Legends of Tomorrow is the stupidest show. The show is rife with plot holes and sketchy acting. And yet, it’s the most earnest and genuine of the CW DC shows and has some of the most fleshed-out characters in the Arrowverse. Season 5 began with the final episode of Crisis on Infinite Earths, but the season is truly underway this week as the Legends have to cope with both the aftermath of that event and the fallout of the corruption of the Time Bureau last season. The result is that the Legends have to allow a documentary crew on their ship to follow their exploits, and the crew joins the ship just in time for the first anomaly of the season to pop off.
Last year, John’s trip to Hell resulted in some of history’s worst villains–real villains–being unleashed back on the earth. This week, the team faces off against a villain that is legendary for his roach-like will to survive. Beware spoilers for Legends of Tomorrow Season 5, Episode 2: “Meet the Legends.”
“Meet the Legends”
It’s hard to tell if the Legends are hurting or helping things, but at least they’re entertaining while they do it. As the heroes chased down the hellish fairy tale monsters last season, a demon named Neron infiltrated the Time Bureau that oversaw the Legends’ activities. Neron infiltrated the Legends’ own team, too, and possessed Ray Palmer to turn him into an evil tech mogul.
All of this has put the Legends on the government’s radar, and when we rejoin them, the members of the team not involved in the crossover are prepping for a documentary team to join them. They’re also preparing for Sarah and Ray’s return from the Crisis crossover.
The best kind of stupid
Explaining the plot in depth for Legends just isn’t necessary. In short, they have to fight Rasputin–that Rasputin–and it goes badly because he’s now quite literally immortal. The team isn’t communicating because they’re tiptoeing around Sara, who is still hurting from Oliver’s death. But then they work together, and the beat the non-Russian-speaking, bad-accent-having Rasputin in a bloody explosion. It’s very dumb, and I loved every minute of it.
Legends of Tomorrow is vividly aware of what it is in a way no other comic book show is. The episode starts with Nate Heywood explaining why the rest of the Legends don’t participate in “the Crossover.” It ends with two of the characters discussing how their adventures would make for a bad television show because “the stuff that happens on this ship would be really hard for people to follow.” In the time since the finale, the Legends have become famous; Mick’s alter ego, Rebecca Silver, is a wildly successful author, and Mona is acting as his manager. The Legends are seen hanging out with the Obamas, presenting Academy Awards, and more.
In the middle, there are some fun fights. Caity Lotz and the stunt double she works with–it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other ends thanks to some good camera work–have some of the most entertaining scenes on television. When Sara starts kicking ass, I believe it utterly and completely.
Genuine emotion shines through
Despite the silliness, there’s a lot of room for character growth and serious moments. The climactic battle of the previous season killed Nick Zano’s Nate Heywood, and the team altered the timeline. Zari was replaced by her brother, Behrad Tarazi. To the team, he’s been with them the whole time. For us viewers, we know that Zari is missing, but the team has no idea, creating a strange emptiness in the scenes with Behrad.
That’s intentional, I think, though. The end of the episode has Zari reaching out from somewhere else in time and space to send an SOS to the team. Only Nate sees it, and he doesn’t remember who this woman is talking to him.
Caity Lotz is great
Caity Lotz gets a standout moment after the other Legends have thoroughly botched stopping Rasputin. Ava had asked the Legends not to bring up Oliver’s death because she didn’t think Sara would want to think about it (and because Ava is notoriously bad at emotional intimacy). Sara, though, wants nothing more than to talk about Oliver and the Crisis. The other members of the team literally have no idea what she’s gone through.
Lotz delivers a particularly strong and touching performance here. I can’t help but think of the sideways glance I gave Legends when the CW announced it, and the shade I threw throughout its (very bad) first season. Lotz has become one of the Arrowverse’s strongest actors.
Bad News Bears
At the end of the episode, as the team is set to talk about their documentary, the director asks them to be heroic instead of acting like themselves. Little does he know, this is the worst possible thing you can say to a Legend. They play the documentary off as being entirely falsified, and people are so ready to believe them that it works.
In short, this is a typical Legends of Tomorrow episode in all the right ways. It’s silly and self-aware, breaking the fourth wall in ways that would make Deadpool proud. It’s serious when it needs to be, giving us touching moments with characters, and it often uses the silliness to get us to the touching moments. But it’s also fun, action-packed, and never ever slow.
Despite its slow start with that first season, Legends of Tomorrow has been one of the most consistently good, least-troubled shows in the Arrowverse if you’re willing to meet it where it’s at. And I’m there for it.