Friday, 22 April 2016

Review - 'Legends of Tomorrow', S01E12 - 'Last Refuge'

With the previous episode of Legends of Tomorrow, we saw the 'legends' momentarily driven into hiding by a team of bounty hunters sent after them by the Time Masters. While the odd little 'Wild West' adventure that resulted from this had been genuinely entertaining, it had ultimately been something of a shame to see the team of time travelling bounty hunters, themselves, turn out to be so underwhelming when they finally made their appearance at the end of the episode. In the end, it had simply been a disappointing ending to an otherwise pretty great episode – but, despite this, the episode did still manage to end with the introduction of an intriguing new threat who would, hopefully, provide a more formidable challenge.

The Pilgrim, as she is called for reasons that are never really explained, is the Time Master's most formidable assassin – the sort of person whose very name is capable of inspiring fear in anything who has heard of her. Rip Hunter certainly seems to be nervous, at least – and, even Mick Rory (whose time as Chronos has left him with an impressive amount of new knowledge) seems a little uncomfortable with the prospect that she is after them.

The Pilgrim's preferred method isn't to go after her targets directly, though. Instead, she prefers to target their younger selves – picking a time and place where they are vulnerable, and removing them from the time stream, entirely. So, obviously, running and hiding simply isn't an option, this time – as, instead, the 'legends' find themselves caught up in a desperate race to get to their younger selves before The Pilgrim does.

While, much like with the bounty hunters of the previous episode, The Pilgrim (played by Faye Kingslee) ultimately proved to be a somewhat underwhelming villain, she still represented a significant enough threat to the team to give this episode a feeling of genuine urgency. It's just unfortunate that Faye Kingslee's efforts to play The Pilgrim as a cold and emotionless killer fell a bit short – leaving her with the general demeanour of someone unable to work up any enthusiasm for a tedious job.

While the rules of time travel on both this show, and The Flash, continue to be a source of confusion for me, the basic premise of this episode was, at least, put to good use – providing both great moments of action, and compelling moments of character drama. While The Pilgrim may have made for a somewhat bland villain she was, at least, allowed to pose a significant physical threat for the team. Not only was she allowed to be a match for Sara in a direct confrontation, but her ability to manipulate time made her formidable even to the super-powered members of the team.

As with many previous episodes, though, it was the moments of character drama provided by this episode that proved to be its strongest element. Jax had the opportunity to finally meet the father he had never known – with Franz Dramah having one of his best moments on the show as Jax struggled to deal with the conflicting emotions that this evoked in him. Sara Lance had an encounter with both her younger self, and her father (with Paul Blackthorne able to join the ranks of those who have put in cameo appearances). Rip was finally given the opportunity to reveal some more details of his own past – with both his adopted mother, Mary Xavier (Celie Imrie), and his own younger self, putting in an appearance.

Most interesting, though, is the way in which Mick Rory interacts with his own younger self – displaying a surprising contempt for the boy, at first, before ultimately relenting and attempting to offer some much needed advice. Mick Rory's sudden, and surprising, transition from comic-relief into a much more complex individual will probably have to go down as one of the show's most successful character-arcs – and, here, we get a detailed look at where, exactly, Mick is now from two different angles. It's genuinely fascinating – and, is another clear high-light for Dominic Purcell.

Unfortunately, though, Ray and Kendra's relationship drama still isn't all that interesting, to me – though, to be fair, there is at least a definite effort to keep things moving forward. While, in terms of the amount of screen-time devoted to their relationship, it might feel a bit sudden to have them already discussing the prospect of marriage, it is important to remember the context that their relationship has been placed in. They do, after all, have the two years that they spent together in the 1950s – so, if anything, their relationship has actually progressed very slowly. The problem, though, is that Brandon Routh and Ciara Renee really aren't anymore convincing as a long-term couple than they were as a couple newly in love.

I had hoped that the new context for their relationship provided by the two extra years they have spent together may have improved things – but, that just doesn't seem to have been the case, unfortunately. Kendra and Ray's relationship remains an unconvincing one that only serves to take up screen-time which could be better spent elsewhere.

In the end, the twelfth episode of Legends of Tomorrow featured an entertaining premise let down by another somewhat underwhelming villain – though, the drama that came exploring the pasts of various characters in such a direct manner more than made up for that. More importantly, though, the final moments of this episode manage to leave a lingering sense of tension which should, hopefully, make things more interesting as the 'legends' turn their attention back to their mission to stop Vandal Savage.

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