Thursday, May 18, 2017

Legends of Tomorrow: CAPTAIN COLD IS COMING BACK


This I know is true: our favorite ice-cold crook is coming back to Legends of Tomorrow.

How do I know? Because of The Flash's excellent Season 3 episode "Infantino Street," where Barry time travels and snatches Leonard Snart out of his mission with the Legends to help him save Iris.

As always, Wentworth Miller is the snarky, delightfully hammy badass we all know and love, and it's an entire episode of Shark Week references and wonderful things like Snart telling Cisco if he saves his life he'll put in a good word for him with Golden Glider. 

They steal the alien power source, escape King Shark, and Barry brings Snart back to 1892 Siberia, where Snart gives him a surprisingly heartfelt pep talk about being a hero. (Did someone say bromance? And, the Coldflash shippers go wild!)

Before he leaves to go back to the present, Barry tells Snart to look after himself. "No strings on me," Snart replies, stabbing all Legends fans directly in the heart.

Barry speeds away, and then it happens: Snart stands there, considering. And as he heads back to the ship, he murmurs, "There are no strings on me...There are no strings on me..."

BOOM. Do you know what this means? The writers heard us. They know we love Captain Cold. And they had him say that line - TWICE - to let us know that he is coming back.

What else confirms this? Legends Season 2 ended with the Legends breaking time - the universe has turned inside out and time is running amok, twisting cities out of shape and rewriting history. This leaves the way open for Snart to find his way back - he died inside the explosion of the Oculus, which was the center of time itself. If time is broken, it's the perfect gateway to set Snart free from wherever he was trapped within the Oculus' remains.

"But that's impossible," you say! "He couldn't have survived the explosion!"

Well, wasn't he just in ARGUS? The facility with the most top-secret, most powerful weapons and tech Planet Earth has ever seen? Would he be Captain Cold if he passed up an opportunity to snatch something along the way? Something to help him survive the death he knows is coming?

My theory: the Legends have ripped open a hole in time, and find Snart in some alternate universe just below ours where the Oculus has kept him trapped. Maybe we'll get hints every few episodes, him appearing for just a second or things moving or disappearing to let us know the existence of this other plane of reality. And then they find him - and at the end of the season he can rejoin the crew of the Waverider, as our Leonard Snart, the hero.

If this is what's happening, Legends of Tomorrow writers, take a bow - I'm so excited for Season 3 and what's in store for us with the return of Leonard Snart!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Doctor Who: Why I'm For a Female Doctor


It's 2017.
It's time.
Especially in the era of Trump/May, we need her now more than ever.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Let's Talk Sherlock: Season 4


So, I know it's been awhile since Season 4 aired. Things have changed a lot in this country since January, and I've been busy trying to fight against it, but I finally wanted to take the chance to comment on the potentially final season of this wonderful show. (As always, spoilers.)

Sherlock is the reason I became a screenwriter - or, as Sherlock would say, "It's where I began." I had never seen a show like this - frankly, television hadn't. Yes, we'd seen classic literature adapted for the modern day, but never in this way, and not half as well. Did the initial idea seem a bit gimmicky? Yes; Benedict Cumberbatch reportedly almost didn't take the role because he didn't want the premise to be thought of as a gimmick. Did it exceed all expectations and change how television is done? Oh, yes.

Other crime dramas have begun showing text messages on screen and using similar visuals to accommodate characters' growing use of technology - producers used to be afraid of doing that. Sherlock changed that, showing it could be done and done well. In 2008, Breaking Bad became the new gold standard for television, showing that a show could be cinematic and artfully done and still draw a massive audience. Sherlock enjoyed the same rise, becoming a smash hit and drawing a huge international audience, paving the way for shows like Hannibal and Game of Thrones to stretch the limits of what television can be and how it can be filmed.

I will say this: Seasons 1 and 2 of Sherlock are some of the best television I've ever seen. Yes, you had your middling episodes that were just okay - "The Blind Banker" and "The Hounds of Baskerville" - but book-ending them were masterpieces of writing and cinematography and editing and acting and composing. Who will ever forget the first time they saw "A Study in Pink"? How can someone not be in awe of the utter beauty and grace of "A Scandal in Belgravia"? How can there be any denying the raw emotional punch of "The Reichenbach Fall"? It was these episodes that made us love Sherlock and made it a part of our lives and a part of pop culture at large. There was razor-sharp wit and heart-ripping emotion and the beauty of a pitch-perfect tribute to a source material you could tell was very near and dear to the hearts of its creators. On top of it all, it became its own original entity - for many, Benedict Cumberbatch will forever be Sherlock Holmes, just like Jeremy Brett was for so many who watched the Granada television series. There was an intent of purpose to Sherlock that you only see in the best of shows - the sure hand of a show runner who knows where they want their creation to go and is masterful at taking their audience along for the ride. That was Season 1 and 2 - a hell of a ride.

Then came Season 3. After the fall from St. Bart's roof that broke all our hearts, Sherlock "resurrected," coming back from the dead - but he came back different, and so did the show.

In my opinion, since then, the show never regained the resplendence it once had.

I didn't hate Season 3; it's still an enjoyable series to watch. But the show lost its momentum, that intent of purpose that set it above the rest. It didn't seem to know what it wanted to be anymore - was it a James Bond action film? A buddy comedy? A dark psychological thriller? It lost its identity, and thus that classic feeling that episodes like Study and Reichenbach had. And I'll tell you why: because it became a tribute to itself rather than the Conan Doyle source material it was so deft at adapting.

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are both huge Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fans - that's why they created the show in the first place. Every piece of Sherlock is meant to enhance what Conan Doyle originally wrote, and it did it well, from the Baker Street Irregulars becoming the homeless network, to Dr. Watson's journal becoming John's blog, to Holmes's notes and correspondence becoming Sherlock's texting and online research - every adaptation just worked so well. The cracks only appeared when the show began to idolize itself and its own fanbase.

