If there was anything to learn from this episode of Legends of Tomorrow, it’s that the story hasn’t improved over the two episode pilot’s flaws. A pilot can be forgiven for having issues. Supergirl is a prime example of a show finding its ground way after the pilot has aired. But the issue with this particular show is that some of the issues the pilot had are embedded in to the story and unavoidable in the future. Simply put, the show started off big. And now that we’re in to the swing of things, it’s struggling to hold on to the scale of the first two episodes. But the huge cast just doesn’t work on a weekly basis when there’s focus on the characters themselves. It all just becomes convoluted and cluttered together as time goes on.
The best way to describe the show is to compare it to The Avengers films. While the movies themselves leave a lot to be desired in story, they work because each member possess their own film franchises to build them up and give us a sense of where they’re coming from. The Avengers films are just individual characters coming together for an event and playing off of each other during the film’s running time. So if the story is weak, it’s forgivable because it’s more of an event than a storyline to build all of the characters upon. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow doesn’t have that luxury. They have to give eight individual characters (nine if you count Hawkman once he returns) personal storylines and relationships within an hour each week. That makes the characters, and their issues, feel all over the place.
A prime example is the story between Martin Stein and Jax. Their arguing and bickering added nothing to the episode. Sara and Kendra’s storyline together was never resolved as they’re both suffering from similar issues. Their interaction felt more like the blind leading the blind since Sara is still out of control at times herself. Heat Wave is utterly useless as a character, and his only contribute to the team is having a gun that shoots fire while being on the same team as Firestorm. If you look at it that way, he serves no other purpose other than being an unstable friend Snart takes with him because they’re bros. He’s more of a liability than anything else, so God knows why they’re dragging such an unstable person through time. In fact, the best moment he has ever had as character was his warning to Rip Hunter about how the Time Masters were just setting a trap for them in the episode.
Leonard Snart and Ray Palmer stole the episode with their back and forward chemistry as the hardened and intelligent criminal forced to work with a brilliant do-gooder . In fact, they basically dominate the show with how they contrast with one another. Snart demands the attention of the audience every time he’s on screen. He’s easily the most interesting character on the show. Palmer adds another level to him and makes the comparison of how Snart could have turned out if he grew up under different circumstances. The two alone could be the head of their own show together. But with the show trying to develop all of the characters at once, show their growth as a team, resolve their issues carried over from The Flash and Arrow, and add the new elements of the Time Masters coming after them, it’s just too much thrown together to wrap a narrative like Vandal Savage’s connection to events in time around.
What does help the show is the fact that it takes place in certain years for a few episodes. Jumping from year to year every episode would be exhausting. Settling in one location for a few episodes helps to flesh out the storyline better. But some of the decisions made in White Knights were a little difficult to brush off and move on from. The Pentagon scene left a lot to be desired. After mentioning how hard it would be to break in to, it’s hard to buy that they were able to get in and out with such ease. Also, wouldn’t Hawkgirl’s blatant winged appearance on camera cause an issue with time? The botched attempt to break in unnoticed should have some sort of repercussions. And why wasn’t Ray able to use The Atom suit to sneak in again? Both Ray, and the audience, never received a satisfying answer to that.
The pentagon scene should have been the entire focus of the episode. It could have been a setup similar to an Oceans Eleven heist that, with vigorous planning, could have played out pretty entertaining. It could have been a great chance to show how the team is coming together. Instead, the show treated the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, and one of the most high security places in America, like an afterthought. It was there to serve a purpose, and the team was in and out in no time.
In the end, the story suffers from too many characters and story arcs for a one hour show. The original selling point of the show was the fact that it had such a huge cast of characters, but having such a large group of people with their own personal issues while trying to explain the difficult concept of time travel along with the introduction to the world of Time Masters will eventually cause the show to collapse under its own weight. There is such a thing as being too big, and it’s starting to show after four episodes. However, that doesn’t mean that the show is bad. It’s far from it. But considering that Supergirl has grown from being barely watchable, to downright incredible, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is now officially the weakest show in the Arrowverse.