Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s Season 2 Premiere, “Out of Time”:

Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 didn’t really lend itself to weekly write-ups, not only for its habit of feeling inconsequential against the goings-on of Arrow and The Flash, but also the narrative wheel-spinning built into the formula. Either the team took one step forward, two steps back against a poorly-realized Vandal Savage, or we’d retreat into a gimmick episode. Season 1 worked on an escapist level; indulging production fantasies of different eras week after week, or staging (admittedly ambitious) Kaiju fights, but producers seem to have realized that Season 2 needed an overhaul.

“Out of Time” feels pretty up front about that from the beginning, to introduce Nick Zano’s Nate Heywood as the outsider providing audience perspective, and easing us back into things with a familiar face like Stephen Amell. For the most part, it’s pretty effective, as while Oliver ends up somewhat superfluous to the story (I presume he took that submarine he apparently owns back to Star City?), it helps to have a sense of urgency to tracking down*  the team, and Dominic Purcell is never not fun to spend time with. Heywood’s investigation also has the added function of laying groundwork for a few future stories, and even if subsequent weeks fall back into the regular team dynamic, it’s still a more focused story engine than “well, how can we stall on killing Vandal Savage this week?”

*Honestly, I’m surprised “Out of Time” opted to reunite the team as quickly as it did. This was my second watch, and by the time they’d averted the strike on New York City, I’d almost forgotten the hour would swing back to rescue everyone from their respective time periods. Those individual predicaments could easily have been stretched into their own episodes, but then again, Season 2 doesn’t have the padding of a 22, or even 16 episode order just yet.

Or the funding to get this jerk a new suit, already.

Legends knows more or less what it wants to be; the kind of series that can indulge a swashbuckling laser-fight while Sara beds the Queen of France, then pivot to Ray Palmer running from a dinosaur, and kidnap Einstein in the same episode, and that approach isn’t without merit. The series came at least partially from a desire to occupy different space than a costumed superhero protecting their city (not to mention keep certain stars handy), even if it’s admittedly tougher now to figure out exactly how much weirdness overlap it shares with similarly out-there series like Supergirl.

Some of the same seams still show, and it isn’t as though “Out of Time” stops for any real character development beyond Sara chasing after Damien Darhk, or Rip galvanizing the team to protect history in his absence. As far as premieres go, this was about as much fun as Legends of Tomorrow could find space to cram in, and I’m at least interested to see how Reverse-Flash changes the dynamic.

AND ANOTHER THING …

  • For what it’s worth, don’t bother scrutinizing the logistics any more than you did last year. Whether Oliver owns a submarine, or if killing Darhk, Flashpoint, or any other time shenanigans ever add up, only Grodd knows.
  • I’ll presume the submarine is our “Legion of Doom” headquarters, or at least a passing reference.
  • Incidentally, the early screener granted to critics had the same Helicarrier temp music from The Avengers as the pilot screener used for the Waverider.
  • I’m trying to figure out just how many times Darhk has actually met Sara in different time periods, and now I’ve gone cross-eyed.
  • I presume Ray’s suit was still on the Waverider when Rip sent him to dinosaur times, but why were Stein and Jackson in any real danger? Or Sara, for that matter?
  • It’ll probably come up next week, but if you’re looking for clues to find Rip Hunter … how about any of the research Nate had already done? Waverider in Egypt, people!
  • Poor Hawk-people didn’t even get a mention!
  • Apparently there was a JSA introduction a the end that wasn't on the screener? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 will return October 20 with “The Justice Society of America,” airing at 8:00 P.M. on The CW.

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