“Sometimes we screw things up for the better.” It’s the new catchphrase for DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, and it taps into one of the things that makes this show so delightful. Despite the team members calling themselves “Legends,” they’re really a bunch of superhero fuck-ups that occasionally save the world when they’re not accidentally wreaking havoc on the timeline. The series leans into that conceit with its season 3 premiere, which begins with the Legends landing in a present-day Los Angeles that is filled with misplaced landmarks and overrun with dinosaurs, an unfortunate side effect of the team’s mission at the end of last season. Luckily, Rip Hunter has spent the last five years creating the Time Bureau, an organization that is dedicated to tracking the anachronisms littered throughout history.
Rip Hunter may have left the team 15 minutes ago, but thanks to time travel, he can come back at the start of this season five years older and ready to set up a new status quo for the season. The Time Bureau is essentially the Men In Black, but instead of monitoring alien activity, they’re on the lookout for whatever has become untethered from the timeline. (They even have a device that wipes memories with a bright flash of light.) They quickly take care of the dinosaurs in Los Angeles, and repossess the Waverider so the Legends can’t keep blundering their way through history, forcing the team to get back to their civilian lives.
After six months, most of the Legends are miserable. Sara is working in retail at Sink, Shower, and Stuff, fantasizing about slitting the throat of her asshole boss. Ray is an underling at Upswipes, a dating app that is basically Tinder but has people swipe up because it’s “more intuitive.” Nate is living the superhero life in Central City as Commander Steel, but he’s stuck in Kid Flash’s shadow and misses Amaya, who ditched him to go back to her original time period. Jax has dropped out of college because he misses his old life as a time-travelling superhero. Martin is actually pretty happy right now, back at home with his wife and his time aberration daughter, who is now pregnant, and Mick is in a similarly blissful place, vacationing in Aruba when he’s confronted by Julius Caesar.
Legends Of Tomorrow experienced a significant upswing in quality when it committed to silly fun last season, and this episode continues to keep the tone very light as it gets the gang back together. Sara joins forces with Ray and Nate to get the Waverider back from the Time Bureau, where they run into a displaced King Arthur in the hallway. The Waverider has been turned into a training simulator, and the Legends’ past adventures have become running jokes amongst the student body, serving as the template for what not to do.
After procuring the Waverider and picking up Jax and Martin, the team heads to Aruba, where Caesar has crashed a fraternity toga party. Sara kicks his ass, throws him in the Waverider’s brig, and then decides to take him back to ancient Rome instead of going to the Time Bureau because she wants to prove that her team can handle things on its own. It’s all so wonderfully ridiculous, and I love seeing this show throw caution to the wind to deliver entertaining, frivolous stories that are free from the doom and gloom that inevitably makes its way into the CW’s superhero shows.
Of course, once the Legends take Caesar back to Cisalpine Gaul so he can lead his troops across the Rubicon, they make a giant mistake that ends up jeopardizing all of history. While taking a selfie with Caesar, Nate lets his guard down and ends up having his history of Rome book stolen by the emperor, who uses its information to take over the entire world. Rip Hunter and the “Time Turds” arrive to try and fix things, but they walk right into a trap, forcing Rip to join forces with the Legends if he’s going to save his captured agents. The ensuing fight sequence includes an awesome moment where Sara takes out a bunch of Roman centurions by swinging on a chain to leap across multiple shields before kicking her final opponent in the face, showing off why Caity Lotz is such a valuable asset to this series. Every episode should have at least one “Oh shit!” Sara Lance moment, otherwise the show is wasting Lotz’s talent.
The Legends end up saving the day, so Rip Hunter decides to let them keep the Waverider and swashbuckle their way through history because he knows they’re going to find a way to do it with or without his approval. He also thinks they’re the only people that could stop the looming threat on the horizon, a threat that is only a name at this point: Mallus. (Mal means bad in Latin, because subtlety is not a thing this show understands.) This series is back in its usual groove by the end of this episode, but the introduction of the Time Bureau gives the team some new resources as well as a higher power to answer to, which should create some interesting conflict over the course of the season. This show is at its best when its hold on to its sense of humor, and I’ll be happy to watch this team screw things up for the better as long as they can laugh about it later.
- Lily Stein is pregnant, and I have the feeling that the father of her child is going to be someone familiar when we eventually find out who he is.
- Amaya is barely in this episode because she goes back to 1942, but the final scene reveals that she’s gotten a power upgrade since returning to Zambesi. Now she can summon animal spirits to come to her aid without having to get her hands dirty, and she calls forth a herd of elephants to take out poachers that ambush the village.
- Sara’s training at Sink, Shower, and Stuff is what helps her realize the Time Bureau agents have been lured into a trap. You never know when those retail skills will come in handy!
- How long until Sara and Agent Sharpe hook up? I’m giving them five episode max.
- Alan: “If it doesn’t live in a phone, it’s not the future, Ray.” “I’ve actually been to the future. Like three times.”
- “Your salad sucks!” This is a very dumb joke, but dumb, obvious jokes like this are part of this show’s charm.
- “We came, we saw, we kicked Caesar’s ass!”