Great, this week’s episode of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, “Compromised” takes us somewhere truly appropriate – the White House. Just what we all needed to see. I won’t hold that against them, though.
I’ll start out by saying that although last week’s episode was a complete hot mess, I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable this episode was. While I will always be on guard against the utter foolishness I know Legends has the potential of serving up, this episode acted as a mild salve on my bitter wounds. All and all, it was a decent episode that served up great character development and served to move the Legends’ story forward – something that I haven’t seen happen for the last two episodes.
For what I assume is prepping for the giant crossover between all of The CW DC shows, we start this episode finding Reverse Flash striking up a partnership with Damien Darhk, promising him “actual power”. Scary stuff – my guess is that Reverse Flash is beginning his recruitment for the Legion of Doom, which would be awesome.
At the end of last episode, Mick gifted Dr. Palmer with Leonard Snart’s (RIP) ray gun, because Dr. Palmer continued to mope about not having his suit. Mick tries to help Dr. Palmer tap into his dark side in order to harbor his power, telling him to be more like Snart and less like himself. Great advice.
The group traces a timequake back to President Reagan’s White House, and returns to earth to investigate and scope out any potential aberrations. Half of the team infiltrates the White House, while Vixen leads Heywood to the JSA training headquarters nearby, hoping that they will be able to help. The two are shocked to find that the training facility has been completely abandoned.
Aberrational hijinks ensue as Dr. Stein and Jax run into Dr. Stein’s younger self – which is a shock considering Stein has never stepped foot inside the White House. Stein is concerned about what it means that an aberration has caused his younger self to be led to the White House. We’re worried. Mick and Palmer (who are continuing Palmer’s badness training), stumble upon Darhk in the White House, and realize that he’s the cause of the timequake. Hearing this, Sara instantly goes on attack mode once she sees Darhk, resulting in the rest of the team getting into a brawl to protect her. Mick and Palmer fail to work together as a team, and Mick realizes that Palmer is not a direct replacement for his friend.
The team makes it back on the Wave Runner, divided and disappointed with the mission. Dr. Stein expresses his frustration with Sara for almost throwing away the mission by going after Darhk to avenge her sister. Mick calls out Palmer for being unable to follow his instructions.
Let’s speed this up…
The team discovers that Darhk now works for the Reagan administration as an adviser, and is stockpiling nukes under the nuclear treaties. Rick and Palmer stalk Darhk and find that he’s using his position to make a deal with the KGB. They also find that that Young Dr. Stein has approached Darhk in the hopes of passing on his plans to the President. Young Stein puts himself in danger, getting stabbed by Darhk. The team rescues Young Stein, and old Stein comes face to face with his former self.
The team learn they must infiltrate the State Dinner, where Darhk will be located the next day. It’s up to the Legends to stop him from making a trade with the KGB, and to stop the bomb that Darhk has planted. Sara, in an immense leap of character growth, does not destroy Darhk when given the opportunity, but instead gives him a kick ass speech about the future. She tells him how terrible his future is going to be, and how he will die. She’s stopped by Reverse Flash, who swoops in and saves Darhk. However, Sara swipe the nuclear information from Darhk. Palmer, realizing that his geeky skills come in handy, is able to stop the bomb.
Reverse Flash reveals to Darhk his plan to change both of their destinies – so all that smack Sara was talking may be for naught.
So good news ya’ll – Jax finally gets a little action this episode. Although… that action is limited to saving young Stein’s behind. I wonder why it’s so hard to let Jax fight? Maybe the CGI is too expensive for the production budget, so they have to limit how much they use him.
Also, the gates of hell must’ve opened because I’m liking Palmer more and more these days. Continuing Palmer’s existential crisis storyline, this episode Palmer grapples with whether he should stay true to himself, or if he should become more like Snart in order to have a place on the team. Eventually he realizes that being himself is what makes him important to the team. Yeah, his storyline may be a bit cheesy, but he’s a cheesy character. Furthermore, his struggle makes him more human, whereas initially I found him to be a bit robotic and unrealistic. Seeing Palmer broken and unsure of himself makes him completely relatable.
Amidst all the humor, Dr. Stein’s story actually struck me as tragic and deep. There’s nothing that gets me more than a “see how you messed up in the past” story. It’s heartbreaking to see him full of regret at the treatment of his wife in the past. Whereas I regarded him as a, slightly boring character, it was actually quite nice.
Coming up off of last episode – which, I COULD NOT STAND – I thought this episode redeemed itself. I didn’t rely heavily on the time period to give it a story and the plot stood on its own. During this season’s first episode, when I was young and naïve, I said, yes writers, give me Legends in all different time periods, doesn’t matter if it relates to the story or not. Now? I’m all about the Legends having a reason to be in a time period. The last two episodes proved to me that Legends doesn’t handle story all that well during their more filler episodes, so I definitely enjoyed the more purpose/story driven time travel of this episode.
This episode also felt very simple – no shade. It was very easy to follow and an obvious gear up for the crossover episodes happening on the CW. While it wasn’t the most exciting episode, I think this one delivered on a few different planes. This episode brought us character development. From Sara choosing to kill Darhk with her words instead of her weapons, to Mick finally admitting he’s hurting over the loss of his friend, we saw a growth from almost all of our main characters. We also moved the story forward, which I know should sound obvious but ya’ll know the last two episodes didn’t do much.
My only side-eye, is that the time travel component seemed to be an afterthought. There has to be a middle ground between relying too heavily on time travel, and forcing it in. This episode almost felt forced. I imagine I feel this way because of how frequently they referred to president Regan and how we saw him zero times. I just wasn’t sold on where they were. It was awkward.
Besides that, this week was pleasant. It reminded me of the first two episodes, and I felt tonally that this episode resounded with what I initially thought this show was going to be. Just when I’m ready to give it up, Legends shows me what a good show it can be when it’s not relying on stereotypes to tell a story.
Season 2, Episode 5 (S02E05)
Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8PM on The CW
Writer based in LA. Just trying to write good stuff while deep conditioning my hair.
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Vanessa Jay | Contributor