Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 13, 2017)
A superhero team created for TV, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow returns for more action and adventure. This three-disc set includes all 17 of Season Two’s episodes. The plot synopses come from IMDB.
Out of Time: “When a new threat emerges, Dr. Nate Heywood (Nick Zano) seeks out Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) to help find the scattered Legends. Once reunited, they go to 1942, to keep Albert Einstein (John Rubinstein) from being kidnapped before the Nazis destroy New York City with a nuclear bomb.”
Though the inclusion of Einstein feels gimmicky, “Time” still delivers a solid start to Season Two. It manages a nice mix of action, intrigue and comedy to bring us a lively opener.
The Justice Society of America: “The Legends discover a time aberration that threatens the Justice Society of America, who are on a mission to intercept and seize a mysterious package in Nazi-occupied Paris.”
Ah, the Justice Society, the 1940s precursor to the more famous Justice League! Legends takes major liberties with JSA members – it includes almost no one from the 1940s group – but that’s understandable and unavoidable.
“Society” tends to “go silly” more often than I’d like, and S2’s tendency to treat the Legends as a band of bickering goofballs may get old, but the show still offers reasonable fun. Boy, does a CG monster shown here look awful, though – the series’ budget can’t muster the quality needed to pull off fully animated characters.
Shogun: “Nate is shocked to learn he has powers, but then accidentally lands himself and Ray (Brandon Routh) in Feudal Japan.”
After two good episodes, S2 sags with the mediocre “Shogun”. The show does little more than embrace clichés, so despite a few solid action scenes, the program’s overall impact seems lackluster.
Abominations: “The Legends find themselves fighting for survival against Confederate zombies in the Civil War.”
Civil war zombies. Alrighty then!
That’s not the only problem with “Abominations”, as it continues the series’ affection for moralizing. The episode makes sure we know that racism and sexism are bad. I already was aware of those conceits, so I don’t need Legends to tell me. The mix of silly and condescending makes “Abominations” a relatively weak show.
Compromised: “The Legends trace a time quake to the White House during Ronald Reagan's presidency and discover that Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) is a Senior Adviser.”
With McDonough and Lance Henriksen in tow, “Compromised” allows S2 to rebound. The move to the 80s also adds some spark, so the episode gives us a fun, involving tale that gives me hope the season will perk up from here.
Outlaw Country: “The Legends find Jonah Hex (Johnathon Schaech) in trouble with his arch-nemesis Quentin Turnbull (Jeff Fahey) when they arrive in the Old West.”
As our new character, Nate seems awfully similar to Ray, and his powers do little more than copy those of Colossus from X-Men. As played by Zano, he becomes likable enough, but he doesn’t add much that I’d call fresh.
That factor aside, “Outlaw” works reasonably well. It plays into too many Western clichés but it still gives us some good twists, especially and it lets Mick be Mick and show his semi-dark side.
Invasion!: “The Legends work with The Flash (Grant Gustin), Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and Green Arrow (Amell) to kill the invaders. While working out how to defeat the Dominators, Stein (Victor Garber) gets distracted by the aberration he created in 1987.”
Here comes S2’s big “crossover episode”! Unfortunately, its story elements come out of nowhere because it connects to episodes from three other series, all of which aired prior to this one.
Sure, “Invasion” gives us a quick recap at its start, but it still feels out of the blue. If you can watch the related episodes from the other series first, that’s best.
If not – which was the case for me – “Invasion” still entertains, as it offers good action and intrigue. I would’ve preferred to see it in it original sequence – as the fourth of four programs – but I’ll survive. Still, it would’ve been nice if the package included the three episodes from the other series in this package as well.
The Chicago Way: “The Legends track a Time Aberration to 1927 Chicago and realize they've been set up by Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher), Damien Dahrk and the newest member of the Legion of Doom: Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman).
As soon as I read this episode’s title, I figured it’d concern itself with 1920s gangsters. While “Way” leaves few clichés unturned, it still churns out a good show, as it offers fun/action along with a nice advancement of various arcs.
Raiders of the Lost Art: “Damien Dahrk and Malcolm Merlyn create a big aberration as they attempt to capture Rip (Arthur Darvill) in 1967.”
As teased at the end of “Way”, Rip returns in a clever manner, and his presence brings a spark to “Art”, especially in his use as a film director. The main plot moves ahead well and a lot of delightful elements appear here – including a “cameo” from a famous filmmaker.
The Legion of Doom: “The Legends must find the Spear of Destiny before they can rescue Rip, while Malcolm and Damien realize that Thawne is pitting them against each other.”
Expect a plot-heavy episode from “Doom”, as it devotes much of its time to narrative arc elements. That makes it productive but less entertaining than its recent predecessors.
Turncoat: “The Legends travel to the winter of 1776 to protect George Washington (Randall Batinkoff) during the American Revolution, but Sara (Caity Lotz) is forced to send out Nate and Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) when things don't go as planned.
Any show that opens with the assassination of George Washington gets my attention, even if I know it won’t “stick”. “Turncoat” uses other aspects of its Revolutionary War setting to its advantage and becomes a lively, entertaining episode.
Camelot/3000: “The Legends continue their quest to find the Spear of Destiny before the Legion of Doom get their hands on the pieces. Their first stop is the future, after which they travel to Camelot and find Stargirl (Sarah Grey) guarding a piece of the Spear.”
After so many trips to the past, it’s nice to see Legends push to the future every once in a while. Alas, we spend little time in the 31st century, as most of the show dallies in Arthurian times. This mostly works well, as the episode pokes at those myths in a fun manner.
Land of the Lost: “The Legends are left seventy million years in the past when Rip causes the Waverider to crash after his capture.”
Is it a spoiler to relate that the Legends don’t end up stranded in prehistoric times? “Lost” actually splits its time between that side of the story and a battle in Rip's mind, neither of which works all that well. While the show moves along the overall season arc, it’s not one of the more entertaining experiences.
Moonshot: “The Legends learn where the last fragment of the Spear of Destiny is hidden when they track Commander Steel to NASA Headquarters in 1970.”
If you think you’ll get through the episode without a “Houston, we have a problem” quote, think again. That predictable moment aside, “Moonshot” offers a mostly enjoyable episode, as it mixes action and plot well.
Fellowship of the Spear: “The Legends land in France during World War I and enlist the aid of JRR Tolkien (Jack Turner) to retrieve the last pieces of the Spear of Destiny from the Legion of Doom.”
I must admit the show’s connection of the Spear as an obvious influence for Tolkien’s “One Ring” seems a little cheesy. That said, “Spear” treats the material in a surprisingly dramatic way, as it lacks the cutesy factor I expected. The episode ratchets up toward the climax nicely.
Doomworld: “The Legion of Doom rewrites history after obtaining the Spear of Destiny, potentially changing the Legends forever.”
“Alternate timeline” shows like this tend to be fun, mainly because they get to take goofy liberties with the characters. That side of the program adds cleverness and helps lead the season toward its finale.
Aruba: “When a massive timequake rocks the ship while the legends are preparing for their next destination, they must break a cardinal rule of time travel.”
As expected, “Aruba” delivers a big action spectacular that wraps up the whole Spear thread. It goes a little kooky with all its time-rending machinations, but it still throws out a lively, exciting finish.
At the start of S2, I had some doubts about how well it’d work, as I feared it’d just be one “adventure in time” after another. However, the overall narrative arc held the year together and turned it into a pretty strong year.