Four Color Television - PREMIERE WEEK PART II - Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow Return
The Four Color Ark
DC TELEVISION PREMIERE WEEK 2
NIGHT TWO PART TWO
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3, Episode 01: “Aruba-Con”
When we last saw the Legends they had said goodbye to their former team leader Rip Hunter before crashing the Waverider into a downtown Los Angeles infested with dinosaurs. Before the Legends can do anything about the situation strange portals start opening up directly in front of the dinosaurs, whisking them back to their native time. Men and women in black suits use memory erasing wands on citizens and Rip Hunter arrives to inform the Legends that though he had just left them five minutes ago, through the beauty of time travel he has in fact spent the last five years building a new team called the Time Bureau: a sophisticated, well trained and cohesive unit that renders the Legends obsolete. He confiscates the Waverider and returns the legends to the present.
The Legends, with no other choice, settle back into their new old lives. Sara gets a job at Sink, Shower & Stuff (the DC Universe equivalent of Bed, Bath & Beyond,) where she seems to be constantly on report for her violent tendencies; Ray, whose company has been all but ruined, is forced to get a job working for a software company developing the next “hot” dating app. Nate has broken up with Amaya and is taking said breakup hard, he has thrown himself into being a hero in Central City which really means he fights a little bit before Kid Flash runs in and mops everything up. Professor Stein is settling into a leisurely life after discovering that his daughter is pregnant; Jax has just dropped out of college because compared with time travel it is frightfully boring; Amaya has returned to 1942 where she belongs; and Mick is hanging out in Aruba, enjoying a private beach until he is interrupted by Julius Caesar.
Not knowing what to do about the anachronism of Caesar being on the beach, Mick immediately calls Sara for help. Sara promptly quits her job and gathers together the team – minus Jax and Stein - to discuss the situation, planning to use capturing Caesar as proof to Rip that the team should be allowed to time travel again. After going to Aruba and capturing Caesar/rescuing Mick, Rip informs the Legends that they are far too volatile to ever be allowed to travel through time again. There’s just one problem, the Caesar they helped the Bureau capture wasn’t the real Caesar – it was a toga wearing frat boy.
With the real Caesar still on the loose, Sara has the brilliant idea to steal the Waverider and take care of Caesar on their own. But first they have to swing by Central City to pick up Jax and Stein so that Jax can effect much needed repairs to the ship. The full team shows up in Aruba again and wastes no time in capturing Caesar and returning him to ancient Rome. Using a stolen MiB inspired mind wipe wand from the Time Bureau, the team wipes Caesar’s memory – but the would be Emperor manages to steal a history book from Nate that reveals his unfortunate experience with the Ides of March. The Legends go back to the Waverider thinking they have succeeded in fixing the anachronism, but time isn’t corrected because of the stolen book – and worse: The Time Bureau knows this. Rip and Time Agents pop in to try to fix what the Legends screwed up, and get outmaneuvered by Caesar himself. The Legends go full superhero to save the day, and Rip begrudgingly lets them continue to travel time in the Waverider.
Legends is our third premiere, and it’s our third CW/DC episode in a row where the premise is that our heroine/hero/ensemble has been taken off the board and is in a weird mental state as a result of it. It also falls into this writer has dubbed: The Riker Trap.
The Riker Trap: Named for First Officer William T. Riker of the Starship Enterprise, this particular Television Sin comes from the Season 3/Season 4 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation “Best of Both Worlds” parts one and two. In that classic episode the season 3 finale ended with Riker in possession of a fully charged weapon capable of destroying a Borg Cube, ordering Worf to fire on the ship where Captain Picard has been assimilated and is now a Borg drone. Season 4 resumes with the weapon having no effect and the fans dreams of an epic opening shattered on the floor. The awesome effects of the cliffhanger are quickly and unsatisfyingly resolved so that the show can get back to normal.
The CW series is fond of using The Riker Trap. Season 1 of The Flash employed this with the dangerous black hole that was easily stopped off screen, and Legends uses it here to quickly shuffle away the dinosaurs and any hope that the third season might begin with the Legends having to face up to the damage they caused to the timeline. Instead we get a brief fish out of water story that forces our time traveling heroes to *gasp* get jobs. The high stakes we ended Season 2 with are immediately removed.
The introduction of the Time Bureau is interesting, but so much of their aesthetic is a direct lift from Men in Black – and aside from the fact that they’re stuffy and rules driven, I fail to see how they will make a suitable foil for The Legends.
Then there is Rip Hunter, the character who started off in Season One as mildly interesting but slightly unrelatable spent the second season reduced to a brainwashed heel who returned toward the end of the season as a jealous and insecure jerk. Now his failure is complete and he has become the lame opposition of the heroes of the show. Gone is the cool brown duster and the laser pistol, not he’s got a button down suit and role as the middle manager of the private time cops; which makes no sense for the character because we were introduced to Rip as “the rebel” of The Time Masters.
Hopefully Episode 2 will feel more like the fun, gonzo adventure that Season 2 consistently delivered to us.
Episode 01 MVP: Dominic Purcell, without whom the first episode of Legends of Tomorrow would have been a largely joyless affair.
Episode 01 Honorable Mention: Keiynan Lonsdale, whose brief appearance as Kid Flash was more fun and like comics Wally West than his entire appearance in Episode 01 of The Flash.
Arrow Season 6 Episode 01: “Fallout”
Perhaps for the final time in an Arrow Recap we’ll break the recap into the flashback timeline and the present timeline.