"The Empty Hearse" is an episode dedicated to the fans, which was a nice touch, but it was also when the show began to rely too heavily on its own success to create its own narrative. It also parallels with the point when Sherlock's detective work became less about actually solving mysteries and more about how those mysteries revealed Sherlock's psyche and his own past. Exploring a main character's psyche isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if it's the only thing the show focuses on, it's too weak of a narrative to drive the momentum of an entire show.

In essence, I think the problem lies in that Moffat and Gatiss fell in love with their own show, and thus became blind to any ideas that were potentially bad for it. 

And that's how you get Season 4, The Season That Was Almost Great.


The Six Thatchers

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this episode! Rachael Talalay is one of my favorite directors, and (though some may disagree with me) I loved the unique touch she brought to this episode, with the visuals of the rolling die and the smashed plaster busts, etc. I loved that we finally got a proper, brain-twisting mystery in The Case of the Ghost Driver, the way they explored Mary's past and its conflict, and I thought it was really interesting to see the unraveling of John and Mary's relationship, since that wasn't a route I was expecting the writing to go. This was the Sign of Three, the Blind Banker, the Hounds of Baskerville of Season 4 - the episode that's not an instant classic, but it's well made and enjoyable.

It's up to the other two episodes to determine if we are back to the caliber of Seasons 1 and 2. So:


The Lying Detective

Yes. YES. This episode is by far the best of Season 4, and quite possibly the best episode we've had since Season 2. Moffat does it again with a terrific and terrifying riff on Conan Doyle's "The Dying Detective."

This episode has that classic feel that Scandal and Study have: the reality-bending visuals, the sharp humor, the mind-bending twists and turns, and a slam-bang finish with a twist no one was expecting. Toby Jones, or, to us Whovians, the Dream Lord from "Amy's Choice," does a fantastic job as the villain Culverton Smith, who still doesn't pass the mark for creepiness set by Magnussen, but gets pretty darn close. The most arresting moment comes when Smith is suffocating Sherlock, telling him to "maintain eye contact" so he can watch the life leave his eyes. I don't know about you, but that got a genuine chill down my spine.

This is also Mrs. Hudson's best episode, with Una Stubbs getting to have a ton of fun driving a sports car (I know, I know, stunt driver, but still) with a kidnapped Sherlock in the back and laying into Mycroft, John, and Sherlock all in one episode. We see Sherlock and John's relationship unravel, and get to see a touching relationship grow between Sherlock and his new friend Faith. The visuals for Sherlock's drug high are also surreal (echoing his near-conscious state in "A Scandal in Belgravia") and well done.

Then, we get the mother of all twists: Faith Smith was not actually Faith Smith. And John's one-time fling, a woman we only know as "E," is not actually "E." And John's new therapist is not actually a therapist at all. They are, in fact, the same woman - Eurus Holmes, Sherlock's mad sister (is this an argument for Moffat's female characters all being interchangeable? Okay, I digress). Biggest shocker of them all: she, not Moriarty, is the one behind the cryptic message that left us all hanging at the end of Season 3 - "Miss me?"


The Final Problem

It's unfortunate that the title seems to have been a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as "The Final Problem" is a bit, well, problematic.

I could go on and on about all the issues this episode has. Suffice it to say, all the issues that had been building since Season 3 finally came to a head; in this episode, I watched the show collapse under the weight of its own self-importance.

Not to say it didn't have its good moments. I really enjoyed the connection Sherlock and Eurus had playing their violins - in fact, I was really excited for Sherlock to have a great female villain (I count Irene Adler as more of an antihero). But her ultimate characterization didn't live up to the hype.

If I nit-pick, we'll be here all day, so let's just start with what could be fixed:

At the heart of it all is Eurus's characterization - and what a mess it is. Here is this hyper-intelligent human being, and Moffat and Gatiss don't seem to know what to do with her. We go slightly sci-fi when it's revealed she's apparently smart enough to control people's minds. How? It's never explained.

Eurus is meant to be a mysterious figure, but she also needs to be defined. Part of the problem is Mycroft and John being there with Sherlock. It would have been a lot more effective to have scenes with just Eurus and Sherlock; that way, we could have gotten a feel for their relationship without other people there to distract. If we really felt the need for them to be there, Eurus could have had them kidnapped to show up at some point later in the torture maze.

Oh, yes, I forgot - there's a torture maze.

A lot of things in Eurus's prison/maze don't make sense. Though it was a cool visual, how did Sherlock not see that there was no glass in Eurus's holding cell? And then let's not even get started on the actual maze, where things just get more and more surreal, with three men popping out of nowhere to be hanged, a coffin with "I love you" written on it, etc. This shark isn't jumping, at this point it's grown wings and is flying.

Then we get to the twist at the end, where Sherlock accuses Eurus of killing his dog when they were young. But apparently it wasn't a dog; it was Sherlock's friend, who Eurus was jealous of for having Sherlock's attention. So in the end, all Eurus ever wanted was for her brother to love her.

...I suppose it could have worked, if Eurus's character was written better. But as it stands, it just comes off as, well, clunky. And ultimately unearned.

It's really a shame about the treatment of Eurus; if she'd been fleshed out as a character, if Moffat and Gatiss had focused more on the details and emotion of her story and less on the surrealism of the visuals, I think we could have had something. 

(Side rant, you can skip this if you want: 

It's really a shame about the treatment of most of the female characters, actually. I get that the original stories had mainly male characters, but come on. Mary's ghost is still there, but, well, she's a ghost; and Molly, arguably one of the most beloved characters of the show, had barely any screen time. I get that the show isn't called Molly, but it almost felt like they were afraid of putting her on screen. What gives?

I will admit I do "ship" Sherlock and Molly, but I'm fine with just seeing their friendship grow, and with all the build-up they gave to her character in Season 3, I was really excited to see what they had planned for her in Season 4.

Two minutes in "Six Thatchers." Four minutes in "Lying Detective." 

