‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1 Finale: A Timemaster is Never Late!

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Spoilers everywhere!

Well, now. Given the events of the previous episode, particularly what happened to our beloved Snart, Captain Hunter has decided to take all our Legends home, back to 2016. The thing is, it’s May 2016, not January, when they officially left the first time. And once again, Captain Hunter has taken it upon himself to what he believes just has to be the right thing, without consulting anyone else on the team, and our Legends are understandably upset.

Those of us who keep up with all the CW DC shows (Arrow, Flash, and, soon, Supergirl) remember that the Black Canary left us recently. Sara didn’t know that though, and she is justifiably devastated. Meanwhile, Rory is trying to go back to his old life with a new partner, and of course that isn’t working, either. Ray coming to save Rory and become his new partner is one of the most unlikely things to happen in this universe, but then again, perhaps not. Harken back to the Russian gulag episode, and we see a strange understanding begin to develop between “Haircut,” as Rory calls Ray, and Heatwave. Stein and his wife are trying to rebuild and of course our silver fox is restless, and Jax just can’t let the mission to stop Vandal Savage die, either. If nothing else, Carter and Kendra still need to be saved; bring the Waverider back here, right now!

So where, or rather when and where, the hell is Kendra anyway? Someplace called Saint Lo, France, in 1944, apparently. Some helmeted skullduggery (how did she know how to do that again?) allows our hunting Legends to figure out the answer to both questions, and off the ship goes to catch our wayward Hawk folk!

Okie doke, so now it’s time for some background, if you haven’t been paying attention to the major background plots of Legends of Tomorrow. Way back when, in ancient Egyptian times when all this stuff with Savage and our Hawk folk popped off, the Thanagarians sent three meteorites with alien technology to earth. Combined with the blood of Carter and Kendra, Savage is going to take these three meteorites he’s been chasing all over time and literally re-write time itself, according to his wishes. The Thanagarians and the Hawk people have a long and rich history in the DC-verse, so introducing this depth of a storyline is actually quite cool.

Sara Lance is perhaps the finest female character on the show, and to see her literally begging Captain Hunter to go back and save her sister is truly heartbreaking. Why can’t Hunter go back just a few measly months and help Sara save Laurel? Some muckity-muck about timelines and alternate multiple deaths, which is kind of the show’s way of saying, “Her death is now canon in the Arrow-verse and there really isn’t anything we can do about it.” I had kind of hoped for a better thought-out explanation, but hey, we recall along with Sara that Laurel was the one who convinced Sara to go serve and save as the White Canary, so perhaps that’s the encouragement she needs to never, ever give up fighting.

Dude, lookit, we now have a plan! Three plans, to be precise. Somehow, yet another thing that wasn’t explained too clearly, but who cares: Vandal Savage is able to be three places at once, crossing his own timeline. (I bet Sam Beckett could tell Savage that was never a good idea.) And he’s after the three Thanagarian meteorites, armed with Hawk folk blood, for the timeline re-write ritual too! In 1958, according to Stein, there was a rare alignment of the Earth with Thanagar, so, of course, one Savage will be there/then. The ATOM and Heatwave are waiting in hiding for their turn to heat things up! St. Roch in 2021 finds current-Savage with Kendra, preparing for the ritual, while Captain Hunter and a newly-resolved and becostumed Carter anxiously await much asskickery! And in Norway in 1975, while Sara is dealing with thugs and a nuclear bomb, Jax and Stein wait to take people out as Firestorm!

This really is the ultimate climax scene of the entire season of Legends of Tomorrow, where, in unlikely pairs, our Legends all simultaneously take out a different Vandal Savage and stop alien armageddon! Kendra bursts her bonds with a mighty flap of her wings as Carter is downed and sets upon Vandal Savage with the fury of four thousand years of deaths, persecution, and lies! Sara Lance in her leather whites besets another Vandal Savage with the quip, “A Timemaster is never late,” and proceeds to kick his ass up, down, and sideways! Wait, did she just say that, about herself? Ooh. Layers. The ATOM is dealing with flying monkey monsters while Heatwave just puts the beatdown on the man who caused the death of his beloved partner, the other half of his sundered soul, we miss you already Leonard Snart. A savage neck-snap, a pillar of fire, and an intimate stab through the heart later, and the changed timeline bubble-ripples across the land, as Rip Hunter finally gets his revenge. But it’s not over yet!

Still got to deal with those damned meteorites, right? The ATOM shrinks one of em, no problem there. Firestorm freaking vaporizes another one, and with the help of the AI ship, all our Legends are back together for the final ball of destruction. But these other methods aren’t working anymore, so once again the Captain takes it upon himself to grab the death-ball with the Waverider and fly it into the sun! Of course this means the death of Captain Rip Hunter, the AI Gideon, and the ship Waverider, and we simply cannot have that. It’s time for some final soul-searching, for forgiveness, and ultimately, for some real responsibility taken for all these actions in the shows previous episodes. Leave it to the AI to say, “I’m not ready to die.”

