It’s really been only a minute since Leonard Snart unleashed his characteristic snark on his Waverider companions, but DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is making good on the legacy of Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller). In the latest episode, Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) inherits Cold’s Cold Gun from his partner in crime Rory (Dominic Purcell), hinting the villainous persona has become an inherited mantle.
Following last spring’s Season 1 finale, Snart is presumed dead with Miller having stepped down as series regular (though his special new contract guarantees he’ll be back soon). Without Captain Cold, Rory has formed a bond with Palmer, who destroyed his own A.T.O.M. after it was stolen by a bloodthirsty samurai in Edo Japan. In “Abominations,” after an ill-conceived turn as the team’s medic, Palmer is given the Cold Gun by Rory, signaling a new beginning for both of the Waverider men.
It’s not clear if Ray will also wear a blue parka and side-eye anytime he cracks a joke, but the idea is still solid as ice: Snart is gone, but Captain Cold lives on. A similar notion drove Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but in Legends of Tomorrow, it’s the whole point. It doesn’t matter that Captain Cold was a criminal supervillain. What matters now is Ray can reinvent himself via reinventing Cold’s legacy.
Before and even during The Flash, Captain Cold was kind of silly, with some standout comics being an exception. The very name “Captain Cold” echoes the sort of camp that embodied the Silver Age, and 21st century TV can’t help but snark at it while also embracing it wholeheartedly. This has been the Arrowverse’s M.O., playing ridiculous concepts straight, because that’s what the comics did.
This season of Arrow is also a perfect example, which has introduced dudes like Ragman, Mr. Terrific, and Wild Dog — the latter of whom wears a hockey mask — but has made them mean something besides dudes in cosplay. No one could have expected Cold to get the pathos and depth his name doesn’t imply, even if Wentworth Miller expertly towed the line. But that’s the point of Legends of Tomorrow, a show about misfits who come together to become something more.