Things have been really heavy for The CW hero show world lately, largely due to the fact that the Legends have been out of commission for over two months. Now they are back, and while they have a lot of heavy on their plate too they still maintain some of their more fun wacky time traveling dysfunctional family aspects. Even as they are still dealing with the loss of some crew members and a growing evil.
Constantine Brings Along A Magical Time
News of his return dropped before the season even began and he appeared to cap off the mid-season finale, but man is it great to see Matt Ryan’s Constantine again. Even cancellation of his NBC series a few years ago can’t keep the trenchcoat-wearing magic user down. Continuity comes into play as the series makes this story somewhat of a sequel to Arrow season four when Constantine paid back a favor to Oliver to save the soulless and resurrected Sara Lance. This story is really great right off the bat because at last, we begin to get some answers about the season’s big bad Mallus who before now was just a mystery disembodied evil working through Damian Darhk and his daughter.
Speaking of Darhk, the revelation that the girl possessed by Mallus is the young version of Nora Darhk was a very interesting one. If they had been able to exorcise Mallus from the girl then and there it would have likely led to her not being a thrall to Mallus and growing up to go back in time to resurrect her father and would have changed much of the season episodes that already aired. Though as Sara noted previously, bad luck follows this team around and they walked right into a Mallus trap. Members of the team being trapped in a different time than the others is not new for the series, but having it done through magic and the rest of the team being unaware where they are adds something to the repeated situation.
Seeing the Legends have a chance to save Nora Darhk, while ultimately failing, was interesting as it actually gave us some more backstory on what is up with the younger Darhk and how she came to be with Mallus and eventually her returned father. Same with Sara being able to be possessed by and defeat Mallus in a way, along with the revelation that something to do with Zari (and her being one of the six as Mallus says) actually hurts Mallus. All of these things seem likely to tie into how they’ll eventually defeat the demon, but how that happens remains to be seen.
Avoiding The Superhero Tone Rut
Being able to jump around every week means that the series can somewhat reinvent itself every single week. From comedies to action adventure to even zombie stories like last season. This week amongst the magic we get a horror story, with demons and possessions and faces trying to shove through walls. Hell, there is even the requisite sex in the middle of the crisis that is a hallmark of most horror films. Compared to some of the other CW Arrowverse shows it’s so refreshing. Arrow and The Flash lately have been so focused on their season big bads that they are sort of trapped in stories that have the same tone each week, with only some slight deviation here or there. Legends manages to keep its storylines moving along & character development while also exploring different types of stories without feeling stale at any point.
Also, it’s a small point, but this series is easily the best at really truly embracing the shared universe continuity that is the Arrowverse. Lately outside of the crossovers The Flash and Arrow have been almost happening in different worlds with no real mention of one another. With just a few scenes, this series manages to recap some of what is going on with Arrow with news on the TV and other things. With Kid Flash set to join the team soon no doubt we’ll get some connections to things from The Flash that led to his leaving that series and ending up on this one. This is the show that reminds us that these shows don’t just share a network, they share a world.
The Most Functional Dysfunctional Team Around
What has always been the strength of this series, even during the lackluster first season, is the character relationships and the dysfunctional characters that have built a pseudo-family together. While they lost part of their heart with the death of Martin Stein (Victor Garber) last season and the departure of Jefferson “Jax” Jackson (Franz Drameh), the addition of an alternate reality Leonard Snart from the Crisis on Earth X crossover has been a great boon. Wentworth Miller is chewing up the scenery, as usual, loving the chance to play this heroic and very open with his sexuality and emotions version of the cold gun using character.
We got some glimpses of how this version of Snart meshes with the crew in the mid-season finale but we fully get to see more of him here in the show’s return. He’s the one that can see how people truly feel, even if they won’t admit it. The moment between him and Sara as she gets a flirty message from Agent Sharpe was pretty great. Shame that Miller is soon to be wrapping up his time in the Arrowverse for good. Snart’s former partner Rory gets some moments of his own to shine as usual, but instead of being the humor or muscle he has a pretty great scene where he takes charge (mostly because the others won’t shut up so he can watch live football for the first time in 3 years) when Sara and some others go missing.
At some point, the series is going to have to do something about Mari and the future that is waiting for her. Once again she is confronted by this as the team captures her granddaughter the assassin Kuasa, and the woman reveals to her grandmother what happens the day in the 90’s when men come to kill her and burn the village down. Every moment that Mari is with the team and keeps being tempted to maybe not embrace the dismal future that awaits her, the more chances she’ll end up altering history (including the future of the modern day version of Vixen) and cause an anachronism. The exact thing this team is supposed to be trying to stop. I enjoy the character but by the end of the season, I really want her to move on and go back to live out her life. It’s what is best for the character.
Answers to the threat facing the team this season finally begin to appear, while the show doesn’t lose the tone that has made it the best of the shows the last two years. Having this series alongside Black Lightning is a welcome thing as both are now the best shows from the network, one being very real and the other being very fun. It’s a shame to see Leo Snart leaving the show, the series keeps losing people. Curious to see if we’ll get to see the Citizen Cold/Ray marriage at some point.
Score: 9 out of 10