Pilot Review (Part 2): Legends of Tomorrow

NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of “Legends of Tomorrow”, including a major character death, are present in this review



After a good, though not great first half to Legends of Tomorrow’s pilot episode last week, the second half of the pilot really tightened the show, and seemed to solidify its great potential this week. It seems like the additional week’s wait for the story resolution was worth it, since Legends of Tomorrow is now starting to stand alongside Arrow and The Flash in terms of quality and entertainment value, and is now effectively carving out its own appealing niche within The CW’s shared DC Television Universe.

With the group still tracking Vandal Savage in 1975, things move to an arms deal, where Savage is selling a nuclear warhead to the highest bidder. Sara, Leonard, Mick and Martin enter the auction disguised as fake buyers (even provoking a past version of Arrow’s current big bad, Damien Darhk in the process), and a fight breaks out, which is the first real chance for Legends of Tomorrow to display its action prowess. Sure enough, it doesn’t disappoint here either, as the flashy, super-kinetic fight scenes have a great sense of event-style spectacle, being far more ambitious than most anything else you’d see on television. Naturally, they’re also incredibly fun to watch as well, especially for avid DC fans!

LoT - Footage 1

Unfortunately, the group predictably fails to stop Savage, and Firestorm is left to just barely save everyone from a nuclear explosion after Savage activates the warhead as a diversion, by absorbing the massive expulsion of atomic energy from a safe distance. This naturally has Rip in a right foul mood, which gets worse when a piece of Ray’s Atom suit drops off in the fight, and is picked up by Savage’s goons. With 1975 terrorists now in possession of 21st Century technology, a huge problem is created, and one that Rip displays will result in the destruction and occupation of Central City, The Flash’s stomping grounds, in 2016, if Ray’s suit bit isn’t reclaimed. This was a very organic and neat consequence to the heroes’ first proper battle together (Chronos doesn’t count, as he was just one guy, and not everyone was fighting him), and was also a cool way to demonstrate how, despite being displaced in time, the events of Legends of Tomorrow can still have potentially earth-shattering consequences for The Flash and Arrow in the present.

With Ray’s tech needing to be tracked with Alpha Particles, a field of study that doesn’t exist yet in 1975, the group has no choice but to turn to the only person who is even on to them during the era; A young, 25-year-old Dr. Martin Stein! This presented a fantastic opportunity for great humour (something else that this second half to the pilot delivered well all around), as well as more temporal consequences, since Rip warns that it’s a very bad idea for the present-day Martin to interact with his past self. Sara and Jefferson nonetheless accompany him however, and at least get a chance to talk science with the younger Martin, before things go awry, and they’re forced to knock out Martin’s younger self. Sara also steals some joints, because I guess she’s still a party girl for some reason. It’s still going to stick out as odd for longtime Arrow fans too.

LoT - Footage 2

This botched plan with the younger Martin also leads to some cool and unexpected consequences, as Sara is thus able to use the younger Martin’s research to take back the stolen Atom technology from Savage, saving the future in the process, but at the cost of the younger Martin now following the heroes back to the ship, which results in the present-day Martin’s wedding ring disappearing from his finger. Since this is the night that Martin met his future wife in 1975, the timeline has been altered, and he may have just sacrificed his marriage to ensure a better future. This was a bittersweet sacrifice that really put Martin to the test, especially as he also had to figure out a way to get his younger self off the ship, with some help from Rip and Jefferson, but thanks to Rip’s intervention, the younger Martin meets Clarissa as scheduled, and Martin’s marriage in the present is restored. This was also satisfying proof that Rip isn’t a mere cynic, and can put his money where his mouth is when it comes to sticking it to the Time Masters, making it his first properly heroic moment on the series, and it’s one that was great to see.

The group’s business in 1975 isn’t quite done yet however, as they’re soon put on to the trail of the dagger that happened to kill Carter and Kendra in their original lives, an essential component to destroying Savage once and for all. Ray, Leonard and Mick go to take the dagger from a mansion owned by an enthusiast of historical artifacts, though Leonard and Mick decide to pilfer more than the dagger, resulting in a minor scuffle between Ray and Leonard, which ends with both of them getting caught in a security cage. Mick manages to get them out, though he also runs into the owner of the house in the process, who happens to be Vandal Savage. Of course.

LoT - Footage 3

This results in another spectacular and entertaining fight sequence to close out the episode, and Carter even gets the chance to fight Savage directly, even if Kendra is still unable to properly hold her own in combat. After a short while though, Carter manages to plunge the dagger into Savage!… Which does nothing. Turns out, because the dagger belongs to the high priestess, only Kendra can deliver the killing blow to the immortal villain. Not knowing this, Carter is thus left vulnerable to Savage pulling out the dagger and stabbing Carter with it! Kendra is also stabbed, though only in the side, and she’s also bailed out by Ray, who blasts Savage out the window, and helps bring Kendra to safety with everyone else. Carter, however, dies from his injuries, and they’re forced to leave him behind.

Yes, right in the pilot, a major hero of the series has been killed off. This was very shocking, and was quite heartbreaking for Kendra, as she’d just grown to realize why she cared for Carter so much in their previous lives, though her previous interaction with him was spurning his advances. Since she never got to tell Carter how she felt in this life, she’s forced to lose him without this incarnation knowing. It’s not all bad though, as the loss of Carter unites everyone together in the quest to stop Savage once and for all, even when Rip offers to ferry them back to the present. Even Leonard and Mick decide to commit to the quest of destroying Savage though, saying that they may be criminals, but they still won’t stand for one of their crew being murdered, and Jefferson similarly renews his conviction as well. With the would-be Legends ready for action, the series is thus ready to properly take off!

LoT - Footage 4

The second half of the Legends of Tomorrow pilot was great, and seemed to pack in a little bit of everything appealing that a DC show could ask for. The humour was often laugh-out-loud funny, and yet, the emotional moments really hit home, even with the well-executed death of Carter, whom we barely would have known at this point, even if you also caught his appearances during the most recent crossover episodes of The Flash and Arrow. Best of all though is that the grand, super-powered spectacle of the series is now starting to really come together, giving Legends of Tomorrow the potential to be another smash hit series’ for The CW’s growing lineup of successful DC shows, and possibly the most impressively realized one yet to boot!

Legends of Tomorrow's stumbles from its pilot's first half are entirely gone in the second, which is packed with a brilliant, spectacular cocktail of great action, comedy and drama, wonderfully proving the enormous potential of this new DC ensemble series.
Incredible, action-packed spectacle
Laugh-out-loud funny humour
Hawkman's death is shocking and emotional
Still a handful of odd character inconsistencies