Four Color Television - Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 Recap
In 2166 an immortal tyrant named Vandal Savage conquered the world and murdered my wife and child. I have assembled an elite team to hunt him throughout time and stop his rise to power. Unfortunately my plan is opposed by the body I'd sworn my allegiance to, the Time Masters. In the future my friends may not be heroes, but if we succeed they'll be remembered as Legends.
The world has fallen under the sway of the immortal villain Vandal Savage, and not even the vaunted Time Masters who are sworn to protect the timeline are willing to lift a finger to stop him, so what is a time travelling hero who wants to stop Vandal Savage to do? In the case of Captain Rip Hunter* (Arthur Darvill) the answer is to go back in time and recruit some people willing to help him stop Savage once and for all.
The first and most obvious choices are Hawkman and Hawkgirl* who are Egyptian lovers that were killed when an alien metal crash landed on both them and Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) – giving them the power to reincarnate again and again while making Savage immortal. The current incarnation of the Hawks are Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel) and Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renée) who are both willing to join Captain Hunter in his quest.
Next up are frequent visitors to Starling City Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) now resurrected as The White Canary* and The ATOM* aka Professor Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh,) before heading to Central City to pick up the two halves of the nuclear fused hero Firestorm: Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh.) The team isn’t quite complete, Rip also plans to bring along two villains in the form of Leonard Snart/Captain Cold** (Wentworth Miller) and Mick Rory/Heatwave** (Dominic Purcell) and the team is rounded out at last by Gideon, the disembodied computer voice that runs Captain Hunter’s time ship: The Wave Rider.
In his pitch to get these heroes on board his ship Captain Hunter may have exaggerated a little bit, he didn’t choose them because of how heroic they are – he chose them because they don’t have much impact on the timeline and therefore are kind of expendable. Naturally they don’t like hearing this, but the entire team is still on board to stop Vandal Savage from rising to power.
As the season progresses the team jumps to various points in time to prevent the immortal Vandal Savage from building his future empire, but it seems that fate is always on Vandal’s side – or he is always one step ahead of them. Early on in the adventure Hawkman sacrifices himself to save the team and they go on without him, and it isn’t long before they find themselves dealing with more than just Vandal Savage. A time traveling bounty hunter named Chronos is attempting to stop the Waverider crew from altering the past. Now on the run from bounty hunters and time pirates, Mick betrays the team and gets left in the past by Snart. Eventually we discover that allowing Mick to live was a mistake, as the Time Masters found Mick and brought him to the future to brainwash him into becoming Chronos*, the very bounty hunter that the team was running from. Additionally it us revealed that it isn’t fate that is on Savage’s side: it is the Time Masters themselves who have aligned themselves with the evil Savage. The team discovers that Savage’s plan is to perform a ritual that will erase history and allow him to begin ruling the world in 1700 BC, the ritual requires him to perform a ceremony involving the alien metal in three different points in time – and the Time Masters have given future Savage the means to go back in time to give his younger self the incantations but with the warning that the radiation of the alien metal will make him able to be killed. Snart sacrifices himself to destroy the Time Masters ability to travel through time and leave them trapped outside of history. The Legends, with a newly reincarnated Carter Hall, travel to each point in time where Savage intends to perform his ritual and kill him in all three time periods.
With Savage defeated Captain Hunter returns all of the Legends to the time they left from and offers them a choice to remain in their own time or come with him to be the new Time Masters. Hawkman and Hawkgirl decide they want to remain in 2016 but Sara, Ray, Mick, Jax and Professor Stein all choose to travel with Captain Hunter. Before they can board the Waverider, a second Waverider crashes and out steps a man who introduces himself as Rex Tyler of the Justice Society of America. Claiming to have been sent by a future version of Mick, Rex tells the Legends not to get on their ship or they would all die.
The setup of the show is a brilliant conceit, and it takes a great corner of the DC Universe and opens it up to be explored, but the first season of Legends doesn’t quite deliver on its promise.
What works about Season One? The majority of the cast: Arthur Darvill is as amazing in this time travel series as he was on the last time travel series he starred in, Brandon Routh is charming as hell, Victor Garber is delightful as always, Caity Lotz does far more here than she ever did in her Arrow appearances and the one two punch of Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell is worth the price of admission. In the fact the sleeper MVP of this show is Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory who is absolutely hysterical.
What doesn’t work about Season One? Too many things. The villain is terribly cast, the actor giving a wooden performance that never menaces in any way. Both Hawkman and Hawkgirl are also largely terrible, so much so that they are shuffled off before the finale is over. I could easily see someone watching this season of television and walking away from it without any intention to return. That, however, would be a foolish thing to do because Season Two of Legends jettisons everything that doesn’t work and quickly becomes the most fun of the four DC TV series on the CW.
Next Week: What happened to all the lings in Star City? Arrow Season 4
In Two Weeks: The Legion of Doom! Legends Season 2
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