Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Legends of Tomorrow reviews here.
When I saw the Legends walking through that Old West town in slow motion, the first thing I thought to myself was, “Now this is the kind of show I signed up for.” And despite a few of the usual weaknesses, “The Magnificent Eight” used its fun premise to deliver a strong episode of Legends of Tomorrow.
The only major weakness, as usual, was Kendra. Don’t get me wrong; the idea of her meeting a past incarnation of herself was really cool, and was played well for the most part. But the whole thing ended up being about her relationship with Ray, and… eh. I liked it better when they’d settled as a couple in 1952. This added drama feels unnecessary. I get that concepts like predestination need to be explored when it comes to a character like Hawkgirl, but she and Ray have been together for years by this point. This isn’t drama we need to see, especially as it keeps sidelining the same character over and over. The biggest saving grace of this subplot was Sara.
Other than that, “The Magnificent Eight” was for the most part a great episode. One of my favourite aspects of this series has been simply watching the Legends in different time periods. Without Savage, the episodes that focus on these characters getting into wacky time travel shenanigans have been a lot of fun. Although, yeah, it has been getting repetitive. They get to a new time period, they are told not to interfere with the timeline, they get into a bar fight, they interfere with the timeline and have to fix things, probably saving someone or other in the meantime, all while avoiding a time traveling bounty hunter or other. Rinse, repeat. Still, it’s a formula that’s effectively given some of the more entertaining episodes, and “The Magnificent Eight” was no exception.
The Old West setting was a bit cheesy, and Legends borrowed some of the more famous, surface-level tropes of the Western genre, but that was one of “The Magnificent Eight”‘s charms. Especially seeing Ray play the sherriff, or Rip Hunter take part in a duel at high noon, or Captain Cold be the badass sharpshooter. It was a really fun setup and Legends of Tomorrow played well in that sandbox.
The Old West setting was also the perfect place to introduce a famous DC Comics character in Jonah Hex. Jonathan Schaech was a fine Jonah, nothing too special but definitely more than merely serviceable. But what really made the character work was the added backstory that he was given with Rip Hunter. I really liked Rip’s little subplot this week, his love of that particular time period explaining a lot about him, from his attire to his revolver-like weapon of choice.
The showdown at the end was also excellent. It’s always fun to watch the Legends team up and use their powers together in a sprawling battle scene, and “The Magnificent Eight”‘s unique setting made such an action sequence even more fun than usual.
The only part of the climax that I didn’t like was the Hunters, who were hyped up pretty extensively, but completely failed to deliver on the buildup. They were even more bland than Chronos had been, and were dispatched so easily that I had to wonder why they were touted as so deadly. And with the introduction of the Pilgrim at the very end, a scene that played out almsot exactly like last week’s “oh you thought this bounty hunter was bad, wait until you see the next one” ending, I have to wonder why the Hunters were brought in to begin with. Perhaps the writers realized there was one episode between the Chronos reveal and the Pilgrim’s debut, and hurriedly tried to fill it with a buffer villain? Either way, it was weak.
On the plus side, the Pilgrim looks like a strong antagonist worth spending a Terminator-like episode with. The way time seems to work in a both linear and non-linear way at the same time is still odd, but it’s best not to think about it too hard.
Rating: 4/5 (Great)
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