Legends of Tomorrow came back in a big way this week, with “Raiders of the Lost Art.” The title seemed to be a light wink and a nod to the enormously popular first entry of the Indiana Jones series but as it turned out, last night’s midseason premiere was a massive homage to one of Hollywood’s most influential film makers: George Lucas.
What if George Lucas had not made movies? That was the core conceit of last night’s show as the Legends travel to the 1960s to figure out the Legion of Doom’s plan. Once there Legends discover that Rip Hunter is alive and well, albeit a stoner who is oblivious to his past. This laid back version of Rip is making a student film chronicling his time traveling adventures and in an insanely meta moment, we have a scene where Rip berates the student actor playing Vandal Savage for being a weak villain in his movie. This was a great callback to the horrible miscasting of Casper Crump as Savage in season one. Frustrated by the events, he storms off set and right into the hands of Malcolm Merlyn and Damien Darhk.
The Merlyn/Darhk dynamic continues to be a rewarding experience as the two charismatic villains ooze charm as they threaten Rip and his Director of Photography, George Lucas. The following battle between the Legends and the Legion scares George Lucas and changes the future, where he becomes a used car salesman instead.
Ultimately, this lead to Ray Palmer and Nate Heywood to pursuing different career paths, negating the A.T.O.M. Suit and formula that created Citizen Steel. I have to admit, this was my favorite moment of the night as the Legion of Doom found a way to stop two of their enemies without going after the characters directly. In a solid twist, the removal of a pop icon had a greater impact than trying to kill the Legends when they were younger. It was an awesome testament to the profound influence of Lucas and his affect on the world. Without making it seem silly or campy, the removal of Star Wars and Indiana Jones from the pop culture zeitgeist created a world where Ray and Nate were never inspired. The end result was an hour that focused on the importance of a man and how much his stories mattered.
Putting the incredible tribute aside though, we should also give a shout out to Arthur Darvill who made a triumphant return. With the revelation that Rip isn’t just hiding in the 60s but has completely sublimated his mind with a completely different personality, Darvill had a chance to play Rip in a completely different manner, which was thoroughly enjoyable. While it’s clear that Rip will eventually become the grand captain of the Waverider once again, it’s a treat to see him tap into a different perspective.
We also had some great character development between Stein and Rory as the pyromaniac demanded that the Professor help him. Rory’s hallucinations of Captain Cold are becoming more and more pronounced, which is slowly driving our resident bad boy insane. The result was an interesting dynamic where Rory put himself in the hands of Stein all the while barking orders of how he wanted things to turn out. It was a treat that harkens back to the pilot where Rory tried to steal some drugs from the Doc and continues to play at their obvious chemistry.
In short, Legends of Tomorrow returned as funny and strong as we remembered. It was able to celebrate the legacy of a true creative visionary whilst also moving the plot forward in a fun and entertaining way. If the show continues on such a successful pace, it will easily become the best show on the DCW.