Lian Yu Flashback: We’re told that we will spend no more time on good old Lian Yu, and while I expect that will be proven wrong – we’ll proceed with this final flaming goodbye to the island that turned spoiled Ollie into gruff and heroic Oliver. When we left Ollie at the end of Season 5 he was watching multiple explosions rip across the face of Lian Yu, potentially killing all of his friends. We rejoin him, and his son William, picking through the wreckage looking for survivors – and it isn’t long before they discover that Slade Wilson is alive and well and looking for survivors himself. We’re given little teases of what happened to everyone; Diggle got his shoulder wrecked by some shrapnel, though we suspect something far worse has happened to him mentally; Mr. Terrific and Wild Dog got very lucky, as did Felicity. The main crux of the flashbacks though are the fates of Thea, William’s mother, Black Siren, Quentin Lance and Black Canary: Vice Mayor QL prevented Black Siren from killing Black Canary by shooting his daughter’s evil doppelgänger and – he presumes – killing her. Black Canary decides to lie to the time and convinces Quentin to do the same, to spare him from having to deal with the pain of saying that he shot and killed Laurel. Elsewhere, Slade Wilson leads Oliver to Thea who is bloodied and unconscious but still alive – William’s mother is not so lucky. She urges Oliver to look after their son before dying in front of Oliver. A mysterious helicopter lands on the island and a man in a suit gets out….
Star City: The Present: Oliver and team behave like a well-oiled machine when they take down mercenary Alex Faust who is threatening to fire a deadly missile into the city. Mr. Terrific and his T-Spheres come to the rescue and Faust is taken into custody by the SCPD. Everyone goes back to the Arrow-Cave, settles down with some Big Belly Burger and goes on with their lives like normal. Except things are not normal; a very living Black Siren and her gang shoot their way into the SCPD and Faust blasts his way out. Dinah Drake thinks Siren was targeting Quentin Lance and goes to check on him, only to find he is having yet another struggle with whether or not he should crawl into a bottle over what he did.
Felicity tracks down Black Siren’s gang and the team goes after them, a massive fight ensues – and in the process Diggle struggles with his trembling hand and fails to shoot someone attacking Wild Dog causing Rene to fall off a bridge – collapsing his lung and landing him in the hospital. Quentin and Dinah tell the team that they think Black Siren is targeting Quentin for, you know, killing her: which makes her next target very likely the SCPD Police Academy graduation where QL will be speaking before the graduating class. The team agrees to set up surveillance there, and have some extra anti Siren tech in place that requires Felicity to be onsite; Diggle offers to remain at the Arrow Cave and run comms. Team Arrow hangs out in their civvies at the graduation, waiting for the attack…
Unsurprisingly it was a diversion and Siren’s real target was the Arrow Cave. Black Siren’s team blasts their way in, and Diggle is again trembling and unable to fire his gun, luckily Team Arrow shows up quickly and is able to route the villains and send them packing. On her way out, Black Siren taunts Quentin. After taking stock of the items in the Arrow Cave, the team learns that Siren’s objective was stealing two of Curtis’ prototype T-Spheres.
Oliver gets Rene another court date to try to regain custody of his daughter, Dinah confronts Diggle when she learns he never fired his gun Ollie visits a hospital ward where we learn finally that Thea is alive but in a coma, while there he meets with Slade Wilson who is about to go looking for his son but takes a moment to give Oliver some advice about his struggles with William. Oliver goes home to deal with a son who is still slightly afraid of his father – there is a bonding moment and then Felicity calls with an emergency. Felicity tells him to turn to the news immediately, when he does he sees that someone has leaked a photo of him in full Green Arrow garb with his mask off. Finally, someone has proof that Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow
I’m about to say something I thought I’d never say, I actually feel that this episode of Arrow was stronger than the other three episodes that aired around it. This was a refreshing change of pace from the other three premieres, all of which were about resetting the status quo before reverting back to the regular type of story the shows tell.
Arrow’s premiere was in no way about the status quo, everything in this episode was about change – from Diggle being sidelined by pain or possibly fear, to Dinah stepping up as a stronger member of the team than Laurel ever was, to Oliver and his son having a live in maid, to the final HUGE potential change where Oliver is outed as Green Arrow. This was an episode of Arrow firing on all cylinders, and doing what Arrow does best: which is a small story being told about big personalities. The Oliver/Green Arrow reveal may be short lived, but if this is legitimate it could change the very nature of the series – and in a way in which there is comic book precedent. The statements over the summer were not wrong, this is a lighter and slightly more carefree Oliver, though we are still miles away from the comic book version of the Emerald Archer.
I suspect the next episode will delve a little deeper into what happened in the immediate aftermath of the explosion on Lian Yu so that we can see in greater detail how Felicity survived and more of what fully happened to Diggle. Of course the main thrust of the coming episode is going to be to find a way to deny, once again, that Oliver Queen is a costumed vigilante. Maybe they won’t just handwave this one away, and we’ll see some real consequences on a CW show.
Episode 01 MVP: Juliana Harkavy who has come into her own as Dinah Drake/Black Canary in a way that really gels with the current team, while showing that she could easily take on the role in this team that Dinah Lance serves in the comics.
NEXT WEEK: Supergirl fights a psychic. Barry’s new suit has some glitches. The Legends vs. P.T. Barnum. Oliver Queen is The Green Arrow.