Well, no worries, I was all set for there to be a huge reveal - that Sherlock and Molly had some kind of plan to get Culverton Smith and that they talked it over in the ambulance when Molly was supposed to be examining Sherlock, or maybe Molly could possibly be part of the plan to get them out of Eurus's prison - but there was nothing. At least Louise Brealey absolutely killed it in her one scene in Final Problem - and that was it, that was all she got. What a waste of a brilliant actress. What a waste of a brilliant character. I love Mrs. Hudson to death, but can't there be more than one woman on the show at a time? /endrant)

"The Final Problem" ends with, seemingly, the end of the show - all the characters come back to a repaired 221B, and we get a farewell voice-over from Mary that actually got me a little choked up. This show has been with me through high school, through college, through graduation and beyond - it helped shape the kind of person I am and the career field I want to go into. If this is truly the end, I'll be sad to see it go - but it was probably an okay point to end on, too.

If we do end up having a Season 5, I hope Moffat and Gatiss learn from their mistakes. But whatever happens - at least we'll always have Seasons 1 and 2!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Forward, Always


This blog has over 10,000 views! I never thought I'd be able to say that. I am forever grateful to the people who voluntarily read my babblings about Sherlock and Doctor Who, Legends of Tomorrow and Agent Carter, and just life in general. It means a lot that you enjoy my writing and that I can hopefully add something good to your day. :)

My last post was musings on where the next year would take me. Well, I've decided to take matters into my own hands - I'm moving to Atlanta.

Gutsy? Maybe. But necessary more than anything else. Things just haven't been working out the way I wanted them to - no grad school, no job in film. I had one internship as script supervisor on  a film set (insert shameless plug), which was very educational, but it wasn't long-term. And after I was twice rejected from the writers' programs for ABC/Disney, NBC, Warner Bros/CW, and CBS, I had to stop and recollect. What could I do now?

After searching around Columbus for opportunities in film, it became very clear: there were none. Or at least very few, which wouldn't be enough to get me anywhere. After having an obligatory anxiety attack, I picked myself back up and came to the only conclusion: Columbus wasn't working out. So, I needed to move.

LA would be the ideal choice, but it's a bit out of my price range. Fortunately, my aunt, who lives outside Atlanta, happened to mention that there had been a ton of job opportunities for film in the area recently. After having another freak out about what my subconscious was telling me I had to do, I calmed down and researched film in Atlanta, and it's true - Atlanta is becoming the "Hollywood of the south." I texted my aunt about it a little, she offered me a place to stay while I look for a job, and there was no reason to say no. Well, no reason except fear, which I've been learning to give a swift kick out of my life and subconscious. I have no time for it. It's only restricting the potential for what I can be, and I'm glad that I'm at a point where I can say that.

Am I scared? Oh, yes. Do I let that stop me? No. Fear is an obstacle to overcome, and I'm learning to overcome it. I'm afraid of driving, I'm afraid of being in new places, I'm afraid of not knowing what's going to happen next. That's no excuse not to live my life, and I'm going to live it, fear be damned.

While I'm looking for a job, I will still be writing reviews for Sherlock, Doctor Who, Pure Genius, and the new Netflix series  A Series of Unfortunate Events on The Tracking Board, so you can keep up with my writing there, if you'd like. I'm also hoping to have my actual screenwriting featured on the web series A Billion To One, which I've been writing for for a while, so I'll keep you updated on that.

Who knows where this will take me. I'm moving, and I'm also moving forward - thanks for being there with me for it. As the Doctor says, we're all stories in the end - I hope mine can be a good one!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Looking Up: The Election, Screenwriting, Anxiety, and Moving Forward

Atlanta
Well.

It's been quite a year, hasn't it?

Seriously, 2016 can just...end. Any time now. It's probably one of the worst years in recorded history, right behind the year of the Black Plague and when the meteorite killed the dinosaurs - although depending on your perspective, it could be considered worse, as that enabled us to survive. So, worse than a meteorite destroying most life on Earth. Yes. That sounds right. 

I feel like we'll all be able to breathe a little easier once this election's over - I'm hoping, anyway. I won't get into political affiliations or which candidate is better/worse, as that seems to simultaneously increase the blood pressure of anyone within a five-mile radius, whether they're actually reading the article or not. It's like everyone's all ready and raring to lose their minds on anything that sounds remotely like it could somehow disagree with them. No matter what your views, I think we can all agree that this election has brought out the ugliest side of America - a hateful, divisive side that I'd hoped was something that no longer existed in modern society. I was wrong - and that makes me sad and frustrated and discouraged more than anything else.

Anyway. What am I here to talk about? Well, my life, I suppose. It's a strange thing - life - especially with the surging political environment surrounding it right now.

Chicago
I read somewhere that dogs who pull sleds, up in Alaska or Canada, for the Iditarod and such, love their work so much, they will literally run themselves to death unless they're told to stop. That's been me the past year and a half.

I love screenwriting. I found it my junior year of college, and I only wish I'd found it sooner, because it is the best. I love typing out a scene, seeing it form in my head, and (if I'm lucky) watching it unfold on screen - a dream somehow brought forth, crossing dimensions, into reality. That is the closest thing we have to magic, my friends. Through editing and VFX and great directing and choreography and acting, we can make the impossible possible. And that is what I love about film and television.

But, passion is a double-edged sword. I can write for hours - four hours at a stretch, sometimes longer if I get really into it and don't want to lose the "flow" (which is a real things, by the way, however corny it sounds). But there's never been a time I've gone past four hours where I haven't regretted it. That passion lights me up for the day, makes me feel invincible and ready to take on anything - and then the next day I'm an empty shell, the light extinguished, any trace of energy gone, aching through to my very bones.

In other words: urrrgh.

I don't know if it's a high I'm looking for, an escape or what; I have learned to balance it a little better, although it's been a struggle sometimes to rein myself in when I just know I could keep going, on and on into the night, and who knows what story idea or character arc will fade forever if I don't keep going...! I am like those sled dogs - I love it so much that I work myself into the ground.

