The Legends have returned, announced a (mostly) lighter tone for this season, and find they must kidnap Einstein in order to keep Hitler from developing the atomic bomb first.
No, really. That’s the plot.
The characters also skip across several places and times, Ollie Queen makes an appearance, and we’re introduced, briefly, to the Justice Society of America.
Title: “Out of Time”
Director: Dermott Downs
Writers: Greg Berlanti, Chris Fedak , Marc Guggenheim, Phil Klemmer
Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein /Firestorm
Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer / The Atom
Caity Lotz as Sara Lance / The White Canary
Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory / Heat Wave
Franz Drameh as Jefferson “Jax” Jackson / Firestorm
Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter
Nick Zano as Nate Heywood / Citizen Steel
Neal McDonough as Damien Darhk
Matt Letscher as Eobard Thawne / Reverse-Flash
Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen / The Green Arrow
John Rubinstein as Albert Einstein
Christiaan Westerveld as King Louis VIII
Christina Jastrzembska as Mileva Maric
Rebecca Eady as Queen Anne of Austria
Matthew MacCaull as Commander Steel
Kwesi Ameyaw as Dr. Mid-Nite
Sarah Grey as Stargirl
Amy Pemberton as the Voice of Gideon
Historian destroys any sense that Ollie Queen’s disguise would work, by figuring out (as everyone would) that he’s the Green Arrow and getting his help in finding the sunken Waverider. There, Rory, kept in stasis since the 1940s, retells a bizarre tale that has the Legends skipping throughout history, kidnapping Einstein, and rewriting the altered history of World War II.
The opening swashbuckler sequence tried to establish that the season would be fun; I found it moderately entertaining.
The Legends will team up with the Justice Society. That could be interesting.
They’ve eliminated Vandal Savage, the Hawks (for now), and the irksome Time Masters, and that bodes for a better second season, free from a draggy story arc that clashed with the required tone….
…If they could only figure out what the tone should be. Savage’s place, we have a probable story arc involving an Arrow villain/Flash rogue team-up. The jury remains out on whether this will work any better for the series .1 Chasing one adversary, when you have a time-ship and access to historical records, should theoretically not be much of a challenge.
I know, I know, I know they are going for a lighter, Silver Age feel. I kept getting reminded of how bad many Silver Age comics were. I don’t know if there’s much point picking nits in a show like this–
The utter idiocy of “Nazis kidnap Einstein and get the bomb first plot.”
The fact that everyone, regardless of geographical location and historical era, speaks twentieth-century English, except for the Nazis.2
The fact that, while Einstein was not faithful in his relationships, he was not the crude womanizer presented here3
The use of Sara’s sexuality as little more than a cheap lure for the horny boy demographic
–but too many of these, especially crammed into one chaotic hour, really grate, even if the ep has the excuse that we’re listening to Rory’s version of the tale.4
Effects: 5/6 The effects are good, given how many they tried in one episode. The CGI dinosaur wasn’t especially convincing, but that kind of CGI is difficult to do well on a TV budget.
Acting: 4/6 The acting is often fine, but the script cannot seem to center most of the characters. Caity Lotz continues to rock as the fighting Canary, and she delivers her sex jokes with relish, but she’s still battling a script that can’t differentiate between “alternate sexuality” and “nudge-nudge, wink-wink.”
Story: 3/6 The story is an idiotic premise filled with missed opportunities for whole episodes. For example, why not track the timelost members down over several weeks? The timelost sequences present a perfect opportunity for character-building and tense storytelling. Instead, we get CGI and sex jokes.
Emotional Response: 4/6
Production: 5/6 This episode showed us a lot of different places. Granted, they were often stripped-down versions of those places, but this isn’t Game of Thrones, so I’m happy with how well it managed with a demanding script.
Overall: 4/6 Look, everyone will see this differently. Some people will find the new direction and the episode’s inherent silliness as funny as any Silver Age romp, and that’s fine. I wanted more, even from a mostly-lighthearted superhero series.
In total, “Out of Time” receives 27/42
1. Supposedly, it will lead to the Legion of Doom, which could work very well in the context of this type of show.
2. Yeah, I’d be willing to give them that one, because it’s somewhat necessary and kind of funny.
3. Of course, the show plays fast and loose with history, but they also want to present Einstein as, well, Einstein. Stein in particular is in awe. That should trump cheap jokes about groping women.5
4. I’ll rescind my objection if, in fact, it turns out that Rory is distorting the truth.
5. Because I’d never indulge in such cheap shots.