DC’s Legends of Tomorrow cross paths with another well-known DC character in “The Magnificent Eight.” They are a lot further out of their element than usual, but it’s really entertaining to see how some of them react to a very romanticized era in history. We also finally learn a bit more about the enigmatic Rip Hunter.
The Waverider lands in the town of Salvation in 1871 in the Old West. For some reason, this jump has some serious side effects on all of them, even Rip. Only Rory is immune, most likely from the extensive training he had as Kronos. They are here to hide from the Hunters. Apparently Salvation is in what’s called a Fragmentation, a blind spot in time where the Time Masters can’t look for them easily.
Ray, to no great surprise, was a huge fan of Westerns as a kid. He looks like he just found himself in Disneyworld. Rip, of course, doesn’t want anyone to leave the ship while they hide and plan their next move. Naturally, that doesn’t happen.
Decked out with clothes and weapons appropriate for the era, most of the team goes to check out the town. If you’ve ever seen a Western, or seen previous episodes of this show, you know they end up in the saloon, get in a fight, and tick off the local gang of bad men. Western cliches abound in this episode, but they make it work.
The important set up bits are: Ray becomes the local sheriff (that scene is pretty damn funny), Kendra gets another flash of her past, and the team runs into notorious bounty hunter Jonah Hex. Hex shocks them all, not just with his scars, but by asking them when they are from. The team is surprised to find out that they are not the first time travelers Hex has met. In the comics, Hex has journeyed to both modern times and a version of our future, so this isn’t as bizarre as it sounds for an Old West hero.
Kendra decides to go track down her vision, and Sara goes with her. They find a woman with a lot of surprising information about Kendra. Mentioned in passing is Hannibal Hawkes, who in the comics was the masked Western hero Nighthawk, and later, retconned into one of Hawkman’s past lives. There’s no mention of Cinnamon, Hawkgirl’s counterpart in that era. Kendra gets a lot to think about.
Stein’s side story mostly concerns a woman he meets. No, not like that, he stays loyal to his wife. But the woman is traveling with her son, who is very ill. This gives Rip something else to worry about. While most of them are off changing history by fighting a gang, Stein is using medical techniques that don’t exist yet. Stein eventually gets his way, and we end up with a surprise about who the boy turns out to be.
The majority of the team, along with Hex, are dealing with the Stillwater gang. There are several classic Old West scenes. Inevitably, this leads to the quick draw/duel at noon on the streets of the town. Along the way as we’re guided to this point, we learn a lot more about Rip’s past, and his prior involvement with Jonah Hex. It seems Rip is almost as much a fan of the Old West as Ray Palmer is (more on that later).
The showdown doesn’t wrap everything up, though. There’s a photographer there to capture the duel. I think this was a great touch, unless I’m reading too much into it, but as soon as the picture gets taken, the Hunters show up. I think that’s a ripple effect- the picture of Rip and company on the streets is what led the Hunters here. For as much build-up as the Hunters got, they went down pretty easy. But, one of them hints that there’s more trouble coming their way, and we see a hint of that as the show ends.
What I liked: Seeing Jonah Hex was great, and I love that they mentioned Nighthawk, too. I like that we learned more about Rip’s past, and even his look was explained. Ray being so much a fan of the period was amusing throughout. There were a few subtle bits, like a drinking contest in the saloon and the origin of Rip’s coat. Snart did great in this era. I like the picture/Hunter idea, and I hope it’s what happened.
What I didn’t: As I mentioned before, the Hunters seemed to fold like a house of cards. If Rip has a known affinity for the Old West, why did he think they could hide here?
I thought this was one of the more enjoyable episodes. I’ll give it a high 3.5 out of 5.