I think now I may be using it as revenge against my adult life. Because I am an adult now - and it's a lot harder than I thought.

I refuse to let college be the best years of my life - but sometimes I understand why people say that. Adulthood is hard, man. You can't pass the buck. You have to take care of things - sometimes unpleasant things. A lot of boring things. Things that just need to be done, and no one else is going to do them, no matter how inconvenient or irritating they are. So you do them. And you finally appreciate your parents doing them for you for most of your life up to this point - and cringe over the fact that's it now your turn.

On days when I'm working, just drowning in everything I need to do - job applications, scripts, networking, research - I try to look up at the sky, and find a name for the color it is. It doesn't have to take long - I've settled on "cerulean" before, or "the color of the marble I had in fifth grade when we played marbles that day in our living room" - just long enough to remind myself to take a breath, stop, and look around at the whole world around me, instead of feeling trapped inside my head with all my own little problems. I started doing this when I realized one day that I hadn't looked at the sky in awhile - I had no clue what it looked like or how the clouds even looked. I think it's a sign we've reached adulthood when we stop finding shapes in the clouds - it's kind of sad.

I read a book called The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster when I was in elementary school. In it, a boy called Alec, who can see everything except what's right in front of his face, shows Milo, the main character, the city of Reality. In it, the people living there go about their daily lives, going in and out of buildings, heading to work in the morning and heading back home at night, moving in and around the city like normal - except they haven't looked up in so long, they haven't realized that the city no longer exists. They open and close doors that aren't there, they go in and out of buildings with no walls. That image has haunted me; I know I don't want to live a life like that. Forgetting about finding hope or real joy in life, even in something as small as changing up your daily routine, from taking a different route to work or stopping to look up at the sky. Reality doesn't have to be like that - it shouldn't be.

New York City
I spend a lot of my time in pain. Most of it is mental - anxiety kicks me up out of bed in the morning, saying, "You need to get something done today, or else you're worthless!"; depression drags me back down, groaning, "What's the point, I might as well just lie here anyway, for all it's going to matter." In case you're wondering, yes, I know this is not healthy - I'm working on finding a therapist, and I've found different ways to cope. It still doesn't change the struggle of every day - those first few moments where the realization floods in: Oh, right. I am an adult. I need to get up and go make money. I need to get an apartment. I need to have friends, I need to check in with my family. I need to contribute to society. It's no wonder I feel like sometimes we're all going a little insane.

You know what, though? I'd rather have the pain than apathy. We are put on this earth to feel something - not just stare numbly into a gray and lifeless future. Sometimes circumstances aren't optimal. Sometimes, life sucks. But complacency is not something I choose to accept. If I'm here, I'm here for a purpose, damn it - and even if I don't know what that is right now, I'm going to find it.

Just look at this planet we're on - we are at the exact point in the universe, in the exact right atmosphere, where we are neither scorched by the sun nor frozen to death in deep space. We are alive in a world of seven billion people - and no one is exactly alike, nor has there been or ever will be another human being exactly like them. Incredible! Look at all these beliefs and religions and cultures and histories - what nuances, what momentous decisions hung in the balance to impact exactly how our world would look today, down to each culture's core values and what each country teaches its children in school. No matter how hopeless the world feels right now, it's still amazing to see what we've achieved, how far we've come - and how much we can still accomplish.

I haven't given up - in myself, or in the world at large. Wherever the coming year takes me, whether that's Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, or LA, wherever it takes our country after this election, or consequently where it takes the world, I have faith we can move forward - on to something better, with the help of Someone bigger.

I don't know what you believe; for me personally, I do believe in God and a heaven. And heaven isn't a place of white fluffy clouds and gently twanging harp music - I don't know who we can blame for that portrayal, whether it's Dante or Renaissance painters, but it's wrong. Heaven isn't boring. Heaven is that ache you feel in your chest when you've seen something so beautiful it grabs your heart and won't let go. Heaven isn't harp music - it's the 1812 Overture, with booming cannons and everything, blasting out til it fills your whole being. Heaven is beauty that makes your heart swell - not necessarily over something visually pleasing, but over power, strength, tenderness, anything that makes your blood sing through your veins and reminds you that you're alive. I think we see bits of heaven every day, if we can remember to look up - and I think that's what can save us from all the anger and bitterness left from this year. We can still look up.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 - An Overview (Part 2)


Left Behind
Lost in time. Brainwashing ensues (for at least two people).
The good: 

-This episode introduces the concept of "time drift," when an individual lost in time tries to reaffirm their identity by returning to what's familiar - hence, Sara returning to the League of Assassins. It's an interesting psychological concept; I wish we'd gotten to explore it a little more.

-SARA'S AWESOME FIGHT - Holy crap, I could watch Caity Lotz fight all day. I mean, the choreography is amazing, and Caity makes it look so awesome, so smooth and beautiful and yet powerful at the same time. Sara's had some great fights, but I think this one is the best yet.

-THE REVEAL - Chronos is Mick! I confess, if I hadn't read it somewhere online, I probably wouldn't have seen this coming (I really need to stop reading comment sections). I love this twist. Mick is great for one-liners, and Dom does a fantastic job with what he's given, but because of the writing, Mick's been very one-note. Ironically, with the brainwashing from the Time Masters, Mick becomes more three-dimensional as a character, and we get to see a different side to him. This is the episode I realized Dominic Purcell could actually act; in his scene with Snart, Mick comes across as truly menacing, a genuine threat, and we know it's serious when he threatens Lisa. He, above all, knows how much she means to Snart.

-SNART IS A BADASS - Why does no one acknowledge this?! It's like they just assume Snart is awesome, so no one even reacts anymore - which, you know, of course he's awesome, but can he get some recognition at least? He broke off his hand to stop them from killing Mick. Broke off. His. Hand. I get there was a lot going on, but come on! I guess at this point no one expects any less - he's just Leonard F'ing Snart!


