Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Legends of Tomorrow reviews here.
Legends of Tomorrow had a rocky first season, but by focusing on its strengths in that final stretch of episodes, it ended on a high note.
The show’s biggest strength has always been its characters and their relationships and interactions. This is the show that turned Mick Rory, who was pretty nondescript on The Flash, into one of the most compelling characters in the Arrowverse. Already strong characters like Sara Lance and Captain Cold were made even better thanks to the team dynamic. With the unfortunate exception of Hawkgirl and Hawkman, the Legends were all engaging and entertaining characters with excellent chemistry and a good deal of emotional investment. And exploiting that is exactly what made “Legendary” work.
The scenes after their initial arrival in 2016, individually highlighting how the adventure had changed each of the characters, showing them wrestling with a yearning to complete the mission and, in Sara’s case, dealing with loss, immediately set the character-driven tone of “Legendary”. This tone was bookended in the closing scenes, as they contemplated continuing their timehopping adventures with Rip even after finishing off Savage in a way that mirrored the opening scenes. The short dialogue between Rory and a past (and alive) version of Snart was easily the highlight, and Dominic Purcell’s talent truly shone.
Even the meat of “Legendary” was focused primarily on the characters. For example, the climax of the battle with Savage was not his actual defeat. Instead it was the sequence that followed, as Rip committed a sacrificial act, taking the Waverider to the, sun and dreaming about being reunited with his family. It was a reminder that the core of the series isn’t immortal warlords or time travel shenanigans, but rather the humans in the middle of that chaos. Equally effective was Rip deciding not to die and returning to fight another day with the team that had become his new family.
The conflict with Savage was a good source of entertaining action, even as the time travel logic continued to cause headaches. How can Savage destroy the world “at the same time” yet also at 3 different points in history? How could those events possibly be “synchronized”? Wouldn’t his detonation of the meteorite in 1958 effectively wipe out 1975 and 2021? I feel like the only thing missing in this show was an explanation of “chronological time” versus “real time” or other such made up terminology to explain these things.
I was able to put that confusion aside, though, because it led to a fun set-up, as the team split into three pairs to take on Savage at three different points in history, two of which were revisited scenes from earlier in the season, which made it even more fun. Ultimately, Savage died like any other villain, an ending befitting the underwhelming villain that he sadly ended up being.
“Legendary” also ended the season on a strong note, as the team returned to continue their adventure with Rip, minus Hawkgirl and Hawkman. Even though I’m sure they’ll return, I’m glad that the show appears to have done away with its weakest links. That was a solid enough setup for Season 2, but it was the cliffhanger that had me yearning for more. The Waverider returning from the future with a messenger warning the Legends that they’ll all be dead at some point in the future is a great tease and an excellent way to establish the danger they’ll be facing.
And the fact that the messenger was Rex Tyler, aka Hourman, who happened to mention the Justice Society of America? Those Easter eggs had me pumping my fists. The Arrowverse is going into exciting places—sign me up for the hype train!