TV Review: Legends of Tomorrow: White Knights
I won’t deny that I’ve been enjoying Legends of Tomorrow far more than I have in previous weeks. Last week’s episode was definitely not an anomaly, even with some bumps still remaining on the road, the show is definitely embracing more of the fun parts of its premise. This week’s episode begins with the team arriving in 1986 near the tail end of the Cold War to track down Vandal Savage. The episode covers a lot of ground with Kendra coping with the changes her life has encountered, the near-disaster of a covert mission at the Pentagon, the team’s attempt to infiltrate Vandal Savage’s project in the Soviet Union, as well as the consequences of their interference in the timeline. The best part of the episode may well be the Atom and Captain Cold’s attempt to gain access to Vandal Savage’s Soviet project by way of acting as a honeypot to a Soviet scientist working for Savage.
As always, the light rivalry between Palmer and Snart brings the best out of Brandon Routh and Wentworth Miller. And frankly, who wouldn’t believe that as goofy and charming a person that Ray Palmer is, Snart is simply a far more interesting and seductive person? The major differences and (potentially why they dislike each other somewhat) get highlighted more and more here: Palmer is straightforward while Snart has a tendency to be self-possessed and arrogant which unfortunately is more of an asset on a mission like this, especially when Palmer’s desire to help other sends up dooming the mission.
The episode’s other major plot however doesn’t work out quite so well. One of the show’s weak spots continues to be Kendra Saunders who is still ill-defined despite the show’s best attempts. While the lack of focus on the classic romance between Hawkman and Hawkgirl does help somewhat, this show ends up highlighting the tendency to switch Kendra’s personality between embracing her Hawkgirl persona, or being harmed by it in this case, especially after the major screw-up of the earlier Pentagon heist which is used as an excuse to fire up some team conflict again,. Although the switch up between character pairings that the show practices helps in this case, since White Canary’s own problems with controlling the bloodlust her resurrection imbued her with allows them to form a pairing which hopefully goes further, especially since despite the minor grittiness of the storyline, the show does still emphasize the likability of both Ciara Renee and Caity Loitz in their respective roles.
The same cannot be said for the Firestorm pairing which tries to capture the classic Firestorm pairing from the comics, but the chemistry between Victor Garber’s Martin Stein and Franz Dameh’s Jefferson Jax just isn’t there. While the show does make an attempt to once again break down Martin Stein’s repeated attempts to assert himself as an authority figure to Jefferson, whoh he views as abusing his potential by staying at home, but it just doesn’t really save that the way their relationship comes off is as constant bickering with an apology at the end. With any luck that will improve over the series’ course, but it’s a waste of good cast members.
What the show does do very well in is exploring the temporal and emotional consequences of their meddling throughout time, as more and more evidence continues to mount that Rip Hunter and his team may be making Vandal Savage invincible. Both by giving him experience and knowledge through their clashes to make a Soviet Firestorm long before it was supposed to happen, and by causing him to make decisions that make the future far worse. Rips encounter with one of the Time Masters and Chronos similarly leads to more questioning of his decision to trick the team into travelling alongside him, considering their mission seems to get more and more impossible, and more mistakes continue to mount. Arthur Darvill still doesn’t get much to do beyond exposit and wring his hands, but the hints at just how lousy of a person and Time Master he may be continue to make the show interesting, and grow the dynamics between him and the others, especially when Captain Cold and Heatwave continue to act as his conscience when he’s ready to throw in the towel.
That said, Legends of Tomorrow still has a long road to walk. The show has been surprisingly good in terms of scope, especially given the limitations of a network TV budget. While the effects do dip a bit this week, it’s hard not to forgive that. The strength of the show lies in the cast. All of the major players are very great in their respective shows, but the odd couple pairings may well be where the juiciest material lies, and it’s good to see that the writers are continuing to explore that.
3 out of 5 Thermal Cores
- “If I ever get my hands on you. I’m gonna go all Rocky IV on your ass.” *gets slammed on a truck* “I’ll remember that comrade.” Mick Rory continues to be a delight in whatever doses the show sees fit to give us.
- “I guess I’ll bone up on the ballet. Gideon, bone me.”
- “If it were up to me, they’d revoke your pilot’s license.” “They are more than welcome to considering I don’t have one.” Well, at least Rip is being honest about SOMETHING.
- Anyone who knows the context of the photo for this week’s review can appreciate why that one was picked. Wentworth Miller can mix puns and flirting, he was born to play Captain Cold.