The bad:

-I wish we'd gotten to see some of the two years Kendra and Ray spent together in the 50's. This relationship obviously isn't going to last - it's clumsy at its worst and benign at its best - but it would have more emotional weight if we could actually see them getting to know each other and settling into their status as a couple. Why the writers invented this romance, I don't know, because it's obvious it's only around to cause conflict when Carter inevitably shows back up, who Kendra will ultimately end up with because of the writers' obsession with DESTINY (god, if I never hear that word again...), but if we're stuck with it, the least they could do is try to give us something to be invested in. Even if it was only five or ten minutes out of the episode, it would have been a lot more satisfying than just hearing out-of-context snippets about lucky water vases, however "cute" that may be.

Best Quotes:

[Sara and Kendra playing Life]
Sara: "Congratulations. You're a doctor."
Kendra: "You know, I thought about going to medical school once."
Sara: "Here you go. Ten-thousand dollar salary."
Kendra: "That's it? I made more as a barista."
Sara: "Well, it's 1958. You're lucky to make that as a woman."
Kendra: "Touche."

Snart: (to Mick) "Would you mind loosening these [handcuffs] up a little before you leave?"


Progeny
Let's Kill (Baby) Hitler
The good:

-Props to the actor who plays Per Degaton, Cory Gruter-Andrew. The majority of Per's scenes are with Vandal Savage, and Gruter-Andrew just acts Casper Crump off the screen. Finally, we have a villain who's actually intimidating, and he's, what, twelve?

-The fact that the team's plan to save the world breaks down into Team Robot Army and Team Kidnapping is a better summary of the show than anything I could ever think of

-Snart turns into an Internet meme for a few seconds and actually says "Yaaaas" XD

Because honestly, what else would you say?

-Jax's face when Ray introduces himself as Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a thing of beauty:

The bad:

-There is way too much going on in this episode. Kidnapping Per Degaton, attempting to kill Per Degaton, the virus, the robot army, Ray's potential fatherhood, Snart and Mick's conflict - I would say this should have been split into two episodes, if the environment was interesting enough to stay in for that long. Sadly, it is not; it's like every generic dystopian future ever. I wish they'd been more creative with it.

-LACK OF TENSION - We know Rip's not going to kill Per; he's a douchebag sometimes, but he's not a murderer. Likewise, we don't care about Ray maybe having a kid he didn't know about; it's nice that Ray cares enough to be distressed about it, but when there's a giant robot army attacking, I don't really care whose pants you've been in!

-SNART - I feel like the writers lost track of where Snart's character development was, because he just feels off this entire episode. The Snart from the pilot may have been okay with killing a kid, but not the Snart from Marooned, or even as far back as Blood Ties. Also, what was Snart's plan when he proposed the fight between him and Mick? Mick's built like a wall; there's no way Snart's going to win. So Snart wants to die? But he's not really acting like it. The only conclusion that leaves is that Snart assumed that Mick wouldn't kill him - but he had no way of knowing that, and he's never showed great faith in Mick's (small) potential for mercy, anyway. The "man with a plan" felt like he was flying blind here - again, off. 

-Criminal under-use of Jewel Staite, who only got five minutes of screen time, tops. Any Browncoats watching, including this one, were extremely disappointed.

Also:

Sara, HOW THE HELL DID YOU GET CAPTURED??

Best Quotes:

Jax: "If we're going to be checking out the future-"
Sara: "We should probably invite the Nerd Twins."
The Nerd Twins is now my favorite description of Ray and Stein.

Sara: [to Snart] "So stop being an ass, and go deal with it."
Sara Lance, life coach.


The Magnificent Eight
Not-So-Quiet on the Western Front
The good:

-This episode is definitely one of the show's best. Finally, after nearly a whole season of flailing around trying to find its way, it finds its niche: a genre piece, in the style of old westerns, with some sci fi thrown in - I'm getting Firefly vibes and I like it!

It's got a ton of atmosphere, it's a lot of fun, and, except for a few moments with Stein trying to save the kid, it never slows down - you always feel like you're always on your way to the next adventure. 

We get a bar brawl with the whole team after Snart shoots somebody (of course), Sara drinks Mick under the table, Ray gets to be John Wayne and stand up to the resident oppressive gang, Snart gets to be a sharpshooter (again, no one seems surprised by this! He's a thief, how would he know how to be a sharpshooter?? Because he's Leonard F'ing Snart. At least Jax gives him some credit this time!), Rip gets to do a quick draw duel, and the Legends get to scare the crap out of the townspeople when they reveal their powers in the final showdown. True to the show at its best, it's absolutely crazy, and absolutely fantastic.

-Jonathan Schaech is excellent as Jonah Hex, and his bromance with Rip is quite entertaining. I hope they bring him back next season!

-I loved how Snart refused to leave Jax behind. Within the Legends, Jax is everybody's kid brother, even Snart's.

-Also, in a show with mostly male leads, Sara and Kendra getting to do some bonding is always appreciated.


The bad:

-The Hunters were a bit too easily defeated. Otherwise, a solid episode!

The ugly:

-I suppose Jonah Hex's face? (which Ray is foolish enough to try to volunteer to fix)

Best Quotes:

[Snart shoots attacking gang member]
Stein: "You killed him!"
Snart: "You're welcome."

Mick: "You haven't drunk with me."
Sara: "Is that a challenge, Mick?"
Mick: "Line 'em up."


Last Refuge
Babies.
The good:

-Fantastic work by one of my favorite directors, Rachel Talalay, who has also directed episodes of Doctor Who, Supernatural, The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Sherlock. The final fight of this episode especially is stunning.

-I really liked the villain for this episode, the Pilgrim. Her powers of manipulating time are such an intriguing threat for the team to face off against. While Faye Kingslee's acting may have been a bit wooden at times, her delivery of the line "You don't need to understand" had me cracking up. I know the Pilgrim was eventually reduced to a pile of ash, but can we find a way to bring her back? With a show based in immortality, reincarnation, and a magical resurrection hot tub, there has to be a way!

