Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find my review of the previous episode of Legends of Tomorrow here.
With the requisite exposition and setup of the premiere episode behind us, “Pilot, Part 2” got right into the action, and the result was wonderful. The opening 10 minutes of the episode were the first real instance of the show fulfilling its true potential. Great character interactions, a bizarre time travel plot, and a truly dazzling action scene set the tone for a sophomore episode that had me repeating “This is so cool!” throughout.
The revelation at the end of last week that these characters were nobodies rather than legends worked well in the show’s favour. Suddenly the audience saw them not as heroes, but as they really were: a ragtag group of misfits. Less The Avengers and more Guardians of the Galaxy. And that made them far more compelling this week as they went off on separate missions—most of which they botched spectacularly.
Last week I mentioned that White Canary, Captain Cold, and Heatwave were far and away the best members of the cast, and this holds true this week as well. I’m still amazed by how entertaining Heatwave has been on this show compared to The Flash. Snart was great as well, whether posing as a terrorist leader or confidently breaking into a mansion with his exaggerated persona on full display. Sara’s the one who seemed to be having the most fun on this adventure, very unlike her tortured demeanour on Arrow, which continued to make her a delight to watch and probably my favourite character on the show.
Unlike last week, Sara, Snart, and Rory weren’t lumped together in a side-plot this time, but rather split up among their other teammates—namely Ray Palmer and the Firestorm duo. This shuffling freshened up the team dynamic and also allowed the other cast members to step up their game, revealing that they all had more chemistry together than we’d initially seen.
Palmer and Snart bounced very well off each other, one the enthusiastic optimist with an inferiority complex and the other a criminal with his own insecurities putting on a confident facade. And Sara brought the fun to an otherwise stoic character like Martin Stein (“We wouldn’t want my former self tempted by a sexy assassin from the future.” “Aww, you think I’m sex—” “Do not finish that sentence.”) which is partly why their storyline was so enjoyable. Plus, it was a Back to the Future-like time-travel plot that allowed Stein to interact with his arrogant, younger, pot-loving self and come to terms with his character growth and lack thereof. What’s not to love?
Sadly, this did not extend to all the characters. Hawkgirl and Hawkman were the only dull part of the episode, and their self-seriousness in an otherwise amusing show coupled with an unfortunate lack of chemistry dragged the episode down. Which is part of the reason I’m actually glad Hawkman was killed off. The other reason is the redundancy of having two characters with the same power, especially when one of them is less charismatic and likable than the other. Hopefully his absence will liven up Hawkgirl’s involvement, especially since Ciara Renée was very likable in her appearances on The Flash.
Another character that still isn’t clicking is Vandal Savage. He’s an effective villain: dangerous, brutal, and near-omnipresent. Casper Crump plays him well enough, too, but he lacks that elusive extra element that should make him feel formidable and larger than life. For example, Damien Darhk’s (really cool) cameo nearly overshadowed him thanks to Neal McDonough’s charisma even with limited screentime.
Oh, and just like The Flash, it’s best not to think too hard about the time travel logic. Ray losing some tech in 1975 thereby altering 2016 and Martin causing his marriage to vanish from history were both cool concepts but shouldn’t they affect their presence in 1975? How come Martin’s ring vanishes, implying his physical body in 1975 is being affected, but his memories of his wife stay the same? Like I said, best not to think about it too much. It makes as much sense as it needs to, and it works.
Overall, “Pilot, Part 2” was an improvement over an already solid start, promising a series high on adventure, with an entertaining cast, plenty of humour, and marvelous action.
Rating: 4/5 (Great)
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