Since the Chronoflow was pretty much destroyed, the Oculus doesn’t help any more, either. The Timemasters scattered to the winds and there’s no real police force against Vandal Savage (or any other DC villains) messing with the timelines; that is the new job of Captain Hunter and our Legends! Sara at Laurel’s graveside remembers her dear sister and takes on the new mission in her name. Stein gets a loving but firm push out the door from his wife, and Jax, because Firestorm is truly meant for changing things for the better. Poor Rory takes a farewell jaunt back to Central City in 2013, and — aw, my heart is melting — he went to meet Snart one last time. This is what we call a loving full-circle coming around, as Rory stumbles about telling Snart he’s a hero, the best guy Rory ever knew. We all saw Snart struggle and resist the heroic ideal while part of the crew of the Waverider, and yet he truly became one somehow, perhaps because he knew it was important. Not to the universe, or even to the other Legends, but to his best friend, the guy who had his back from when they were pickpocket-y pre-teens, his partner, his brother: Mick Rory.

So now, we’re finally back where we began, the team gathered in Star City, preparing to go off on the Waverider with Captain Rip Hunter! Well, everyone but Carter and Kendra, who want to make a go at a “normal life.” Being reincarnated Hawk peoples might make that kind of difficult, you just know they’ll show up again in season two. But wait! It’s another Waverider, piloted by — holy shit, it’s Rex Tyler, a member of the Justice Society of America!

Legends of Tomorrow has never shied away from bringing in relatively obscure but beloved DC characters, and this drop of Patrick J. Adams as Rex Tyler, also known as Hourman in the DC-verse, is no exception. There was Connor Hawke, a legacy of Green Arrow; world-destroyer Per Degaton; son of Deathstroke, called Ravager in the comics; even the redoubtable cowboy of the DC world, Jonah Hex. But this finale episode really stuck it to us eternal fans in the best way possible, by introducing the Justice Society of America for season two!

I enjoyed this series way more than I ever thought I would, and hope you-all have enjoyed running through it with me and fellow Agent Nur Hussein. While, yes, there may be some issues in translating the time travel twisty funnery to the audience in a believable way, that’s honestly not really what we’re here for. These characters and their enduring story of personal drama, idealistic morals and epic ass-kickery in the face of pure evil ensures that they really are legendary. We can’t wait to see what season two brings!

XXX

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E11: Welcome to a Town Called Salvation

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Sharp-shootin’ spoilers a-comin’!

Ah, yes. Here we are hiding in the Old West, away from the Hunters the Time Masters sent after our Legends, and of course the town is called Salvation. Ray is immediately fan-boying the whole old west scene and Sarah wants to take a look around outside, so everyone gets ship-made, era-appropriate clothing and some pistols and away we go!

The entrance of our Legends in their various western-style getups with that slo-mo gangster walk and the heroic cowboy music into the town of Salvation is a hoot and a holler and looks fun and laughably ridiculous. Sarah and Rory immediately begin a drinking binge with alcohol that could take the paint off your walls, Stein surprisingly gets to gambling with Snart, and Kendra has an unexpected encounter in the saloon over (what else?) a disagreement on how to treat ladies, even saloon ladies. Next thing you know, Snart’s killed a bad guy and started a bar brawl. It’s the old west right? But things are almost immediately stopped by a smart figure in a very old uniform with a uniquely scarred face, the bounty hunter extraordinaire of the cowboy-inspired part of DC comics, Jonah Hex!

Of course, idiot Ray, with his penchant for modern history names like the highly original “John Wayne,” wants to save the town of Salvation from the tyranny of the Stillwater gang and insists the crew stay to do so. Never mind that Ray finds himself the new Sheriff and really has not a bit of experience with pistols,  he is good at planning and strategizing. So, when the Stillwater gang comes in for their first confrontation, they get an invitation to go packing from the carefully placed sharp-shooter Legends arranged about the town square!

Not a bit of this impresses Jonah Hex (Jonathon Schaech), however, who reminds our Legends that whenever they do decide to leave Salvation with the Stillwater gang matter unresolved, the same thing that happened to Calvert will happen here. What is Calvert, we ask? Gideon explains it was a town in Oklahoma a few years before their current time-location that was destroyed in the aftermath of a younger Rip Hunter and Jonah Hex feeling their oats and regrets. Yes, our Captain knew Jonah Hex from before; the show even implies that Hunter’s murdered son in the future, Jonas, is named in Hex’s honor.

Stein, meanwhile, is very taken with the kind woman with the dying son from the original bar brawl. He has the consumption, you see, and his mother wanted him to see the west and ride that stagecoach he always wanted to, before tuberculosis takes him down completely. Stein, with his large heart and science-y brain, absolutely refuses to sit by and let this happen, insisting on the Waverider synthesizing a cure as close to old western medicine as he can manage, and giving it to the boy.

Sarah and Kendra have gone off riding into the woods to go looking for the woman Kendra encountered at the saloon, who, of course, offers them a lead-lined greeting when they find her. Turns out, this older, hardened woman who lives bitterly alone is actually a former incarnation of Kendra herself, the aging Hawkgirl who endures in obscurity because in this time period, there isn’t any Carter to comfort her. She claims, in sorrow and regret, that Kendra will never love another person the way she loves Carter, that trying to love anyone else always ends in tears, that the two hawk folk are fated to be together forever and ever. Which, considering the original mission of our Legends bucking future fate and all, doesn’t go down well for Kendra.