-The one scene that really got to me was between Jax and his father. Franz Drameh doesn't always get his time to shine in this show, and it was a pretty short scene, but he managed to bring so much emotion to it. In a show that oftentimes opts for a lot of running around and yelling rather than just slowing down and letting its characters and their emotions breathe, Drameh brought the emotional resonance the episode needed...making the perfect case for why next season they should give him more screen time! 

"This isn't my element." God help me, even dumb jokes
 like this make me laugh. Bless you, Leonard Snart!
The bad:

- PACING - This would be a pretty amazing episode - if it kept up its momentum. But, as with a lot of the other episodes, the pacing just goes up and down, break-neck, then slouching, then back to break-neck as we race against the Pilgrim, but then stop along the way to meet Rip's mother and to have the Legends interact with their younger selves. I get it - these are essential elements to the plot, and I love them as individual scenes; Mick's scene especially with younger Mick is great. But together they just feel jumbled, letting the necessary tension die and leaving the audience unsure as to what level of concern they should be feeling for the imminent threat. I hope the writers work out this issue in Season 2, because it's letting a lot of potential go to waste.

-Ray, do not make out with your fiancee when your formerly dead fiancee is just on the other side of the door. That is wrong. On so many levels.

Also:

Younger Sara: (looking at Sara) "But she's-"
Mick: "Quite the badass."
I love how Mick is basically the president of the Sara Lance fan club. 

Best Quotes:

Kendra: "Ray and I are happy together. We should be able to enjoy that before I have to drop the whole "doomed love affair" thing on his head."
Sara: (sarcastic) "Yeah, I mean, who wants a relationship based on honesty and communication?"

Quentin: "I always knew that you'd end up caring for people. Protecting people."
Sara: "Well, I learned it from my dad."


Leviathan
Rock 'Em-Sock 'Em Robots!
The good:

-The best part of this episode is definitely the giant robot fight. I don't usually go in for stuff like Transformers, and I haven't seen Pacific Rim, but dang it if I didn't feel my inner child cheer when the giant Atom busted up the Leviathan. Woo! No doubt about it, it's awesome.

-CASSANDRA - Okay, so Jessica Sipos' acting was a little wooden, but I think the actress was running into the same problems as Kingslee did with the Pilgrim: trying to be stoic and commanding, which unfortunately comes across as bland and wooden when it lacks intensity. (For an example of what we need, see Caity Lotz's performance in Left Behind; she was cold and commanding, but she had an intensity that made her intimidating, and pretty mesmerizing to watch). But, I think this character has potential, and I'd like to see her come back. I think the writers were also trying to show a little spark between her and Snart, which was fine, but if they're going with the whole Sara/Snart pairing, Sara would totally kick Cassandra's butt - and then they'd probably make up and go for coffee or something.

The bad:

-CASSANDRA - Cassandra is way too easy to convince to turn against her father. Yes, it's interesting to see Snart of all people be the one to guide someone into the light, but if you're Vandal Savage's daughter, I don't think it would just take a half an hour of talking and walking around a refugee camp to convince you to turn your back on your father's entire evil empire, ergo your whole life and everything you've ever known. We needed something a bit more; as it is, it's just too easily resolved.

-MICK - What happened to Mick? It's like his entire personality reverted to what he was like before they even stepped on the Waverider. Maybe it's the writers' way of showing he's breaking away from his identity as Chronos. I mean, he's hilarious, but it felt out of place, and way too sudden!

-TIME TRAVEL RULES - Here is where it's most visible why the time travel aspect of this show isn't working. Rip says he can't go back to save his family because "time wants to happen." Yet, he's constantly worried about the team botching the timeline, saying "time is in flux." So which is it? If time wants to happen, why can't they do whatever the hell they want? If time is in flux, why is "destiny" brought up in every single episode? If time is in flux, destiny doesn't exist. You can't have it both ways. It's a real shame, because other shows, like The Flash, do time travel so well; it figures that the DC show whose premise is actually based in time travel can't seem to write it well!

-KENDRA - *scream of anguish*
Oh, Kendra. Why? Why do you have to be written so horribly? You could have been great. You could have been like Sara - three-dimensional, complex, likable, and badass - and yet, you're as awful as she is awesome.
This show is supposed to pivot on Kendra. She's the only one who can kill Savage; it's supposed to be her story that's driving this entire show.
AND YET.
She is one of the weakest, worst written characters I've ever seen. She isn't given even a vague rendering of a personality, she can't seem to physically exist within a story line without a love interest giving her a reason to be there (Cisco, then Carter, then Ray), and any kind of moment where she could potentially be amazing - taking down soldiers, rescuing members of the team - is immediately followed by her getting knocked out, kidnapped, or otherwise just negating her presence within the show. There is literally an entire episode, Progeny, where she does nothing but daydream, mooning around the ship while having flashbacks about Carter. And then here, when she finally has a chance to fulfill the only reason she's been around - to kill Savage - SHE CAN'T. 
Oh, my god, Carter reincarnates! You'll see him again! Even then, you literally know a person who came back from the dead - maybe there's another option there? You know there's reincarnation, immortality, resurrection, and just plain magic - why are you even worried about death at this point?? The entire fate of humanity is hanging in the balance! Smash Savage's head in!!
I feel so sorry for this actress. She's a successful singer, dancer, and actress on Broadway - she took over for Patina Miller as the Leading Player in Pippin, which is no small feat - and I feel like, with a little more experience, she could be a pretty good film/television actress. But, with the material they're giving her, there's nothing to work with. Don't hate Ciara Renee for this - she deserved better. Be disappointed in the writers for not being able to write more than one female character at a time who has actual depth and personality. 

Best Quotes:

Rip: "Now, in order to capture [Savage], I require the services of-"
Mick: "Killer, Klepto, and Pyro!"
Rip: "Bingo."
That's it. That's the show I want to watch. Killer, Klepto, and Pyro - where Sara, Snart, and Mick steal the jump ship and go through time causing shenanigans. I would watch the hell out of that.

