LEGENDS OF TOMORROW Review: “The Legion of Doom”

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The title of this week’s episode of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW is “ The Legion of Doom”, so if you were hoping to snuggle up with Jax and the crew this week I’m sure you were severely disappointed. However, if you’re a fan of torture, monsters, and group sabotage you might find that you’ll love this week’s episode. I did.

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We start this episode eight months ago, where Damien Dark and the speedster travel to the Star City to recruit Malcolm Merlin (who’d just watched Damien be killed by the Green Arrow) to join their crew. This brings us to present day, where the group struggles to get information about the rest of the Spear of Destiny from Rip Hunter. We see how dysfunctional their group is, as the speedster is starting to get on everybody’s nerves. Merlin and Darkh are beginning to feel as though they’re being treated like henchmen and are suspicious as to why the speedster constantly leaves them. Merlin attempts to convince Darkh that the speedster is up to something suspicious, but Darkh doesn’t trust Merlin’s intentions.

After Darkh pulls out one of Hunter’s teeth, he finds account information for a security box, likely put there by a time master. The team believes that the account box probably contains the rest of the spear.The Legion forces Hunter to head to Switzerland to access the security box (where they believe the spear is hidden). Darhk and Merlin fight about their their distain towards the speedster, as Hunter (under threat of death) tries to access the security box. Unable to remember the security code set by past Rip, Damien and Merlin are able to escape with Hunter in tow, sans Spear.

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Back to square one, the tension between Darhk and Merlin reaches a boiling point and the two former League of Assassin members begin to knife fight. Hunter, frustrated with the fighting, comments that the speedster may be trying to pit them against each other. As we’re trying to figure out why Hunter’s being buddy buddy, Hunter is able to convince the two of them that they need to work together against the speedster, who may just be using them to get the Spear.

While bff Darhk and Merlin go off to try and regain the Spear again, Hunter, left alone attempts to break free of his imprisonment, but is immediately stopped by the speedster. Using manipulation, Hunter tries to get the speedster on his side, snitching on Merlin and Darkh who have opened the safety deposit box. Inside, they find a device that will restore Hunter’s memory. When the speedster arrives, the two of them confront him, letting him know that they’re not about that flunky life. They confront him about his constant need for speeding off, locking him in the vault with them until they get answers. Then it all gets real.

The speedster beings to panic, admitting that he can’t stay still because someone’s coming for him. He admits that his ancestor killed himself to erase the speedster’s existence. He was pulled from the timeline and held captive by his ancestor for a while, but was able to get loose. Ever since then, he has been pursued by something that wants to kill him, thus the reason why he can’t in one time zone for long. Darkh and Merlin agree to help the speedster stop the monster chasing him, so long as he doesn’t treat them as lackeys. The team is able to successfully trap the monster in the safety deposit box safe.

Safe and sound, the Legion sets their sights on the thing they discovered in the safety box. The device, containing Hunter’s memory, also allows them to do something far more sinister – alter his personality. Yikes. In the last few moments of the episode, we are sent to 1776, where we see Hunter shooting and killing George Washington. Welp.

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Speaking of issues, our Legends also struggle to keep it together this episode. Having hit brick wall, the Legends spend the episode trying to figure out who the speedster is and how to rescue Rip. While Stein is able to deduce that the speedster is likely Eobard Thawne, a man who may not exist considering his ancestor killed himself, that’s about as far as they get.

As the team brainstorms, Dr. Stein introduces his daughter, Lily, to Jax. Remember her? It’s been awhile. Dr. Stein brings Lily the amulet to figure out it’s purpose. He eventually brings her to the Wave Runner, where the team incredulously learns that Dr. Stein has a daughter. Although the team wishes to figure out their feelings on Stein’s aberration, they agree to keep it from her while she figures out the amulet.

Lily figures out how to use Gideon as an interface to interpret the amulet – yay! Just as Palmer and Lily celebrate making headway with the amulet, Mick makes a statement about her being fake. When Lily begins to question why people are treating her differently, Mick unsympathetically tells her that she’s a time aberration. Lily confronts Stein, which understandably doesn’t end well. Jax suggests that Stein should just tell Lily that he loves her, which prompts Stein to recount how his father never expressed love for him, and how he feared he would be like him. It all ends well, and Stein lets makes amends with Lily, who must return to her time period.

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So ya’ll, this episode was definitely a “set up” episode. We began a few storylines that ended pretty ambiguously — for example,  now there’s a monster chilling in a bank safe in Switzerland  and I’m assuming that’s going to be a problem for SOMEONE at some point this season. The Legends didn’t get very far in… anything this week, but it’s cool, because they were able to make some headway on the purpose of the amulet and figure out some of the speedsters backstory. The trick to this episode, is that we move forward knowing that the Legends are officially behind in the race to saving the earth, and that the Legion of Doom has become way stronger than they will anticipate. Poor babies.

However, I thought that while the Legends were a bit dry this week, the Legion of Doom more than carried their weight. The dynamic between Darkh, Merlin, and Thawne was authentic, while remaining funny and entertaining.  When the story would shift back over to the Legends, I found myself wishing to get back to the Legion.

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The problem I had was that it felt like whenever the Legends were on screen, they were there for the sake of having to be there. Yes, their story was subdued to make room for the growth of the Legion’s story, but the Legends’ story almost felt unfinished. It’s clear that this episode served to set up the second half of the Legends vs. the Legion battle, and I get that coming off of this episode the Legion will have a huge advantage over the Legends, but… what exactly did the Legends do for an hour? For the majority of the episode, the Legends were brainstorming, and even their “big discovery” about the speedster wasn’t necessarily correct nor did it add any information to the audience ( considering Thawn gave a whole monologue of exposition later on). Then, the team did seem to make headway on the amulet because of Lily’s discovery… but that storyline just sort of ended without any resolution. Hell, the team even discovered that Lily was Stein’s hidden aberration, but it didn’t amount to much conflict. So yes, it was necessary for the Legends to get less screentime than usual, but is it just me or did the Legends feel really pointless this episode?

One thing that I am excited about is the development of Rip Hunter’s character. While it’s clear that his character is about to go to an extremely dark place thanks to his brain “enhancement”, even before the Legion messed with his mind, Hunter showed signs of being a manipulative mastermind. First of all, he took all of the Legion’s torture like a straight G. I mean, they removed his tooth and he was still spitting back sass. Second, Hunter’s ability to pit the Legion of Doom against each other by playing into each member’s insecurity was pretty genius and demonstrative of how dangerous it could be if he used his powers for bad…. Which is CLEARLY  about to happen. I thought that it was an awesome twist for the Legion to tamper with Hunter’s mind, and the end of the episode definitely ended this week on a high note for me.

So yeah, it was different this week, I mean, they didn’t even focus on time travel. There were some elements that I liked a bit more than others, but I think that overall the format of this episode was really smart coming off of the return of Legends of Tomorrow. Now, we’re aware of the threat that the Legends will face for the rest of the season, and we’ve actually given a heart and soul to the Legends’ adversaries that makes them equally as powerful and fun to watch. This story has kicked into full gear, and while I’m sure that we won’t get anywhere near a full resolution to this story by the end of the season, I’m excited to see how far we get by the end, and what new challenges EVERYONE (including the Legion of Doom) are going to face.

TB-TV-Grade-A-

Season 2, Episode 10 (S02E10)
Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays 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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