Hey everybody, I’m back with this week’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow, aptly titled “The Legion of Doom.” While I’m not as excited by this episode in terms of writing as I wish I was, this episode is definitely huge in terms of plot. Additionally, the emotional subplot of the episode has some genuinely affecting moments, even when the scripting doesn’t do the characters justice.
The episode opens with Damien Dahrk and Eobard Thawne recruiting Malcolm Merlyn into the fold eight months before the present day. They promise him that together, they can rewrite the past so that Malcolm never falls on hard times. He chooses to go with them. In the next scene, in the present, we see arguing among the three of them over their prisoner: an amnesiac Rip Hunter. Since Rip doesn’t know where the rest of the Spear of Destiny is, and the Legends have the amulet, the Legion is forced to come up with another way to get their information. Malcolm suggests hypnotism, and sets off to try it.
Meanwhile, the Legends of Tomorrow themselves bicker about how to handle the Spear of Destiny problem. They have the amulet required to lead them to the amulet, but no leads on how to open it. Then, the scientific minds on the team realize they’ve been approaching it wrong: instead of treating the amulet like a mystic object, they need to look at it like a science problem. As such, Martin says that he needs to return to Central City to get help from “a colleague.”
Subsequently, we return to the Legion. Thawne, Malcolm and Damien hate each other, and don’t work together well. That said, their bickering is much more entertaining and in-character than what’s happening with our heroes. Malcolm’s attempt to hypnotize the information out of Rip doesn’t work, and Eobard vanishes to go do something, so Damien decides to take matters into his own hands and torture Rip again. In a cheesy but somehow still effective line, Damien asks Rip if he’s recently had dental surgery. This torture technique leads to the extraction of one of Rip’s teeth, which has the number for a lockbox in a Swiss bank in 2025.
When we finally get back to the Waverider, Jax and Martin are in Central City in 2016, where they meet up with Lilly Stein, Martin’s daughter. People who have been following along, you all know that she’s a “time aberration” — before Martin traveled through time, she did not exist. Martin, however, has gained memories of raising her, because his history now includes those moments. Seeing him interact with Lilly is one of the high points of the episode: both actors have genuine emotion in their performances, even when their dialogue is weak. Lilly easily figures out how to open the medallion, and Martin and Jax bring her back to the Waverider.
Damien and Malcolm, meanwhile, are bickering over how best to access the lockbox indicated by Rip’s tooth. Eventually, they decide to go with Malcolm’s plan, which is to get Rip to get the lockbox for them.
Returning to Martin, Jax, and Lilly, Lilly’s presence on the Waverider gets most of the other Legends’ dander up when they find out she’s a time aberration. Martin begs them not to tell her.
Then there’s a sequence where Malcolm and Damien try to steal what’s in the safe deposit box but fail because Rip’s voice is wrong now and he doens’t know the access code. It’s intercut with some of the Legends trying to figure out who Eobard is, because they don’t know. Following that, Lilly and Ray get the medallion plugged into Gideon, but Mick winds up telling her that she’s an aberration.
Malcolm and Damien argue and the argument comes to blows.
Lilly confronts her father. In a misunderstanding powered mostly by Martin’s known inability to express himself adequately, Lilly comes to believe that Martin didn’t want her, and that hurts her deeply, because she loves him and wants him to love her.
Back with the Legion minus Thawne, Malcolm and Damien fight for a bit until Rip gets it through their heads that they’re not paying attention to Eobard’s real gambit: to keep them off balance and so control them. Then, Malcolm and Damien decide to work together to screw over Eobard before he destroys them.
Jax and Martin talk about Lilly. Martin reveals that the reason he never had children in his original timeline is that his father was a bad one. He feared that he would be the same way with his own children, thus “repeating history.” Jax reminds him that they’re Legends, and changing history is sort of what they do.
Amaya, Nate, and Sara talk about Thawne, Nate eventually figuring out that Eobard doesn’t exist as Martin shows up and helpfully supplies his name. Eventually, they determine that Eobard might not be able to keep existing if he stops time traveling. Meanwhile, Damien and Malcolm manage to lock themselves and Eobard in Rip’s Zurich vault. Eobard tells them about Black Flash. They come up with a plan, and trap the Black Flash in the vault. Eobard tells them that the three of them are on equal footing now.
Lilly and Martin talk, and Martin lets her know that he loves her.
Finally, back with the Legion of Doom, Eobard reprograms Rip’s memories and takes him back to 1776, where Rip murders George Washington. Just, y’know, casually pops a cap into the General at Valley Forge. During the darkest days of the War.
Overall, I think I want to like this episode more than I actually do like this episode. The writing overall feels kind of stilted and weak. Some of the actors perform well in spite of it: Martin, Lilly, and the Legion are all standouts. The rest of the team honestly kind of feels like set dressing. These characters definitely deserve better than that, and I hope they get it next week in Valley Forge.
Legends of Tomorrow airs on the CW at 9pm EST/8pm Central on Tuesdays, and you can catch previously released episodes on the CW’s mobile app.