Did episode 5 continue the deeper and more relevant tones of last week or did it resume the high-octane action the show has always been known for. The answer is somewhere in-between.
So let’s get this monkey smoking…
*********SPOILERS LIKE DRIFT RACING AT A DEAD SHOW************
The SYNOPSIS from TVGuide.com
Season 2, Episode 5
November 10, 2016
The Legends trace a timequake to President Reagan's White House and are shocked to discover their old enemy Damien Darhk is now a Senior Adviser to Reagan. While the team tries to uncover what Darhk is up to, Sara struggles with whether to seek revenge or help with the team's larger mission. Elsewhere, Stein tries to prevent his younger self from creating an even bigger time aberration.
In last week’s column, we discovered that Legends of Tomorrow shared a common theme with every other CW Arrowverse show and that theme is change. We discussed that when including the other shows this thematic exploration may be the largest undertaking in TV history, in that there are no less than 40 characters concurrently dealing with change and how each of them deal with change. We also discussed how Legends of Tomorrow differs from the other shows because the time travel is the star, the guest stars the hook and how the action demands some of the emotional undertones need to be muted so the complex plot can be clear.
With all of those things holding true, in some ways episode 5 turned some of that on its head deciding to favor a less action packed installment to cultivate the character study in change. While the action was there in the end sequences, the majority of this episode took the time to develop the relationship between the viewer and the characters which had been sorely missing up until last week’s heavy and important episode from the Civil War. The breath that they take to build characters this week is completely compelling and most entertaining. From Ray eating Reagan’s jellybeans to Obsidian’s revelation he has a man waiting at home the journey in Compromised is custom built for longtime fans of these characters.
The heavy thematic hand of change in this episode on display front and center starts with the captain. Sara is throwing off the last vestiges of her assassin persona in order to be the legend she always hoped to be. In fact, her and Stein share a journey of sorts in this episode. Both are examinations of just how far the characters have come and the acceptance things are no longer as they were. For Sara, it is the realization that she cannot kill Darhk that facilitates her acceptance and for Stein it is his younger self, brash and focused that makes him realize that change is sometimes for the better. For Jax the change is within; he has yet to process what he experienced as a slave in the Civil War and it makes him want to change history for the better not just clean up the mess. Vixen has probably the most obvious vehicle of thematic change in this episode and it includes Obsidian. She learns that the future is not always bright and that her friends in the JSA disappeared and it may or may not be her fault. She goes through this while watching Obsidian change his perspective on whether Vixen abandoned him or not. Mick learns that to deal with the loss of Cold he wanted Ray to be Cold and realizes at last it is just painful to dig up the past. Ray is finally learning who he is.
Lance Henriksen (like everything he does) is amazing as Obsidian and I hope there are more appearances ahead. Our catalyst of change this week overall is the time period. The signing of the nuclear arms treaty in 1987 was a time of unrest and change for the US and it perfectly facilitates the less action oriented episode because the interest and intrigue are high but the physical threat much lower.
Legends of Tomorrow after one season and four episodes has finally got some meat on its skeleton. The meticulous planning and build up this season is finally ready to payoff. The team up of Reverse Flash and Damien Darhk makes the stakes world ending high and are perfectly played by their actors.
The introduction of items like the Time Sphere and the Time Seismograph are Easter eggs we have all been waiting for and it is just a matter of time until the sci-fi gets cranked up to 10 in this show. Legends of Tomorrow is a much watch and make sure to watch it last in your CW lineup to get the full crossover effect.
Tell the monkey to crush his butt…