So, the boys mistakenly went to go confront the Stillwater gang and end up with a bad guy in their med bay and down a teammate; Jax gets himself taken. Much arguing later, we’re going to have High Noon from Captain Hunter in town square and inevitably it’s not that simple – right about then is when the Hunters decide to show up, and main street of Salvation is suddenly filled with flying fire guys and laser beam future-pistol shots!

The showdown on main street is actually pretty cool. Hawkgirl is doing dive-bombs, Jax and Stein are fire-bombing their way up and down the street, Jonah Hex is firing the future pistol he borrowed from Captain Hunter, Ray’s in his A.T.O.M. suit doing damage, and the criminal twins and their assassin friend are shooting and stomping their way through the villains!

The Hunters just have to get in the last word before defeat, telling Rory that the Timemasters have sent the Pilgrim after our Legends, which can’t be good. Stein gets the most astonishing information when he goes to say goodbye to the young boy he saved from tuberculosis, who happens to not-so-coincidentally bear his father’s surname, Wells. Herbert George Wells, as a matter of fact. Absolutely adorkable. Sarah and Kendra are back from their walkabout, and it’s time to have a talk with Ray, sadly. And now it’s time for one final talk with everyone around the planning table, because the Timemasters have sent the Pilgrim, their deadliest assassin, into everyones previous timelines, to stop all our Legends from becoming thus long before they could do anything about it!

Catch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Thursdays on the CW at 8:00 p.m./7:00 p.m., Central!

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E10 : Teach Your Children Well

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

All the Spoilers!

When we last left our intrepid Legends, things had gotten all shook up! The real identity of Chronos has been revealed, Rory is back aboard the Waverider, and the next time jump is intended for the future!

The Kasnian Conglomerate is the main corporation in charge of things here in the future, where we’re now attempting to hunt down Vandal Savage at a stockholders meeting approximately five years before the destruction of Captain Hunter’s future world. After some adorable sleight of eye, our Legends get an earful of the untenable situation for those outside the Kasnian borders, living in squalor and misery as they are. Predictably, Vandal Savage, who is sitting at the stockholders’ table, is all in favor of a culling, which is exactly what it sounds like. He’s also a tutor to Per Degaton, son of his main opposition on the council, the kid Captain Hunter equates to the Adolf Hitler of his own time. This information leads to a very frank discussion around the planning table, bringing up one of the great philosophical questions of any generation: If you had a time machine, would you go back and kill Adolf Hitler? Or the LoT equivalent, which, in this case, means killing Per Degaton.

Everyone on the team has an opinion about this plan, ranging from outraged at infanticide to the “I volunteer as tribute already,” drawl of Snart. So, instead, our well-meaning heroes graduate from infanticide to child abduction, thinking this is somehow better, and figuring they’ll decide what to do with Little Lord Fauntleroy after they’ve nabbed him. The team’s actual method of kidnapping the mini-goose-stepper are fairly clever and fun.

Meanwhile, Ray and Stein and Jax have all gone to check out the robotics department of the place that made the autonomous robots based on Palmer’s A.T.O.M. design. What do they find? A very merry sci-fi alum, in the form of Jewel Staite as Doctor Rachel Turner, purportedly the great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Palmer himself. So yes, Ray gets to have his own internal mini-crisis, at the idea that his ghosted girlfriend back in 2016, who never got a name mind you, potentially had his child. And, you know, that his family would be responsible for the bots Savage uses in the future in his massive despotic takeover.

Elsewhere, Kendra is dealing with visions of her past lives, in particular the life with Carter that led to the birth of the Boardmans and their son. The flashback scenes are in sepia Oz-style tones, which is fine, I suppose, but I’d like to see some other lives, too. How about a Victorian Hawkgirl, or a Renaissance Hawkman? Well, the idea they seem to be trying to get across is that, in this particular life, Kendra will make her own choices, and right now, she chooses Ray. For a while, anyway.

Also in the midst of this funnery, people are visiting the clear cage Rory is being kept in, each speaking with him in their own way, from their own point of view. Sarah’s scene in particular, how she speaks so bluntly from a position of absolute calm and without any fear, about the bond between Rory and Snart, is a gorgeous little piece of writing. Only Sarah could somehow get Snart to finally go to his adopted brother, his partner, the heat to his cold, honestly the other part of his soul. So much for being a soulless League of Assassins killer; we heart you Sarah.

So, Captain Hunter is off with mini-Hitler in tow, to learn once again the simple lesson that we’re supposed to be a team, and you really shouldn’t be trying to do these time-changing moments alone. Because, hey, Savage and the future-time military police are headed for our Legends, to steal back Per Degaton at any cost! Time for lots of fighting, some harsh Palmer family truths, and a final exchange of he-who-could-become-Hitler and Sarah with the enemy!

