LEGENDS OF TOMORROW Review: “The Chicago Way”

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This week’s episode of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, “The Chicago Way,” raised an important question to me: Who gave Heywood the authority to stand in the middle of the Legends formation like he’s running something? I need him and his little suit to step off to the side.

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We begin the episode learning that Damien Darhk and the Speedester have recruited Malcolm Merlin (from Green Arrow) on their team, and plan on causing trouble in 1927 Chicago. Our team picks up on those temporal tremors, and head down to the time period, where they fear that someone has tipped off Al Capone that Elliot Ness (the leader of the law enforcement agency The Untouchables and a huge Prohibition enforcement agent) will be a big threat to him in the future. The team later learns that if they don’t rescue Ness, Al Capone will end up running Chicago, which would be bad. While the team saves Ness, the audience learns that it was all a bait trap set by Darhk and his squad.

Once the team rescues Ness, who has suffered from brain damage after Capone’s attack on him, Heywood and Nate go undercover, where Heywood must pretend to be Ness in order to carry out his plans to steal Capone’s ledger, which as future tells, will help take him down. While on the mission, Damien Darhk and the Speedster ambush our team, kidnapping Dr. Stein and Sara.

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Dr. Stein and Sara wake to find themselves locked away. They are approached by Merlin, who asks for the amulet that Sara took from Darhk in 1997 in exchange for him going back in time and not blowing up the ship where Sara’s sister died. He offers her a normal life and happiness but Sara refuses, having gone through the same temptation during the crossover. Touched by her selflessness, Dr. Stein admits to Sara that he’s caused an aberration and now has a daughter. Before the two can resolve their issues, Dr. Stein is dragged away and tortured by the Speedster with a mysterious device.

While the team eventually rescues Dr. Stein, Sara and the ledger, all is not well. Jax learns that the Speedster has turned himself into Dr. Stein, and is able to get Darhk and Merlin onto the ship to find the amulet. In order to find out where the real Dr. Stein is, Sara trades the amulet and is able to rescue Stein from being drowned by Al Capone.

Although Stein is rescued and the team is able to restore the past by telling Elliot Ness the key in taking down Capone will be tax evasion, we know that things are only going to get worse. Now that the Speedster and his crew have both amulets they now have a compass that will lead them to the Spear of Destiny, an object that can change reality. They reveal that their first mission will be to go back to the past to locate… Rip Hunter! Before the episode ends, we get a glimpse of Rip Hunter in the 60’s where he works as a cranky movie director. WHEW.

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Man, this episode did not quit. Coming off of the crossover, I was worried that the momentum of last week would be lost and that we would have to spend time this week resetting what was happening to our characters. I was wrong. Pretty much the only storyline that got the “recap” treatment was Dr. Stein’s story, which felt underserviced and unnecessary this week.

I was so ready to complain about the Darhk/Speedster story not moving fast enough, and BOOM this week had it covered. I was also ready to complain about the series forgetting about Rip Hunter, and BOOM, we learn that we’ll be seeing more of him next week. I think this week’s episode really jump started the post-cross over half of the season, moving slightly away from the more lighthearted feel of the show, and hinting that there is dark danger lurking ahead for our team. I know I complained that I felt like some of the episodes didn’t take us anywhere (looking at you Slavery episode), but I feel like this episode showed me that we’re really beginning to build up to the face off between the Legends and their greatest threat yet. I’m here for it.

I also really enjoyed how they incorporated the “time travel of the week” with the “Big Bad” of the season. We’ve been getting these time travel of the week stories kind of as stand alone episodes, where only during the last few minutes is the team confronted with Darhk and his plans. However, I loved that this week merged the two, giving the team double trouble and adding to the exciting pace of this episode.

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Besides learning that we’ll be catching up with Hunter next week, something that I enjoyed this week was Mick’s story. Mick begins to see his former partner Leonard Snart, who tells him that he’s not meant to be on the team. As Mick gets closer to teammate Amaya, Snart tells him that getting close to his teammates and risking his life for others isn’t worth it.

The writers have set up that Mick continuously feels isolated from the group, and I loved bringing back Leonard Snart this week. It was also devastating to see Mick, who’s finally admitted he finds a friend in Amaya, be tricked by his own mind into separating himself from the team. I think their relationship has been paced out nicely and is realistic to both of their characters, so I’m truly invested in what happens with them.

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My only complaint is that with how action packed this episode was, there were a few things that felt unnecessary. I’m pointing right at the Heywood and Palmer beef. Look I get it, we have to find something for all of our characters to do, but did we actually need to see them fighting the first half of the episode? The funny thing is that while they were at each other’s throats right out the gate, the episode became so full that there wasn’t really any room for a resolution on that story. As mentioned earlier, I feel the same way towards the Dr. Stein story. While I appreciate keeping his daughter aberration issue alive, I felt as though it didn’t really add much to the episode, although I am curious to see more of her.

This week of Legends was truly exciting, and raised a lot of questions for next week. This has been one of my favorite episodes of Legends, and I hope they continue to keep up the pace!

TB-TV-Grade-A-

Season 2, Episode 8 (S02E08)
Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8PM on The CW

Read all of our reviews of Legends of Tomorrow here.
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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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