Legends of Tomorrow: Camelot/3000 review

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Because historians and tech geniuses know how to sword fight, right?

This week the Legends of Tomorrow bounce around the timeline pretty well in “Camelot/3000.” While the title describes their two destinations, it also refers to an obscure comic series from the 1980’s. In the maxiseries Camelot 3000, as the title suggests, Arthur and his Knights come back in the year 3000, in a mix of fantasy and sci fi. Nice job working that in, writers. The voiceover this week is done by Ray Palmer, who suffers in comparison to Heat Wave’s masterful job at the beginning of “Turncoat.”

In Detroit of the year 3000, Rip Hunter pays a visit to a very sci-fi room. This is where Dr. Midnight is hiding with his portion of the Spear of Destiny. Rip isn’t exactly himself these days, so when the conversation goes badly, Rip kills Dr. Midnight. Rip called him “Charles” at one point. Charles McNider was the original Dr. Midnight in the comics, although he was a white man, which worked a lot better given the timeframe of those early Golden Age stories.
Poor Dr. Midnight. He got to do nothing in his appearance alongside the JSA, and went down without getting a punch in here.

The Legends use Lilly’s algorithm to trace Midnight’s fragment. Nate, being a historian, isn’t really interested in the future. This leads to a weird spat between him and Vixen, who I’m liking less and less as time goes on. Could we get the one that appeared on Arrow back? The team finds the murdered Midnight and realizes they are too late. While Stein pockets a souvenir, Amaya berates Sara for letting Rip go last time, blaming Sara for her teammate’s death. The two of them argue until Gideon picks up another piece of the Spear, back in 504, which Ray associates with Camelot. Nate rolls his eyes and says Camelot never happened. Nate’s getting to be almost as much a killjoy as Amaya. Maybe they are made for each other.

Stein and Mick stay behind for reasons unclear. This is part of the excuse du jour for why Firestorm doesn’t show up, but not a good enough one. We’ll get back to that. The rest of the group goes to see what they can find. Nate mocks them for looking like they are from a Ren Faire while he wears authentic garb. Kind of odd the picky historian doesn’t pick up on there not being plate mail in this era. Speaking of, the group manages to get surrounded and ambushed by knights. Really? The League of Assassins trained fighter and the woman with animal senses get surprised by men in armor? After Ray does a horrific attempt at medieval speech, we learn that these knights are led by Guenevere. Wow, this era is a lot more into equality than you’d think.

The team get brought to a big hall with a Round Table, which Nate says shouldn’t exist. Nate’s going to have a bad episode this week. The kingdom is on edge because knights have been disappearing. Merlin is sent for, provoking another eye roll from Nate, and proves to be Stargirl. So… Merlin is a young blonde girl? The team brings her back to the ship so they can talk without further corrupting the timeline, if that’s possible. Stargirl managed to somehow or other build up the myth of Camelot into reality to help protect her portion of the Spear. The last mission of the JSA we have heard alluded to before turns out to be the team, along with Rip Hunter, finding the Spear and agreeing to keep it safe by scattering it through time. Despite Amaya’s very pointed insistence, Courtney/Stargirl won’t reveal where she hid her portion of the Spear. While the team feasts, Arthur is supposedly out hunting (at night?), which is a horribly rude thing for a host to be doing. He pays for it by getting captured by the Black Knight, which turns out to be Damian Darhk.

Back at the feast, Ray and Nate continue to debate history versus legend. It’s a running theme, at times almost a joke, for the episode. Ray talks to Galahad, who has not gained any of the fame or legend that attaches to him later. Galahad expresses the creed of Camelot that might must serve right lest it blossom into tyranny. The feast gets broken up when Damian Darhk Knight and Rip show up, with Arthur enthralled by some kind mind control device to Rip. Damian is very disappointed when no one reacts to his “The King has left the building” joke, and gives a delighted, “Hey, guys,” when he sees the Legends. There’s a small fight that goes badly, including the brainwashed Arthur stabbing Galahad. The fight also shows the flaws in some of the choreography. Elbowing someone in the head is a great close-in combat technique… except when they are wearing a metal helm. Sara’s elbow should have shattered. Damian tells them to give him the Spear by dawn and leaves.

