Spoilers ahead for “Progeny,” the latest episode of The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow!
The short version: The Legends head to 2147 on some half-cocked mission that really doesn’t make much sense, and Rip almost murders a pre-teen. Even though it won’t really make a difference, apparently? Oh! But we do get a faceoff between Snart and Rory, who express their feelings by beating the snot out of one another.
This mission really didn’t make a whole lot of sense
This show has been hit and miss for most of its first season. When it works, it’s ridiculously fun and awesome. When it doesn’t? Well, you pretty much get episodes like this one. The Legends head to 2147, because it’s approximately 20 years before Vandal Savage's rise to power. It’s never clearly explained what their mission is, and the gang never really tries to go after Savage. Instead, they decide to kill or kidnap the future dictator (and Vandal’s apprentice), who will facilitate his eventual takeover of the Earth. Okaaaay?
Despite the mega-security in this Big Brother city, the kidnapping goes off way too easily. But, once they yank the kid (whose name is based on an old DC baddie, but is just too silly to utter aloud) out of the time stream, they realize via Gideon that it really didn’t make much of a difference. So then, Rip takes the kid off into the woods to kill him (which would affect the timeline more than displacing the kid in another time? Why?). Apparently. But Rip decides not to do it, and gives a heart-to-heart to the kid, encouraging him to break free of Savage’s influence and be a good man. It (obviously) falls on the deaf ears of this brainwashed kid, and actually ushers in the apocalypse five years sooner, because Rip’s attack only acts to galvanize his love for Savage. Seriously, Rip. You guys have had some botched missions before, but this was just pathetic. Things would literally be better had you never gone on this mission. Ouch.
So...Rip’s mission was to kill this kid?
Yeah, pretty much. It’s the classic philosophical question: Would you kill Baby Hitler if given the opportunity? Snart is all in for the infanticide (OK, the kid is admittedly not a baby, but you get the point) mission, and they really do flirt with an interesting story. But, it’s not tackled all that tactfully, and instead comes off weirdly dark and kind of icky. We’ve seen Rip almost kill members of his own team to keep them from giving up intel, so are we really supposed to believe he’d draw the line at killing this kid? Obviously, it’s a tough sell for your hero to gun down a kid in cold blood, but the whole story just felt really strange. Why try to tell this story at all, in this way?
Unlike this kid storyline, the future is actually really interesting
The world of 2147 was easily the most interesting thing in this episode, and it was extremely well realized. Awesome effects, and a great look. We only get the broad strokes, but it seems the only viable societies left are owned and managed by major corporations, which pretty much run the world at this point (some shades of Continuum there). They create a short-lived utopia (so long as you live within the walls, and can avoid making the robot police mad, of course), which is eventually destroyed by Savage.
We also meet Ray Palmer’s future descendant, played by geeky fan favorite Jewel Staite (Firefly, Stargate Atlantis). She doesn’t get much to do, sadly, but it’s always great to see her back on the small screen. So, this goes in the plus column.
It turns out Ray’s technology is what’s powering the robot police, a point he is none too happy about. This leads Ray on a wild goose chase thinking he might have a kid accidentally left behind in 2016 (who eventually carries on his legacy), but it turns out future Felicity eventually employed Ray’s brother (who is apparently a huge tool), who takes credit for Ray’s tech and helps build the robo-police. It was a strange, but funny, twist.
Hawkman’s gotta be coming back, right?
Considering the A-story focused on the team potentially killing a kid, children played a major thematic (and somewhat clunky) role in “Progeny.” Ray thinks he has a kid (but doesn’t), while Hawkgirl starts having flashbacks and memories to her life in the 1920s with Hawkman, when they had their son Aldus (who we met as an adult in the pilot). After his absence all this time, it’s great to see Casper Crump’s Carter back in action. Considering that fact that these two are reincarnated over and over, you know there’s another version of him out there kicking around.
Which brings us to the elephant in the room: Hawkgirl and Palmer’s relationship continues to be a weak spot. Even though they apparently fell in love and lived together for two years while stranded in the past, Hawkgirl still seems very hot and cold with Ray. Which makes sense — she’s spent thousands of years with Hawkman! — but it makes you wonder why Ray/Hawkgirl had to be a story in the first place? There’s just not a lot of chemistry there, and it feels tacked on. Look up "Doomed Romance" in the dictionary, and the above photo will be there. Plus, Ray’s totally breaking the Bro Code. Just sayin'.
Rory’s back (apparently)!
They set up Rory’s potential rehabilitation last week like it would be some long-running story, though this episode ended with the one-time bounty hunter out of his cell and addressing the crew. The big Chronos twist has been an interesting way to reintroduce Rory to the mix, sure, but it still feels rushed. Though, one positive: His slugfest with Snart just felt right for these characters. They might beat the crap out of one another, but they’re still friends in the end. How else would you expect Heat Wave and Captain Cold to deal with their feelings?
Line of the night: “Great! We've gone from Infanticide to child abduction. Progress.” - Ray Palmer
Funny stuff: Ray going by “Dr. Hannibal Lecter.” Dude can seriously not think on his feet. Sarah’s realization that Gideon can monitor their dreams. Nice callback to her nurse friend. Also, did anyone else notice Vandal Savage left out some critical details when he told Kid Hitler the story of Oedipus?
Up next: Unstoppable time bounty hunters are apparently coming for the Legends! But first, they stop off in the Wild West to catch up with Jonah Hex!