Friday, December 8, 2017

Mourning Martin, "Beebo The God Of War" Transitions Well!

The Good: Decent performances, Good plot transitions, Good use of humor, Special effects
The Bad: Feels very much like a bridge episode that meanders through ideas
The Basics: "Beebo The God Of War" visits Legends Of Tomorrow and acts as a generally good send-off for the Waverider's fallen comrade.

As the DC Television Universe shows reach their midseason finales, Legends Of Tomorrow hits an interesting period of reshuffling in its cast. The midseason finale for the least-defined DC Television Universe show is called "Beebo The God Of War" and it picks up the Legends Of Tomorrow narrative in the wake of "Crisis On Earth-X, Part 4" (reviewed here!). "Beebo The God Of War" also redirects the Legends Of Tomorrow story back to the emerging conflicts with Damien Darhk and Mallus.

It is impossible to discuss "Beebo The God Of War" without referencing the big character change for Legends Of Tomorrow coming out of "Crisis On Earth-X, Part 4." After all, the prior episode of Legends Of Tomorrow saw the death of Professor Stein and the effective end of Firestorm. At the same time, Wentworth Miller returned to the DC Television Universe, this time as Leo Snart from Earth-X, a dramatically different iteration of Cold. "Beebo The God Of War" begins with a burden to appropriately reflect upon Professor Stein's death (a moment robbed in the prior episode by ending the episode with dual weddings instead of Stein's funeral), while integrating Citizen Cold to the team that is still adapting to the presence of Zari Tomaz.

In Central City, 1992, on the fifth night of Hanukkah, Marty Stein uses physics to land the last Beebo toy in a toy store. Running away from shoppers, Stein is teleported to the past. Aboard the Waverider, Leo Snart attempts to bond with his new crew by having the grieving crew talk to a Dr. Stein puppet he made. His therapy session with Jax is interrupted by a time quake. Gideon informs the crew that a Level 12 anachronism has occurred and Lance orders the crew to put their feelings aside so the Waverider can go back to the 11th Century to prevent Leif Erikson from forming a colony in the Americas. The Waverider goes back to New Valhalla (North America) and when Jax sees that the anachronism is Marty Stein, he frees the younger version of the Professor.

The Vikings have deified the Beebo toy and Stein insists the crew must recover the plush toy. Jackson advocates for the right to tell Stein about his older self's sacrifice, but Dr. Palmer rejects the idea. Snart, who is concerned about Rory's drinking, makes the Waverider a dry ship much to Rory's chagrin. When Sharpe contacts the Waverider and Lance figures out that time is setting fast in reaction to the anachronism, Lance accepts Sharpe's offer for help and brings her aboard for the mission. Lance, Sharpe and the rest of the Waverider crew work to usurp Freydis, Leif Erikson's sister who has adopted Beebo as the tribe's god, in order to restore the natural order of time. But, no sooner is Beebo thwarted than Damien Darhk appears under the guise of being Odin and the anachronism grows!

The puppet Dr. Stein is hilarious and if Legends Of Tomorrow was a lesser show, it would seem like an obvious merchandising ploy. Similarly, the Beebo toy is a cute little macguffin that fits the episode, as opposed to being a cheap spinoff toy.

"Beebo The God Of War" is reminiscent of the Star Trek episode "A Piece Of The Action" (reviewed here!) as it illustrates the consequences of a primitive civilization possessing any form of advanced technology. "Beebo The God Of War" plays out the comedic threads to the concept very well. The episode is pretty funny for the portions focused on the titular character. The moment Mick Rory sets the doll on fire, "Beebo The God Of War" makes an abrupt transition. The good thing about "Beebo The God Of War" is that when the moments of the episode that can use and sustain humor are done, the Legends Of Tomorrow episode does not try to force them back in.

The second half of "Beebo The God Of War" does a decent job of refocusing Legends Of Tomorrow on a more serious path. Jackson has the chance to try to speak frankly with the younger Stein, Snart has a heart to heart with Rory contrasting the two characters' pasts, and Sharpe abandons Lance. Jackson's mourning - and subsequent bad decisions from a temporal perspective - are played out as very real. Snart's concern for Rory is a good idea and his return effectively re-establishes that partnership. The hurdle Leo Snart and Mick Rory have is that they do not actually know one another and they are haunted by the memories of the people who wear their new comrades' faces. As such, Snart takes an aggressive anti-drinking stance that feels very invasive. Rory, for his part, growls through most of his interactions with his new Snart buddy.

Wentworth Miller continues to evolve the character of Leo Snart and watching him onscreen in "Beebo The God Of War" reminds viewers just how potent his absence has been for the episodes he has been gone from. Miller seems to delight in playing Snart with very open emotions, as opposed to having to deliver all of his lines with a leer. Miller is up to the challenge of redefining Snart and he steals his scenes in "Beebo The God Of War."

While "Beebo The God Of War" pushes Legends Of Tomorrow forward by presenting a proper on-screen introduction to Mallus and providing the long-promised, much awaited appearance of John Constantine, it is hard not to feel like Franz Drameh is just getting totally screwed by the franchise. Drameh plays Jefferson Jackson and he is the third character on Legends Of Tomorrow to lose his power or super-suit. When Ray Palmer lost his A.T.O.M. suit, he drifted for an episode and then miraculously had a new suit made before the big crossover event. Similarly, when Dr. Heywood has lost his ability to steel up, it comes back pretty fast. Drameh plays half of a super-powered entity and the loss of Martin Stein immediately called into question the usefulness of his character in Legends Of Tomorrow. Sadly, "Beebo The God Of War" seems to mortgage the character entirely, as if the writers could not figure out how to keep Jackson vital without his super-power. This is an unfortunate twist for the character as Jackson had been developed over the prior two season of Legends Of Tomorrow as the Waverider's Chief Engineer. It seems like inventive writers would have found a way to keep Jackson around even if he never again left the ship.

So, with two crewmembers gone, Lance learning that Rip Hunter is in prison and two new characters to the Waverider, Legends Of Tomorrow goes on hiatus feeling more of a plot urgency than a sense that the characters know where they are going and how to save their own series. But, at least, Dr. Stein remained dead through "Beebo The God Of War."

For other works with John Noble, please visit my reviews of:
"Return Of The Mack" - Legends Of Tomorrow
The Last Airbender
The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy


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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