Thursday, 9 March 2017

Review - 'Legends of Tomorrow', S02E13 - 'Land of the Lost'

With the last episode of Legends of Tomorrow coming to an end with Rip Hunter back on the Waverider, I do have to admit that it struck me as a little strange that no one seemed to seriously consider the possibility that the ship's former captain might have some way of turning its formidable AI, Gideon, against them. Sure, Sarah may have given the order the order for Gideon to not communicate with Rip, in any way – but, the previous episode's final moment made it blatantly clear where things were headed.

So, coming into the season's fifteenth episode, it hardly counted as any sort of surprise when Rip turned out to have access to an override command that forced Gideon to obey his orders, as he made his inevitable escape attempt. Of course, we were never really meant to be surprised by this sudden development – so, it was mostly just an impressively staged sequence which, once more, shows exactly how effective a villain this mind-altered version of Rip Hunter truly is.

His escape attempt may have ended in failure – but, thanks to his efforts, the team found themselves temporarily stranded in the Cretaceous period while, even worse, the compass which they had hoped would guide them to the final piece of the Spear of Destiny was destroyed.

So, now, the Legends find themselves confronted by two equally difficult challenges. First, they will need to head out into the dangerous wilderness of the Cretaceous Period, with its population of carnivorous predators, in order to recover a missing piece of the Waverider. Also, they will need to, somewhat, convince Rip to share his knowledge of the current location of the last piece of the spear, so that the Legends can recover it before the Legion of Doom.

Fortunately, while the first challenge leaves them with little other alternative but to send some of their team out into the dinosaur filled wilderness and hope for the best, Mick Rory happens to know of a particularly useful bit of Time Master technology that may allow the remainder of the team to get the information they need out of Rip.

While it might, initially, seem a little disappointing that Ray, Nate, and Amaya's adventures in the Cretaceous Period doesn't really amount to much (with it clearly taking the place of the episode's b-plot), there is still plenty of fun to be had in these brief scenes. It was definitely entertaining, for example, to finally get a little more insight into what actually happened to Ray during his six months stranded in this very same time and place, back at the beginning of the season. With the trio soon making their way to the camp which Ray once called home, the episode is able to provide some entertaining insights into how he managed to survive and, most importantly, keep his sanity (the reveal that he had made small dolls of his team-mates, in an effort to stave off the effects of intense loneliness, was definitely something which manage to strike a good balance between being funny, kind of cute, and still a little depressing). The true high-light of this entire sub-plot, though, would have to be the relatively quiet moment at the very end, in which Amaya is given the opportunity to fully display her own unique powers in order to pacify a rampaging T-Rex. Honestly, it was as impressive a moment as it sounds.

Of course, while all of this was taking place, we also had the much more important plot-line taking place on the Waverider – as Mick's revelation provides the rest of the team with access to technology that will allow them to, quite literally, enter Rip's mind. The idea of exploring a literal representation of a character's sub-conscious is something that has been surprisingly common in science fiction and fantasy, of course – and, this episode provides another fun example of this wonderfully strange premise.

Here, for example, we learn that it was Rip's impressions of his former crew, more than anything else, that had been altered by Eobard Thawne – as Sara and Jax soon find themselves pursued by villainous doubles of both themselves, and the rest of the Legends.

Although the special effects work that went into creating the evil version of Firestorm that we saw in Rip's mind didn't quite hold up to scrutiny, the two separate action sequences featuring Sara taking on her own evil double were definitely high-lights for the episode. It was, admittedly, a little disappointing that we saw so little of the rest of the crew, by comparison, though (although, the idea that 'evil' Mick Rory would be virtually identical to the real Mick Rory did provide some humour). It was especially interesting to see Gideon given a physical form in Rip's sub-conscious, as Amy Pemberton is given the opportunity to actually appear on-screen, after providing Gideon's voice for so long. The idea that she would be Rip's only true ally, as he found himself trapped in his own sub-conscious, definitely felt appropriate.

So, in the end, the season's thirteenth episode was definitely an entertaining one, overall. The quest to, essentially, save the real Rip from his own altered sub-conscious provided some great moments – while, at the same time, there was a lot to enjoy about the brief trip into the Cretaceous Period. My only real issues with the episode are actually relatively minor ones, overall. For one thing, I'm still not entirely sold on the idea of a romantic relationship between Nate and Amaya, even if Ray did point out the potentially interesting dilemma concerning Amaya's already firmly established place in history. Also, now that Rip Hunter has been restored to his former self, I have to admit to some concern about what his role is going to be for the rest of the season.

Rip had made for such an entertaining, and surprisingly effective, villain that I'm actually a little disappointed to see it come to an end so soon. But, I suppose, I just have to try to have some faith in the writer's ability to find another interesting way to use the character.

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