by Thom Yee
1×09: “Left Behind”
It’s been a few weeks since we last saw our heroes, weeks where some of the truly legendary figures of the DC Universe have made their onscreen debuts, and I have to say I’ve enjoyed my time off from this show. It’s not that I had gotten sick of Legends of Tomorrow, but I was certainly growing bored with it. It turns out the time off was good for the show too.
After failing to to stop the immortal Vandal Savage in a B-Movie, horror version of 1958, the team was unexpectedly attacked by Chronos, leaving Ray, Kendra and Sara stranded in the past, and Rip, Cold, Professor Stein and Jax aboard the Waverider under siege and tumbling forward in time. Recovering to find Cold missing, it’s not until 1960 that Rip is able to reunite with Ray and Kendra, now together as a couple and somewhat settled in their 1960s lives, and attempt to rescue Sara who is back with the League of Assassins.
There are a few conceits that you just have to accept for “Left Behind”’s premise to work, chiefly that Rip, Stein and Jax aren’t able to jump back to the point they originally left in 1958, but the sooner you get over that, the better, because this is actually one of the better episodes in the series so far. The place we’d left our characters last episode wasn’t exactly our heroes at their finest, and instead of wasting time developing parts of the story that we might not care much about anyway, here we simply skip right over them. For instance, nobody was buying Ray and Kendra as a couple, so just skipping their development gets us straight to an established relationship, and Brandon Routh actually managed to make me care about the two when he wondered about Kendra’s true feelings for him after seeing how excited she was to get back to their time-hopping adventures and away from their 1960s life.
Of the three left behind, it’s Sara who’s first to give up on their friends, assuming they haven’t come back because they’re dead, and actually that was probably the most logical conclusion given how time travel should work. She’s also the most unsettled of the three in 1958, deciding to return to the League of Assassins (for the first time), and though it’s a bit of a regression for the character, like Ray and Kendra’s relationship, it did allow us to skip over the berserker murder rage problems that most of us didn’t care about and maybe even return to the more fun-loving Sara we met at the series’ outset.
This is also the episode where most of our suspicions were confirmed when we find out that Heatwave, left alive but stranded by Cold, was in fact Chronos this whole time. It wasn’t a surprise, but it is a neat wrinkle in our story to think that it’s been Mick underneath that helmet this whole time. Again, you pretty much just have to accept these things, and what does work in “Left Behind” is seeing how all of their actions in previous episodes have led to this point. Heatwave’s selfish nature led to him betraying our heroes, Cold’s compassion led to him sparing Heatwave and giving birth to their first foe, Hawkman’s death allowed Kendra to grow by choosing a different relationship (and hopefully this means she’s now too far removed from being a barista for her ever to mention that again), and Sara’s inability to control her tendencies led to her becoming a League member decades before her own birth. Maybe that last one doesn’t fit that well, but I assume it’s an interesting addition for Arrow fans.
When we finally have the group together again to confront Heatwave/Chronos (after Sara’s pretty unconvincing and very temporary turn back to the dark side), they all make use of their powers in some interesting ways, and it’s probably the group’s most impressive display of teamwork to date, and it’s a satisfying moment considering how long it’s been since they all brought their full abilities to bear.
“Left Behind” isn’t a great or especially convincing episode, but it fixes some of the shows problems by skipping right past them with a time jump, it brings the various hanging story threads together better than I ever before, and it’s enough to make me hope that the is now back on track after the missteps of the past few episodes.
Thom’s Legends of Tomorrow — “Left Behind” final score
Items of Note
- Hub City! Home of Vic Sage?
- Luckily there was nobody else in that well-kept, mid-day public park to see our heroes’ hovering timeship.
- Kendra: “I couldn’t wait to get back into my super-high-waisted jeans.”
- Heatwave Chronos: “I used to think the most beautiful thing on Earth was fire. Now I know it’s vengeance.”
- And vengeance is a dish best served cold.
- Kind of getting tired of Firestorm’s flight through the fire from his hands. It’s like if Iron Man only used the repulsers in his gauntlets without his boot jets to fly.
- Sara to Ra’s al Ghul: “Oh. One other thing. If one of your kids ever accidentally sets fire to the living room rug… go easy on them.”
- Oh yeah, their son Aldus. I guess it wouldn’t make sense for Kendra to refer to her own son as “Professor Boardman”, but I honestly forgot his first name.