NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Legends of Tomorrow” are present in this review
Legends of Tomorrow thoroughly dominated the previous season of DC shows on The CW (despite a comparably great season of Arrow), so while Supergirl and The Flash still seem to be shedding problematic story elements from their own season premieres, Legends of Tomorrow was allowed to comfortably settle into another exciting adventure with minimal compromise. This week’s season premiere, “Aruba-Con” nicely set up an interesting new scenario for the Legends, while also delivering plenty of fun and excitement on its own merits, leading to a pretty solid start for the show’s third season.
After the spectacular mess of the Legends ‘breaking time’ at the end of last season, the mess is quickly cleaned up by Rip, who has gone on over the course of five years (which is only minutes in the Legends’ time), to build a new organization called the Time Bureau. With a more clean, professional hand in managing history, Rip’s agents manage to clear out the anachronistic dinosaurs and brain-wipe the citizens of Los Angeles. They do it so efficiently in fact that the Legends are relieved of duty, and are free to return to their normal lives, since they’re no longer necessary to protect the timeline!
Of course, seeing as a new season of Legends of Tomorrow is beginning, we know that won’t last. Still, this ‘firing’ of the Legends does lead to some humourously mundane scenes for Sara, Ray and Nate, as they try and fail to adjust to a more everyday existence, at least by the standards of the Arrowverse. There’s even a pretty fun cameo from The Flash’s Wally West amid these scenes, as Nate tries to pass himself off as, “The second-most popular hero of Central City”, which is obviously a lie, as no one on The Flash will likely mention any of Nate’s heroics on that series. When Mick calls Sara about spotting Julius Caesar wandering around Aruba however, the Legends decide to go to the Time Bureau and try to convince Rip to let them re-assume their old job, since anachronisms are obviously still happening.
It’s very creative to see how the show has redesigned Rip as a foil to the Legends, without making him a full-blown antagonist. Rip’s Time Bureau is hilariously corporate and organized, providing a great contrast to the sloppy, yet lovable work of the Legends throughout history. This show has always excelled at being fun and charming, and the season definitely hit the ground running with that, as the Legends try to appeal to Rip, quickly grow dissatisfied with his operation, and then just steal the Waverider when they grow impatient. Rip simply watching this happen also seems to subtly indicate that he almost wants the Legends to keep on doing what they do, even if he won’t admit it, particularly after ‘firing’ them a short while before this all goes down.
After picking up Martin and Jefferson, the mostly restored Legends decide to fix the Caesar situation, though disappointingly, Amaya apparently went back to 1942 off-screen, and is not involved in this latest adventure. This is a bit disappointing, since Amaya’s departure is sudden and has no buildup, but that’s a fairly minor quibble in an otherwise strong season premiere for Legends of Tomorrow. Besides, the team getting to stick it to Rip’s ultra-clean Time Bureau is still fun to watch even without Amaya among their ranks, especially when Rip’s people end up needing the Legends’ help, when dropping Caesar back into his own time inevitably doesn’t go as planned.
There’s still some great fun and humour here, as Sara beats up Caesar and drags him onto the Waverider during an Aruba toga party (how’s that for irony?), though the episode’s climax is, disappointingly, a bit forced. The show has to contrive an excuse for the Legends to step into an otherwise clean operation and kick some ass, and this occurs when Caesar somehow swipes a history book from Nate after the drop-off, which Nate is somehow too oblivious to notice. Oh come on, seriously? How did that work? Not even a master thief could have pulled that off! Regardless, this does give us a bit of action, as the Legends beat up some centurions, knock out Caesar, and restore history with Rip’s mind-wiping devices. This leads to Rip begrudgingly allowing the Legends to keep the Waverider, and even seemingly lets slide the fact that Mick swipes several pieces of Time Bureau technology for the Legends’ personal use, though this isn’t just out of loyalty. Rip whispers to one of his agents before leaving that the Legends could be useful in battle against a mysterious threat called ‘Mallus’, which will presumably be explored later in the season.
The episode ending with Amaya using a mystical animal army to seemingly massacre the soldiers that were supposed to attack her village is also pretty intriguing, suggesting that Amaya may end up having a big connection to the big bad of this season, a villain that’s rumoured to be magical in nature. Whatever the case, Legends of Tomorrow’s third season gets off to a very good start with, “Aruba-Con”, even being short one Legend. The introduction to the Time Bureau is clever and entertaining, and the Legends’ usual scrappy attitude continues to provide tons of charm to the show. The season’s strongest episodes are probably ahead of it, but so far, it looks like we’re getting ready for another high-quality adventure with these time-hopping rogues, and I’m certainly happy to be along for the ride again!
- Fun, clever introduction to Rip's Time Bureau
- The Legends' lovable scrappiness continues to be charming
- Promising new hook of 'anachronisms' to hunt
- Amaya's off-screen departure is disappointing
- Nate somehow being too dumb to notice his history book is missing