‘Legends’ 1.02 Recap: “We Don’t Know If That Accent’s Even Real”

As much as I was unimpressed with the premiere episode of TNT’s new spy drama ‘Legends’, I’m also aware that some shows don’t necessarily start off on their best footing and may need a little time to get going. With that in mind, is the show’s second episode a step in the right direction?

Not so far, frankly. If anything, this one’s even more of a mess.

Episode ‘Chemistry’ starts with some fake cops pulling over a car and kidnapping a family. Unbeknownst to his wife and kids, the father (David Meunier from ‘Justified’) is a Russian defector who changed his name and affected an American accent. In his former life, he was a chemist for the Soviet military. Now a group of Chechen mobsters, led by a deranged Russian colonel (is there any other kind in the eyes of Hollywood?), demand that he make them some deadly VX nerve gas. Of course, he initially refuses, and of course they threaten to kill his family.

To rescue the chemist and stop a potentially huge terror incident, Crystal (Ali Larter) and a handsome FBI Redshirt named Troy go undercover as money launderers to make contact with the mobsters. Unfortunately, that plan goes to shit and Troy gets shot full of many bullets. Luckily, Crystal was in the ladies’ room at the time and escapes to safety.

With no other options, and against the better judgment of his FBI superior (Steve Harris from ‘The Practice’) who thinks he’s a loose cannon, our hero Martin (Sean Bean) reactivates an old legend, an arms dealer and so-called “lord of war” (hey, remember that lame Nicolas Cage movie?) named Dante Auerbach.

And that’s it. The episode just ends after Martin gets dressed up, starts behaving like a playboy asshole, and hops into an expensive sports car. Roll credits.

In a side story, an ambitious FBI agent (Morris Chestnut) from another division of the Bureau crosses paths with Martin and becomes convinced that Martin killed the homeless dude from the previous episode. Despite being ordered to stand down, he initiates an investigation into Martin’s life that will probably interfere with his latest undercover operation.

While the episode doesn’t have too much blatant stupidity in it, the main storyline isn’t all that compelling, certainly not enough so to carry over for another week (if not more). In fact, until the credits came up, the episode gave no indication that it would be a two-parter or that the show would try to pull off a serial storyline. The final scene feels like a typical commercial break, until it’s immediately followed by a trailer for the next episode. This non-cliffhanger is anticlimactic and frustrating, and just another sign that the show isn’t as fully baked as it needs to be.

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