Review: Did ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Already Kill Off One of Its Main Heroes?
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Pilot, Part 2”
I’ve already made my general thoughts clear on the first two Legends of Tomorrow outings (technically one, if we’re to consider this “Pilot, Part 2”), but the second half struck a clear enough blow to merit a few quick additional thoughts. Again, don’t peer any further beyond here without a spoiler warning, but could Legends really have killed off one of its core teammates in only a second episode? Let’s talk.
The question arose in the aftermath of a madcap battle at Vandal Savage’s private estate (looking awfully similar to Damien Darhk’s), after Ray, Leonard Snart and Mick Rory ventured to retrieve a mystical dagger the once belonged to the Hawks, and might supposedly kill their connection to Vandal Savage. Carter (Falk Hentschel) spent the better part of the episode attempting to jog Kendra’s memory of the artifact’s sacred (and foreign) inscription, one needing to be spoken aloud before the kill, but both failed to decipher that it was Kendra – and not he – that needed to wield the knife.
In the midst of a chaotic (and admittedly impressive) battle, Carter got the jump on Savage to deliver the killing blow, only for Savage to taunt the Hawks with their mistake, flip the dagger and kill Carter, seemingly for good with the absorption of his life force. Kendra too suffered some near-mortal wounds, but eventually escaped with now-recovered memories of her millenia-long love for Carter. D’awws.
Still, the Hawks’ very nature dictates that Carter will eventually reincarnate, and the series’ premise does allow for alternate Carters in any time, so how realistically should we take this? On the one hand, I’m not entirely certain if Hentschel’s status puts him on the same series regular tier as Ciara Renee, given his later casting, and it’d make a certain sense for Legends to treat Carter as a Coulson figure the team bands around avenging, given how much they’ve already borrowed from Marvel.
If anything, the series might be better off to keep Kendra as the sole Hawk, given how forced and man-splainy the dynamic between Kendra and Carter has felt from the very beginning. Not only that, but Renee herself would probably be better served with Kendra discovering the extent of her abilities and history alone, perhaps flipping the dynamic to teach an alternate Carter, should Falk Hentschel remain among the cast in a different form. It’s a bold choice for the premiere, and one of the first major emotional beats to resonate, and I’m more invested in seeing how showrunners handle that, than anything else.
The other main pull of the night largely served to riff on Back to the Future, right down to nicknaming Martin Stein’s younger self “Marty,” and playing the “erased from existence” game with regards to Marty meeting his future wife. As I wrote in the first review, those kinds of playful winks can prove every bit as divisive as they fun, giving the team a lot to play with (Caity Lotz was a particular highlight in her stoned flirtation), albeit at the cost* of narrative reason. I’m not entirely certain the elder Stein’s “arrogance” read well enough overall to create a worthwhile arc, either, but anything to put the character on a more even keel with Jackson, after the abysmal kidnapping last week.
*Nitpicking aside, neither Rip nor the Waverider have anything to replicate an alpha particle tracker Stein developed in 1975? Why couldn’t the older Stein just build a new one? If they had to risk altering the timeline to get his counterpart’s why risk interacting with him at all, when you have a master assassin and two career criminals (and that knockout device from last week) at your disposal? It’s clear the writers are more interested in a Back to the Future riff than explanations, but not everyone may forgive that so easily.
There was a crazy amount to take in this week, less burdened by the exposition that dragged last week down, and surrounded by some exceptional fight sequences to boot. Even amid all the above, the series’ chaotic headspace somehow found room to bond Snart and Routh in the heist, and I get the sense that tonight’s outing is much closer to what the series wants to be overall.
Concept episodes like some we’ve heard about might fare better overall, but if we’re going to be putting up with Legends of Tomorrow’s weird exhibitions through time, I’m much more inclined to follow the version willing to take some narrative swings here and there.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- Well hey there, Damien Darhk! Maybe your 1975 self will provide some crucial intel to Arrow, rather than a random cameo!
- I mentioned last time as well, the whole “wet cement” time analogy really falls apart, when you consider that any timeline damage Legends can concoct has to be undone by the following Tuesday.
- Were neither Snart nor Rory’s guns capable of destroying that cage?
- I guess Rip gave a pretty good pep talk, that Marty was cool enough to forget the universe-imploding timeship, and go meet up with his future wife! Unless we’re to imagine something more nefarious there …
Legends of Tomorrow will return February 4 with “Blood Ties”, airing at 8:00 P.M. on The CW.
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