Snart: (to Mick) "How about we play this like Chicago?"


River of Time
The One Where Everyone Takes Stupid Pills

This episode makes my brain angry. It's arguably the worst episode of the entire show, which is a shame, because it also has one of the best lines of the season (more on that later). What frustrates me is, I get what they're going for - Savage going all Hannibal Lecter and turning the team against each other. That idea could be a really interesting episode; the problem is, the writing isn't strong enough to make the situation plausible. 

Savage isn't intimidating enough, or apparently smart enough, to manipulate the team in ways that we can believe; instead, the only way to get the team to where the writers want them to be - in conflict and without hope - is by them being really, really stupid. 

Okay, first, the good:

-SARA - Captain Sara Lance. I love this so much. And the great thing is, I can believe it! If anyone's going to pilot the ship, out of all the Legends, it would be Sara.


-THE END OF "KENDRAY" - Holy god, I'm so glad this pairing is over. The actors did the best they could, but we could see from the beginning that it was pointless. And now it's gone - hopefully never to return.

-CARTER - I guess the trick to making a character more interesting in this show is brainwashing them. Carter returns as Scythian Torvil, and wow - Falk Hentschel can actually act! Evil Carter is so much more interesting than regular Carter ever was.

-FIRESTORM - The one truly emotional moment is between Jax and Stein when Stein sends Jax back to 2016. It's touching to see how far their partnership has come since the pilot - now it's not just a partnership, it's a friendship.

-"Alexa" - I love when Snart or Mick make references to their criminal past together. It adds a lot to their partnership - plus the way Alexa was brought up again at the end was a nice touch on the writers' part.

The bad:

-RIP - Rip is the worst leader ever. Yes, send Jax to die - your guilty conscience definitely makes up for that!

-RAY - Ray is not this stupid. He wouldn't let Savage out of his cell just because of some wounded pride. For Ray, ego is not the problem, so it doesn't make sense for him to be the one to let Savage out. That's stupid writing.

-"TWISTS" - Savage has been traveling through time? And he's working with the Time Masters? Whoa - actually, no, Rip should have suspected this from the start. Especially as a former Time Master. These twists aren't clever; they're so frikkin' obvious! 

-CARTER DYING - I laughed so hard when Savage stabbed Carter. Seriously, writers, you brought this character back just to kill him again? Ultimately he didn't die, but come on; I shouldn't be laughing when a character is quite possibly dead! 

List of things Carter Hall is good at: 
-getting stabbed by Vandal Savage.

Best Quotes:

Savage: "Who are you to stand against me, Vandal Savage, destroyer of empires?"
Snart: "Leonard Snart, robber of ATMs!"
This is, undeniably, the best quote of the season. Not only is it a great line, but the way Wentworth Miller delivers it, with pure, unabashed pride, makes it gold. I wish this was in a better episode, because it cracks me up every time!

Rip: "You, Miss Lance, you're going to be our navigator."
Sara: "I was League of Assassins, not NASA!"


Destiny
FEELINGS.

Finally, we get to the show at its finest. Destiny course-corrects and fixes the flaws that have marred the majority of Legends of Tomorrow's episodes - this time it actually has steady pacing, it builds tension, it shows character development, and it ties the season together under a genuinely intriguing plot element. 

Also it stabs you in the heart. 

Any show that can bring me to feel that strong of an emotion towards a fictional character has my respect. Good job, writers. I hate you.

The good:

-SNART - I suppose this was planned from the beginning. Looking back, I guess I should have seen it coming. Snart is so clearly set up as the snarky, cynical villain of the crew, and his subsequent journey towards hero is meant to make us love him even more. 

Snart is undoubtedly the best part of every episode; he always has something enjoyably sarcastic to say about the situation at hand, he's consistently a stone-cold badass, and watching him interact with the other characters - Mick, Sara, Jax, even Ray - is always solidly entertaining. That's why I was sure the writers wouldn't kill him off; he's the best part of the show. With how much Legends of Tomorrow can struggle otherwise, no way would the writers kill off its strongest element!

I was wrong. 

I'd like to give credit not only to the writers, but to Wentworth Miller, whose subtleties within his performance as Snart truly sold his character arc from villain to hero - in fact, really made the character that the whole fandom unanimously loves. The hamminess of his Captain Cold persona is what makes him such a fun character, but it's just that - a persona. What made Snart great was when we got to see past the Captain Cold mask - when he opened up to Sara, when he refused to leave Jax behind, the look on his face when Mick revealed himself as Chronos. With a lesser actor, I think this character might very well have ended up being inconsistent and a bit irritating; with Miller, though, he's complex, three-dimensional, and always a welcome presence on the screen.

It'll be interesting to see where they take this character in Season 2. I was a bit frustrated when I heard he would only be recurring, and apparently he's evil. Again (please don't let this negate his entire character development in Season 1; that would also be frustrating). I have my own theories about Legion of Doom Snart, and I think the show is definitely worse off for him not being on the team, but, hey - he'll be recurring on the other DC shows, too, which will be fun, and we have Vixen and Citizen Steel joining the crew. I'll wait to see what the writers do with it. Regardless, I'll definitely miss Season 1's Leonard Snart.

-SARA/SNART - There's a term in the domain of Tumblr known as "trash." Before this show, it never applied to me.

Now it does.


Maybe it's because it was the unlikeliest of pairings, and yet somehow it works beautifully; it's definitely because Miller and Lotz's chemistry is off the charts in any scene they're in together; it's also because the writers had nothing to do with it. That's why it works so well - it's not forced. The actors just decided to go with it, and because of that, it's one of the strongest elements of the show. 

I could go on and on about why I love them so much, but I'll spare you the details and just say this: it feels honest. It feels genuine. There's no bullcrap between them, no secrets or drama or typical melodramatic nonsense - it's just two equally awesome people who become great friends, and then fall in love. More of this, CW. Please. 

