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Friday, 29 January 2016

Legends of Tomorrow S1E2: Pilot, part 2.

Legends of Tomorrow
Series 1, Episode 2
Pilot, part 2.

I think in the last part I actually slipped up and said that Rip Hunter was from the 26th century. He's not, he's from - 2166, I think. There are twenties and sixes in the name of the era he is from, just not quite in the configuration I thought they were. So that's nice. It's nice when things are nice. 

In this week's episode, the team infiltrates a black market arms deal where Vandal is selling a nuclear warhead. After a fight breaks out, Ray ends up leaving part of his suit behind accidentally, inadvertantly changing the future. Stein, Sara, and Jax race to find and retrieve the technology before Vandal's scientists can reverse engineer it, and are forced to team up with Stein's twenty-five year old self in the process. Meanwhile, Leonard, Ray and Mick go after a dagger in the possession of a wealthy Russian, which they believe to be capable of killing Vandal.

So, it's immediately obvious that this and the first episode were more or less always intended to be a single episode. This episode picks up almost immediately where the previous one left off, and while the first episode's dramatic, climactic moment was the team discovering Rip's deception, this episode ends on a much more decisive note, with Vandal stabbing Carter to death and the team resolving to take down Vandal in Carter's name. Which I think was the plot of The Avengers, actually, but never mind.

Okay, Darhk is growing on me, I admit.

It's an interesting choice, really, not least because it hammers in that in DC's and Berlanti and company's eyes, Hawkman isn't really an equal partner to Hawkgirl. She's the headliner, and he's essentially her supporting character - which is fair enough, since Hawkgirl not only has more name recognition, but has more cultural gravity with the Arrowverse's target audience, since it's aimed at people who were just about the right age to watch the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons.

(Carter's death, conveniently in 1975, also opens him up to be recast if they ever decide to bring Hawkman back, since the new Hawkman would be about forty, rather than, say, a baby.)

This episode also sees the plot very cleanly splitting into two, although in a slightly strange way. First, we have Team Explosion going to find Ray's suit tech. Secondly, we have Team Crime, going to steal a dagger from a wealthy man, composed of Leonard, Mick, and ... Ray? His inclusion is meant to be in aid of an ongoing 'who's the leader' plotline between Leonard and Ray, but that entire character conflict feels totally pointless, because neither of them are the leader. Rip, who gets about one line in aid of this subplot pointing out that he's in charge, has the ship and the advanced AI and the plan - but even if he didn't, Kendra and Carter, who have encountered Vandal before and have a history with him, are still around (well, Carter isn't shortly after this, but nevertheless). But even if they weren't, Stein, easily the smartest person in the group, or Sara, who's an elite assassin with experience leading people, would be the most obvious picks.

Crime auction.

Instead, wouldn't it have made more sense to have Ray go along with Stein and the others, since he actually knows his way around physics? Since it's his tech they're looking for?

Wouldn't it have worked better for Rip to go with Leonard? Quite apart from the fact that he's the main character and yet barely had a role in this episode, it would make the leadership conflict make a lot more sense. Unlike Ray, Rip actually has a viable claim to being the leader. Rip, a member of a military(ish?) organisation, has better reason to distrust Leonard than Ray, who regularly consorts with criminals, since Ollie and company are definitely criminals. And finally, the key leading-to-a-fight line from Ray, "I won't let you jeopardise another mission," makes no sense coming from Ray - because it wasn't Leonard who jeopardised that mission, it was Stein, the Hawks, and Ray himself. Coming from Rip, though, who wasn't there and holds them all accountable for that mission's failure, it would make perfect sense.

Somehow, it's only in still images that I notice that he has what appears to be a side

All of that said, I actually did enjoy this episode. I enjoyed it a lot, in fact - as with the first episode, it was light, fluffy fun, and the fact that they managed to have it convincingly end on a pretty unexpected and dramatic note (Carter's murder, made all the more effective by him having been a major character in the Flash/Arrow crossover and both episodes of Legends) bodes well for the rest of the series. The arc with Stein and his younger self was predictable, perhaps, but no less enjoyable to watch because of it, and I am having an absolute whale of a time with Leonard and his endless stream of snark and odd intonatiooons. 

I am massive enjoying Legends of Tomorrow, even if this episode did have some logistical flaws, and I'm excited to see where it will go from here. Give us more Rip, though. Honestly, he's just Arthur Darvill playing the Doctor, it's amazing.

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