Warning: major spoilers below! You know the drill. Don’t read this recap until you’ve seen the sixth episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. You’ve been warned!
Following the reappearance of Chronos the Uninteresting, the team of Legends crash-landed in a Mad Max Lite version of Star City. There, they encountered a new Green Arrow, Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones), who proved to be a “shoot first” style of hero who didn’t recognize anyone on the team.
“Star City 2046” turned out to have the most interesting setting on this show simply because the Arrow fans have an attachment to the characters from that series. It also provided emotional stakes for Sara Lance, because she loved Team Arrow as if they were her family (which, of course, one of them actually was: her sister Laurel). It should have done the same thing for Ray Palmer, but the episode really dropped the ball with him. We’ll get to that later.
While his “old man” makeup wasn’t entirely convincing, it was definitely fun to see Stephen Amell as an aged version of Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. Amell and Grant Gustin have been the workhorses of DC’s TV universe, and it’s impressive to see them find the time to appear in shows that aren’t their own. Catching up with Oliver in this state, it’s hard not think that he “failed this city.”
The episode didn’t really deal with with Sara and Oliver’s former romance, but Lotz seemed to portray that history in her body language. That’s why it was believable that she would seriously consider staying in this hellhole of a future even though she could still conceivably return home to 2016. And if Connor Hawke couldn’t be Oliver’s son, it was a nice surprise to see that John Diggle’s legacy lives on in this world. Although Connor/John Jr. appears to be a son that Diggle hasn’t had yet.
Deathstroke Jr. (Jamie Andrew Cutler) wasn’t as compelling as this episode’s villain. Grant Wilson was one of Slade Wilson’s children in the DC universe, but he seemed far too young to have been Slade’s kid in this timeline… and he definitely lacked his father’s charisma.
Some of the more interesting character work happened in the lead subplot, as Heat Wave quickly adapted to this time period and set himself up as a gang leader, while Captain Cold was clearly dissatisfied from the start. This was the first real friction that we’ve seen between the two criminal partners, and it was because they want fundamentally different things. Heat Wave wants to live like a king, and… well, who knows what Cold really wants?
Sure, Cold told Heat Wave that he wants to be one of history’s biggest badasses by taking down Vandal Savage, but that wasn’t really convincing. As unlikely as it sounds, Cold may have actually been sincere when he called the rest of the Legends team his “friends.” While he really doesn’t seem to be on the best terms with anyone on the Waverunner other than Heat Wave and Sara, for someone like Cold, their companionship alone may have been the closest thing to friendship that he’s experienced.
Heat Wave and Cold actually came to blows over their next move, and it would have been a natural progression if Heat Wave had stayed in this time period. By the end of the episode, Heat Wave seemed to be very unsure of his partnership with Cold and that rift was not repaired. If that change in their relationship continues in the next few episodes then it would actually be a strong direction for both of their characters.
However, Legends of Tomorrow flopped this week with a tedious subplot about Jax and Ray romantically pursuing Hawkgirl out of nowhere. Legends is a CW show, and pointless romances are kind of that network’s thing. But this was just bad TV, and horrible writing. The only real redemptive part of this diversion was Victor Garber’s Martin Stein, as he inadvertently made things worse for Jax while trying to convince Ray not to see Hawkgirl in a romantic light.
This show doesn’t seem to have any idea of what to do with Hawkgirl, but at least the writers eventually reached the point where Hawkgirl told Ray that she wasn’t looking to hook up with anyone after Hawkman’s recent death. That at least made sense, and it was a nice bonding moment when Jax and Ray both realized that they had no chance with Hawkgirl. But the rest of that subplot took up valuable screentime that could have been given to the far more interesting storylines in the episode.
Rip Hunter was also problematic, as the writers went out of their way to make him a huge jerk who actually threatened to leave Sara stranded in this timeline when she insisted on rescuing Connor from Deathstroke Jr. and his gang. If the creative team behind this show wants us to hate Hunter, that’s the way to do it. But that’s probably not what they had in mind. At least Stein displayed his principles by standing up to Hunter, but that attempt to create drama really undercut any affection that fans might have built up for Rip.
The action scene in which the entire team helped Sara and Future Oliver save Connor was far from the show’s best sequence, but it had a great moment when Oliver officially passed the mantle of Green Arrow to his successor. The fate of Deathstroke Jr. was kind of glossed over, and yet there was something fitting about Connor and Oliver as the new Team Arrow in a city of criminals that was lost to them years ago.
On the Waverunner, the team’s departure from 2046 featured one of the episode’s funniest moments. Gideon almost called out Ray, Jax, and Stein for their preoccupation with Hawkgirl when they should have been fixing the ship, until Stein quickly interrupted the artificial intelligence. That was really amusing and it suggested that Gideon is watching the crew and learning from them.
If the romance subplot hadn’t been included, “Star City 2046” would have easily been the best episode of Legends of Tomorrow’s run so far. Instead, it was good instead of great, and this series has yet to have an episode reach the heights of the best installments from Arrow or The Flash. “Star City 2046” was about two thirds of the way there, but it still fell short.
What did you think about the sixth episode of Legends of Tomorrow? Let us know in the comment section below!
Image Credits: DC Entertainment/The CW