Regular Cast: Brandon Routh (Ray Palmer/The Atom), Victor Garber and Franz Drameh (respectively Dr. Martin Stein and Jay "Jax" Jackson, who merge to become Firestorm), Arthur Darvill (Rip Hunter), Caity Lotz (Sarah Lance/White Canary), Dominic Purcell (Mick Rory/Heatwave), Wentworth Miller (Leonard Snart/Captain Cold), Ciara Renee (Chay-Ara/Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl), Falk Hentchel (Khufu/Carter Hall/Hawkman) and Casper Crump (Vandal Savage).

Picking up shortly after the closing of part one, the team (still in 1975) infiltrates what can best be described as a terrorist auction, where Vandal Savage is offering up a nuclear weapon to the highest bidder, among them Damien Darhk (Arrow's fourth season big bad, played by Neal McDonough in a cameo appearance). It isn't long before a slip of the tongue on Martin Stein's part raises Savage's suspicions that there are people from another time there; suspicions raised even further when he senses the presence of Carter and Kendra. To get out of there alive, the Legends team goes into action, unleashing whatever powers or weapons they may have at their disposal. Savage manages to escape by setting the timer on the nuclear weapon, which Firestorm ultimately flies to a safe place so that he can absorb the blast.

The battle is nicely staged, continuing to demonstrate that the series has sizable production value, though it has to be said: compare this battle to the one that takes place towards the end of the episode. In both, Lance is kicking ass, Snart and Rory are using their freezing and heat weapons, Firestorm is blasting things and Palmer is flying around, firing his blasters. Despite the fact that one takes place during the day and the other at night, there's a sense of visual repetition there that will have to be avoided in the future to prevent a feeling of sameness in these types of scenes. One additional observation: there is a lot of Iron Man in Ray Palmer's Atom in terms of his flying around in an armored suit, firing blasters at his targets and the accompanying sound effects. At the same time, not being copyright lawyers or holders of Marvel stock, what do we really care?

The rest of the episode plays out on two fronts: Carter and Kendra come across information on an ancient dagger that their son, Aldus Boardman, had included amongst his papers before he died. Artifacts like that one, the duo had previously discovered on a recent Arrow/The Flash crossover, that are associated with their deaths can kill Savage. The challenge is for Kendra to remember her past lives so she can translate the inscription on the handle of the knife, which must be spoken when/if the death blow is delivered. Leonard Snart, Mick Rory and Palmer set out to retrieve the blade from its current owner, who, as Snart describes upon hearing the name, is "a rich Russian douche bag."

At the same time, another problem has arisen from the earlier battle: a piece of Palmer's suit got left behind, the reality being that the timeline will be radically changed unless they can retrieve it as Savage will reverse-engineer that technology. To do so, they need to trace its alpha particles, however the challenge is that the only way to do so is for them to get their hands on the younger Stein's experimental equipment designed to do exactly that. Stein, Jefferson "Jax" Jackson and Sarah Lance set out to his university to do so, with Rip Hunter warning them of the danger of Stein interacting with his younger self (Doc Brown couldn't have said it better himself).

In sequences that feel like they're right out of Back to the Future, Stein's group attempts winning over his younger self, "Marty" (Lance even flirting with him, which is disturbing to the older version), as they search out his alpha particle device. Older Stein has a bigger problem: this is the day he's supposed to meet his future wife and he fears their actions could jeopardize that meeting - especially when Lance knocks Marty out so they can take the device after talking it out fails. Said device leads them to the lab where they pretty effortlessly take back the bit of Palmer tech, but as they return to the Waverider, Stein's wedding ring vanishes from his finger, implying that his own future has been altered. Things get worse when the young Stein shows up, demanding an explanation but is pretty much forced away without any (though his alpha particles device is returned to him). Hunter ends up stepping in to make sure that Marty meets the woman who is destined to become his wife, and the wedding ring reappears back on Stein's finger.

For the most part, the humor in these sequences works fairly well (particularly the Lance/Marty material and Stein's reaction to it). Garber has a nice moment after observing his younger self, shocked at his own youthful arrogance and realizing that he hasn't changed in 60 years. He starts to hold himself in disdain, until Jackson offers some words of comfort. Graeme McComb as Marty successfully embodies much of Garber's take on Stein, but with a youthful view of the future. It's his experience in this episode that would seem to fuel his older self's desire to be a part of Hunter's team in the first place, his imagination opened to possibilities he perhaps had never imagined before.

Meanwhile, attempts to steal the dagger go wrong when an alarm is triggered, causing a cage to fall around Palmer and Snart while Rory is off looking for a safe. Eventually it's revealed that the "rich Rusian douche bag" is Savage, who arrives and takes hold of Rory, demanding the other team members from the future come to them.

During all of this, Carter's attempts to reawaken memories in Kendra begin to work, resulting in all of them gathering at the mansion where they fight Savage and his men, saving Rory and the others in the process. Carter, in full Hawkman regalia, takes Savage on in battle and stabs him with the dagger, offering up the incantation. The effort is futile, though, as Savage starts to laugh before turning the blade back on him, proclaiming that because it was Chay-ara's dagger, she is the one who must wield it. Carter is killed and Kendra seriously wounded, her life only saved by a blast from The Atom that knocks Savage away.

She is brought to the medical bay on the Waverider, where the ship's AI, Gideon, works on healing her wounds. Kendra is devastated at the loss of Carter, because she never got the chance to tell him that she remembers everything.

In the end, despite so many things going disastrously wrong, they elect to stay together, for Carter. That character's death, it must be said, was unexpected and assuming it isn't undone via a time trip, it does demonstrate that the show is willing to embrace the consequences inherent in such a mission. A bit of reality amongst the comic book adventure is welcome.

Also, an effective rapport is already beginning to form between the regulars, even if they're little, often snarky, asides. Interesting character reveals take place throughout, though the most intriguing twosome to watch so far are Palmer and Snart, Brandon Routh's righteousness as the former coming up against Wentworth Miller's veil of contempt for nobility providing insights into who these people are, how they're so different and yet have common ground.

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