The next few scenes are split between the Legends and the Legion. The Legion is once again showing the cracks in their alliance as Rip and Damian argue over what to do next and the merits of sticking to the dawn agreement. Amaya continues her near-obsessive questions about where Courtney’s piece of the Spear is. Mick, Stein, and Jax are back on the Waverider, tinkering with the gadget Stein stole from Midnight’s lab, which they are fairly sure is the same as what Rip’s using to control Arthur. So, Stein and Jax are back in the same place, there’s a big battle coming up, and they still don’t merge into Firestorm.

Queen Guenevere rallies her people with a stirring speech, which really impresses Ray. Nate, a lot less so. While this goes on, Amaya is sneaking around trying to find the last bit of Spear. Sara asks her if she’s sure this is the ways she wants to do it, but Amaya is… I’ll be nice and say determined. Amaya finds the piece of the Spear in the Sword in the Stone. Amaya frees it by channeling gorilla, which I get, bear, which makes some sense, and hawk, which doesn’t. At all. I also thought there was supposed to be some magic involved here in drawing the sword, but I guess this Courtney’s mock up, not the “real” one? Courtney comes in just in time to see this and is not at all pleased.

After some argument, and a disturbing confession from Courtney that no one seems to react to, Amaya gets the piece of the Spear. Sara says the team is leaving, which doesn’t sit well with some of them, taking off before the big battle. In fact, Ray refuses to go, and ignores Nate’s attempts to talk him out of it. Ray is wearing his ATOM suit under the armor, and produces a somewhat familiar looking effect on his sword with it. Ray insists a noble idea is worth dying for, which you’d think Nate would get. How many battles has Nate studied?

The team minus Ray argues back on the ship, and Mick of all people says he won’t leave Ray behind. Mick also proves instrumental in beating the mind control gadgetry. Finally, Sara relents, and the team wades in just as the battle starts. Which brings up another weird point: how does everyone know how to use a sword? It makes sense for Sara certainly, and I could vaguely see it for Ray if he’s been that obsessed with the Knights of the Round Table his whole life. Rich guys can indulge in that kind of thing. But everyone else? How and why did they pick up sword skill? They are also wearing cloaks in battle, which is just stupid. That’s a great way to trip and/or give your opponent something to grab on to.

Ray ends up taking off after Damian, and I guess it’s a long chase because when they square off, it’s suddenly winter. Rip gets badly injured by the suddenly freed Arthur, and Sara ends up saving him. Ray actually is winning his fight with Damian, which I’m not sure I buy, until Damian cheats and leaves Ray for dead. Does no one confirm their kills?

After Sara makes out with yet another historical figure (is every woman in history either gay or bi?), the team takes off. They at least have one piece of the Spear, so that’s something. Jax threatens the captive Rip and stalks off. The show ends on the strong hint that the team failed to take something into account when they took Rip prisoner.

What I liked: I’m a fan of Arthurian myth in general, so I almost always like to see new spins on that. Ray sticking to his ideals showed us a lot about him. The team finally won a victory. The JSA story is probably mostly done. Not that I don’t like the JSA, I really do. But not this version. Hell, the barely seen one on Smallville was better than this.

What I didn’t: This is a bit longer. DC has a long history of characters based in Camelot, and none of them were seen or even referenced here, which was a missed opportunity. I guess they weren’t there because this wasn’t the “real” Camelot? I hate that Dr. Midnight died so uselessly. How did Courtney remake an entire culture in just a few years? Did she just happen to find people named Arthur and Guenevere and force them into the roles? What happened to the real Merlin? Why did so many of the team know how to use swords? How did Amaya draw the Sword from the Stone, and how did a bird help her do that? And, as keeps happening, a host of normals with normal weapons aren’t really a challenge for the team anymore. Even with the long list of lame excuses for not having Firestorm (including this week’s, which seemed to be “We forgot”), Steel, Vixen, and Atom should have been able to just wade through the bad guys’ forces. They were finally in an era when having a bow as your main weapon makes sense, and Merlyn was off on vacation or something?

This was a really bad episode. Actually, I think it’s their worst individual episode so far.  I’m giving it a low 2 out of 5. Maybe a 1.5 out of 5 would be better. I really hope this show gets better quick. I’d hate to give up on a DC show with several of my favorite characters in it, but this is just going downhill quick.

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