Tuesday, March 7, 2017

"Land Of The Lost" Progresses Legends Of Tomorrow Well!

The Good: Moments of character, A few good performance moments
The Bad: Moments of direction, Simplistic and obvious plot
The Basics: "Land Of The Lost" puts the Legends Of Tomorrow on the path to save Rip Hunter then the Waverider crashes in the ancient past!

As Legends Of Tomorrow progresses, it is hard not to imagine that the series will find a way to restore Rip Hunter to the narrative as a hero, effectively undoing the conditioning that the Reverse Flash did to him when he altered his stored memories and personality. While it might have been fun for Arthur Darvill to play the villainous version of Rip Hunter, it is not a sustainable character for Legends Of Tomorrow. Rip Hunter's restoration threatens to completely undermine the character growth for Sara Lance, who has truly stepped up to be a leader of the Waverider's crew in the second season. The first big chance to restore Rip Hunter comes in "Land Of The Lost."

"Camelot/3000" (reviewed here!) climaxed with Rip Hunter falling back into the custody of the Waverider crew, which set up "Land Of The Lost." "Land Of The Lost" is essentially a sidetrack story as the Legends get lost in the distant past and in Rip Hunter's head. The episode leaps into restoring Rip Hunter by undoing his programming, which gives the viewer hope for the direction of Legends Of Tomorrow.

As Gideon processes data in her attempt to locate Commander Steele of the Justice Society. Unfortunately, Rip Hunter has a failsafe in place and overrides Gideon, taking control of the Waverider. When Hunter sets off a self-destruct sequence, Mick Rory steps in to stop him and, in the process, destroys the compass that could tell the crew where Steel is. The Waverider also gets thrown into the Cretaceous Period, where Ray Palmer had been stranded before. While Palmer, Heywood and Jiwe look for parts needed to repair the Waverider's time drive, Lance and Jackson use Time Master technology to enter Rip Hunter's mind.

In Hunter's mind, Lance and Jackson encounter threats from Hunter's memories, including an alternate version of White Canary. Palmer's team takes up refuge in Palmer's old hideout, which leads Jiwe and Heywood to get amorous - through they are inadvertently blocked by Palmer and his hunting skills. While Lance confronts Rip Hunter in his own mind, Jackson meets Gideon there and Palmer is forced to tell Heywood why the archaeologist needs to end his relationship with Amaya.

"Land Of The Lost" is set up with the Waverider crew making one of the most stupid mistakes of the series. Sara Lance - or one of the other members of the Waverider crew - smartly orders Gideon not to respond to any commands from Rip Hunter. It does not, apparently, occur to any of the crew to ask Gideon if there are any commands Rip could initiate that could hijack Lance's order to her . . . or simply turn off all voice interfaces from the brig. Why would anyone of the smart people on the Waverider allow Rip Hunter to have any sort of computer interface?!

Director Ralph Hemecker makes one of the worst cuts in Legends Of Tomorrow in "Land Of The Lost." When Sara Lance faces off against herself, Caity Lotz is acting opposite herself. Hemecker uses split screen to have Lotz face herself, but he completely bungles the shot; one version of Lance is looking nowhere near the other. The eyelines are completely off and for a scene that hinges on the two staring one another down, it's a fatal error. The technology for this type of shot has existed since the original Star Trek, so it seems pretty terrible that Hemecker gets the shot wrong.

Outside the one huge directoral snafu (why wouldn't you get another cut?!), the special effects in "Land Of The Lost" are generally decent, including the first appearance of Firestorm in quite some time! Even the dinosaur in "Land Of The Lost" is surprisingly well-rendered.

The special effects in "Land Of The Lost" do not hold a candle to the character moments and performances in the episode. Maisie Richardson-Sellers is wonderful as Amaya. Throughout the episode, Richardson-Sellers manages to find the right balance of strong and smart and flirtatious and fun in "Land Of The Lost." Richardson-Sellers makes Amaya awesome and indispensable in "Land Of The Lost."

The surprisingly best scene in "Land Of The Lost" is actually a simple dialogue between Mick Rory and Dr. Stein. Victor Garber and Dominic Purcell play off one another incredibly well and the scene offers the opportunity for both to play to the strength of their maturity. Purcell has more than just physical presence as Rory when he and Stein square off. The simple scene is impressive and so much smarter than most of the rest of the episode in a very cool way.

Ultimately, "Land Of The Lost" has a simple a-plot, b-plot that actually manages to feel fresh from the performances and character moment peppered throughout it.

For other works with Matt Letscher, please visit my reviews of:
"Flashpoint" - The Flash
"The Reverse-Flash Returns" - The Flash
"Potential Energy" - The Flash
The Flash - Season 1

[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 and movie reviews, please visit my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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