Review: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow 3×01 – “Aruba-Con”

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Director: Rob Seidenglanz

Writers: Phil Klemmer & Marc Guggenheim

Starring: Victor Garber, Brandon Routh & Caity Lotz

 

Summary

After the Legends break time, Rip Hunter forces the team to disband and puts them in 2017. However, the team reunites when Julius Caesar shows up in their time.

 

Positives

As usual, Dominic Purcell as Heatwave is the highlight of the episode. He’s one of the only people involved with this show that seems to understand the show. His over the top mannerisms allow the episode to be the cartoon it sometimes wants to be and are the only moments of genuinely good humor.

Despite my issues with Sara as a character right now, it is always fun to watch Caity Lotz beat the living sh** out of people.  She truly is a badass.

The production design and visual effects seem to improve every season. There are some visually interesting sets that I liked a lot and the digital effects looked pretty damn good for a network television show.

 

Negatives

Last season ended on a pretty fun cliffhanger with dinosaurs roaming the streets of modern day Los Angeles and different time periods merging together. This could have been a really wacky status quo to have a lot of fun with and potentially could lead to a fun crossover event. But like last year with Flashpoint, it’s solved immediately and there are no real repercussions on the world. At least Flashpoint got an episode. Rip fixes the cliffhanger in less than a minute. I’m getting really tired of these gimmicky cliffhangers not leading to anything on these shows.

Rip puts everyone in 2017 so that they can’t mess with the events of the other shows despite Rip promising he would return them to the point he took them from, but whatever. That’s too complicated to deal with. They’re in 2017 which could be interesting but it’s incredibly stupid instead. Sara is working a minimum wage job, which makes no sense. Why isn’t she with Nyssa? Granted, Nyssa could be dead, but Sara doesn’t appear to be grieving. It’s not that hard for her to get a job anyway. Oliver is the mayor and he’s been giving out jobs left and right to under-qualified people such as his baby sister who’s only job experience is running a night club and an alcoholic former police captain who was fired for working with super-powered terrorists. Ollie even gave Wild Dog a job. There’s nothing for Sara? Is she even fighting with Team Arrow? She mentions being a vigilante but we never see it. She could also be a bartender like she was in season two of Arrow. Why is she even using her real name? That’s obviously not going to help; have Felicity create a fake identity. Ray is working for an app startup; they try to say it’s because Ray sold his company to Felicity who did a terrible job running it. Which is fair, but Ray could get better jobs. Or he could just help at Star Labs which is what Nate is doing. I actually like this idea; Team Flash is obviously down some members so the idea of other heroes joining the team is cool. I wish we actually got to see that in some form, but again, whatever. Heatwave is just being himself, Stein is spending time with his family and Jax is going to school but wants to drop out.

I have never liked this show but this episode takes it to a whole new level. Before, the characters could be irresponsible morons but could be tolerated. Certain characters such as Sara and Stein were made quite a bit dumber and lamer than they were depicted in Arrow and The Flash which was disappointing, but the writers were going for a certain premise of losers becoming heroes. For the most part, the characters were simply bland. Here, all of the characters, except Heatwave, become wholly unlikable and insufferable. They’re selfish brats without the slightest hint of intelligence or heroism. And admitting your characters are reckless dumbasses doesn’t magically make it okay. What makes CW’s Supergirl so endearing is that she is the only hero right now in the CW shows that acts like one. She cares more about other people than herself. Helping people is the priority and she will always make the personal sacrifice to save people. The Legends are so spoiled and full of themselves that they can’t stand living “normal” lives. Being the Legends is way more about thrill seeking and fulfilling their own needs instead of helping people. I don’t think they even care. Stein abandons his family for the second time. While Rip can be stuffy and obnoxious, at least his motives are in the right place. But the show is treating him like a villain; we’re supposed to side with the Legends, except Rip and his Time Bureau are correct. The Legends only hurt people because they can’t deal with their own personal shortcomings.

This show does not get to reference Adam West’s Batman. That show was campy but it had style and was clever. And while its depiction of Batman was goofy, he was the definition of a hero and a good role model, especially for kids. Legends of Tomorrow isn’t even half the show Batman was.

 

Verdict

I was not expecting much out of this but I was still disappointed. The episode kind of hurts my feelings. I loved Sara on Arrow. She was an interesting character and captivating in every scene. She had flaws but she was willing to face them in order to be a better hero. It’s what made her endearing as a person and inspiring as a hero. And this episode makes me hate her. A charismatic cast and some decent action is not enough to save this.

 

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Sean Blumenshine

I am currently a senior at Wichita State University studying communications. I started reading comics in 2013 because of how much I loved Man of Steel and season one of Arrow. My favorite hero is the Green Arrow and my favorite villain is the Joker.