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[TV Review] ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Episode 1.01 – “Pilot: Part 1”

A ragtag group of heroes and villains.  A Time Master.  An immortal villain.  A temporal bounty hunter.  An impossible mission across time.  If that doesn’t sound like a comic book set-up, I don’t know what does.  The CW has gone and expanded their DC TV Universe in a wonderful way, putting “Legends of Tomorrow” alongside the already-existing “Arrow“, “The Flash“, “Vixen“, and (potentially) “Supergirl“.  So how does it stack up to those?

Incredibly well.  Mind you we’re only one episode in and have only seen half the full, double-episode pilot, but things are off to a great start.  The opening moments relay the stakes of the mission of Rip Hunter (Arhtur Darvill).  A former Time Master, he has broken free of his impartial organization and decided to take the future into his own hands.  The evil immortal Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), who was previously believed to be destroyed during the two-night crossover between “Arrow” and “The Flash” in December, has ensalved humanity 150 years from now.

A global dictator wielding his power with a cruel ferocity, he has destroyed the lives of millions and Hunter is determined to stop him.  Naturally this also stems from the fact that Savage murdered Hunter’s wife and child, but his cause is just regardless.  To complete his mission, he needs help, so he travels back to our time to form a special team.  There’s The Atom (Brandon Routh), a billionaire genius turned tech-based hero.  There’s White Canary (Caity Lotz), a resurrected former member of the League of Assassins.  Firestorm, the combined might of a mechanic (Franz Drameh) and a brilliant scientist (Victor Garber), is also in the mix.  Then we have two duos: the ever-reincarnating Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) & Hawkgirl (Ciara Renee) and dastardly criminals Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) & Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell).

That assortment of personalities is a melting pot of non-stop entertainment.  Each team member has their own reason for being there.  Hunter, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl are committed to putting an end to Savage.  The Atom and White Canary are set on changing their destinies.  On the Firestorm end, Dr. Stein wants to explore the mysteries of the universe (while also doing some good) and Jackson wants to feel at home on a team again.  Cold and Heat Wave are there for the action and any potential crime it allows them to commit, although I suspect Cold secretly yearns for redemption…even if he won’t admit it.

This episode is almost entirely set-up, but it’s well executed across the board.  The opening involving Hunter narrating his choices as visual backstories for each team member are shown echoes the opening panels of an event series comic book.  The same goes for the history of Savage and his connection to Hawkman & Hawkgirl.  It’s colorful and at times cheesy, but it works.

The dynamics thus far have already been fun.  The do-gooders mesh well, as expected.  A nice touch on that end is Dr. Stein casually belittling the achievements of Palmer more than once.  The real fun comes with the welcome, but not surprising revelation that Sara would rather hang out with Leonard & Mick than the others.  The trio sneak out to a bar for some fun after they all land in 1975.  What follows is a typical bar room brawl that, while far from original, sings entirely because of the characters involved in it.

The majority of the action this week comes from a temporal bounty hunter named Cronos that is tracking Hunter and our would-be heroes.  Fully armored and packing futuristic heat, it looks like Cronos is poised to be a constant thorn in their side.  Here’s hoping we get an actual performance and characterization from him in future episodes.  A future soldier firing laser weapons at our protagonists is always a welcome addition, but it could potentially run thin super quick if they don’t make him well-rounded.

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