'Legends of Tomorrow' Keeps Sidelining Its Heavy Hitters

Warner Bros. Television

Science fiction meets the Wild West in this week’s episode of — what? No, not Westworld. It’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, because on Thursday our ragtag team of time-traveling heroes went back to the West for another run-in with Jonah Hex. It was an enjoyable enough romp (although maybe not quite as good as the team’s first trip to that era), but perhaps more than any episode so far, “Outlaw Country” demonstrated the lengths the show has to go to keep its most powerful heroes from solving every problem.

The hour kicks off when a hapless time pirate gets himself killed, leaving Hex’s arch-nemesis, Quentin Turnbull, with the futuristic tools needed to dig up enough of a rare ore that he’ll be able to form his own country and break away from the United States. This, clearly, is something the Legends need to stop.

The team partners up with Hex, who, despite being a misogynist who sucks at following orders, is still really cool about this whole “visitors from the future” thing. The plan, as usual for the Legends, falls apart, which puts them in a tough spot because all of the group’s most powerful members are conveniently unable to fight. The Atom is still missing his suit, Martin is having strange headaches due to changes in time, meaning Firestorm is out of commission, and Nate got shot with a super bullet even though he’s made of steel.

It’s not the first time that the normals on Legends have had to do all the work, but it makes sense from a writers’ perspective. On other Arrowverse shows, like Supergirl and The Flash, the superpowered heroes can face off against superpowered foes. On Legends, for the most part, they’re fighting against bad guys who are equipped with whatever tech was available during that time period.

This isn’t inherently bad! While it might be nice if Legends could be a little more subtle or creative in the ways that it writes off various powered characters, it’s largely worth it so we can watch a fair fight. Legends has to be more creative than some of its CW siblings even if it’s a little messy at times.

However, it seems like the team is about to power back up. Nate is armed with a fancy new costume and some extra courage, and Ray has enough dwarf star alloy to build 20 power suits. It’s probably just as well, since in two weeks, Legends of Tomorrow is going to join the rest of the Arrowverse for some alien-fighting crossover action.