Legends Of Tomorrow, S2E1 – Out Of Time

Legends of Tomorrow opens its second season with a busy but charming episode that makes time travel fun again. Even amidst catastrophically high stakes and non-linear storytelling, the dynamics explored between the characters and the preposterous situations they find themselves in keep the story from getting too caught up in itself. Nick Zano in particular brought a sense of ingenuity and excitement to his role as Professor Nate Heywood, which played well against the gruff and reluctant natures of Oliver Queen and Mick Rory.

Nick Zano enters the scene as historian Nate Heywood

Nick Zano enters the scene as historian Nate Heywood

Speaking of Oliver Queen, it was a bold move to start with a mini-crossover from Arrow as it presupposes that the vast majority of Legends of Tomorrow‘s audience watches that show. As a viewer who gave it up last season, though, his appearance was not confusing and instead helped to ground the world outside of the constantly shifting time stream. He served his purpose admirably as a begrudging catalyst for action before letting Mick take over narration duties.

The jumping back and forth through time was a little disconcerting at first – especially since there were only a few references to last season’s cliffhanger with Rex Tyler – but the lighthearted shenanigans more than made up for any confusion. As it turns out, the Legends had been chasing aberrations through time for six months without incident, even stopping for a fun interlude with the King and Queen of France. Sara Lance probably had the most fun in this time period, though she also had a moment to reflect on her sister Laurel’s death before enjoying some carnal pleasures with the Queen. While the fight that ensued didn’t connect to the immediate plot, the anachronistic weapons sowed the seeds for the rest of the season and might just lead back to the Legion of Doom. Mick and Nate’s quest to rescue the Legends from their scattered locations in time was another highlight. Jax and Stein’s new job as wizards for medieval British royalty was perhaps the biggest laugh-out-loud moment of the episode. The only question is how did Jax’s phone battery last that long? The magic of time travel!

The crux of the episode comes with an atomic bomb going off in New York the year of 1942, an aberration that the Legends must prevent despite Rex Tyler’s warning never to go to that time. The actual act of preventing the bomb was overshadowed, however, not only by the the engrossing character interactions but also by the reveal that Damien Darhk is working with the Nazis. In keeping with the lighter tone of Legends of Tomorrow‘s premiere, there are plenty of character-driven  moments to offset a plot centered around an atomic bomb. While Martin Stein’s joy over meeting Albert Einstein was mostly a fun gag, it also led to a great moment relating to gender dynamics. Physicist Mileva Marić got to have her day in the sun when her ex-husband finally gave her credit for her work – and while scientists and historians may still argue whether or not she deserves credit, the scene is a reminder of all the women history has ignored regardless of their contributions.

Sara wants nothing more than to save her sister - or at least avenge her

Sara wants to save her sister – or avenge her

On a more personal note, Sara’s desire for vengeance gets a lot of play this week, with Ray Palmer around to remind her that justice is more important. It was good to see Sara weigh her desire for vengeance – and to save her sister – against the needs of the world and come out on the right side. She and Ray make a good team, but I think it would be a mistake for the series to push a romance between them any time soon. Their interactions were centered around the similar losses they’ve experienced, and their shared grief was compelling due to the performances. Unfortunately it’s harder to connect to Ray’s grief from a writing perspective because his fiancee Anna has never been more than a photograph in one episode of Arrow. Hopefully there’s an opportunity in a future episode of Legends of Tomorrow to explore Ray’s relationship with Anna in order to better understand his character. Because as of right now he’s a good guy, but his string of failed relationships with ladies who are in love with other men obscure his potential as something other than a temporary love interest.

It’s clear that this premiere benefited from starting fresh after getting rid of Vandal Savage and the Hawks, but I hope the show isn’t getting rid of Rip too. He deserves a better send-off than a hologram from Gideon, though it was heartwarming to watch him prepare Jax to work the Waverider once he decided to sacrifice himself. Regardless, watching the team lead themselves in the wake of his disappearance should be quite a ride. When you add on the surprise cameos from the Justice Society of America and the Reverse Flash, Legends of Tomorrow is poised for a truly exciting season.