If you’ve been following this blog, you will have seen that I haven’t had many kind words for this season of Legends of Tomorrow so far. I haven’t really bought into the story or characters at all so far this season, and the entire thing has been missing something that I think is probably depth in both characters and plot.
Tonight, I could’ve almost bought this as something from season 1 rather than the lackluster ‘blah’-fest that has so far been season 2. So hey, all hope is not lost!
This episode of Legends of Tomorrow seemed pretty ‘oh come on’ in the trailer because it’s about Confederate zombies… yes, I said Confederate zombies. But, alas, I was pleasantly surprised when the zombie Confederate soldiers was honestly just a backdrop for team-building and character development, and there were still some very serious topics that were handled very well. And, in the spirit of Legends, there was still room for a little comedy while dealing with such a dark topic as the Civil War in the form of Mick being turned into a zombie.
I am like Professor Stein, I’m irrationally terrified of zombies. All other manner of movie monsters I’m okay with, but I think it’s the helplessness and hopelessness of a zombie apocalypse that freaks me out the most. I’m not good with any sort of dystopia/global disaster thing because of the hopelessness. It freaks me the hell out, man! So having Mick the Zombie creeping around while Ray and Stein had to try and help him kept a lot of good humor to lighten such a heavy subject matter. I particularly enjoyed
“Oh no don’t be dead…. on the other hand, please stay dead.”
“Professor, what’s going on? Was I just trying to kiss you?”
Ha! Oh Stein and Mick are always such a good laugh. And it was very needed with the rest of the episode being about slavery and the civil war.
At first, when I saw ‘next week is Confederate zombies’ I was really worried how they would handle slavery and especially having two black team members during the time of slavery. So far this season, there hasn’t been that much realness in much of anything. Everything has seemed to be handled with levity and humor. Even Nazis were like your average, run of the mill ‘bad guy goons’ in the episode about World War 2. So naturally, I had some fears. And when it first started, Jax’s ‘ah it’ll be fine, I know how bad it sucks to be black, I’ve been black my whole life’ attitude made me worry they were actually going to just go with that. I have no idea what it’s like to be black in America but my white ass would not be all ‘ah it’ll be fine, I know how bad slavery was’ in his situation. I would be so terrified of what I might see and I would be sick to my stomach to even be faced with the idea of having to witness something so horrible as one of the darkest parts of American history. When they came across the slave girl being whipped, I also still thought they were going to stick with his, ‘I know all about slavery, I can handle it’ attitude.
I have never been more relieved than to be proven wrong, and I was so excited to finally see something handled with the weight it deserved this season. While I hate that it took something so horrible as SLAVERY to finally draw some depth out of this season, I’m glad they didn’t fall flat again. I finally felt an emotional connection with Amaya for once this episode, even though she was mostly just around to fight. I don’t know what was different, but she seemed to finally be herself. And Jax’s experience was pretty much the expected thing for the situation, but after several episodes of not feeling any of the characters, I really felt him this time. The part where he wanted to stand for a moment and watch the plantation house burn after the slave owner was eaten by zombies was a very poignant moment that actually elicited some real emotions in there.
Also, it’s worth nothing that this episode had some really good side characters. The two main slaves and General Grant all had some really important parts that gave more depth to the episode. There was a real gut-punch in, “Those are some pretty famous slave owners you’re named for Jefferson Jackson.” And I actually teared up just a little bit when the slave girl said, “They think they can break us.” When it comes to General Grant, his discussion with Sara about being a leader gave us a really good look at Sara with some depth this season. So far she’s shown some vulnerability when it came to Damien Darhk and her sister’s death, but for the most part she’s been, “Seduce the girls, kick some ass” and it’s been frustrating to me as someone who really loves the complexity of her character. General Grant telling her that he knew how she feels being a leader and having to send her men into harms way was a really good moment that added a little extra depth we needed to what we had seen all episode of Sara.
I’ve argued slightly that I felt like Mick was being sort of relegated to ‘funny but dumb’ with his simple one-liners to make us laugh and not much else so far this season, especially after the entire Cronos story line and all the intense character work we had last season, and finally we saw a tiny bit of THAT Mick Rory again. At the start, when he first said “Women” I got sort of frustrated, because Mich hasn’t really been prone to casual sexism in the past that I’m aware of, but I let it go because as soon as he got bitten, he started to actually come alive again… pardon the pun. He called Ray by his name instead of “Haircut” for once, showing his serious side again. I really expected them to make him laugh off being bitten, but he didn’t, he showed actual fear at becoming a zombie and asked for Ray to save him. Even that tiny bit showed a much more human side to him that we know exists.
And then that part at the end just killed me. Ray coming to Mick to ask about how he was doing only in reality he wanted to talk about his own fears, it showed even more team development than Sara and Nate working together so well did. Ray reaching out to Mick was so good to see, and then when Mick took it seriously I was very happy that the episode was going to end on a good note Their conversation about being outsiders was moving and showed growth and development between both characters. However, the show turned around and broke me! I knew when Mick opened the chest and pulled out the cold gun exactly what he was about to do, and when he said, “The belonged to the greatest outsider I knew” and then asked him to be his new partner, I actually cried a little teeny bit because last seasons, one of my favorite things was Mick’s relationship with Snart and how it grew and developed and showed depth, so to have that brought back to mind was heartbreaking.
I’m absolutely sure Captain Cold would approve of Ray getting his cold gun and being Mick’s new partner.
So yeah, guys, after the last few weeks panning this show and how much weaker season 2 has been, I finally think this episode was good enough that I feel confidence in the future of this show. This episode showed promise for the first time this season, and I’m really looking forward to whether or not they continue to develop the show in a way that makes us feel that it isn’t a two-dimensional ‘let’s go on an adventure today’ type of show, but rather one with depth and consequence and an actual narrative arc.
Speaking of which, who else is super curious about the message from Future Barry??? I know I am!
So what did you guys think? Did you lie this episode? Have you liked it all along and thought I was being unfair? Did you hate this episode because you preferred the other (weaker) version we’ve had so far this season? Tell me in the comments!