Legends of Tomorrow finally hits its stride as everybody gets something fun to do.
This episode review of Legends of Tomorrow contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow is at its strongest when the cast and crew are having as much fun making the show as I am watching. The cast all have good acting chops, and the stories are often great, but the show peaks when the cast is on the edge of breaking down because someone else is being hilarious, or when their interactions are so natural it feels like they’re not even trying to act. The Freaky Friday situation this week gave us plenty of the former, and Brandon Routh and Tala Ashe gave us a bunch of the latter. But that’s not to say that the rest of the cast and crew didn’t shine this week.
The three-act structure is fairly brilliantly done: Jax and Stein get body-swapped as the team discovers Helen of Troy stuck in 1930’s Hollywood. They save Helen and stop a Hollywood studio war (an actual shooting war between Hollywood studios), only to discover that the Waverider is falling apart around them. So they have to convince Hedy Lamarr to get back into Hollywood after she was forced out by Helen. The show does some good plot work with a couple of big reveals – we discover that Lady Eleanor from last week is actually Nora Darhk, Damien’s daughter pulled from a point in the future. Amaya discovers that Kuasa is actually her granddaughter, as the two of them fight on the Waverider. And Damien makes it clear that Mallus is forming a dark version of the Legends, complete with parallels to the current team – Kuasa and Amaya are mirror reflections, as are Zari and Nora, and Damien makes his parallels with Sara clear as they fight in the climax of the episode. Both are Assassin-trained, smart, capable leaders of odd teams; both have spent time dead; and both are pretty iron-willed. This is a pretty exciting revelation.
Meanwhile, the show mines so much humor out of Franz Drameh’s Stein impression and Victor Garber’s Jax. Everyone’s laughs felt genuine, right down to Neal McDonough, who vamps it up as Stax (Stein in Jax’s body). But the people doing the best work here are Garber and Drameh. Drameh putting on stuffy old Stein’s mannerisms, peppering his lines with old person jokes, and fanboying all over Hedy Lamarr is a delight to watch. Garber’s almost-Brooklyn accent as he tries to imitate Jax is gibberish, but not much more gibberish than Drameh’s fake American accent. But really, if Victor Garber goes out on “You were gonna do the nasty in the past-ey,” man, what a way to leave a show.
“Helen Hunt” was as much fun as I’ve had watching Legends, and this is the earliest that the show has found its groove out of any season. I’m really hopeful for the rest of this one.
DC UNIVERSE TIME BUBBLES
-Well, there’s the big one that came right at the end: Zari drops Helen of Troy off in ancient Themiscyra. This is on the heels of the Batman reference in Arrow, and the ongoing existence of Superman in Supergirl. Feels like a matter of time before we get some kind of trinity show.
-I’m pretty sure Jax and Stein’s “You’re me and I’m you” and Ray’s “Oh pancakes” are from the Jamie Lee Curtis/Lindsay Lohan Freaky Friday that came out in 2003.
-I loved the old movie serial title card they used for this episode, rather than the traditional Waverider-flying-through-time thing.
-We get confirmation that Kuasa is carrying a “water totem.” It doesn’t have a comics equivalent, but I’m still on my Green/Red kick. I’m now wondering if we’re going to get a Blue and a White added in – water for Kuasa and air for Zari.
-The biggest revelation in this week’s episode: Hedy Lamarr was actually a genius. I don’t know if this was common knowledge, but this is super cool. Good on the show for dropping it in there and not explaining it.
-Next week: they are 100% gonna do Apocalypse Now, only with Gorilla Grodd as Colonel Kurtz.