None of this sits well with Captain Hunter, especially since the current-future timeline shows Per Degaton taking out his competition and Savage’s rise to sudden power. Ray and Kendra have come to an understanding and that’s fine, for now. The best part of the last segment is the fight between Rory and Snart, where the two of them finally hash it all out with their fists, after which a healthy serving of nasty truth is served up to the entire team, and a new mission of sorts is given: run.

Next episode, our Legends are headed to the Old West and the introduction of another epic DC character, Jonah Hex!

Catch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Thursdays on the CW at 8:00 p.m./7:00 p.m., Central!

XXX

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E8: Tyrants Make the Best Tuna Casserole

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

Spoilers ahead!

In a small town called Harmony Falls in 1958, four teenagers race their hot rods down a deserted forest road, as 1950s teens are wont to do, at least according to pop culture. After one of their cars crash, they happen to come across a mysterious glowing meteor; and Vandal Savage right beside it!

And, thus, we join our team of plucky heroes, now without Mick Rory, arriving in 1958. We aren’t shown Rory’s fate from the previous episode, we are meant to think Snart killed him, so the team is somewhat upset by this. However, their goal is finding Savage, whom their intel predicts is in the neighborhood. They put together an undercover team, consisting of a pretend-married couple of Ray and Kendra, who actually have a budding relationship going on.

Ray and Kendra rent a house in town, and their (fake) marriage front starts offending the bigoted small town residents who don’t like the idea of an interracial couple. As a cover, it’s pretty terrible; they draw attention to themselves and Savage would recognize Kendra the minute he saw her, so I’m not sure who thought that would be a good idea. And, by sheer coincidence, Savage lives just across the road from their new rented home, and even brings a housewarming gift of tuna casserole. Awkward. Does Savage recognize Kendra? He isn’t really letting on, and they continue their little charades.

Meanwhile, Jax, Stein, and Sara go about town to investigate the murders and disapperances of locals. Stein and Sara go undercover in a mental hospital as a doctor and a nurse, while Jax plays a new kid in town. Before long, in another totally unconvincing coincidence, they happen across one of the racing teens from the cold open. She is the girlfriend of the boy whose car crashed. Jax decides to flirt with her, a white girl, and raises more eyebrows in the small town.

Snart and Hunter also go undercover in town, dressed as government spooks, asking local law enforcement for the case files on local missing people. Their efforts all lead to Vandal Savage; he works at the mental hospital Stein and Sara had infiltrated, performing experiments on the inmates in a mysterious wing. The experiments turn out to be people who have been turned into bird monsters, using the power of the meteorite. The monsters are genuinely creepy, and this part of the episode plays out very well, thanks in part to this installment being directed by Joe Dante of Gremlins fame.

It all leads to yet another failed showdown with Savage in the end, since you can’t kill the big bad without ending the series. Throughout the episode, we are presented with ’50s small town America through the eyes of our heroes, who have 2016 sensibilities. There is a small subplot of Sara and one of the female nurses in the hospital falling for each other, and this was a no-no back in 1958. The episode often not-too-subtly addresses the sexism, racism, and homophobia of the era, providing a commentary on how far we’ve come (and yet, these problems still persist today).

Although they fail to kill Savage, our heroes did learn a thing or two about teamwork and about themselves. That cliffhanger at the end though, will half the team be stranded in 1958? We await next week’s episode to find out!

XXX

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E7: What the Hell Is a Time Pirate?

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Here we are, a-floatin’ through space, trying to figure out when to go after Vandal Savage next, but needing a serious software update to the shipboard A.I., Gideon, in order to manage that. Captain Hunter is torturing himself with holographic visions of his past, while our Legends are going stir crazy. Rory and Snart are still sniping at each other over the events of the previous episode, Ray and Kendra are tippy-toeing around romantic entanglement, and everyone else is just really bored. Then comes a distress call from Captain Baxter of the Timeship Acheron, and our Legends are off to save the day!

We have to remember that Professor Stein is the manchild nerd for the sci-fi geek in all of us, and really, the Waverider hasn’t really gone through space yet: Only timestreams. So, while Stein waxes poetic about the stars and his time as a Space Ranger when he was a wee boy, we’re treated to further memories of Rip Hunter’s time at the Timemasters academy, where he trains with a love interest and fellow student, Miranda Koburn. It’s so cute how Rip responds to being overshadowed in the training simulation by his female counterpart with something like, “You beat me – that’s so hot,” and a makeout session that sadly, gets them into trouble. Timemaster romance of any kind is rather harshly discouraged, and young Rip and his Lady are about to be the equivalent of court-martialed.

