REVIEW: Legends Of Tomorrow, S5E1 – Meet The Legends

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It was a bit Legends of Tomorrow-meets-The-Office over on last night’s premiere, which was aptly titled “Meet The Legends.” In order to secure funding for the Waverider, Ava (Jes Macallan) agreed to bring a camera crew on board for a documentary about how the sausage gets made. The only problem? It was without Sara’s (Caity Lotz) consent, and the captain is already tender from losing Oliver in the most recent crossover.

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Make it a weekly thing.

Unsurprisingly, Legends of Tomorrow goes full steam ahead with putting the “mock” in mock-umentary, resulting with a bunch of tongue-in-cheek breakdowns of the team’s various communication mishaps and time-traveling snafus. But at the same time, the show always knows when to dial it down and let serious emotions take over. Ava may try to give her girlfriend a condolence card because “the vigilante you slept with while he was still dating your sister died,” but when Sara lays her grief out on the table her friends all listen.

Overall, Ava and Sara’s difficulty in dealing with emotions felt realistic and earned, as did their big make-up-while-fighting-evil-Russians sequence. Despite the many fights these two have had in the past, the nuances of their relationship were probably the most successful aspect of the episode outside of the documentary itself. The fact that it was all playing out to a backdrop of Rasputin plotting to destroy the Romanovs was just icing on the cake.

Meanwhile, the executive decision to keep the team out of the public eye by sabotaging the documentary was slightly less believable – or maybe it was just so much fun to see real-life reactors shown as Legends superfans onscreen, and I’m disappointed to lose it so quickly. We’ll always have early 20th century Russia, though.

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If you need your own spin-off, just say the word.

But not everything was peachy in “Meet The Legends,” even if the reasons are mostly behind-the-scenes. There have already been rumblings of actors leaving the show, but if the premiere proved anything it was that their exits would have all the subtlety of a hammer to the head. For example, Charlie (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) took a joy ride at the start of the hour for little reason other than there was no room for her in the episode. Constantine (Matt Ryan) suddenly decided to go drag the escaped evil souls back to Hell in Hell, even as the rest of the cast is fighting onscreen and on the Waverider. Mona (Ramona Young) was offered the position of next Rebecca Silver by Mick (Dominic Purcell) only to decide that she can’t write on the ship and needs to experience life elsewhere.

And let’s not forget how Ray (Brandon Routh) mentions that his girlfriend Nora (Courtney Ford) is off being a Fairy Godmother, while she herself gets a 10-second cameo. All of those exits – temporary or otherwise – are painfully underscored by the absence of Zari (Tala Ashe) and how it ties into the plot. See, Nate (Nick Zano) is living his best life on the Waverider with his best buddy Behrad, but he still feels that something is missing. Even Rasputin can sense the hole in his heart, and it’s affecting everything he does.

By the end of the hour, he’s seen the ‘phantom data’ flickering between Behrad and his sister Zari and has even witnessed her final message to him. So at least everyone can breathe a sigh of relief that retrieving Zari will be part of the storyline. But in comparison, everyone else appears to barely merit a farewell, almost like Legends of Tomorrow couldn’t bear the weight of its cast and just had to throw some overboard.

I digress. Legends of Tomorrow once again turned in a fun and loose premiere that knows how to walk the line between mockery and genuine emotion, and it set up an interesting battle against Hell’s worst souls for the rest of the season to follow. Which you can watch in two weeks, because Arrow has to end first.