Legends of Tomorrow: Freakshow

 

freak

Awww, Nate made a new friend…

Still not quite done with “What We Did On Our Summer Vacation,” Legends of Tomorrow starts again with another six month flashback. This time it’s Amaya and Nate, being a happy domestic couple and her preparing a special birthday surprise for him. They get some flirting time in the kitchen, but when he runs an errand, she sees news about the current-day Vixen and makes a decision.

Back in the present, Jax, Nate, and Ray get together for some kind of tech-geek meeting. Ray has come up with a new gadget to track the anachronisms the team inadvertently created, and they find out there’s more than they thought. Possibly by an order of magnitude. Ray has also managed to more or less weaponize some of the functions of his ATOM suit. After commenting that Rip’s Time Bureau is apparently not doing so well at fixing anachronisms, the team decides to tackle a simple Level 1 issue to get the hang of things with an easy job. Well, we know THAT’S not going to happen. But, off they go to the 1870’s, to pay a call on an early version of PT Barnum’s traveling show.

Mick apparently is not a big fan of clowns, and gets skittish from the moment they get there. Stein and Ray argue about the freakshow and people’s reactions to it. The team splits up and wanders around the show, and then Ray, in a fit of Eagle Scout earnestness, figures out the problem that drew them there. Barnum has a sabertooth tiger in a cage. I’m not sure how the Legends’ stunts made that happen, but I guess it’s just some kind of aftershock from their damaging time so badly. Ray, with a comedic but lame plot twist, screws things up and makes their problem bigger. Literally.

Back on the Waverider, a vexed Sara points out the anachronism has gone from a Level 1 to Level 4, which is NOT making things better. Going in to Den Mother mode, she effectively grounds the team while she goes to try her own way of making things better. I’ll admit, if I was a Legend and had an animal problem, I’d probably go find Vixen, too. With an appeal and a few lies, Sara gets Amaya to agree to come back.

The others are playing poker, using shipboard chores for betting wagers, when Sara and Amaya return. Most of the team is thrilled to see her, with the understandable exception of Nate. Nate can be childish, but I’d likely be a bit irked myself if my girlfriend disappeared without a word on my birthday. Sara has decided that she and Amaya are going out after the critter with Ray’s gadget, and leaving the rest of the team to fend for themselves. What could go wrong?

As Amaya gives helpful advice like, “Don’t run,” Nate, Jax, and Ray go out drinking, and naturally end up at the same bar as Barnum. When a local starts giving the bearded lady some problems, Nate steps in, and, in a fit of drunken brilliance, decides the best way to handle it is provoke the guy into a fight and then shift to his metallic form. No, that won’t attract attention. When Barnum congratulates him, Nate babbles about Jax and Ray’s abilities, too.

Sara and Amaya manage to capture the rogue kitty with minimal issues. Ray and Jax, on the other hand, get ambushed by a man dressed like obscure DC Comics character B’wana Beast, and captured by Barnum. It’s left to a very hungover Nate to tell the others the bits he remembers when they find him passed out in the cargo hold.
Amaya lectures Nate, and he has a nasty comeback for her as Barnum gloats over his new prisoners. Ray and Jax make the really questionable decision to tell Barnum even more about their abilities, while Sara figures out they are being spied on. This ends up being Gary, the less-than-effective Time Bureau agent that Sara crossed paths with during the six month hiatus. As Amaya actually agrees with a tiny bit of Nate’s complaints, Mick takes his turn as Randomly Incompetent Teammate, and undoes some of the earlier work. The Anachronism Level goes to 6 as Amaya and Nate find Jax and Ray, and then get captured themselves. Sara, amusingly, calls Jax and Ray the Hardy Boys, which kind of fits.

Since they’re chained up and have nothing else to do, Amaya and Nate talk. She tells him about why she left, and it’s a decent reason, although doesn’t really excuse the not talking to him part. Nate, because reasons, can’t shift to metal form and get them out. At gunpoint, Agent Gary calls in and doesn’t manage to impress Agent Sharp with his bumbling excuses. The Anachronism Level (I bet we’re going to get sick of that phrase by the midpoint of the season) is up to 8 as the team tries to rescue their captured friends. Sharp shows up, portaling aboard the Waverider, so Sara can’t join the others because she and Sharp are beating each other silly with sticks.

The diminished team of Rory and Stein get to the circus, and then Rory runs away. Stein bluffs his way along as a clown, doing a decent job, until more chaos ensues. Finally, Stein and Jax get close enough to merge into Firestorm, tilting the odds and thrilling the crowd, who Barnum convinces that this is part of the show. Eventually, the team escapes, Sara and Sharp make up over bottled water and rogue sabertooth, and Vixen reveals what’s wrong with her powers. The team will help her with that as she rejoins them. There’s a hint at the new big bad, who the team laugh off. But we get to see a scene of a team being gathered, and the Legends look to have a bigger problem than they think. Although the type of bad guy it seems to be might explain the rumors about a certain guest star later this season.

What I liked: Sara’s fight scenes are always good. Ray’s new gadget could be useful if they keep it around. Actually, all of Ray’s new gadgets. I’m glad Amaya’s back and hopefully the drama between her and Nate is over. Sharp is an interesting character, ally/enemy combination that she is. The bad guys appear to be something new and different the team hasn’t really faced. Barnum was well acted, and it was a nice nod to see a version of B’wana Beast.

What I didn’t: I’m a bit tired of just about all the males on the team being shown as incompetent. As I said most of last season, the Legends are now far too powerful for a crowd of normals to be a challenge unless the writers contrive more weird and usually lame stuff. While Mick is one of my favorite characters, he seems to have largely abandoned his signature weapon.

It was an uneven episode, but amusing for all that. I’ll give it a low 3 out of 5, which would be higher without some of the bad plot devices. It’ll be interesting to see how the opposition shapes up this season.

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