NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Legends of Tomorrow” are present in this review
Legends of Tomorrow took a very enjoyable trip to the Old West during Season One, where we got to meet a new live-action incarnation of DC Comics gunslinger, Jonah Hex. This week’s episode, “Outlaw Country” brings us back to that same time period, with the Legends once again crossing paths with Hex after discovering the latest time aberration, and said aberration is courtesy of Hex’s recognizable DC Comics arch-nemesis, Quentin Turnbull.
It’s satisfying to see Turnbull in the DC Television Universe at last, after he was foreshadowed by being mentioned as already having run-ins with Hex during previous Old West-themed episode, “The Magnificent Eight” from Season One. Johnathon Schaech is enjoyable as ever as the grizzled, ever-impatient Hex, but Jeff Fahey gives an equally enjoyable performance as the new Quentin Turnbull as well, particularly after he proves to hit it off with Mick in one of the episode’s best and most unexpected jokes, as Sara’s latest plan to stop the bad guy inevitably hits a snag.
Overall though, this second trip to the Old West didn’t feel quite as memorable as the first, even if it was still quite enjoyable. The idea of Turnbull discovering a huge deposit of Dwarfstar due to a time pirate, the alloy that Ray used to make his Atom suit, was pretty creative, and the show exploring actual consequences for Martin interacting with his past self was equally effective. Nate also got an especially great turn this week, as he gains greater control of his abilities, and takes the next step to becoming a grounded, sensible superhero in his own right.
The best scenes of the episode often involved the interactions between Ray and Nate, as Ray continues to try and carry on without the means to be the hero he once was, while Nate is trying to come to grips with his powers. It was great to see Nate face a very difficult challenge right as he finally gets a handle on his abilities, since Turnbull’s Dwarfstar bullets end up being able to injure Nate, even when he goes full steel. Nate soon after becoming the only person who can stop Turnbull from obliterating the only passage to and from the East with a speeding train in the climax of the episode was just as satisfying. Ray designing Nate his own superhero suit made for a great way to cap off a particularly strong story arc for this character, and is timed perfectly with the Legends returning to 2016 to help the present-day DC Television Universe heroes in the upcoming mega-crossover between Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow in a couple of weeks as the episode ends. Moreover, Ray keeping some of that Dwarfstar likely means that he can rebuild a new Atom suit for himself soon to boot, especially since Nate makes a crack that Ray now has enough Dwarfstar to build the whole team Atom suits if he wanted!
Despite Martin being restricted to the Waverider this time, he also had a particularly strong story arc this week, as he begins experiencing huge headaches, along with visions of a woman he doesn’t recognize. Gideon performs several scans on Martin’s brain, only to determine that nothing is wrong with him, which Martin finds impossible to believe. It’s fairly evident that Martin’s woes were a convenient way to disable Firestorm once again, since the merged Jefferson and Martin could take out Turnbull’s forces with no trouble by themselves, but Jefferson eventually proposing that Martin’s past is changing was a great turn to justify Martin being benched this week. Martin interacting with his past self seemed to have no consequences the first time, but after last week’s especially excellent episode, there’s a hint that Martin may have altered history so that he never ended up married to Clarissa. Could it be true? Considering how often the DC Television Universe meddles with time between Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash, who really knows whether anyone’s former loved ones will be waiting for them when all is said and done?
Beyond these highlight arcs, everything else was good, if not exemplary. Part of the issue with the rest of the episode is the fact that the other character conflicts didn’t totally gel at the same rate as the standout Nate/Ray or Martin subplots. Hex refusing to take Sara seriously because she’s a woman never truly felt like it registered, especially since Sara should have more than proven herself as a capable superior after the events of, “The Magnificent Eight” last season. The attempt to draw a parallel between the revenge struggles of Hex and Sara was kind of interesting, but even then, that’s partially deflated by Sara directly sparing Damien Darhk’s life at the end of last week’s episode. I still hold out a bit of hope that Hex could join the Legends in a potential Season Three, and maybe that’s something that the showrunners are toying with here as well, though it never seemed clearly illustrated just why Hex would doubt Sara’s abilities, since he remarks from the very beginning that it’s amazing the Legends have continued to survive without Rip.
Another character conflict that didn’t totally work as well as it could have was Mick suddenly declaring that he’s a violent animal with no desire to be controlled. Amaya correctly points out that Mick has been more docile and co-operative in recent episodes, which is making his recent behaviour come out of nowhere, without much of a true catalyst. Amaya becoming something of a mentor to Mick at the end of the episode makes sense though, as does her witty remark about knowing a thing or two about controlling wild beasts, and it’s also a nice tease to see a potential and unlikely romance blossoming between these two polar opposite characters to boot. Maybe this idea will lend itself to better story arcs later, but for now, if Mick is going to regress as a character, he needs more clear and discernable reasoning for going backwards, rather than just magically not feeling like trying one day.
Even when the storytelling occasionally stumbled, “Outlaw Country” was a pretty entertaining episode of Legends of Tomorrow, despite the Legends’ first trip to the Old West last season turning out better. The return of Jonah Hex, and introduction of Quentin Turnbull, certainly offered plenty of exciting action and fun, even if not every character arc kept pace with the rest this week. The Legends’ next trip is bound to be an eventful one though, as the episode concludes with Sara urging the team to get ready to return to 2016, to help Barry and Oliver (and Kara) fight the Dominators in the four-show crossover at the end of the month. Legends of Tomorrow is taking next week off, on that note (as is Arrow), so we won’t see the Legends again until they’re fighting alongside their fellow small-screen DC superheroes, but it’s nice to see that even in Season Two’s lesser episodes, this show is becoming more fun and engaging than ever in its current season!
- Fun reunion with Hex and introduction for Turnbull
- Nate and Ray helping each other's heroic journeys
- Martin potentially damaging his personal history
- Hex not respecting Sara doesn't make much sense
- Mick's regression comes out of nowhere