Warning: major spoilers below! You know the drill. Don’t read this recap until you’ve seen the eleventh episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. You’ve been warned!
Do you how you can tell that you’re watching a show on The CW? In this case, it’s the way that even Jonah Hex can’t quite be called ugly. Oh sure, the character has his signature facial scarring—and, granted, this was a big step up from the misfire of the Jonah Hex movie—but Johnathon Schaech’s gunslinger still felt like Jonah Hex-lite.
Still, having Jonah Hex in play made “The Magnificent Eight” a lot more fun than it could have been. After last week’s warning about the Hunters piercing through time on the hunt for the crew of the Waverider, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) parked the ship in the Old West as a way to stay hidden in a “temporal blindspot.” Really, it was just an excuse for the show to put the team in the Old West. Predictably, they got into an old timey bar fight pretty quickly. And just as quickly, Hex called them out on being time travelers.
The idea of a long-standing friendship between Hunter and Hex was more interesting than the execution. The two men were apparently close enough that Hunter is still wearing Hex’s old jacket, and he named his son after him. But that chemistry never really came through on screen. Late in the episode, Hex learned that Hunter knew that if he left the time period then the town he was protecting would be destroyed…and he left anyway. That could have been a very powerful moment, but Hex halfheartedly punched Hunter and apparently forgave him pretty quickly. As in far too quickly to be believable.
Sometimes it seems like the Waverider’s misadventures exist only to allow Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) the chance to live out his childhood fantasies. This week, Ray assumed the persona of “John Wayne,” and he found himself installed as the new Sheriff of a town called Salvation. It was all very Back to the Future III. There were some fun moments in there, as opposed to the subplot that belonged to Martin Stein (Victor Garber). Against the advice of Hunter, Stein used the Waverider’s supplies to cure the tuberculous of a dying young boy. Given the history of the team’s screwups in time, there was some anticipation that this would once again blow up in their faces. But nope! It turned out that the kid was H.G. Wells, in the goofiest moment on this series since Bill Gates’ father popped up in Ray’s classroom.
Kendra (Ciara Renée) and Sara (Caity Lotz) had their own subplot this week, which did more to cement their bond than any of their previous scenes together. After Kendra encountered a very familiar looking older woman (Anna Deavere Smith), Kendra and Sara tracked her down and discovered that she was actually one of Kendra’s previous incarnations. That was a great idea, and Smith was well cast for the role. Unfortunately, Kendra’s heart-to-heart with herself devolved into another “should I stay with Ray?” conflict for young Kendra. Considering that Ray and Kendra barely had any scenes together in this episode, it felt like a misstep to frame Kendra’s moment in the spotlight around that relationship.
While Kendra was away, Ray and Hex led a small posse to capture the leader of the Stillwater gang who threatened the town, only to leave Jefferson behind when he was captured. Has anyone else noticed a pattern of Jefferson and/or Stein getting captured? It sure seems to happen a lot on this show. Inevitably, it led to an agreement for a high noon showdown between Hunter and the Stillwater gang’s leader, which was over almost as soon as it started.
That led to the episode’s standout moment, when the Time Masters’ Hunters located the Waverider’s crew in the Old West. There was even a subtle explanation about how it happened, as Hunter’s photo was taken during his confrontation with the Stillwater gang. As fighters, the Hunters turned out to be a joke, but it’s always enjoyable to see the Waverider team cut loose with their powers.
While the Hunters weren’t a credible threat, the episode closed with the introduction of Pilgrim (Faye Kingslee), another operative of the Time Masters who is willing to target the younger selves of the Waverunner crew to erase them from history. Finally! A villain with an actual strategy that could work against Hunter and his team. We’ll see how that plays out in next week’s episode, but the ending had a chilling moment in which the younger version of Heat Wave (Mitchell Kummen) was menaced by Pilgrim.
Regarding the older Heat Wave/Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell), this episode essentially let him out of the team’s dog house and more or less reintegrated him with the rest of the crew. That felt like a mistake, especially after the series had done such a great job of establishing why Heat Wave had turned against them. So far, Kendra has only brought up the fact that Heat Wave killed her adult son once, and yet she can’t stop mentioning that she was a barista? If anything, Kendra should have been the one having problems forgiving Heat Wave.
However, Heat Wave has been a lot more interesting in his post-Chronos persona, as Purcell no longer has to play dumb. Heat Wave even had some good moments with Sara in the town bar that led to the episode’s funniest visual: Heat Wave passed out at the bar after Sara apparently won their drinking contest.
This was an above average episode of Legends of Tomorrow, but it was a little disappointing that the western scenes and Jonah Hex himself didn’t have more bite. I still want more from this show than serviceable filler. Even with a handful of memorable moments, “The Magnificent Eight” felt like it could have been left out of the season and not missed at all.
What did you think about the eleventh episode of Legends of Tomorrow? Let us know in the comment section below!
Images: DC Entertainment/The CW