As the third show on DC’s TV slate, Legends of Tomorrow could have phoned the premise in: fan favorites like Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) and Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) hanging out and kicking butt sounded like an easy sell. But throughout its impressive first season, Legends scored big with small, intimate stakes against a vast scope of time and space. “Legendary” isn’t the satisfying, fulfilling finale we wished for, but it succeeding capping off sixteen episodes and its closing minutes leaves even the nerdiest hungry for more good, old-fashioned superhero team ups.
And old-fashioned should be taken literally . After vanquishing Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), the Waverider crew are burdened with protecting time now that the Time Masters — due to the destruction of the Oculus — are relieved of the responsibility. As they approach their new beginning, Rex Tyler (a.k.a. Hourman, played by Patrick J. Adams) arrives in 2016, telling them the Justice Society of America (JSA) sent him. And they need the help of Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) and his crew. Cue screaming.
The predecessors to the Justice League, the Justice Society of America were introduced in 1940, and are now experiencing a rebirth (so to speak) thanks to DC’s latest initiative to embrace its roots built upon uplifting themes of optimism and hope. DC’s Golden Age-era team boasts an exhaustive list of heroes, and while some are less likely to make their way to TV (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern), there’s no doubt that the possibilities are wide-open for hundreds of lesser-known superheroes to have their day in mainstream pop-culture sun.
But before that, “Legendary” tripped up a few times. Major gaps in logic, including a subpar explanation for why Rip didn’t drop off his crew in January 2016 like he promised — but instead leaving them in May 2016. Sara gets her much-needed grief for her sister Laurel. But Jax (Franz Drameh), whose biggest motivator was to survive to see his mom again and make it in time for dinner, is confusingly left unaddressed save for one throwaway line. Legends of Tomorrow has made the duo superhero Firestorm a great character worthy of his/their own series, but “Legendary” is too crowded and busy to tidy up all its loose ends, and Firestorm is one who pays the most.
The final fight with Savage is, appropriately, scattered through time and space: there’s a fight in the ‘50s, one in the ‘70s, and a final showdown in 2021. To prevent Savage’s bomb plot (another one!), Savage must be killed at three different times, when he sets off three Thanagarian meteors that would “reboot” the world, taking it back to his origins in ancient Egypt. The Legends unfavorably divide to conquer, and while the idea is totally legit, the plain scenery is unspectacular and undercuts the scale. These fights happen in darkened forests, warehouses, and rooftops that fail to communicate the differences in the eras in which they are battling, which sort of defeats the purpose. Legends of Tomorrow wowed all season with condensing summer movie scale into small screen TV, but here of all times should have been where it goes all out. Instead, it merely feels like each scene went with different units around Vancouver.
Other small but questionable decisions: Rip’s “sacrifice” as he flies to the sun makes zero sense, given no one can fly to the sun in mere minutes, but the bigger problem with Rip’s ending was the nonsensical logic. He survived because he… went back in time by 20 minutes? At this point, Legends of Tomorrow was so close to its climax it decided to just rush through to get to the afterglow: the Justice Society.
Tired of time traveling and superhero-ing, Kendra (Ciara Renee) and Carter retire from the Waverider in the closing minutes, while Rory (Dominic Purcell) has a remarkably emotional goodbye to an oblivious Snart in 2013. But all in all, the team is prepared for their new adventures with the JSA, and it’s anyone’s guess who will join now that the Justice Society will be realized. I can’t tell you who will be in Season 2. It’s not like I have a time machine.