Sunday, March 6, 2016

How "Marooned" Made Me Love Legends of Tomorrow

How did this become my new favorite show? (Besides Agent Carter, of course.)

I didn't start watching this expecting to love it. I started watching it because Rory, I mean Arthur Darvill, is a Time Lord, I mean Time Master, piloting a TARDIS, I mean Wave Rider, through time and space. With EIGHT companions along for the ride. Essentially I think I was just going through Doctor Who withdrawal (no new episodes until Christmas - urgh), so this was the "diet Doctor Who" I could sate myself with until then.

I wasn't all that impressed with the pilot. It was just a big ol' exposition dump, with too much arguing between the alleged "legends" and not enough action/plot. 

But...I decided to give it another chance.

And you know what? It got better. Not to say the episodes didn't still have their flaws, but each episode was a little better than the last. And some of the characters started to grow on me - oddly enough, Captain Cold, whose snark, intelligence, and complexity completely made up for the ridiculous name; White Canary, fearless and fun-loving, and a stone-cold badass; and even, at moments, Rip Hunter, mainly because Darvill's acting is beautiful, as usual.

Through the next few episodes, the Legends carried out a bank heist, a rescue from a Russian gulag, a battle in future Star City...and then came "Marooned."

This episode reminds me a little of Firefly's phenomenal episode "Out of Gas." With all the Star Wars and Star Trek references in it, I wouldn't have been surprised if they'd dropped a Firefly reference!

But seriously, guys: I love this episode. I. Love. It.

First off, every single member of the cast has something to do, which is awesome! One of the show's problems has been, inevitably, the size of its cast; it's hard to come up with a story every week where every single Legend is needed. The writers have manufactured sub-plots for when some of the characters have to take a backseat; some of them worked (Snart going back to talk to his childhood self comes to mind; great acting from Wentworth Miller), but most of them feel a little clunky. Here, though, that is (mostly) not the case:


Here we get some important back story on Rip's conflict with the Time Masters and his love story with his wife Miranda. Though probably the weakest part of the episode (for some reason, Darvill and Alex Duncan just didn't seem to have the right chemistry), it finally gave us a glimpse of how deeply Rip is grieving and how desperate he is to save his family. The opening also captured that desperation very effectively, with Rip obsessively re-watching a holographic message his wife and son left him before their untimely deaths. 

I think this can explain why he blundered straight into a trap on the other ship; he's so desperate he's just not thinking straight.


Woo! Stein found his inner badass! Played by the delightful Victor Garber, I think one of the best parts of the episode was when Stein took out that pirate and stole his beret, lol.

I also loved the little tidbit of a back story that we got from Stein's childhood. It's nice to see him having fun. Space Ranger Stein, indeed! 


Okay, so the other half of Firestorm didn't get to do as much. But I loved his reaction to Stein's awesome entrance, and also getting in between Rip and Rory when they're arguing shows he's got guts. He did try to break them out, and at least on this mission he wasn't kidnapped or left behind on the ship!


I frikkin' love Sara. Seriously, she is such a badass. Caity Lotz is a trained martial artist, so she does all her own stunts and fight sequences. I love whenever Sara gets to kick ass, because it always looks amazing; I love that I can watch and believe that she is beating the crap out of six guys at once.

What I also love is her sense of fun. Because she is such a great fighter, following TV trope #203, she should be the cold b*tch - but she's not. She's really up for anything, whether that's kicking butt or partying at a bar (and then kicking butt right after). She's faced death, so what is there left to be afraid of? 

The interesting part of that is, what she really has to fear is herself. Sara has her dark side, a bloodlust left from being raised from the Lazarus pit. Seeing her struggle to keep that bloodlust under control shows some great acting on Lotz's part. Sara's struggle also shows how strong she is, and the fact that she tries so hard to keep it together to help the team just makes me admire her all the more.

Regarding other skills, she can also keep up with Snart's level of snark, which I frikkin' love. Which brings me to:


Holy crap, I love this actor. I'd never heard of Wentworth Miller before this show; I've never seen Prison Break, I haven't watched Arrow or The Flash yet, I just stumbled in to Legends not knowing what to expect. And I got this sneering, snarky, sarcastic, wonderfully over-the-top yet just-understated-enough performance for his portrayal of Captain Cold. And I love it.

It's sometimes hard to know how to play a character in a comic book show, because the plots and characters can be so completely out there and insane, but they still have to be relatable on some level. Miller, I think, manages to strike the perfect balance between sneering comic book anti-hero and real, believable human being. His portrayal is easily one of the most enjoyable things about the show, and the fact that Snart's also probably the most complex character makes it even better.

Within seven episodes, Captain Cold has changed as a character - whereas before he cared only about himself, his partner, and his sister, his circle is now opening up to include the Legends. Snart's found his heart, and the subtlety of Miller's performance within that arc is what really sold me on that piece of character development. I guess I'm just a sucker for a good redemption arc. 

