Legends Of Tomorrow, S2E2 – Justice Society Of America

Legends of Tomorrow opens this week with a voiceover from Sara Lance, which sets the stage for the question of leadership the team will soon encounter. The episode begins where the premiere left off, as the Justice Society of America’s attempt at questioning the Legends devolves into a fight in which the latter are severely outmatched. The sequence was chaotic, but also managed to be the best (and in some cases only) showcase of the different heroes and their skills. After that, the plot revolved around preventing Baron Krieger and the Nazis from using a super soldier serum to destroy the Allies. The character work, on the other hand, was more about what it takes to be a leader and what it means to be a hero.

Sara is a born leader, and Rip's natural successor.

Sara is a born leader, and Rip’s natural successor.

Rex Tyler’s 1940s-style sexism meant that Sara was passed over as leader for Professor Stein, a choice that Legends of Tomorrow dutifully pointed out was wrong. While this story line had plenty of opportunities to showcase Sara’s excellent leadership and tactical skills, it didn’t do Martin Stein many favors. It was humorous to see him get a big head about his new status, and Jax got a good scene pointing out that the team needs a battle commander and not a theoretician, but mostly it felt out of character. Why wouldn’t Martin have immediately deferred to Sara’s expertise? As early as the opening narration, Sara as leader was so natural that pretending Stein could ever take on the mantle ended up being forced.

Amaya Jiwe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) is Legends of Tomorrow‘s Vixen, not to be confused with Mari McCabe on CW Seed. Her amulet gives her the prowess of various animals, but she’s a fifth-degree black belt even without it. Therefore it’s no surprise that she doesn’t find Ray’s atom suit an impressive display of heroism. Of course, he proves his worth once the team is forced to leave them behind. As always, his interactions with any woman lead me to wonder if this is the one he will fall in love with next. But Amaya and Ray have good chemistry and an interesting rapport, so it will be fun to watch them interact regardless.

Doctor Midnight doesn't have much to do, but Vixen makes an impressive debut.

Doctor Midnight doesn’t have much to do, but Vixen makes an impressive debut.

Despite the somewhat clunky storytelling and bloated cast, the team-up between the Legends and the JSA led to plenty of great moments. Martin Stein singing “Edelweiss” to a roomful of Nazis was powerful, especially if one recalls his Jewish heritage – though the fact that no one onscreen acknowledged him as such might leave some viewers wondering if it was insensitive instead. Jax flirted a bit with Stargirl to no avail, Mick served mostly as background decoration, but the most fleshed-out dynamics of the episode were Nate meeting his grandfather, Commander Steel, and Ray being kidnapped along with Vixen.

Nate Heywood getting to know his grandfather was the surprising heart of the episode. What started off as a cautionary tale about meeting one’s heroes turned into a touching story of one generation passing the torch to the next. Their scenes were buoyed by strong performances from both actors, and their story line had the added bonus of tying everyone else’s plot lines together. Sara showcased her hard-won observational skills when she realized that Nate was a hemophiliac, and Ray became a hero in Amaya’s eyes when he gave up the super serum he had recovered and enhanced in order to save Nate’s life. We were also treated to a glimpse of what time travel rules Legends of Tomorrow is playing with. History rewriting itself made Nathan’s dog tags disappear and changed the notes he had written in his journal, but did not affect his memory of the past he previously experienced. The quantum mechanics might fall apart under too much scrutiny, but for now they keep the tension going well enough.

Grandfather Commander Steel knows best.

Grandfather Commander Steel knows best.

The silliest aspect of the episode was perhaps the converging of goals when it came to stopping the Nazis. An undercover operation and botched rescue mission led to fighting a poor man’s version of The Thing due to Eobard Thawne’s super soldier serum and sudden love of of the Third Reich. By the end of the hour, it was still unclear why Thawne was working with Damien Darhk to stop the Nazis, not to mention what purpose the Askaran Amulet the Legends were so intent on retrieving even serves. By the time the Reverse Flash showed up to vibrate his hand through Rex Tyler’s chest, the subplot of Baron Krieger stealing the enhanced serum from Ray seemed a distant memory. All of that being said, most of the scenes this week were entertaining even when they weren’t logical.

“The Justice Society of America” was a messy but enjoyable episode of Legends of Tomorrow, which produced a lot of questions. What is the Reverse Flash’s plan, and will it in any way tie back to Thawne’s role from The Flash? If Rex is killed by Thawne, how was he able to contact the Legends to warn them later in his timeline? Hopefully next week will provide some answers.