The Good: Moments of performance, Some good humor, Hints of character
The Bad: Very typical plot, Shakycam during fight sequence, Time travel elements are moving toward preposterous
The Basics: "Compromised" is an unfortunately average episode of Legends Of Tomorrow that has the Waverider crew squaring off against Damien Darhk in their search for the time traveling murderer!
I am always intrigued by how television shows follow up on truly amazing episodes that are more or less bottle episodes in a serialized context. With Legends Of Tomorrow, the show had one of its series-best episodes with "Abominations" and it had to follow that high-point with something. "Compromised" is that something and it is a Legends Of Tomorrow episode that returns to the season's primary adversaries of Eobard Thawne and Damien Darhk. Unfortunately, "Compromised" is a painfully average episode of Legends Of Tomorrow.
"Compromised" follows "Abominations" (reviewed here!) and with Ray Palmer being a change in alter-ego in the prior episode, it is hard not to discuss some elements of the prior episode in the review of the current one. Elements of "Abominations" resonate through "Compromised," including Jefferson Jackson having a strong reaction to experiencing the American Civil War first hand.
Opening in Miami, 1987, Damien Darhk acquires a hatchet from Emperor Nero through a drug deal when he is rescued by Eobard Thawne. Aboard the Waverider, Jackson and Stein have a debate on the nature of their team while Ray Palmer acclimates himself with the cold gun Snart left behind. Nate Heywood designs a temporal seismograph and they discover a time aberration in 1987, the day before Reagan and Gorbachev signed their nuclear disarmament treaty. Arriving in 1987, Amaya and Heywood discover the J.S.A. training facility she remembered is gone, but Obsidian (Todd Rice) remains and Heywood accidentally knocks him out. At the White House, Dr. Stein sees his younger version of himself and Palmer and Rory see Damien Darhk working for the U.S. Government.
When Sara Lance makes an attempt on Darhk, the mission to find the time traveling killer goes sideways. Rice wakes up and fills Amaya in about what happened after she left and Lance redefines the mission to surveil and identify the temporal manipulator. While on surveillance, Rory and Palmer witness the younger version of Dr. Stein being stabbed by Darhk. After Stein is healed, the Waverider crew heads to the State Dinner where Darhk has a plan to make a mysterious side deal that will alter history!
Throughout "Compromised," Ray Palmer and Mick Rory try to figure out how Palmer will take over as the new Cold. Palmer is listless and attempts to create a more badass persona . . . which is not an organic transition for him. Similarly, Rory is close to experiencing actual emotions and he is deeply uncomfortable with that. That allows Rory to deliver some of his best lines of the series that have some real humor to them. Rory basically reaches out to Palmer to be his friend and Palmer has to turn to Stein to figure out just how to do that, which helps the character transition work better.
The interplay between Dr. Stein and his younger self is pretty wonderful. Graeme McComb returns to the role from the second part of the "Pilot" (reviewed here!) and he is masterful in "Compromised." McComb has Victor Garber's speech patterns down perfectly, which is impressive and he makes the character seem absolutely like a younger version of Stein.
Lance Henriksen arrives on Legends Of Tomorrow as the aged version of Todd Rice and he is good in the role. Rice is a more cerebral role than some of Henriksen's other parts and he carries himself with enough gravitas to be taken seriously as a former superhero who has lost all of his compatriots.
"Compromised" loses serious points on the details. During the fight against the KGB, Amaya calls Obsidian by his mundane name, which is a ridiculous slip. When the Legends encounter a bomb at the state dinner, Firestorm could easily transmute it to disarm it. And when Lance and Heywood see the speedster, Lance declares that he is faster than The Flash . . . which she would have no reasonable frame of reference to recognize.
The budding romance between Amaya and Heywood feels forced in "Compromised." Some of the jokes between Palmer and Rory also feel forced . . . like to make the jokes land, Ray Palmer suddenly seems far stupider and less mature than ever before. Finally, director David Geddes creates a truly nauseating sequence with the hand held shaking camera during the fight sequence between Lance and her team and the KGB thugs.
Ultimately, Dr. Stein's part in "Compromised" is fun and saves the otherwise underwhelming episode from being a true and complete disappointment.
For other works featuring Lance Henriksen, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Alien Vs. Predator
[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 reprinted without permission.