Which also plays into what I'm going to mention next, for better or for worse:

Sara/Snart...otherwise known as #CaptainCanary

I ship it, okay? I ship it, ship it, ship it. Some actors just work really well together, and Wentworth Miller and Caity Lotz have some frikkin' great chemistry. 

Snart and Sara were definitely my favorite characters from the get-go; they've been fleshed out the most in regards to character development, and both are seeking redemption in their own way - Sara from her killer's instinct, Snart from his own selfishness and criminal ways. My thinking is, this character is awesome, and this character is awesome...wouldn't they be really awesome together?

What cemented it for me was "Fail-Safe," when Snart stopped Sara from killing Stein. That was just so...un-Snart-like, I knew something big had changed. I think Snart does have feelings for Sara; I'm not sure he's ready to admit to himself what they are. But we can see that he's changed, and, well - love'll do that. I'm just saying. 

I'm not sure what Sara's feelings are yet. She and Snart certainly seem to get along the best out of all the Legends, whether that's starting a bar fight or, in this case, playing cards. Oh, and confiding in each other while nearly freezing to death. (I absolutely did not squeal when we saw Snart had given Sara his jacket to keep warm. Nope. Not at all.)

We'll see where the writers take it; personally, I can't stand to see good chemistry wasted. If they're setting up a Snart/Sara romance, I'm all for it. It can take awhile for all I care, as long as we get the payoff....And if it doesn't happen, I'll just be over here quietly shipping it anyway.

Character-wise, in finding he cares about the team, Snart's less inclined to act like the brutal, unfeeling criminal he was. Unfortunately, Rory doesn't understand this change, which leads us to the most tragic conflict of the episode:


It was genius to cast Heatwave and Captain Cold with the two actors who played brothers on Prison Break. Miller and Dominic Purcell brought that brotherly bond to Snart and Rory, which made the ending of this episode even more tragic.

Rory isn't my favorite character, but I do like him (really, if there was a show with just Snart, Rory, and Sara, I'd watch the heck out of it). He's a great contrast to Snart, which makes this conflict feel inevitable, with Snart growing and changing while Rory still just wants to burn and kill and steal. Rory's one good trait is his loyalty to Snart; that was emphasized by Snart's story about Rory saving him when he was jumped by the other kids in juvie. So we can understand Rory's sense of betrayal when Snart no longer sides with Rory's criminal inclinations.

Add on top of that Rip's insults, spewed from the depths of his desperate frustration, and Rory is done with the Legends. He may not be as smart as Snart, but he's still a very dangerous threat - now one that has to be taken care of.

The final scene of this episode is just heartbreaking. You can feel Rory's hurt and anger as Snart aims his gun at him. Wentworth Miller frikkin' got me in this scene; that anguish on his face was enough to make me start tearing up. Who would have thought that this show would make me cry? Freakin' Wentworth Miller - this scene is a stab to the gut, and the tears in Snart's eyes just make it all the more heart-wrenching.

In the end, though, did Snart kill Rory? I don't think so. That line - "Only one of us is walking out of here alive" - has me thinking maybe he froze his legs to the ground or something (if that's the case, nice one, writers). Really, though, it doesn't even matter if he let him live - the betrayal's been made, and I don't think it's one Rory will ever forgive Snart for.

Other sub-plots:


While the other Legends are experiencing a lot of doom and gloom, Ray, meanwhile, is his usual adorkable ray of sunshine; Brandon Routh has awkward charm down to a science. He goes out in the Atom suit to repair the hole in the ship, and we get a nice exchange between him and Kendra - before he, you know, nearly dies. 

While this is probably the second-weakest sub-plot, it did give us a scene where Ray's character was rounded out a little more. We don't always get to see much of him when the other Legends are experiencing their share of drama, so it was nice to see him get a bit more screen time.


Oh, Kendra; someday you'll get your own story line.

I've been waiting for Kendra to quit moping in the shadows and start being a frikkin' Legend. This episode she got to do some actual ass-kicking - woo! Finally!

I don't know if I'm 100% behind the whole Ray/Kendra thing - for one thing, it's going to be super awkward when Carter comes back (although that can be as far in the future as the writers want it to be, he was by far the worst actor on the show). But hey, why not - if this is what gives her more screen time, maybe that will lead to a plot line that doesn't involve a potential love interest.


This episode was just pure fun, with a huge smack of heartbreak at the very end. It also had a ton of Star Wars and Star Trek references. Some people may have thought it was a bit much; I, however, was enjoying myself too much to care. The time pirates, while maybe not the most well established villains, were the necessary vehicle to get this story rolling, and once it did - wow! We learned so much about Rip, Sara, Snart, and Rory, as well as getting to watch Stein immensely enjoy kicking some butt. Throw in some fantastic fight sequences, DC Comics references as secret commands for Gideon to fly the ship (nice one, Rip), a scene that showcased the exceptional chemistry between Sara and Snart, and no Vandal Savage - this episode was all I ever wanted from Legends of Tomorrow. 

And now I'm in it for the long haul. Kudos to you, LoT Writers Room; I'm hooked!

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