Meanwhile back in the really-real world, the boarding party that went to check out the Acheron has been overrun with — say it with me — space pirates! Or rather, as Captain Hunter calls them, Time Pirates, led by Captain Valler (Callum Keith Rennie). Many of us did wonder, as we were watching the episode, how does a pirate plunder time? Are there tachyons to be stolen? Well, anyway, our Legends are here in space being harried by Time Pirates, which inevitably opens the cargo bay doors for every single last classic Sci-fi reference you can think of! Star Wars, of course, Jax probably got the best line for that one; Ray as Captain Palmer is so much better as a Sulu reference rather than trying to Shatner his way through Star Trek; the green lighting on the Acheron makes us think of the excellent atmosphere in Ridley Scott’s original Alien; Stein talked about being a Space Ranger when he was a kid, DC just broke the fourth wall; there’s even a cry of “Great Scott!” and we all know what beloved time travel epic that’s from! The commands, “Imperiex,” and “Kanjar Ro” are also names of space-based DC comics villains, just FYI. And it has to be included, Captain Hunter running around fighting time pirates in that coat reminded me very much of Captain Jack Harkness, doing his epic thing in Torchwood!

Much emphasis is placed on the deteriorating relationship between Rory and Snart, especially when Rory decides he’s had enough and attempts to make a deal with the Time Pirates. Snart has a few beautiful moments with Sara, first while they play cards to alleviate boredom and she has some almost-sympathy for the dwindling brotherhood, and then later when they’re both freezing to death (because nature’s vacuum runs on irony) and they exchange what death is really like and how Mick and Leonard met. The assassin and the thief, we adore them both and the show seems to have them swimming towards true friendship, if not an actual romance. I’m voting for a romance, even if it’s brief, because just imagine the shockwave reverberations through all the Legends once it’s over!

Eventually — we knew it was coming — our Legends overcame the Time Pirates, repaired both the Acheron and the Waverider, cleared Captain Hunter’s name as far as the snooty Timemasters reputation fuckery goes, and now we have to deal with internal issues. Our resident firebug, Heatwave, has just gone too far into the darkness, and our Legends meet around the table to discuss what to do now. Snart says he will handle it, and even makes an actual go at it, but can he really take out the sundered other half of his soul? As much emphasis as the show placed on love no matter what, I kind of doubt it. The preview for next week’s episode shows a few of our Legends off chasing Vandal Savage in 1950s Oregon and Kendra in an actual poodle skirt, so let’s pray for visions of a greaser Heatwave, or at least a Rory on ice for now!

Catch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Thursdays on the CW at 8:00 p.m./7:00 p.m., Central!

XXX

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E6: Green Arrow forever!

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Oh, so many Spoilers! 

Welcome back, my fellow superhero lovers! When we last left our intrepid Legends, they had landed in a potential-future all but destroyed version of Star City in 2046. A masked black man wearing those iconic green leathers and shooting anything that moves with a wooden bow — who does not answer to “Oliver!” —  greets our bewildered Legends, while masked bad guys are shooting up the streets. Most everyone hurries back to the ship to repair it and the futuristic AI Gideon, while the criminal twins, our resident assassin Sarah, and Captain Hunter go out to hunt down a piece of tech from Smoak Industries.

Meanwhile, we have to have some sort of idiotic cute little dynamic going on between the folk who stayed behind on the ship to affect repairs. Jax has decided he has a thing for Kendra, and is struggling to put on his big-boy confidence pants and tell her. He needs to act fast because Ray is being his somewhat charming self and unknowingly moving in on some sweet hawk-goddess territory! Even Professor Stein notices the triangle and tries to help, in his singularly ineffective manner, by trying to steer Ray away from Kendra. Which of course backfires when Ray is like, hey yeah, I never thought of her that way, but now that you mention it … As we watch Jax headdesk.

Out on the city streets, the eternal killing has resumed and our Legends have to duck and cover. Of course, Sarah is determined to help when she sees Green Arrow 2.0 take a fall and Captain Hunter goes with her while the criminal twins Rory and Snart end up “you keep what you kill”-ing to a street gang and head off for their very own criminal kingdom! Sarah and Rip, now joined by a fabulous Joseph David-Jones as Connor Hawke, have a nice little confrontation with Deathstroke! Or actually, it’s Deathstroke Jr., Jamie Andrew Cutler as Grant Wilson, called Ravager in the comics. Now it’s off to where Ollie’s former Arrow lair was, for several hard truths and revelations, and hopefully, that piece of Felicity tech they’re looking for.

Connor told them all that Oliver Queen was dead, that he disappeared during the Uprising of Deathstroke Jr.’s troops that decimated the city, so to find a very aged and bitter and decidedly one-arm-less Oliver still hiding in the mothballed lair is certainly news to Connor. He and 50-something bearded and grizzled Oliver have a rather biting exchange, wherein Ollie reveals who Connor Hawke really is: get a load of it, Arrow fans, in this particular version of the DC-verse, Connor Hawke is John Diggle, Jr.! In the comic books, Connor Hawke is the son of Oliver Queen, but this version totally works for me.

And then there’s the makeup used for the aged and bitter Oliver Queen, I’m not talking about that amazing Smoak Industries prosthetic arm either! The show producers had actually been contemplating bringing in a whole new actor to play 50-something Green Arrow, but the more they thought about it, they just decided to take the big risk of aged makeup on Arrow Queen actor Stephen Amell. And holy crow did it pay off! The makeup and iconic Earth-31 Green Arrow look is so well captured here, it looks like they had some of their best winners from Face Off (yes, I am a fan of that show, too!) do the job.

