DC's Legends Of Tomorrow: Season 1, Episode 4 - White Knight Review

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★★★★★

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), and Casper Crump (Vandal Savage); Guest Starring: Stephanie Corneliusen (Valentina Vostok), Martin Donovan (Zaman Druce) and Voytek Skrzeta (Mikhail Arkadin); Written by Sarah Nicole Jones & Phil Klemmer, Directed by Antonio Negret

Time Period: 1986

The entire team sans Hunter is sent to the Pentagon in Washington DC to obtain a secret file regarding Vandal Savage's whereabouts. While successful, things do go awry, most notably Kendra sprouting wings and her eyes flaring red as she begins viciously clawing security guards.

They learn that Savage has defected to the Soviet Union, which is their next stop. There, in Soviet air space, they barely avoid an attack from temporal bounty hunter Chronos (who they first encountered in the pilot), Hunter cleverly manipulating the missiles of Russian Migs to strike the enemy vessel. On the ground they go through the stolen files and learn Russian scientist Valentina Vostok is working with Savage on some kind of weapon that will no doubt change the immortal's personal power base. Palmer and Snart attempt to engage her at an event, though the latter is far more successful, and manages to steal her ID card for Luskavic Labs.

On the Waverider, Sarah attempts to speak to Kendra about controlling her darker side, which leads to combat training and something much darker as, first, Kendra "hawks out" to Sarah's shock, and then Sarah is consumed by the blood lust, which snaps Kendra back to normal. Ultimately they realize - with some prodding from Hunter - that Kendra needs to embrace her Hawk side, while Sarah rediscovers her human side.

And while that is going on, Hunter and Rory seek out Chronos' crashed ship. In the woods, Hunter is confronted by fellow Time Master Zaman Druce (Ant-Man's Martin Donovan), who tells him that Chronos is dead and that he's been authorized to offer him a deal: If Hunter gives up his quest, he will be acquitted of all charges and his team will be returned to their proper time. Hunter has an hour to consult with them. Rory, who has eavesdropped on the conversation, states that Hunter needs to start thinking more like a criminal and recognize Druce is actually going to kill him and the rest. This turns out to be true when, after Hunter has talked to Jax and Stein, he returns to the woods to meet with Druce, and the still-living Chronos steps out of the shadows. Firestorm and Rory come out of hiding and engage Chronos in battle, during which an explosive device from the bounty hunter detonates, causing a separation of Jax and Stein and Druce to disappear. Injured, Jax is brought to the medical bay on the ship, though not before he and Stein get into another of their arguments about Jax not listening and Stein being "a dictator."

At Luskavic Labs, thing quickly spiral out of control. Stein, using false ID and claiming to be doing an inspection, comes across a room with dozens of burned bodies and conveniently available files that show photos of Firestorm in action in 1975 [see episode two]. Realizing that Savage has spent the past decade trying to develop a Soviet version of Firestorm, he locates and retrieves a vitally-needed "thermacore," which he places in a specially-designed suitcase - after he somehow absorbs the energy from it. Palmer ends up overwhelmed by guards, and Vostak arrives and pulls a gun on Snart, acknowledging that she is indeed working with Savage to create a "nuclear-powered monster." Rory arrives at just the right time, allowing Snart to break free from Vostak and get his hands on the thermacore case, which the guards left behind when they snatched Stein.

In the end, Stein, Palmer and Rory are taken prisoner with the rest of the team plotting to get them back. Vostak for her part isn't too concerned about the thermacore, because with Stein they've got something much more valuable.

Generally speaking, DC's Legends Of Tomorrow has been a lot of fun, but White Knight is filled with so many contrivances - despite cool sequences - that it just decimates the episode. For instance, it's already been established that Vandal Savage has stayed hidden in history, whispering in just the right ears to manipulate events. So how is it that the Pentagon not only has a file on this guy, but they know that he's defected to Russia and that he has connections with a specific Russian scientist? Additionally, the notion of Druce giving Savage the opportunity to come home and return his team to 2016 - even with the double-cross - should have been its own episode a little further down the line. Instead, it serves as a means of doing nothing else but to separate Stein and Jax, forcing Stein to go into the lab by himself, where, again, he is somehow able to absorb the energy from the thermacore (don't think that particular ability when he's not part of Firestorm has been established). And then, when he's captured by the guards, he drops the suitcase containing that same themacore....and they leave it behind so Snart can grab it to bring back to the Waverider.

Speaking of left behind, who on Earth would place a file with all that information about Firestorm on a table in a darkened room, between a dozen or so burned bodies where anybody happening by (like Stein, for example) can take a look?

Beyond that, the training/fight scenes between Sarah and Kendra almost come across comically based on their reactions to each other going dark, and the Bickersons - Stein and Jax - have got to stop having the same fight over and over again. Some good character stuff does come out of it, such as the fact Jax left a widowed mother behind in 2016 when he was knocked out and taken on this mission by Stein; and Stein is so hard on him because he fears something terrible could happen to the younger man, as it did his first partner in nuclear power, Ronnie Raymond. Nice bit, but four episodes in they have to move on to new territory.

And twice Palmer is put into situations - first at the Pentagon and then at the lab - where he ends up being pretty useless, but didn't have to be. He's got this suit that allows him to shrink, fly and fire blasters. We've seen it. Maybe he should use it?

Oh, and our prediction: They'll stop Savage's plans for a Russian Firestorm, but not before they trigger the Cherynobyl disaster, which took place in April 1986.