The bad:

Not much to say here. Everything actually works really well; it feels like the writers kept all this stuff up their sleeve and then finally revealed it in this episode - which makes for a great episode, but I wish they'd had more ideas at their disposal so the rest of the season could have been as good. If you're saving everything good for last, there's no guarantee people will stick around 'til the end to see it. 

The twist with the Oculus, Sara and Snart saving the day, Jax doing his own bit of saving the day, Mick and Ray bonding, a very small amount of screen time dedicated to Savage and Kendra - like River of Time is the showcase for the show's biggest flaws, Destiny is a display of the show at its best. I hope the writers take note and give us more of this next season.

Best Quotes:

[Snart waves deck of cards]
Sara: "Not in the mood."
Snart: "I was going to apologize for pulling a gun on you, but apparently I was just following a script."
Sara: "Doesn't make you any less of a jerk."
Snart: "...Guilty."

Snart: (to Time Masters) "There are no strings on me."
Again, from a lesser actor, this line would have come across as cheesy; from Miller, though, it's decidedly badass.


Legendary
Third Time's the Harm

Remember those meteors? The one from Night of the Hawk? Vaguely? Also there was one in Pilot, Part 2? No? Well, too bad, because apparently they're the point of everything - at least according to the season finale.

The good:

-SARA - Sara finally finds out about Laurel's death...and it's heartbreaking. Caity Lotz's performance is amazing here; we see Sara go from disbelief and grief, to calm rage, to outright fury, and back to grief, pleading for Rip to take her back to save her sister. And, knowing Laurel's death comes on the heels of Snart's - I'm amazed Sara is even still standing. But she gets back up, and she kicks ass, like she always does - and that's why I love her. I think that's why it's so satisfying when she finally gets to SNAP Savage's neck. YES.
Which brings me to:

-KILL, KILL, KILL - I have never been so happy to see a villain die. The team gets to kill Savage three different times, in three different time periods, and I was practically cheering the whole way. Kendra finally gets to stab him  - YES! Mick burns him - WOO! Sara snaps his neck - AWW YESSS! That's for being the worst, least intimidating, two-dimensional villain I've ever seen on screen! DIE! DIE, YOU BADLY WRITTEN, PAPER-THIN EXCUSE FOR A CHARACTER! DIE!

-TRANSMUTATION - Firestorm has a new superpower! With Stein and Jax getting pushed to the side a lot this season narrative-wise, it was great to see them finally have something just for them to marvel at and experiment with. Can't wait to see how they use this next season!

-GOODBYE, HAWKS - The Hawks decide not to keep traveling with Rip - thank god. Apparently when show runner Phil Klemmer sat down with the writers and they tried to think of stories for Hawkman and Hawkgirl next season, they couldn't think of any, so they decided to bench them for now. Klemmer says it's because they'd already focused a lot on their story, so there wasn't much left to work with. I personally think it's because THEY'RE THE MOST BORING CHARACTERS EVER. Goodbye - only have Kendra come back when she has a personality and no love interest!

-JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA - Pretty great cliffhanger for next season. I know the Justice Society is the precursor to the Justice League, so it'll be interesting to see who they bring in for it. Our first official member is Rex Tyler, a.k.a. Hourman, who has superpowers for one hour by taking a special pill. I guess we'll see how this show interprets his powers/back story.

-SNART AND MICK - Oh, god, that last scene between Mick and past Snart. What are feelings and why do they hurt *SNIFF*

The bad:

-RIP - Oh, my god, no one cares. I stopped caring about Rip and his family ten episodes ago. Your grief does not give you the excuse to treat everyone around you like crap and put everyone else's lives in danger. Even when he risks his own life, it's totally pointless - holy god, you don't have to die. You have a jump ship! Use it! God, this is so stupid. I hope next season the writing for Rip is better, because as of this moment he is down there with the Hawks as one of my least favorite characters. Don't make me do that to Rory Williams!

-METEORS - If the meteors are such an important part of the show that they comprise the whole of the season finale, maybe they should have been brought up before. More than once. Maybe.

-LACK OF SNART - I kept waiting this entire episode for a snarky remark about the ridiculousness of everything going on. And then I'd remember - oh, right. In an episode as insane as this, we really need someone there who's willing to mock it, just to keep something grounded in reality. As it is, there was definitely a void there that I hope isn't felt so terribly in Season 2.

Whatever this episode's flaws, I have to concede that it definitely has a full barrage of great lines. So, without further ado:

Best Quotes:

Sara: "Glad we're past the point of worrying about the timeline!"
Me, too, Sara. Me, too.

Ray: "We don't need weapons."
Stein: "He's right. We have superpowers!"

Stein: "I never thought I'd utter these words, but I think we need a Nazi."

Sara: (to Savage) "A Time Master is never late."

[Bird monsters attack]
Ray: "Seriously? These guys again?"

[Firestorm turns meteor to water, washes over Sara's shoes]
Sara: (facetious) "Aw, man, you got my boots wet!"

[Hawks fly away after their final farewell]
Mick: "Every time they do that, I get hungry for chicken." (chomps chicken leg)

So, a weak finale for a bumpy Season 1. 

When Legends of Tomorrow is bad, it's really bad, but when it's great, it's so much fun. I can see the flaws, I know it's not a great show - but god help me, I love it. The cast is perfect, the premise is ridiculous and fun and awesome, and I can't wait to see what happens in Season 2. We've got Citizen Steel and past Vixen joining the team, no more Vandal Savage or Time Masters, Justice Society versus Legion of Doom (including a certain Captain Cold who somehow isn't dead) - just, give me all of it. I love its ridiculous, over-the-top insanity, and I can't wait for next season!

See you on Thursday, October 13th for "Out of Time"! Until then, Legends!

Best Season 1 Episodes:

Pilot (bar scene)

Fail-Safe

Star City 2046

Marooned

The Magnificent Eight

Destiny (best episode)