Rory meanwhile has decided that he’s very happy as King in the Mad Max version of Star City and wants to stay. Snart, of course, is unamused, though whether it’s because this isn’t what he had in mind or because Rory is trying to think for himself, it’s hard to say. The criminal partners have the very best dynamic, and conversations, of the entire episode. Rory and Snart are the epitome of the criminal duo, the brains and the brawn, the two men not blood-related but who understood each other so well that they chose to team up better than brothers. But now, the epic dynamic between the two of them is actually breaking down because, as Rory not-so-stupidly points out, Snart has begun to desire to be an actual hero and save the world. Whereas, as Snart almost lovingly responds, Rory just wants to watch the world burn, and you know, be King of whatever wastelands are left. As much as the post-apocalyptic Star City may be horrible for Sarah, as much as we the audience might disapprove of such a thing, we all have to admit that “home” means very different things to different people, and this seems to be Rory’s version of it.

So yes Captain Hunter got the Smoak tech piece they needed and sent it over to help fix the ship, but he doesn’t seem very interested in helping the last few heroes left save what’s left of Star City. He’s of the opinion that since this is only a potential future, there’s no point in trying to save anything and even interfere, which of course doesn’t sit well with Sarah at all. Most of our Legends actually completely agree with Sarah and lodge a protest to Captain Hunter, while Sarah goes off on her lonesome to recruit Oliver Queen to go rescue Connor Hawke! Because the city always needs a Green Arrow!

Ultimately, this is all kinds of an epic Arrow episode for fans of all ages! Though Grant Wilson accuses Connor Hawke of simply being a hack in a Halloween costume during his would-be execution scene, and even with Sarah and Ollie and the rest of the Legends showing up for an assist, Diggle Jr. proves he can do honor to those green leathers and bow just fine, thank you. As Ollie proudly proclaims him, even though they can’t seem to agree on what name to call Connor, whatever he calls himself, it is always and forever Green Arrow. This proves that the legacy of our Legends is ongoing and that all potential futures are worth fighting for!

Catch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Thursdays on the CW at 8:00 p.m./7:00 p.m., Central!

XXX

 

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E5: Not our First Prison Break

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

When we last left our intrepid time-hopping Legends, fully half the team was either incapacitated or captured in a – what else? It’s 1986 – maximum-security Russian gulag. Our resident silverfox Professor Stein is being held for extra-special treatment, because the bad guys have figured out he could make a Russian Firestorm way way earlier than such a thing should be possible. Rory and Ray have been tossed into gulag gen-pop together, and the crew of the Waverider are working on how to bust them all out!

Well, mostly. Snart claims to be generally only interested in getting his partner back, which makes it odd when he very easily figures out that Captain Hunter ordered our assassin Sarah to take Stein out if it looks like rescue isn’t an option, and he has a rather surprisingly adverse reaction to the idea. Though of course the proposed plans give Snart the chance to smirk, “Not my first prison break,” to Rip, and all of us in the know have to grin. No-one seems particularly interested in rescuing the lone boy scout of the team, and indeed, Ray gets himself a good old fashioned beat-down in the gulag yard when he just can’t seem to shut his mouth, while Rory is over there fascinated by a Zippo he stole and not doing a damned thing to help. Rip also completely vetoes recovering Jax and Kendra’s offer to help, at least on the scout mission to the Bratva, the Russian mafia underground.

This episode’s scenes with Ray were particularly hard to watch, not necessarily because he takes several hard-core beatings, but because of why he does it. The first beat-down in the yard, well that was just your standard Russian cold-war welcome. But later, when it’s all gone to hell and Ray and Rory have been brought out for glorious electrical torture to goad Stein into giving up his Firestorm secrets to Vandal Savage and the crazy Russian lady scientist, Vostok, Ray’s deadly boy scout instincts kick in and he purposefully turns all attention to himself. While it’s true that as soon as they can get Ray to the Waverider his injuries can be healed quite easily, that says nothing for the here and now and those busted ribs, blackened eyes, and weeping cuts. What we see here is the run of being Superman that Brandon Routh just can’t seem to escape, the one who heroically takes it all upon himself because he just can’t stand to see others he cares about harmed. And it takes that kind of selflessness to get Heatwave, the criminal Rory who uses his S.T.A.R. labs firegun to mow down good and bad guys alike while he steals things, to go back for Ray when the rescue attempt is made.

So, the rescue attempt has degenerated into a prison riot, as often happens, and at the same time that crazy Russian chick and the Prof have melted together in the hottest forced not-sex you’ll ever see! Captain Hunter and Vandal Savage have had their posturing moment, and Jax and Kendra have decided to get in on the rescue mission regardless of what the Captain says! The small moments of humanity from our assassin Sarah, goaded on by our less-criminal-than-previously-thought Snart, are beautiful and show the team coming together despite their clear differences. And that’s how, working together once again, our Legends have made it back to the Waverider more or less whole, to jump through time while being chased by Chronos yet again!

Spoiler, Spoiler, Spoil-ers!

