Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reboot The Past: "Out Of Time" Reinvents Legends Of Tomorrow Surprisingly Well!

The Good: Funny, Smart, Good performances, Interesting characters
The Bad: A little lighter on character resolution, Narrative gap
The Basics: Legends Of Tomorrow returns with "Out Of Time," an episode that places the Justice Society of America in the DC Television Universe

Legends Of Tomorrow has returned! One of the more interesting concepts for the DC Television Universe, Legends Of Tomorrow struggled some in its first season (reviewed here!) because the concept for it was a simple problem with an unnecessarily complicated solution. The return of Legends Of Tomorrow comes with the promise of the addition of the Justice Society Of America being infused into the same television universe as Arrow and The Flash. While there are some issues that could arise from that - there is a magically-empowered incarnation of Green Lantern and an incarnation of The Flash in the classic Justice Society, along with other heroes who might be tough to squeeze into the same universe established in The Flash and Arrow, "Out Of Time" set out to put the Justice Society characters in the Legends Of Tomorrow narrative.

"Out Of Time" does not pick up immediately where "Legendary" (reviewed here!) left off, but it is impossible to discuss the new season premiere well without some references to the events of the prior season's finale. Consider that a spoiler alert for those who are behind in their viewing! Given that the first season climaxed with an alternate version of the Waverider crashing down and Hour Man telling Rip Hunter's team not to get back aboard the Waverider as they planned, it is surprising that "Out Of Time" does not begin at that point before leaping forward. Fortunately,"Out Of Time" does not thrust the Justice Society Of America into the Legends Of Tomorrow narrative at the expense of the cast that viewers have come to love.

Opening with Nate Heywood in Star City tracking down Oliver Queen, Heywood lays out his predicament. Dr. Heywood is a temporal detective and he has found evidence that the Legends are in grave danger, presumably from a nuclear bomb detonated years before the previous, American, invention of the atomic bomb. Twenty-four hours later, Heywood and Queen find the Waverider on the bottom of the ocean, where they find Mick Rory in stasis. Rory tells the duo that the Legends were working to protect time from rogue time travelers and things were going generally well. They rescue Louis XIII from temporal assassins.

Six months into their mission, the Waverider experiences a temporal shockwave that is the result of New York City being blown up in 1942 . . . which forces the team to go to the exact time Rex Tyler warned them against going to. While Rory, Stein and Rip Tyler work to rescue Albert Einstein before he can be abducted by Nazis in 1942. Damien Darhk is working with the Nazis to abduct Einstein to blow up New York City. After abducting Einstein, Stein and Rory learn that Einstein's ex-wife is a physicist as well and she is working for Darhk. In attempting to rescue Einstein's ex-wife and stop Darhk, the mission goes sideways. Chasing a German u-boat under the sea put the Waverider in further peril and Rip Hunter engages a radical plan to save his team . . . even though it may cost everyone their lives.

"Out Of Time" begins very fun. The first act of the episode puts Sara Lance in bed with Louis's would-be lover, Ray Palmer using his suit in front of others and Firestorm manifesting to stop assassins who use laser guns in 1637. Before the episode turns toward the character-driven, the plot is fun and fast-paced . . . in a way Legends Of Tomorrow has not been for quite some time.

On the character front, Sara Lance is given a decent run of things in "Out Of Time." In "Legendary," Lance learned that her sister Laurel was killed by Damien Darhk. Lance's sense of revenge motivates her to track down Darhk in 1942. That motivation is very cool and fits her character remarkably well. Lance realistically points out that the Legends are guided by their own rules and she has an ethical right to prevent all the death that Damien Darhk will be responsible for, including killing her sister.

"Out Of Time" allows Dr. Stein to geek out when meeting Albert Einstein. Einstein serves as an object lesson to never meet one's heroes and the chemistry between Dr. Stein and Einstein is wonderful. Victor Garber once again proves his worth in "Out Of Time" with an understated performance that makes him a credible super-genius with a very human sense of humor.

Damien Darhk is an interesting adversary in "Out Of Time." While he had a bit role in the second part of the Legends Of Tomorrow pilot episode (reviewed here!), those who do not watch Arrow (including me!) get a proper introduction to Darhk's on-screen villany in "Out Of Time." Darhk, like Sara Lance, has used the Lazarus Pit to resurrect, so why Lance thinks she can kill her sister's killer - even in the past - is a bit of a mystery.

"Out Of Time" sets up Mick Rory to be on a mission with Nate Heywood to recover the team members Rip Hunter sent to various time periods, which leads to a fun climax for the episode. Arguably the most intriguing performance of "Out Of Time" comes from John Rubinstein as Albert Einstein. Rubinstein might well be best known to genre fans as Linwood Murrow from Angel (reviewed here!). In "Out Of Time," Rubinstein is funny, smart and very different from the character he played on Angel.

Caity Lotz steals her scenes as Sara Lance in "Out Of Time," lending humor to a role that has the potential to be very dark.

Amid all of the reshuffling, "Out Of Time" manages to be funny, clever and a decent reinvention of Legends Of Tomorrow!

For other DC Comics Television Universe season premieres, please visit my reviews of:
"The Adventures Of Supergirl" - Supergirl
"Flashpoint" - The Flash
"Pilot, Part I" - Legends Of Tomorrow

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Legends Of Tomorrow - The Complete Second Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the sophomore season of the time traveling hero team here!


For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprintwithout permission.
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