It almost feels redundant, but Legends of Tomorrow really has become the best show in the DCW, and for good reason. After a lackluster first season with a lot of peaks and valleys, the creative team went to work on fixing issues and creating interesting new content. As you may recall, one of my biggest complaints of Legends of Tomorrow was the lack of a scary villain. Compared to characters like the Reverse Flash, Malcom Merlyn, or Damien Darhk, it was obvious that Vandal Savage just didn’t get the job done. So how ironic is it, that all three of the aforementioned characters have been brought into the fold to create “The Legion of Doom”?
As the title suggests, this week’s episode focused on the titular Legion of Doom. The nefarious triad of Thawne, Merlyn and Darhk have become fan favorites over the last few years and their partnership has only made their dynamic even more entertaining. Their ability to play off one another has created a wild balance of cooperation and backstabbing, all in the name of self interest, of course. Secret machinations, long winded rants, innuendo, doubts and torture are their weapons of choice and on full display this week as Darhk and Merlyn make Thawne accept them as his equals.
The winding road to a balanced triad is a tricky thing though and in a very clever twist Legends of Tomorrow was able to fix a dangling plot line that has bugged me since the start of Flash season two: why hasn’t the Paradox of non-existence killed the Reverse Flash? I mean really, “speed force buffering”? That seems flimsy, even by comic book standards. Thankfully we have experts on the case. Considering that this show focuses on time travel, we can finally come up with some pseudo-logical explanation. The answer was pretty simple and ties in another loose thread that needed tying off: The Black Flash.
In previous episodes, Legends of Tomorrow has stated that time is a fluid concept and certain long lasting events take a while to solidify. As a result, one of nature’s mechanisms is the Time Wraith, a being that hunts down time traveling speedsters as they bounce around various eras. The Black Flash is the ultimate form of the Wraith’s as one of their own merged with Zoom in the second season finale of The Flash. The result is a rotting speedster that races tirelessly after his prey. As a result, the Reverse Flash can’t stay in one spot too long lest he be found by the mindless force of nature. It creates a whole new dynamic for the biggest villain in the Flash’s lineup of Rogues while also answering those tiny questions that bug us. Time is trying to kill Eobard Thawne, and it will eventually catch him, unless he can change his timeline with the Spear of Destiny. It’s a relentless pursuit that drives Thawne’s existence and challenges him every time he stops. It also gives Darhk and Merlyn plenty of ammunition to stay on a level playing field with their faster-than-light buddy.
What made this all the more rewarding was that Legends of Tomorrow really took the time to build on the story elements established in the DCW. Between Merlyn’s fall from grace on Arrow, or the multiple storylines from Barry Allen’s time traveling adventures on The Flash, the Legion of Doom was able to create an organic tapestry that grew the established mythology in new and interesting ways. When you consider that the Legends are essentially the Justice League, it makes sense that numerous individual stories would converge on this show, and the writers are taking full advantage of that possibility.
Another fun point of interest was the decided lack of involvement from the Legends themselves. Relegated to the B plot this week, the team had to work out what the Legion of Doom‘s plan. This resulted in a return to 2016 and another appearance of Jessica Stein. With her help, the Legends were able to piece together Thawne’s involvement as well as hypothesize his need for cohorts. It was a good time that relied on snappy writing a good dose of humor. Humor, that has been sadly lacking in Arrow and Flash of late.
Even the reveal of Jessica’s origin as a time aberration was handled with a light touch that had plenty of humor without sacrificing the emotional weight needed for such a reveal. In short, Legends of Tomorrow is killing it. With the inclusion of Rip Hunter as the newest member of the Legion of Doom, it looks like things are just going to get better and better.