But wait! There’s totes more. Our Legends managed a landing despite Chronos’ best efforts, and here we are in Star City! Sort of. Star City in 2046, apparently, rather remarkably different. And of course there’s a guy in those iconic forest green leathers with a bow! But that’s not Oliver Queen. No, my fellow archer fan-atics, it’s Connor Hawke! Drool with me.

XXX

‘Batman Bad Blood’: Beware the Nunja

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

So Batman, the real Batman (Jason O’Mara) has gone missing. Of course this new chick running around in what looks like Terry McGinnis’ Bat colors — we eventually learn she’s called Batwoman — is trying to both patrol the streets in his absence and look for Batman without arousing suspicion, too. Because well, it’s kind of her fault Batsy went missing in the first place – Katherine (Yvonne Strahovski) tried to take on Killer Moth, Firefly, Electrocutioner, Blockbuster, and some new masked dude who’s a badass, all on her lonesome. Batman had to wing in to save the day and disappeared in the ensuing explosion.

Now, what? Nightwing (Sean Maher) gets a distress call to the Batcave, Damien Wayne (Stuart Allen) ducked out of his temple hideout to come see what’s up, and, of course, Batwoman herself is out and about, looking for Batman and trying to pick up the slack. Dear butler Alfred (James Garrett) is covering for Bruce Wayne as best he can, but people are beginning to take notice, both of the missing millionaire and the lack of his super-secret alter ego. Lucius Fox (Ernie Hudson) and his son Luke (Gaius Charles) are having their suspicions, too. With no other real option, Dick Grayson very reluctantly dons the mantle of the Bat, and, of course, Damien has to take on Dick’s original Robin costume, to go out and prove that, hey man, everything’s fine, really.

This new villainous man that seemed so eerily familiar to Bruce Wayne apparently goes by the name Heretic and, of course, he’s near-impossible to track down, let alone beat to a standstill. Katherine meets with her father Colonel Jacob Kane to ask for some help finding Heretic, revealing her backstory about the time she was saved and redeemed by Batman, leading her to become Batwoman. Meanwhile Luke Fox, a soldier returned from Afghanistan no less, is trying to get his dad to open up about Wayne secrets, when there’s a raid on the Wayne enterprises vault! Heretic and his goons strike again! But why are they assaulting the Wayne vault in particular?

Spoilers winging at you!

Everyone knows who Talia al Ghul is, right? League of Assassins, daughter of Ra’s al Ghul and inheritor of that whole Lazarus Pit problem, mother of Damien Wayne and all-around problem psychopath, Talia al Ghul (Morena Baccarin) has never shied from thinking big and using every last bit of League resources to accomplish her goals. This time, they’re astronomical: build a rapidly-grown clone from Damien’s DNA, but the Jarvis Tetch version of the brain program left him with those pesky things like consciousness and free will. Because that never caused problems in similar situations, noooo. This inevitably leads to Heretic (Travis Willingham) wanting to kidnap Bruce Wayne and empty his head of all memories and experiences for his own, which makes an insane kind of sense, like a masochistic Pinnochio. Make me a real boy, Daddy, or I’ll take it from you.

All of what happens in the final confrontation isn’t exactly what you might expect, given the insanity that has a tendency to run in the al Ghul family. Hell, Bruce Wayne and all the rest of his chosen “Bat-family” aren’t the most stable, mentally speaking. And it looks like the family gets a new “brother,” when Luke decides the others need his help and has his fathers machine makers design a whole new bat suit for fighting, dubbing himself the highly original moniker “Batwing.” Despite Heretic’s avowed hatred and Talia’s everlasting ambition, neither can escape the ties of bad blood that bind them to each-other, reminding all of us why you should never do business with family.

There are lots of enjoyable nods to the ongoing history of the Bat family and Batman in the DC comics-verse in general. The nuns armed with katanas and AK-47s guarding the place where Talia has Bruce locked up – hence the “nunjas” as Nightwing points out – are hilarious, and right up the League’s alley for over-the-top-ness. Luke Fox becoming Batwing was interesting, we just knew it was inevitable that someone from the Fox line would eventually join the Bat family in an actual costume. And I still think it’s awesome that Talia would hire the Mad Hatter as a brain doctor for her rapidly-grown cloned super-soldier’s mind control!

Score your very own nunja fighting bats at Amazon!

XXX

‘Arrow’ Holiday Finale: Don’t Blow out the Menorah Just yet

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Now, see, this is why we can’t have nice things: Why Ollie didn’t ask his adorkably nerdy girlfriend to marry him. Why Lance worked under the table with Damien Dahrk to protect Laurel the only way he knew how. Why Diggle has his HIVE-washed brother in a cage, hoping to save what’s left of his soul. And why, oh yeah, Ollie using his in-the-light mayoral campaign to call Damien Darhk out is such a bad idea. Because the bad guys are out there, and they don’t care about holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah.

