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Friday, 13 May 2016

Legends of Tomorrow S1E15: Destiny

Legends of Tomorrow
Series 1, Episode 15

So, good news! Supergirl has been renewed and is moving to the CW, presumably to join the Arrowverse properly. This is brilliant news that I'm massively happy over it.

Anyway. Egh. I said a while ago that Arrow is definitely the least of the three CW DC series (which now includes Supergirl). Episodes like this put a question mark next to that statement, because Legends is definitely vying for that bottom spot at points. It's not even that it's a terrible episode, it's just not great.

With Rip, Ray, Kendra, Stein and Mick trapped in the Vanishing Point's dungeon, Len and Sara clash over whether to leave or try to rescue them - a clash that is rapidly solved when Gideon reveals herself to be still alive and in possession of a daring escape plan. Meanwhile, Mick is taken to be brainwashed back into being Chronos, and Kendra is given to Vandal as he returns to 2166, while Rip is shown the Oculus, a temporal computer that can view both the future and the past with absolute certainty, and engineer changes within it. With it, Rip is told, the Time Masters have manipulated his and his team's every move. Meanwhile, back in 2016, on the night before the team leaves with Rip, Jax arrives back - and approaches Doctor Stein for help in repairing the jumpship with parts from Eobard Thawne's time pod. 

Dramatic silhouettes.

Actually, kudos to the show for that little touch. It's not ever mentioned, you don't have Stein explaining that this is Thawne's time pod, you just see it in STAR Labs, with them picking it apart for parts.

Since we're already on that part of the story, we may as well talk about it more: I'm very glad Jax wasn't written out of the show, and having him work with past Stein - giving us an opportunity to see how Stein has changed and developed over the show - was a nice touch, and a nice way of calling back to the first episode. Even better, the episode doesn't try to absolve Stein of his tremendous poor behaviour in drugging Jax and forcing him to come along - they could have had Jax tell Stein to do that, but they didn't. Instead, while he mentions it and says  that he gets over it, it's pretty obvious the idea is already in Stein's head when he says it.

The Kendra and Vandal plot isn't much meatier, but again, it has nice moments - albeit also some odd parallels with Zoom and Caitlin. Kendra gets all of two scenes: One where she pleads with Vandal not to kill Rip's family (and he does it anyway), and one where he finds out the Time Masters will no longer be supporting him, and she laughs at him, and I swear to god, I have never adored Kendra more than in that one moment of defiance, except possibly when she was hitting Vandal with a mace a few episodes ago.

Oh no how will this standoff turn out.

Len and Sara, meanwhile, have a slightly baffling plotline. I'm not going to say that their romance is out of nowhere, because it isn't, not exactly - there were pretty clear hints of it in early episodes, and there's been a running theme of Sara and Len having a bit of a connection. It does feel like it wasn't set up enough to justify Len essentially going to her and asking about their future together, because that came entirely out of the left field for me. 

Not that it matters, because Len is dead (or 'dead', I'm pretty sure I saw him in the promo for the finale) by the end of the episode, in possibly the worst written part of it: Ray is going to bravely sacrifice himself, so Mick knocks him out to sacrifice himself instead. Cliche, but fine. Except then Len comes along, and knocks Mick out, so that he can sacrifice himself instead. I'm reminded of nothing more than a bunch of people RPing with every single one of them wanting to be the one whose character bravely sacrifices themselves.

Of the characters in Len and Sara's storyline, it was Gideon who had the standout role, since it was her plan that involved hijacking all of the other Time Master AIs into a rousing singalong. Again, did Barry create all those AIs? Did Thawne make them based on Gideon or something? Were the Time Masters just big fans of Barry's work? What's going on here?

Yes, very James Bond.

Ray and present Stein, meanwhile, don't really have a plot, and Mick's fizzles down to a 'and his heart grew three sizes that day' ending, which is fine but also not really worth my commenting on, bar that literally the moment they started brainwashing Mick I knew that that was what was going to happen.

Rip, meanwhile, gets to find out that nothing he's ever done matters, and to be honest, he and the team deal surprisingly well with that. It's the kind of dilemma they probably should have devoted an entire episode, but the show doesn't have time for that, so instead they spend about six minutes angsting over it and then decide to blow up the Oculus to free themselves from its control.

(Yada yada joke about the Oculus Rift yada yada.)

It's a storyline that could have been interesting if it weren't so underutilised, but at the same time, I'm not unsympathetic to the time constraints the show's dealing with her. This is not The Flash, where you can spend two episodes having Barry without his powers and then another episode with him totally absent, because you have twenty-three episodes to tell a story in. This is a sixteen episode series with a large cast and a lot of different wheels to keep in motion.

All in all, a fun episode, just not a very good one. Next week, the team's apparently back in Central City, so that's - I mean, I feel like Zoom is going to have a problem with that.

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