TV Review: Legends of Tomorrow – “Progeny”

Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Legends of Tomorrow reviews here.
Would you kill baby Hitler? That’s the kind of question Legends of Tomorrow focused on this week. It’s a compelling moral and dramatic dilemma to explore, but despite some strong moments, “Progeny” did not live up to its full potential.
The legends traveled to the far future in “Progeny”, and a large part of the fun this week came from that setting. For example, countries being run by corporations was an especially nice touch that added some social commentary to a universe that usually avoids it. Sure, Legends touched on racism, sexism, and homophobia in the 1950s, but it’s easier to criticize the past than to comment on the present—and future. I’m sure it’s a concept that isn’t unique to Legends but it was still a welcome addition.
Sadly, and probably for budgetary reasons, the awe and wonder of a fully fleshed out future world was not as well explored as I would have liked. A couple of nifty gadgets and a wide shot of a futuristic city offered a glimpse, but not much more. Though Stein’s reaction and the way Sara and Jax anticipated it was both funny and sweet, a welcome bit of chemistry among this often strong cast.
Per DegatonAnother fun concept was Ray’s discovery that his Atom suit would be used for evil and destructive ends in the future, and his encounter with a presumed descendant (a nice guest appearance by Jewel Staite). For a character who was so obsessed with his legacy a few months ago, I would have loved to see him deal with the fact that his creation would become a tool for evil. But “Progeny” spent minimal time on that aspect, choosing instead to focus on him potentially having a child he did not know about. Which was largely tied into some humdrum romantic tension between him and Kendra. So overall, a cool idea that fell flat, especially with the weird reveal that Ray had a heretofore unmentioned brother.
Speaking of Kendra, Legends of Tomorrow continues to do her character a major disservice by having her sit out yet another mission. Why did we spend a two-part crossover on Arrow and The Flash for two characters who ultimately ended up doing very little? Kendra’s flashbacks in “Progeny” were a total waste of time, giving no information or insight into her character that we didn’t know before. Again, it was only to generate some conflict between her and Ray, which not only was unsuccessful but was also terribly timed, considering this kind of stuff should have happened before they spent two years as a happy couple. And that’s also an element that somehow hasn’t come into play as much as it should.
The main story of the episode revolved around Rip Hunter’s conflict on whether or not to kill a future dictator as a teenager. For the most part, it worked. The pros and cons of such an act (on one hand, save billions of lives, on the other, you’re still killing a kid) are inherent, but the addition of Rip’s wife and son into the equation made it a more compelling dilemma. Still, it wasn’t as fully developed as I would have liked. There’s a lot of meaty material that “Progeny” barely touched on, which is a shame. I did like that the legends’ actions caused things to get even worse, which yet again demonstrated the risks of their adventure. Plus, the final action scene was excellent.
The only subplot I had absolutely no qualms with was the conflict between Snart and Rory. Which should come as no surprise.
Overall, there were plenty of enjoyable bits in “Progeny” to raise it from a 3 to a 3.5 in my eyes. But it’s getting a little frustrating to see Legends fail to hit its stride, even after 10 episodes. In fact, the standalone episodes unrelated to Vandal Savage have proved to be the best ones, and that’s what I’m hoping next week’s journey to the Old West will be.

Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)

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