Legends of Tomorrow: Aruba-Con

aruba

It’s Casual Friday for the Legends

Season Two of Legends of Tomorrow ended with “Aruba,” where the team kept saying they were going to take a vacation. So it’s sort of amusing that they kick off Season Three with “Aruba-Con.” They start off just where we last saw them, in modern day Los Angeles, if “modern day” is the right term for a place where time has broken. There are things from all sorts of different eras, most notably roaming Tyrannosaurus Rexes (Rexs?) and, oddly, buildings from all over, including Big Ben, visiting from London and, as many sharp-eyed fans caught in the finale, what appears to be the Watchtower building from Smallville. Hints at a crossover that, from all reports, isn’t ever actually going to happen.

In a scene that manages to be both surprising and anti-climactic, Rip Hunter appears. While it’s been about five minutes since the Legends saw him, it’s been more like five years for him, and he’s built the Time Bureau, staffed with Time Agents. Weirdly, those are both terms from Torchwood and Doctor Who, from Captain Jack Harkness’ mysterious past. The agents themselves are more like the Men In Black from the movies and comics of the same name. Rip is cold and dismissive to the Legends as his Agents restore order, sending things and critters back to their proper time and, even more like the MIB, erase memories with flashing devices. Rip then summarily relieves the Legends of duty, and, massively out of character for most of them, they meekly accept this.

Six months later (again, the same time gap between seasons for Supergirl and Flash), the Legends are, by and large, doing horribly at settling back in to “real life.” Sara’s employment situation is complicated since she’s been declared dead, twice, and before that was in the League of Assassins, which doesn’t look great on a resume. Ray, as far as the public knows, randomly gave his company to, “a woman who then ran it into the ground, (Felicity)” and is having trouble getting work in the tech sector. Basically, most of them seem to be in one of those “Horrible Bosses” movies. Steel is doing a bit better, working in Central City alongside Kid-Flash, presumably just before Flash returns. Steel seems to be living the “costumed hero with no visible means of support” life so common on the CW shows.

Mick Rory, Heat Wave, is the only one who seems to be doing all right. He’s actually sunning himself in Aruba, like the others were supposed to. He gets interrupted not by an annoying boss (Can you really see Mick working for anyone?) but by a time-lost Julius Caesar. Utterly unimpressed, as usual, Mick remarks he knocked over one of Caesar’s casinos in Vegas. In little to no time, Mick has Caesar tied up, and calls Sara. She gets some of the team together, goes to Star City, and breaks into the Time Bureau with the help of a key Sara stole from a night with a Time Agent. Interestingly, it was a male agent, so the writers have finally remembered Sara is bi. They get about three steps in before being surrounded by Time Agents with a lot of guns.

After a fair amount of snark back and forth, Rip appears, taking charge from his second, Agent Sharp. Nate is furious, insisting that Rip sent Amaya back to her native 1942. Rip says it was her idea. Man, and you thought your break-ups were bad. Rip takes the team on a tour of his Time Bureau, where they learn that the Waverider is now being used as a training simulator. Their old missions are used to teach, but their handling of them is generally considered to be a failure. They also try and convince Rip about Julius Caesar, but he’s too convinced in the infallibility of his Bureau.

There are some weird shenanigans down in Aruba where things make the Legends look even worse, and now no one believes them. Rory manages to produce enough proof to convince his team that Caesar was really there. So, naturally, instead of bringing this proof to Rip, they steal the Waverider. As Rip himself comments, “The Legends have never let logic stop them.” The ship, badly damaged, barely manages to jump ahead three minutes, but it gets them out of the Time Bureau building. They need to repair the ship, so naturally, they go find their engineer, Jax.

Jax and Stein are in Central City, where they meet up once a week for the bonding to become Firestorm that’s become necessary to keep them healthy. Jax has quit school, despite Stein’s encouragement, because he, too, isn’t adjusting to post-Legend life well. Their discussion of what to do, and developments with Stein’s daughter, are interrupted when the Waverider flies in. Jax is thrilled, Stein less so. Two of the running jokes from this episode are that “Sometimes we screw things up for the better,” and that the team operates like “Conducting brain surgery with a chainsaw.” This time, Sara assures her team, they’re going to try to be the scalpel.

The plan is actually good: return Caesar to his own time, wipe his memory courtesy of a device stolen from the Time Bureau. Sounds great, right? Well, naturally, Sara does what she’s supposed to, but one of the other Legends screws up. Things get much, much worse, and Rip brings in his Agents to fix things. But this time, they screw up, too. So it’s time for the Legends brand of getting things done. Nothing goes smoothly, but the Legends prevail and at least earn enough goodwill to persuade Rip to let them keep operating. When Sharp complains to Rip later, he says they might need the Legends against what’s coming. No, that doesn’t sound ominous at all. Stein finally agrees to come back to the Waverider in a sentimental moment about his family being on board and hugging Jax. The sentiment is undercut a bit by the recent announcement that Victor Garber, the actor who plays Martin Stein, is leaving the show sometime this season. The episode ends with a very odd scene with Vixen, back home, which shows that things are not as they were with her.

What I liked: This is not the best of the CW shows, quality or writing wise. But somehow, I keep enjoying it, flaws and all. I’m glad this band of misfits is back in action. Mick is becoming one of my favorites of the crew. I found the idea of them being collectively horrible at “real life” entertaining and believable. The cameo by Kid-Flash was good. I’m glad Sara is being portrayed as bi again. There are a lot more gay than bi characters on the air.

What I didn’t: Nate was unbelievably stupid in some of his actions. Rip is being a jerk, and his Time Bureau seems really derivative. Ray seems to fluctuate by episode between being somewhat skilled and more or less useless out of costume. He was more the second this time around.

I’ll give this one a 3 out of 5. They’re entertaining, these Legends. I just wish we could trade Nate for getting Captain Cold back. I miss him.

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