Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Legends of Tomorrow reviews here.
After opening the season with a pair of very strong episodes, Legends of Tomorrow slowed things down and settled for a fun, if inconsequential, adventure in “Shogun”.
Most standalone Legends of Tomorrow episodes follow a familiar formula, and “Shogun” is no exception. The Legends arrive in a new time period. They have some anachronistic fun, and run across a new villain or someone in need. Sara fights, Mick quips, Ray self-doubts, and one of them learns something about themselves. They all save the day, and they’re off.
That’s not necessarily a bad formula because these standalone episodes are less about the story and more about exploring whatever time period the writers feel like on a given week. In “Shogun”, it was 16th century feudal Japan, with samurai and ninjas and all the fun that comes with the era.
Plus, episodes like “Shogun” put the emphasis on the characters themselves. And though Legends isn’t the best when it comes to character development, the Legends themselves are a great team of unique individuals with enough chemistry and charm to carry any episode. “Shogun” benefited from that as well, from Mick’s hilarious obsession with ninjas to Sara’s charisma and her fighting prowess—excellent action scenes this week courtesy of director Kevin Tancharoen.
Speaking of characters, the Legends were joined this week by Vixen, following Rex Tyler’s death. I’m happy to see Amaya settle into her new position on the show with refreshing ease. A lot of the credit for that goes to Maisie Richardson-Sellers’ performance. Far from the weak link her predecessors—Hawkman and Hawkgirl—were, Vixen is a more than welcome addition.
The other recent recruit, Nate, had his own little white saviour story arc this week. One that included him gaining and adapting to new superpowers to boot. He’s not the instant hit that Vixen is, but he’s an upbeat character who doesn’t bog things down as the Hawks did. So for now he works.
Finally, a minor subplot involved Jax and Dr. Stein discovering Rip Hunter’s secret compartment, with a secret message from a future Barry Allen. Although hiding it from their teammates is a typical CW move, I’m genuinely intrigued. What, I wonder, was in the message?