The denizens of Star City were out donating their time to the cleanup of the bay for Ollie’s campaign and next thing you know, death by fly-by drone! Oh, no, you didn’t! After Ollie’s rousing speech reminding Star City that they stand united in the face of evil (where he shows a picture of Damien Darhk to the press, no less), most of Team Arrow insists that the holiday craze has to go on, ostensibly to show HIVE their lack of fear. So, amid a whole bunch of extra security from Captain Lance, the party must go on, even though we know the bad guys are lurking just around the corner with their nefarious own plans. But, we do have to make time, right in the middle of everything coming to a head all at once, for the gorgeous little romantic moments between Olicity. The rapid-fire of the couple who knows each other down to their souls — how heartfelt our Jewish nerd queen is and how in-love our favorite dark archer is with her — is all the more painful because we know as we watch that it just can’t last.

Dahrk took all the ones Oliver cares about the most – Felicity, Thea, and Diggle – and brought them to some sort of HIVE experimental facility, where he reveals the truth about what HIVE is doing. At least, part of the truth. Darhk is determined to remove all the reasons Oliver has for fighting HIVE — heart surgery, as it were — and boy, is Oliver lucky Team Arrow now has more masked heroes to call upon. This holiday season we got to see Ra’s al Ghul himself don the emerald archer mantle and fight just like anyone else on Team Arrow. Hell, there is a glorious moment where everyone on Team Arrow, freshly forged in their iron resolve and newly-acquired fighting skills, turns on their captors and wails away with happy abandonment, to our resounding cheers!

We’re coming down to the end of it, folks. Ollie’s campaign manager arranged a tree-lighting ceremony for him, and Ollie is just effortlessly charming as he says the person he is most grateful for is Felicity, and then proposes with that giant rock in front of everyone. If Ollie were more like Merlyn, he would’ve said it was the best PR move he could make. But Olicity doesn’t care about that, as they ride away happy in their mayoral-like limo … only to be surrounded by bad guys, and shot up with machine guns like fireworks!

Now, we know at the beginning of the season Ollie is seen by a grave, promising vengeance. Everyone is speculating as to who’s in the grave. We know Ollie survived the onslaught in the limo, but that Felicity was bleeding when he pulled her from it. We suspected Olicity was ending, but we hoped so strongly it wasn’t like this. We won’t find out until January 20, 2016, what happened to her, so until then, let us light Yahrzeit candles in Felicity Smoak’s name and hope for the best.

XXX

https://youtu.be/s78nY4Py8MI

The ‘Flash’ Winter Finale: Have a Very Merry Trickster-mas

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Who doesn’t want to spend the winter holidays with their families? *crickets* Right, that was rhetorical. Here in the Flash-verse, the Weather Wizard wants nothing more than to gather a few buddies around him and gift wrap our beloved scarlet speedster in a casket for Krampus!

It’s always interesting to see Liam McIntyre, the man who bravely took up the mantle of Spartacus after the sad passing of Andy Whitfield, as a nasty villain on Flash. Weather Wizard Mark has that ol’ holiday bloodlust going for the Flash, and he breaks the abominable Captain Cold and the wacky Trickster out of jail to help him! Leonard Snart, a.k.a. Captain Cold, seems to have snowflakes of good-guy floating in him somewhere, which nudges him to warn Barry of the coming snowstorm in the worst secret Santa move ever. And then Jesse James, a.k.a. Trickster, you know, he’s down for whatever, so long as it involves lots of cocoa and killing a bunch of people, perhaps those annoying carolers, for openers.

On the completely normal (ish?) side of things, Iris West is just boiling over with the knowledge of her brother, kept hidden from her father. She just can’t keep the news to herself anymore, and enlists Barry’s help to tell Joe. Why does this matter, apart from the completely normal, if not devastating, news that Joe had a blood son he never knew about? Because Joe’s long-lost, unaware son is named Wallace, and called Wally. Wally West (check this out, if you have to ask what that means).

Of course, Flash can’t let the Weather Wizard, the Trickster, and even a reluctant Captain Cold wreak havoc during the winter holidays. But fighting all three of them means asking Cisco to make a weather wand that, for those of you paying attention to the now-multiple timelines of the Flash-verse, wreaks a whole bunch of havoc all on its own. With the threat of perhaps a hundred or so gaily wrapped Christmas bombs handed out to children by a very merry Trickster Claus, Barry has no choice but to gird his loins in speedforce and take them head on!

Mark Hamil as the Trickster really is the best present this episode has to offer. Nearly all of us fans who watch the show Flash, remember watching Batman the Animated Series back in the 1990s, in which Hamil gave great voice talent to one of our favorite versions of the Joker. Hamil has been the Trickster once on Flash already, but the winter finale episode gave us a glorious gift of a Joker-voiced Christmas episode one more time. To hear him sing, “Deck the halls with body parts from a girl named Holly,” in that well-known and forever-beloved cackling voice is epic. And you know, exploding dreidels.

The interplay between Wells 2.0 and Zoom is kind of completely expected, so there’s that. But that moment when, after the hero has saved the day and the heroes, plain ol’ humans, and all their loved ones have gathered together at the West house for Christmas eve, Wally West comes to the door and meets Joe face to face for the first time – that was a winter holiday miracle right there. And with all Wells 2.0 and the bad guys are up to, Flash and all his pals deserve a miracle now and then. The Flash speeds back to us January 19, 2016!

XXX

https://youtu.be/ozN-Nn8Ed9E