Recap: The LEGENDS OF TOMORROW Meet the Justice Society. And They’re Jerks.

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Episodes 202 “The Justice Society of America”
Teleplay by Mar Klemmer
Story by Greg Berlanti & Chris Fedak
Directed by Dermott Downs

You know that old trope that gives us a hero that’s not actually the hero you expect? Yeah, they went there with this one. And it played out pretty much exactly how you’d expect.

Oh, and the Justice Society is made up of jerks. I didn’t like ’em.

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Still in 1942, the team has been captured by the heroes of the day: the Justice Society of America! At first, this seems like a pretty cool thing, because who doesn’t like the JSA, right? Legends, heroes all.

So it’s a little awkward when they lock up the time travelers.

Wow. This is heavy. (Katie Yu/The CW)
Wow. This is heavy. (Katie Yu/The CW)

It’s a little difficult for Nate Heywood (Nick Zano), who’s the grandson of Commander Steel (Matthew MacCaull). He even has Grandpa’s dog tags to prove they’re related. And it’s a little difficult for Steel, who’s faced with the notion that he’s dead at some point in the future. And all this hero worship from Ray (Brandon Routh) is a little off-putting, as is Rex Tyler (Patrick J. Adams) denying that he knows any of them, despite their knowledge of his involvement in the JSA.

On the flip side, though, Tyler’s automatic assumption that Professor Stein (Victor Garber) is the leader of the group, mainly because he’s the oldest one, is super-off-putting to Sara (Caity Lotz), who also takes it personally because it only confirms that the “good old days” were perfectly fine for old white dudes, something Jefferson (Franz Drameh) observes in the night club full of Nazis.

That night club full of Nazis is where the Legends cross paths for a second time in 1942, because they figure out they have to go back because the JSA suddenly is all dead. So they go back to save their heroes, who aren’t really very nice people. The JSA is constantly belittling the Time Team, critical of their lack of training and discipline. Honestly, it’s the most ignoble jerkiest jerkface JSA I’ve ever come across.

Date: November 5, 1955... oh, wait. (Katie Yu/The CW)
Date: November 5, 1955… oh, wait. (Katie Yu/The CW)

Even after the two team up to prevent whatever time aberration Gideon (voiced by Amy Pemberton) has detected, they’re still majors and minors. Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and Ray go after Baron Krieger (Andre Eriksen), who’s been dealing with Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher) to get a super-soldier serum. Having only the one dose, and being chased by the JSA, of course he injects himself and becomes The Hulk Captain Nazi.

Remember when I said this show needs to fully embrace the goofballery? Well, they have, because in this episode:

  • Ray punches a Nazi
  • Martin impersonates a famous singer and performs “Edelweiss”
  • the JSA does everything with comic military precision and decorum
  • SuperNazi! And the CGI on him is super-cheesy.
  • Reverse-Flash is messing around with the timeline, something he told Barry was Bad

Honestly, how can Legends of Tomorrow be in the same continuity as Arrow and The Flash at this point? We just went through how many episodes over two seasons of The Flash with Barry learning that if he ties his shoelaces wrong in the past, the whole universe is changed. So how can this show have Thawne mucking about with the timeline after Barry got all the warnings and I-told-you-so moments from Eobard Thawne, no less.

"I'll just go back early and warn him. Ten minutes ought to do it." (Katie Yu/The CW)
“I’ll just go back early and warn him. Ten minutes ought to do it.” (Katie Yu/The CW)

Most egregious: Thawne killing Tyler at the JSA headquarters, changing the timeline to the point where Future Rex Tyler disappears in the middle of warning the LOT not to go to 1942. So… Rex Tyler gets killed before he can travel through time to warn future heroes not to go back in time, but since he warned them, they go back in time and he ends up getting killed before he can travel through time to warn… and the Time Team remembers meeting Rex, even though he died before he could travel through time to warn… oh, I give up.

See? Goofballery.

Oh, yeah. The Nazis capture Ray and Vixen, Ray gets forced to work on the super-soldier serum, which he does but only to enhance himself after Vixen insults him with “Big man in a suit of armor. Take that off, what are you?” Really. How long are we going to get a Ray Palmer fighting his own sense of inadequacy? First, he’s not even supposed to be Ray Palmer, but if you’re going to put The Atom in show, why not … you know… actually put The Atom in the show? Ray Palmer isn’t some flighty girly-man with self-confidence issues. He’s a brilliant multi-degreed physicist, professor at a university, and he just happens to be brilliant enough to invent a suit that lets him shrink to sub-atomic levels.

Where’s that guy?

Of course, Ray’s still the humble selfless hero who saves the day when he uses the modified formula to save Nate Heywood, who got injured in the artillery fire called in by the JSA. So now, we get the modern Steel’s origin (no, not John Henry Irons, although that would be cool if Shaq showed up…).

"Marty, don't be such a square." (Katie Yu/The CW)
“Marty, don’t be such a square.” (Katie Yu/The CW)

And yes, let’s put Sara in charge of the team after being insulted that Martin is “in charge” until he figures out that his brilliance (played up for Handwavium Arrogance Levels this week) isn’t enough to lead. He needs practical tactical experience, which Sara has. Sara Lance, the assassin who last week was frolicking with Queen Anne instead of fighting bad guys because it was a funny bit.

OK. Handwavium goofballery. Not quite on the same level as Gotham

but getting there.

 

Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8/7c on the CW.

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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