Thursday, 7 April 2016

Legends of Tomorrow 'Left Behind' 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.

Following on from the cliffhanger ending of the previous episode 'Left Behind' sees the Waverider coming under attack from Chronos, who manages to take control of the ship and leaves Kendra, Ray and Sarah trapped in 1958 as they watch the ship disappear into the time stream.

Trapped in the past the three of them try to find a way to send a message to the Waverider whilst waiting for the rest of the team to return.  Fed up of waiting and believing the team abandoned them Sarah leaves Ray and Kendra, who over the next two years form a solid relationship and life in 1960.

This development, that the people left behind would spend years in the past is kind of a good one, as it's given the romance story between Ray and Kendra, which up to now has felt very forced, room to grow and feel natural.  Now, instead of having two people at the start of a relationship we have two of our heroes who have a long history together, even if we didn't actually see it on screen.

Meanwhile on the Waverider, Chronos is able to overcome the team and takes Captain Cold back to his own ship, leaving the rest of the team.  This allows Rip and the two halves of Firestorm to head back to 1960 and pick up Ray and Kendra.

Whilst Kendra is eagre to return to their old life and the mission to take down Vandal Savage Ray is reluctant to leave the life the two of them have built together.  Initially this took me by surprise, as I expected Ray to be the one to want to get back to the future and technology, whilst Kendra has memories of living in the past and should in theory feel more at home there.

To switch things around not only subverts this expectation, but goes on to put some drama into their new relationship and to give Ray some interesting character development.  Hopefully this storyline will last more than just one episode and Ray will continue to struggle to get back into his old life, but with the short number of episodes this season it probably won't.

The team try to find Sarah and come to the troubling realisation that she's returned home, not to Star City (or Starling City in this time period) but the League of Assassins.  The team try to sneak into Nanda Parbat to bring Sarah back, but find that Sarah doesn't want to leave and helps the League take the team prisoner.

Meanwhile on Chronos' ship Snart wakes to find himself shackled to the wall.  When he challenges Chronos the bounty hunter removes his helmet to reveal Mick Rory, a.k.a. Heatwave.  Yep, Snart's best friend who he was supposed to have 'killed' is the same time travelling bounty hunter that's been chasing the team since episode one.

It's a development that some saw coming and one that makes a lot of sense.  Finally we know why Chronos was only sparingly used up until now, the show runners were waiting for Mick to go completely crazy before using Chronos to his full extent.  Not only does this mean we get the long waited for screen time with the character, but suddenly he's important and a character that really matters rather than just another villain.

At the League of Assassins the team challenges their imminent execution with trial by combat, in which Sarah and Kendra are forced to fight to the death.  The fight gets interrupted by Chronos/Mick, giving the cast the opportunity to work together to fight their enemy in another excellent showcase of the team's powers and combat abilities.  The fight may be short, but it's choreographed in such a way that it gives each member of the team a chance to shine as well as showing off the excellent visual effects and combat the series has to offer.

On Chronos' ship Snart manages to get hold of his freeze gun and uses it to break free of his shackles, by freezing his hand solid and smashing it to pieces.  It's an impressive scene, though I have to question why he'd choose to destroy his hand rather than freezing the shackles or the pipe that he's attached to, but then it wouldn't have been as dramatic so I guess it's a stylistic trade off.

Together the team manages to overpower Chronos and takes him prisoner.  Thankfully fighting alongside the rest of the team has helped snapped Sarah out of her time confusion and she rejoins the team with Ra's al Ghul's blessing (something that feels very unlike his Arrow counterpart, but hey this is 50 years before that so a guy can change, I guess).  The episode ends with Mick as a prisoner aboard the Waverider and the team heading off to the future to take on Savage.

The episode is definitely a lot more entertaining than I first thought it would focusing on three of our heroes trapped in the past.  Perhaps this is one of the advantages of a short season, the fact that this story had to wrapped up fairly quick rather than Sarah, Ray and Kendra in the past being a whole episode or more.

The return of Mick is a great twist that adds a lot more depth and character development to a character that has had relatively little to none since their introduction in The Flash, and perhaps helping to redeem Mick will be a part of Snarts journey to becoming a hero.  This episode was also noteworthy for introducing Talia al Ghul to the Arrowverse, with her being a child in the episode.  It's interesting that in this universe she's the elder daughter rather than the traditional Nyssa, but her inclusion does give a fun nod to comic book fans.

'Left Behind' could have easily been a rather dull episode but manages to tell a number of engaging and interesting stories as well as giving us some great action sequences.


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