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Friday, 29 April 2016

Legends of Tomorrow S1E13: Leviathan

Legends of Tomorrow
Series 1, Episode 13

Okay, so before I say anything, I want to point an accusatory finger at Arrow for their final scene this week, a scene at Laurel's funeral which we'd previously seen before as a flash-forward. In this version of the scene, as with the flash-forward, we saw Barry speeding away, thus killing any dramatic tension in The Flash right now. What makes this really baffling for me, though, is that this week's Flash episode gave the Arrow writers an out for this, by having this week's episode open with a What-If spot where we see Barry zooming around as if he still had his speed. Presented with a golden opportunity to cash in on that and maintain dramatic tension by just having Barry walk away, revealing the flash-forward to have been subject to a similar What-If filter, Arrow chose not to do that. For shame.

Okay, mini-rant over, let's talk about Legends of Tomorrow.

In this week's episode, the team arrives in London, three days before Rip's wife and child are due to be killed by Vandal. Setting out to capture Vandal as he leaves a speech, the team fail, but uncover something of interest: A bracelet on the wrist of Vandal's lieutenant, which, having belonged to Kendra in her first life, can be used to kill Vandal. After capturing the lieutenant, revealed to be Cassandra Savage, Vandal's daughter, the team splits into different roles: As Kendra melts down the bracelet to cover Carter's mace so that she can kill Vandal with it, Len attempts to convince Cassandra to turn against her father, while Ray prepares to take on the Leviathan, a giant nuclear-powered robot that Vandal has sent to retrieve his daughter. But when Vandal reveals another ace up his sleeve, Kendra is faced with a difficult choice.

Ninety-nine percent certain we saw this set in another episode.

Not an impossible choice, I should note. In fact, I think that it's actually a pretty obvious, if very painful, choice, and that was one of the things that grated on me about this episode. The choice Kendra is given is that if she kills Vandal - thus saving Rip's wife and child, as well as untold others, I should note - then Carter, who Vandal is brainwashed, might forever be lost for her. It's noteworthy that Carter reincarnates, and there's nothing to suggest Vandal's brainwashing of him would survive that reincarnation process, nor is there any suggestion that Vandal is the only one who can break that brainwashing.

Even if Vandal was Carter's only way back to sanity and Carter would definitely still be brainwashed in his next life, it still would be an obvious choice, because the lives of two innocent people - including a child, I should note - will always outweigh the life of one innocent person. That's an assessment that's a lot easier to make when you're watching it play out on television instead of actually experiencing it, I will grant you, but it's still true. 

Apart from that, though, this was a good episode. Post-apocalyptic London is painted in fairly broad strokes, with the team spending most of their time either outside the city (in fact, I'm pretty sure that particular clearing has shown up multiple times as different locations across time and space by now), inside buildings with no or very few windows, or, at one point, on what appears to be a slightly dressed up Star City 2046 set. It's a bit lazy, but it works, especially as the city they're in being London doesn't really have any bearing on the plot.

All told, it's just nice to see a 'last holdout against world domination' that isn't in America.

Seriously, just stab him in the leg, it'll make things easier for everyone.

Leviathan was set up as a convincing threat, and while Ray growing huge to fight him did kind of come out of nowhere, it made for a very satisfying, tokusatsu-esque fight scene. So too was Kendra's battle with Vandal pretty satisfying: After a series where Kendra has done regrettably very little, having her have a one-on-one duel with the series' main villain was wonderful, and seeing Vandal so thoroughly lose was even better.

The dynamic between Cassandra and Len was also interesting. I grant, it was fairly obvious from the moment she mentioned Per Degaton releasing the Armageddon Virus that her turn to good was going to come from Len showing her that Vandal gave that order, but it was still a nice moment. That said, how did Gideon even get that footage? I mean, she can access anything that's public record, as I recall, but I doubt Vandal recorded himself ordering the deaths of most of the world's population and then proceeded to make that recording publicly available.

So, a good episode, all in all. God knows we needed one. The preview for the next episode is vague, but seems to show that Vandal had wanted Rip to capture him all along. Presumably, we're going to find out that Vandal has some shady scheme involving acquiring the ability to time travel, especially as we hear him screaming 'I am a master of time.' Dead giveaway, that one.

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