Sunday, 24 April 2016

Legends of Tomorrow 'Last Refuge' Review

This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for the episode to be discussed, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt, please do not read further.

Legends of Tomorrow borrows from another classic time travel story this week as the team face their own version of the Terminator, in the form of a Time Master assassin named The Pilgrim, who will travel back in time to kill each member of the team in the past in order to remove them from their present.

Whilst this episode isn't the most original of the series so far, but it does have more a sense of pace and urgency to it as the team race around time to try and prevent The Pilgrim from killing their younger selves.

Having set up the Pilgrim at the end of the previous episode 'Last Refuge' jumps straight into the action as the team arrives at a key moment in Mick's past and prevents The Pilgrim from assassinating the teenage version of their team mate.

The team decide that the best way to ensure the safety of their younger selves is to not only stop The Pilgrim in her assassination attempts, but to remove their younger selves from the timeline so that she cannot find them.  The next team member they go after is a young Sara, who is visiting Starling City police station as part of a 'bring your daughter to work day'.

The station comes under attack from The Pilgrim, who makes her way through the building, beating down police officers and with bullets bouncing off her in what is easily the most terminator like moment of the whole episode.  Once again though the team are able to arrive and stop The Pilgrim before she can kill her target.

Next on the list is Ray, who begins to display visible injuries whilst on the Waverider as The Pilgrim attacks him at Palmer Technologies during the events of season 3 of Arrow.  Why Ray in the present gets injured when a version of him two years in the past is being attacked isn't really explained, and his injuries vanish the moment that the attack is stopped.  It's one part of the episode that stands out as very strange, especially as at this point it's the only way that the team are able to figure out where The Pilgrim is.

From here the team chose to go and steal their younger selves as babies from the timeline in order to prevent The Pilgrim from being able to target them at any point in their lives.  It's at this point that the story introduces Jax's father James into the story.  Up to now we've only heard about Jax's mother, and it transpires that that's because his father was killed in combat shortly after Jax's birth, and that he never knew his father.

Whilst this new plot thread seems to come out of nowhere it does manage to add a little bit of a human element into what would otherwise have been a purely action oriented story.  The moment where Jax gets to meet his father and speak to him, and the subsequent talk between him and Stein, gives him some character development and depth than he's had so far, and that's definitely a good thing.

The episode also introduces the idea of a Time Master Orphanage, where future Time Masters are taken from their places in the timestream and raised together somewhere outside of time.  It's here that the team meet Rip's adoptive mother, who runs the orphanage, as well as a young version of Rip himself, though we don't realise who it is at this point in the episode.

It's in these scenes that we find out that Rip's original name is Michael, which differs slightly from his comic book counterpart, whose real name is Richard.  What is interesting though is that in the comics Rip Hunter is the son of time travelling superhero Booster Gold.  Despite being older than Booster when they work together during their comic series it's revealed that Rip is training his own father to be the hero who will go on to raise him Rip.

Fans have been speculating and hoping that Booster will make an appearance in the show at some point in the future, mainly due to his connection to Rip.  Well, that may actually be happening but in a slightly different way than anyone was expecting.  You see, in the comics Booster Gold's name is Michael.  Perhaps the writers are combining the two characters into one singular entity, and Rip will don the Booster Gold identity at some point in the future.

It's also in these scenes at the Orphanage that we get to see some massive character development in Mick, as he confronts his younger self about the house fire that killed his parents.  He basically tells his younger self not to go down the same path that he has and to become a better person.  Whilst the desire to change and become a hero has been obvious in Snart, it's been completely absent in Mick up to this point.  Clearly his time on the team and the years spent as Chronos has led to some massive changes in Mick that has pushed him to trying to become a better person too.

Unable to locate any of her targets The Pilgrim snatches the team's loved ones from the time stream instead, including Ray's finance, Detective Lance and Jax's father.  Instead of agreeing to hand over the younger counterparts of the team, Rip makes a deal to give The Pilgrim the younger version of himself instead.

The showdown with The Pilgrim is very impressive, with the minimal surroundings giving the team's powers the chance to really shine as they stand out against the stark backgrounds.  The show runners also make great use of The Pilgrim's abilities to slow down time as the team all attack at once in one of the most visually dynamic scenes that the series has given us yet.

The team manages to overcome The Pilgrim thanks to help from the younger version of Rip, who turns out to be quite vicious and nasty, and she gets reduced to a pile of burnt ashes.  It's a shame that the team literally burn her to nothing as it's removed what could go on to be quite a good recurring character, but this is sci-fi, so there's nothing to say that she won't come back one day.

With the Time Masters still wanting Rip and his team erased from the timeline it's decided that it's best for their younger selves to remain in hiding, the downside of this is that the longer their younger selves are removed from the timeline the changes will become permanent, meaning that many of them will never have existed beyond their births.

The team decides that in order to prevent that they have no choice but to finish their mission as quickly as they can and eliminate Vandal Savage.  Not knowing where to strike at him in the timeline the choice is made to strike at him the once place where they know he will be, the moment when he takes over the world at the height of his power.

This definitely adds a sense of urgency going into the last episodes of the series, and it will hopefully mean that they team will be facing some very big challenges as they try to bring their mission to a close.


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