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Friday, 4 March 2016

Legends of Tomorrow S1E7: Marooned

Legends of Tomorrow
Series 1, Episode 7

The interesting part of this episode title is that it actually doesn't involve them being marooned. At all. It involves them being lured in and attacked by pirates, which is kind of completely different from being marooned. I mean, the pirates were marooned, I guess? But not really, because there's every suggestion they could still take the ship to other places, just not other times.

(Or, presumably, just repair the time drive, since that's apparently what the ship's rightful owner does at the end, unless she just hangs around there waiting for another Time Master to show up.)

In this week's episode, the crew are drawn by the distress signal of the Akaneiron, the Time Masters' flagship, which will contain a critical software update that will allow Gideon to pinpoint Savage's whereabouts more effectively. As they get on board, however, it turns out to be a trap set by time pirates, who take Rip, Jax, and Mick hostage, and damage the Waverider - forcing Stein to go and save Rip and the others, and Ray and Kendra to set about repairing a breach in the Waverider's hull before Len and Sara freeze to death. Meanwhile, the tensions between Len and Mick reach their head.

The show's going full space opera in this episode, and the writers are clearly having a whale of a time. We get Rip and Kendra making constant references to Star Trek, arguing over whether Rip is more like Kirk or Picard (and whether or not Picard is sexy, with Kendra pointing out that Vash certainly thought so), along with Stein gleefully referencing a (probably fictional?) science fiction story of his youth. The whole episode feels very Farscape-y or Guardians of the Galaxy-ish, and I could really go for seeing more episodes like it.

It's all so red.

I do really like the subplot with Len and Mick in this episode. I've praised it before, with Len's growth into a more heroic character contrasted with Mick, who's relatively static and simple, and the writers manage to add an extra dimension here, showing both that Len is still invested in their friendship than Mick (insisting that Mick will come around, wistfully talking about how they met) while Mick thinks that Len has basically abandoned him, and having Rip clarify for Mick that the only reason he's on the mission is because of Len.

That makes a lot of sense as a turning point for Mick, after all. Throughout the series, we've heard him talk about how he was put on the team for his skillset - which is to say, burning everything around him - and he clearly takes some pride in that, even if he doesn't like the mission much. And now here we have Rip basically telling him that he's a liability and his skills weren't wanted, and that the only reason the offer was made to him is because he and Len, who Rip did want, are attached at the hip, leaving Mick with the knowledge that he's not wanted, has been wasting his time, and wouldn't even be stuck on this mission if it weren't for Len.

The whole emotional weight of the scene is only increased by Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell's acting. They're both phenomenal actors, and moreover, since they're old and good friends in real life, they're not exactly on inspiration to draw on for these scenes (although I think it is important to note that Miller has never actually tried to shoot Purcell with an ice gun. That - he hasn't).

Mick, or 'Treacherous Fire Guy'.

We also may now have our second main team death of the series, although I'm not sure how far I believe that Mick is actually dead, as opposed to just victim of a warning shot.

Apart from that, the other big draw of the episode is Rip and his own character arc. We get some flashbacks of his having an affair with another Time Master, who would later resign after their affair was discovered - and to be honest, those flashbacks probably would have worked a bit better if there had been more of them, over several episodes. Alex Duncan (credited only as 'Mother', even though her character is given a name) performs excellently in those scenes, and I would have been very happy to see more of her. 

Also interesting is that the Time Masters all seem to have different AIs with 'g' names, so why does Rip have Gideon? Remember, Gideon isn't any AI - she's the AI created by Barry Allen, and the one used by Eobard Thawne. I kind of assumed that Gideon and copies of her were the AIs for every Time Master, like a kind of future Cortana, but this seems not to be the case?

Rip, do something about your hair, istg.

Once again, also, we have Kendra doing nothing, too. Please writers. I beg of you. Give her something to do.

All in all, though, probably my favourite episode of the series so far, and I would be very happy to see more like it. Next week will apparently take the gang to 1950s American suburbia, where they are naturally going to draw a lot of attention, given that three members of the team aren't white and Americans can barely cope with non-white people now, let alone during the 1950s.

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