Spoilers ahead for “Outlaw Country,” the latest episode of The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow!
The short version: The gang picks up an anomaly in 1874, which leads them right back to their old pal Jonah Hex. An opportunistic businessman is mining dwarf star, and takes over half the country in the future. The team goes full-on wild, wild west to stop him.
The good: Jonah Hex, Sara, cowboy nerds
The big selling point for “Outlaw Country” was the return of Jonah Hex, a classic DC character who was introduced last season. Though this obviously would have been a good story to have Rip Hunter around for (he and Hex go way back), his absence opened the door for Jonah to spend some one on one time with Sara — which was actually pretty great. Being a cowboy, Jonah doesn’t have the greatest respect for women in leadership roles. That doesn’t sit well with Sara, who handles it coolly and pretty much schools him at every turn. Jonah is as skeptical as most fans were when she was appointed captain, but she’s done an amazing job running the Legends. That evolution continued this week, and after putting a plan together to save history and stop Turnbull, she begrudgingly earns his respect.
This episode also filled in some gaps from Hex’s appearance last season, and the mysterious secret he shared with Rip from their previous encounter. Turns out Turnbull was the one who killed everyone in Calvary (expect for Jonah). Turnbull was behind it all, and is the reason Jonah’s face is scarred. Again, this could have been a great story for Rip to face him, too, but having him MIA allowed Jonah to take more of that spotlight. Which was fine, because he’s pretty great.
This show will never cease to be fun, and the wild west jaunt delivered in spades. Ray and Nate are practically giddy about getting to go kick around with the cowboys, and Ray’s nerd-bragging about their last adventure was absolutely priceless. These guys are having a blast being superheroes, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it.
The bad: The ‘Judas Bullet,’ Stein’s visions
This episode also found Nate with a much better grasp of his powers, seemingly able to turn them on and off at will (which comes in handy when bullets start flying). But, the episode lifted a trope that was on full display in Marvel’s Luke Cage earlier this year (yes, these things certainly could have happened in parallel, but still), with the man with unbreakable skin taking a shot from a super bullet that can somehow pierce his skin. In Luke Cage, it was the Judas Bullet, made from alien tech. In Legends, it’s the dwarf star bullet, which has pretty much the same effect. This little side story was fine, but it felt rushed (i.e. Nate goes from 51 percent chance to live, to stopping a train, in a matter of hours), and all I could think was how Luke Cage did it a whole lot better.
Dr. Stein spent most of the episode largely sidelined, as he tries to figure out why he’s having these bizarre visions of a young woman. It’s fairly obvious these are memories caused by some type of change to his timeline from his encounter with his younger self last episode, though it takes Jax to the end of the episode to point this out to Stein. They leave it as a mystery (is this a new wife? A mistress?), though the best guess is that it’s an adult daughter Stein didn’t have in the original timeline. Right? If he conceived a daughter not long after the 1980’s encounter where he interacted with his younger self, a potential daughter would be in her 30’s (about the age the mystery woman seems to be). What’s your theory here?
Other notes: It’s not an episode of Legends without a bar fight. This one certainly delivered. THe burgeoning friendship between Rory and Vixen is an interesting angle, and though it’s certainly on the nose (Contain the animal, Rory!), it could be interesting to see what type of advice and mentorship she could provide.
Lingering questions: Ray’s totally making a new suit, Future Barry’s message
Boy, how convenient that Turnbull is mining dwarf star ore? You know, the stuff Ray used to make his super-suit (which he conveniently lost a few weeks ago). It’s been a solid story the past few weeks forcing Ray to figure out who he is without the suit, but you knew he’d get a new one eventually (it’s not the Atom without an Atom suit!). It’s a little too convenient that their random mission leads them to find this insanely rare ore just a few weeks after his suit is destroyed, but hey, this show has never claimed to be all that smart. So, look for Atom 2.0 coming just in time for the epic “Invasion!” crossover with all The CW’s other DC shows.
It seems the mysterious message Stein and Jax heard from Future Barry Allen will be a major plot point this season, if only because they have beat us over the head telling us how important it was (without actually revealing what it is). This mystery becomes more and more annoying by the week. It’s high time viewers get an inkling at what they heard, because if they keeps stringing it out, no reveal will be worth the time and energy it’s taken to keep it secret.
Up next: As Sara notes, their friends in 2016 need their help! Get read for the alien invasion, y’all.