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Friday, 1 April 2016

Legends of Tomorrow S1E9: Left Behind.

Oh, wow, guys. Look at this horrible picture of a man screaming and his flesh is all peeling off. It's awful.

Legends of Tomorrow
Series 1, Episode 9:
Left Behind.

Man, it's been a while since the last episode, hasn't it? Or, I mean, it's been about about a fortnight, but the fact that The Flash and Arrow also had breaks (longer ones, even, with an even longer one yet to come for The Flash in some of the most bizarre scheduling choices I've seen), somehow makes it seem like it's been months.

(It doesn't help either that this break came halfway through an arc.)

In this week's episode, Ray, Kendra, and Sara are left trapped in 1958 when Chronos boards the Waverider, kidnapping Len and hijacking the ship, sending it and its remaining crew spinning through time while he makes his mistake. As Rip, Jax, and Stein manage to regain control of the ship, they return for Kendra and the others - only to find that they've arrived in 1960. As Ray struggles with the idea of giving up the life he's built for himself in the past, the crew faces a bigger problem: Sara has rejoined the League of Assassins, and been brainwashed into a loyal servant of Ra's al Ghul. Meanwhile, Len discovers the truth of Chronos' identity.

Also, Kendra gets to do stuff! Yay!

Okay, so, let's address the elephant in the room first: Mick is Chronos. It's immediately obvious that this is the case from the early moments of the episode, because as soon as we find out that he's kidnapped Len - something which the show does its best to draw attention to as unusual - it's utterly clear that he was Chronos all along. I'm actually surprised to see Dominic Purcell back so quickly, since the reason he exited the show in the first place was because he had medical issues which required attention - but I'm very glad he is back, and this is an excellent way to bring him back.

(My only real issue with the plot is that Rip, who just a few episodes ago had been quite keen on Mick being killed, is now suddenly eager to reform him, and the only real explanation that I can see is 'to stick it to the Time Masters.')

In an ideal world, I'd really like to see an episode focusing on just what the Time Masters did to him. Purcell is a talented enough actor to carry such an episode on his own, and it'd give us a break from the usual time travel shenanigans afoot. 

Team Rapidly Acquiring Abandonment Issues.

Apart from that, the meat of this episode takes place at Nanda Parbat, involving the team trying to free Sara from Ra's brainwashing - which means that, of course, we get to see Matt Nable back as my favourite character in the Arrowverse, Alarmed Australian Accountant Ra's al Ghul. He's even more lackluster and un-intimidating as I remember, as he grumbles at Rip about his impending death in much the same way that I imagine he might grumble about people stepping on his petunias. 

Bizarrely, he's also kind of out of character in this episode - the Ra's presented to us in Arrow was dogmatic, controlling, obsessive, misogynistic, and ultimately quite petty, and the show even acknowledges that by having Rip remark upon how Ra's is infamously controlling. But when the episode needs to hastily wrap up, he not only cheerfully and easily releases Sara (who is his best assassin) from her vows, he also quite happily takes her suggestion to send Nyssa to Lian Yu, despite the fact that he knows that if he recruits Sara in the future, she'll just end up leaving his order.

This might work if it was the comics version of Ra's we were dealing with, or if it was the Nolan films' version of Ra's - but it doesn't work for the Arrowverse Ra's, whose two main traits are 'incredibly controlling and petty' and 'basically just a suburban dad who wandered into an assassin stronghold and is too embarrassed to tell anyone that he's not meant to be there.'

"Be home by eight, Nyssa, that's when I like to watch my stories."

The C-plot for this episode (because Mick and Len is clearly the B-plot) is that Ray's unhappy with having to leave his new life behind, and is apparently even more unhappy that Kendra (who, we find out, lost her ability to fly and was losing memories of her past lives, although she regains them by the end of the episode) is so eager to leave it. If I'm being honest, that's not a plot that makes a lot of sense: If Ray had no relatives, no friends, nothing waiting for him back in 2016, then maybe I'd understand it - but he does. So does Kendra, for that matter. Not just that, but Ray already knows that if he and Sara don't return to 2016, then Star City becomes a post-apocalyptic wasteland. You'd think that would have weighed a bit more heavily on his mind.

(You'd also think it'd have weighed a bit more heavily on Sara's, too.)

All in all, a very enjoyable episode, but certainly not the series' best. In the next episode, we're heading to the future, where the team will apparently 'stop Savage, or die trying', and which looks to be the time when Savage kills Rip's wife and child. Obviously they're not going to stop Savage, because there's still seven episodes left of the series.

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