The new season of ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ finally acknowledges something that nobody wanted to admit until now. This team of heroes are really a bunch of incompetent nincompoops.
Remember the kind-of fun cliffhanger that last season ended on, where the Waverider crashed into present-day Los Angeles and found the city overrun with dinosaurs? The new premiere wastes no time writing that out. Within about 30 seconds, Rip Hunter (suddenly sporting a buzz cut) appears along with a team of agents in business suits, opening portals to usher the dinosaurs back to their original time periods and wiping all the spectators’ memories, ‘Men in Black’-style.
Rip explains that, although he had just left the team and handed the reins of leadership over to Sara moments ago from her perspective, he’s actually been gone for five years, during which he established a new agency called the Time Bureau to take over for the now-defunct Time Masters. Their job is to clean up anachronisms that result from people (like the Legends) messing around with time travel.
Oh yeah, Rip has also pretty much turned into a major a’hole. The power of his position has gone to his head, and he’s utterly dismissive of his former friends. Disregarding all the adventures they had together (not to mention the fact that he spent a good chunk of last season brainwashed and evil until they saved him), the first thing he does is tell the team that their services are no longer required and they’re relieved of duty.
Cut to six months later. Sara is stuck working retail in a store hilariously called “Sink Shower & Stuff.” Genius inventor Ray’s business went under and he’s been reduced to coding a dating app for a Silicon Valley startup run by an idiot douchebag. Nate joined forces with Wally West to fight crime in Central City and seems to be having a good time, but Amaya broke up with him and returned to 1942 (even though, the last we saw her, she explicitly decided not to do that). Prof. Stein has settled into retirement with a grandchild on the way. Jax went back to school but thirsts for adventure.
Mick, presumably living off stolen cash, is chilling on a beach in Aruba when, from out of nowhere, none other than Julius Caesar rides up on a horse. (Remarkably, the fact that this ancient Roman conveniently somehow speaks perfect English is addressed later in the episode. The answer is stupid, but someone at least recognized the problem.) They get into a fight and Mick subdues Caesar, then calls Sara to ask what to do.
Sara gathers up Ray and Nate and brings them to the Time Bureau headquarters, hoping to convince Rip to let them join the team and go on time travel adventures again. Rip isn’t having any of it. Everyone at the Time Bureau, especially second-in-command Agent Sharpe (Jes Macallan), consider the Legends to be losers and openly mock them.
Not really believing Sara, Rip sends some of his agents to look into the Caesar situation. Unfortunately, Caesar loses them in the middle of a Spring Break toga party, leaving Rip to assume that Mick is simply an idiot and confused a frat boy in a robe for a genuine historical figure.
Asked to leave the building, Sara and the others steal the Waverider (currently being used as a training simulator), fetch Stein and Jax, and head to Aruba to prove that they’ve still got what it takes to be time-travel heroes. In short order, Sara, wearing a bikini top and shorts, fights Caesar on the beach, kicks his ass, then scoops him up and returns him to ancient Gaul. Stupidly, Nate lets him swipe a history book, which allows Caesar to avoid his assassination and conquer the entire world. Before they realize what happened, the United States is gone and is now known as Magna Hesperia. Whoops.
Before Sara has a chance to formulate a plan to fix this mess, a very pissy Rip Hunter arrives with a Time Bureau squad to clean it up. Agents storm in to remove all anachronisms and wipe Caesar’s memory, but Caesar has set a trap for them and kidnaps Agent Sharpe. Realizing that his own people are inadequate at field work and the Legends are better suited to brawny action stuff, Rip allows Sara to lead the team into a very silly battle wherein the Legends fight a bunch of cosplayers in a field and miraculously save history once again. Rip lets them keep the ship, mentioning something cryptic about how they may prove useful against a threat that’s coming down the road.
Lest we assume she’s been written off the show, Amaya turns up in 1942, using her animal powers to protect her village of Zambesi from bandits or something.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, it’s also hinted that Sara may not be a lesbian anymore. I’m not sure why that’s important, and it seems potentially offensive.
Even by ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ standards, this episode is pretty goofy. At least the show is aware of this and does it deliberately. For a season premiere, the plot stakes are pretty low and it seems like the writers just want to have some lighthearted fun this year. I could be on board with that, even if I’m not really in love with the Time Bureau storyline or with Rip now being a total prick.
I do not expect to recap this show very often this season, but I’ll continue to watch and may check in again at the end.