A recurring criticism from Season 1 of Legends of Tomorrow was that its main villain wasn’t well-developed or particularly menacing. The chorus became so common that it even garnered a joke last week. When we met filmmaker Phillip Gasmer (the transformed alter-ego of Rip Hunter) in episode 9, he was on the set of a science fiction movie mimicking Rip’s battles with Savage. The Time-Master-turned-Director lamented that his antagonist wasn’t working out. The Legends’ producers must’ve taken the fan-feedback to heart, with Damien Darkh, Malcolm Merlyn and Eobard Thawne all receiving added exposition this week.
We learned that each man was seeking to re-write their own timeline by seizing the legendary power of the Spear of Destiny. Meanwhile, in the B-plot, Martin Stein was reconciling a change to his own history that he’d already made. It was the fourth strong episode in a row, perhaps indicating that the team-up series was finally taking flight. Below are the rest of my reactions (WARNING: Spoilers below!)
What Went Right
The chemistry between Season 2’s main villains was excellent! Merlyn and Darkh, each former members of the League of Assassins, taunted each other repeatedly over their respective fates at the hands of The Green Arrow. The pair found themselves frustrated on two fronts.
Part of their exasperation was the man caught in the middle of them, Phillip Gasmer (perhaps transformed by the Spear itself). Attempting to torture the Spear’s location out of him, the Legion found an electronic dental imprint on Gasmer’s teeth. It pointed to a mysterious bank account of Rip’s in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2025. For much of the episode’s second-half, Darkh and Merlyn quarreled over whether they should raid the bank and take Rip’s belongings by murderous force, or attempt to socially engineer their way into the vault. When Gasmer proved unable to unlock the secrets of his former identity, Darkh’s preference for violence won out.
Once they were finally inside the Swiss bank, the duo turned on their other object of consternation, the Reverse Flash. Up to this point, Thawne had kept the two criminal masterminds at arm’s length regarding his intentions. More curiously, he never stayed in their presence for very long. In response, Darkh and Merlyn vowed to remain sealed inside the vault with Thawne unless he revealed his reason for organizing them. We then discovered that Thawne was technically a time aberration, himself (from the events of the Season 1 and 2 Flash finales). He sought the Spear to legitimize his own existence and ward off the Time-Wraiths (from Flash Season 2 finale) trying to erase him. Interestingly, his wraith specifically was the Black Flash – the dead version of Zoom (Flash Season 2 arch-villain). The trio succeeded in trapping the Black Flash inside the vault. Then, they escaped with the contents of Rip’s account. Rip had stored all of his memories externally onto a drive that the Legion now possessed. Before re-installing them, they planned to do their own manipulation of the former Time Master.
As the villain’s story played out, the Legends were stymied aboard the Waverider. Having lost the Legion after their confrontation in late-60s Los Angeles, the heroes decided to try interpreting the codes and symbols of the Longinus Medallion. If they could, they might find the critical pieces of the Spear before Darkh, Merlyn and Thawne could force it out of Gasmer.
Huddling aboard the ship, Nate Heywood led the team in a brainstorming session trying to figure out why a speedster, able to time travel, would need the Spear. Meanwhile, the Firestorm duo of Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson (Jax) went back to modern day Central City to seek Lilly Stein’s help in decoding the amulet. These two storylines would eventually dovetail back into Firestorm’s elder half, cementing the episode’s B-plot as a Martin Stein story.
As Lilly and Ray Palmer worked to interface the Waverider’s artificial intelligence with the medallion, Mick Rory blabbed to Lilly that she existed as a result of Martin Stein altering his life history. The younger Stein confronted her father about the truth of her origin. Immediately crestfallen, Lilly felt as though she no longer had any value to Martin and wanted off the ship. Despite initially retreating into a brandy glass, Martin rallied with the encouragement of Jax and worked to rebuild his daughter’s self-esteem. It was their most touching exchange to date, one that fully established just how integral Lilly had become to Martin’s life.
Before Professor Stein could fully heal his daughter’s heart, though, he was also pulled into Nate Heywood’s inquiry. After going in circles, Heywood stumbled onto a new possibility. He asked the pivotal question of whether the Spear was needed to prevent the speedster’s erasure from time. Stein’s memory instantly clicked. The professor pinpointed Eobard Thawne as the culprit, having been on Team Flash back during their initial run with Thawne disguised as Harrison Wells. The Legends now fully understood who and what they were up against. Yet again, Stein proved the critical component to the team.
What Went Wrong
Mick’s spilling of the beans to Lilly about her own origin felt somewhat cheap as dialogue. Martin had warned him specifically in the episode not to do that very thing and Mick, as a one-time master criminal, ought to be smarter in how to read and understand people. The move came off as forced.
More puzzling than frustrating, though, was the absence of any other members of Team Flash in this episode. If the Legends were going to Central City in order to obtain Lilly Stein’s help, why not consult STAR Labs on figuring out the speedster vexing them? The Legends had an array of photographs detailing all of the known speedsters in existence. Presumably they obtained them from STAR Labs, itself. Why not take the time to brainstorm with Barry or Caitlin or Cisco?
What I Took Away
Those issues, in the end, were minor at best for my enjoyment of the episode. “Legion of Doom” was another successful installment for the program and one that added exciting points of character development and plot trajectory. In particular, Reverse Flash’s interest in the spear not only properly motivates his formation of the Legion, but also adds intrigue for possible impacts on season 3 of The Flash as well. Hopefully, the momentum for Legends of Tomorrow will keep going next week as we receive the next chapter, entitled “Turncoat.”
Submitted by Jody Money