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Friday, 26 February 2016

Legends of Tomorrow S1E6: Star City 2046

Legends of Tomorrow
Series 1, Episode 6
Star City 2046

Crossovers are always a slightly risky proposition in Arrowverse shows, with their quality ranging from 'loads of good superhero fun' to 'actually a little bit torturous to watch', and with both The Flash and Arrow having both had some pretty enjoyable crossovers this week, it was always likely that Legends of Tomorrow would be the show to draw the short straw and end up with something barely watchable.

In this crossover episode, the Waverider crew ends up in a potential future version of Star City, which has been taken over by Slade Wilson's evil son, Grant (try not to laugh). With the help of the new Green Arrow, Connor Hawke, half of the team sets out to find a device built by Felicity Smoak, which they need to repair the Waverider and leave. Len and Mick quickly separate from the group, with Mick setting himself up as the leader of a local gang, much to Len's chagrin. Meanwhile, on the Waverider, Jax develops a romantic interest in Kendra, but swiftly finds himself in competition with Ray for her affections.

Okay, first things first, I hate the Kendra-Jax-Ray subplot in this episode. Hate it. The actors all do marvelous jobs, but good god, writers, Kendra's done nothing for most of the series and now you're having her be the centre of a tired, cliche romantic sitcom plot for an episode? No, stop that, have her go out and have an action-y, character-development-y plot of her own. She is your headlining character, she's the one with more brand recognition than every other member of your team put together, so use her. 

Also, Connor is very good-looking, so there's that.

I did, in point of fact, enjoy Stein's bumbling attempts to play matchmaker, and Jax and Ray being puppyish and adorable, but I would have enjoyed it so much more if the object of their affections hadn't been someone who'd been horribly under-used up to this point. Have them pining after Len or something, I don't know.

The Len and Mick storyline, meanwhile, was much more to my taste, not least because it builds on a character arc that Len's been having since the first series of The Flash: Mick still wants to be a criminal of the chaotic self-serving sort, whereas Len is starting to realise that he doesn't have to be, and maybe doesn't want to be. It's been a very well-written arc for him, and I suspect we're liable to see tensions between the two of them come to a head towards the end of the series.

I did wonder, for a moment, if latter parts of the series might even see Mick join Vandal, but I think that after Vandal killed one of his 'crew', he'd never even consider it.

Sara looks much better with that coat, I really didn't like her costume before.

The main plot, sadly, is somewhat less inspired, and actually was pretty dull. Grant Wilson does not make an especially compelling villain, unfortunately, coming off less as a Mirakuru-enhanced gang leader who controls a ruined city with an iron fist, and more like the bully jock character from an 80s high school film. There's a moment where he and Connor are exchanging barbs, and Grant says that Connor is a punk kid, and Connor says he'd say the same about Grant, and it's true - Grant does come across as just a teenager throwing a tantrum.

Elderly Ollie doesn't impress much either. The old man make-up looks ridiculous, and while Stephen Amell puts a minimal amount of effort into sounding like an old man, he doesn't even try to move like one, instead giving the impression that somebody glued the head of a sixty year old onto a twenty-something's body. Since we barely see him in the episode, his decision to come out of hiding to take down Grant feels totally unearned.

(I'm also a bit confused by the 'we could have stopped this army if you had been here, Ray and Sara' because I'm not sure the addition of those two would have helped much, especially if we presume that Barry and Mari would presumably have helped out as well.)

"No, it's just that this is London's Burning, and you're very impressionable."

Connor, meanwhile, actually is quite interesting, and I wish we'd seen more of him. Joseph David-Jones plays him with the perfect amount of gruffness, uncertainty, and humour, and I'd actually really quite like to see him come back as a regular character in the next Legends of Tomorrow series. I'm not sure how I feel about him being Diggle's son, though - it grates a little that he isn't Oliver's, as he is in the comics. I understand why, because having Ollie cheat on Felicity and fathering another child would feel like a gigaantic shark-jumping moment, but it still bothers me a bit.

Also, why is his assumed name 'Connor Hawke'? In the comics, that was just his name, but here it's a name he's assumed, but nobody in his family has the surname 'Hawke', and we have no idea where he got 'Connor' from either, giving the impression that he just picked the coolest name he could think of.

Overall, a rather less than enjoyable episode, easily the worst of the series so far. Next week sees the crew run into time pirates, though, so that should be interesting.

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