LEGENDS OF TOMORROW Review: “Raiders of the Lost Art”

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After what feels like a century and a half, our favorite outcasts are back from their winter hiatus — and on a new night! I’m not a very patient person, but chile, this week of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, “Raiders of the Lost Art,” brought the heat and was well worth the wait.

A lot happened before the break, but perhaps the most exciting cliffhanger of episode 208 was that Damien Darkh and crew (dubbed the “Legion of Doom” by Nathan this week) have decided to find Rip Hunter in the past as a part of their diabolical plan to…well bring darkness to all.

This week, both the Legion of Doom and the Legends are brought to 1967 Los Angeles, where they believe that Rip Hunter is in possession of the Spear of Destiny. It’s been a long while since the last episode, so for a recap, if the Legion of Doom gain access to both the medallion (which Sara gave them) AND the spear, they will have the power to permanently alter history.

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So both crews arrive in 1967, where Rip Hunter is a snotty film school diva that goes by the name “Phil” and is working on his thesis film. Both the Legion and the Legends arrive simultaneously and fight for his custody. The Legends are surprised when Rip doesn’t remember them, and that “Phil”  believes that “Rip” is a figment of his imagination. Eventually the team gains possession of Rip, and learn that Rip’s brain has completely been changed. Gideon and the crew speculate that before he sacrificed himself, Rip deactivated the ship in order to access the time drive and thus committing “brain suicide”. Rip also admits that he had what the team believes to be the Spear of Destiny, but gave it to his film’s prop master, who the team learns is some random guy named George Lucas (sarcasm).

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Palmer and Stein suddenly begin having memory lapses resulting from their trip in 1967. The team realizes that when they rescued Rip, they caused an aberration. George Lucas, who was a prop master on the set of Rip’s film, decided to drop out of film school after witnessing the fight, out of fear. Without him, there is no Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Without Star Wars and Indiana Jones,  Palmer and Stein never got the inspiration to become the geniuses they are today, leaving them stripped of their powers and intelligence in the present. The team returns to 1967 to convince George Lucas to continue being a filmmaker. I mean, why being freaked out would stop him from directing is beyond me but hey… plot is plot.

The Legends and the Legion of Doom (who seem to be repeatedly one step ahead of our friends this episode) track Lucas down, and he admits that he threw all of the props away. The Legends are able to recover the spear from the trash and engage in a head to head battle with the Legion of Doom to get the spear. At the last minute, the Legends convince George Lucas that he should pursue his dreams and become a director, which restores Palmer and Heywood’s powers.

As the battle comes to a head, with Reverse Flash joining the Legion of Doom, Rip Hunter finally comes to his senses and rescues the Legends, but not without getting captured by the scary trio of doom. In the last few moments, we join Rip in custody of the Legion of Doom and about to be tortured. We also learn that the wood that the Legends recovered from Rip was not actually the spear, but only a piece. So dum dum dun….

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Meanwhile, we finally figure out what’s going on with Mick. After Mick bullies Dr. Stein into “fixing” him, Stein figures out that Mick is suffering from cognitive dissonance and that him seeing Snart is all “in his head.”

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“Raiders of the Lost Art” was undoubtedly my favorite episode of the season thus far. Without compromising on story, the tone remained lighthearted and the show seemed to take several digs at itself, adding to the fun of the episode. Even during the most “epic” moment of the show, when Rip Hunter descends from the ship to help out the crew in a demonstration of heroism, it’s punctuated by humor when he realizes that his gun isn’t loaded and his grand entrance was for nothing. Then we’ve got the line from Rip, who tells the Legends that the “Spear of Destiny” is just used as a McGuffin in his film. While I want to believe that the Spear is a real threat, and not just there to cause conflict for the two teams, ya’ll remember that for the first half of the season the medallion was the most important part of the conflict, right? Then it was about finding the  second piece of the medallion and NOW it’s the spear — and OH WAIT that was only a piece of the spear. Get what I’m saying? Now I’m not an expert on the comics, but I’m going to guess that the spear isn’t the end all be all, and even if the Legends somehow manage to get all of the pieces of the spear, I’m sure an even MORE IMPORTANT piece of the puzzle will come to light for the Legion of Doom and the Legends to fight over. I could be wrong though *shrug. I’m not hating on it, but I’m going to guess that that line was a bit of self-awareness from the writers, and an admittance that they kind of have to rely on McGuffin after McGuffin to bring their characters into different time periods each episode.

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SOMETIMES, the plotline of Legends falls a little… flat. There were a few episodes this season that felt like the time travel was there only out of habit rather than something that really moved the story forward. It could simply be that we’re now deep into the season and the Legends now have to spend more time figuring out the spear/Legion stuff vs. regular ole’ aberrations, but this week’s episode just felt cohesive and exciting. I appreciated some of the more, meh, episodes, but what I liked was that this episode moved the story arc forward as a whole, and that there was real purpose to the time travel.

How have I not talked about the elephant in the room yet? I thought the portrayal and story of George Lucas was what really tied the show together. Finally, we get an aberration that really affects the story and our characters. Whether or not that was because the writers undoubtedly felt pressure to pay homage to Mr. Lucas doesn’t really matter, but I hope that this trend continues. I mean, can ya’ll name 5 of some of the other aberrations from this season? Maybe you can, but I can’t – and that has to do with some of the uselessness of the previous aberrations. Also, the Legion of Doom was directly tied with the George Lucas aberration, and stood something to lose if they were not able to defeat the Legends. This felt different than previous episodes in which they often appeared only in the last few minutes of the episode and only minutely were related to the aberrations.

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Honestly, I really enjoyed this episode and nothing got a side-eye from me. I’m very excited to see what happens with Rip Hunter. He’s unhinged and I don’t think he’s ever going to be the same – maybe he’ll join the Legion (please don’t shoot me if that’s in the comics and is something “I’m supposed to know”). There were moments of the show that actually got laughs from me, and while the tone remained light-hearted, the story kept me involved from beginning to the end. While I don’t think that we’re going to get George Lucas level aberrations every episode, I hope that we’re beginning an era of connective aberrations, where everything contributes to the character growth and story lines. No more filler episodes!

Season 2, Episode 9 (S02E09)
Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays at 8PM on The CW TB-TV-Grade-A

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Writer based in LA. Just trying to write good stuff while deep conditioning my hair.
Keep up with all of Vanessa’s reviews here.

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