[This is a review of Legends of Tomorrow season 2, episode 16. There will be SPOILERS.]
Unlike season 1 of Legends of Tomorrow, The CW’s ensemble superhero series has slowly built up its main season 2 antagonist over the course of its episodes. Starting off as only an alliance between Eobard Thawne and Damien Darhk, the Legion of Doom has since grown to include Malcolm Merlyn, plus — as of last week’s episode, ‘Fellowship of the Spear‘ — Leonard Snart and Legends turncoat Mick Rory — or Captain Cold and Heat Wave, respectively.
As Legends of Tomorrow has barreled toward the season 2 finale, the team of superheroes collected the pieces of the Spear of Destiny that were scattered all across time and space, finally assembling the powerful relic in ‘Fellowship of the Spear’. However, with Mick seemingly betraying his teammates in favor of his former partner in crime and Captain Cold’s new villainous allies, the Spear fell into the hands of the Legion of Doom. Now, fans get the chance to see what a world ruled by the Legion of Doom looks like as they use the Spear to rewrite history.
In ‘Doomworld’ — written by Ray Utarnachitt and Sarah Hernandez and directed by Mairzee Almas — reality is turned upside down by the Legion’s use of the Spear. With most of the Legends unaware of the changes to their world, saving the day is left up to Mick, who is still struggling to come to terms with being a hero. Meanwhile, the Legion members grow wary of each other as the heroes discover the reason the Spear must be destroyed.
This week’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow jumps directly into the action, and immediately into the world the Legion has created since the villainous team used the Spear in the final moments of ‘Fellowship of the Spear’. The opening sequence features Sara and Amaya chasing a hooded and masked female vigilante in modern day Star City. Though the mystery of the vigilante’s identity was somewhat ruined when Legends of Tomorrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim released concept art of Felicity Smoak as a superhero, the three-way fight sequence between Sara, Amaya, and Felicity kicked off the episode on an exciting note.
Then, Legends of Tomorrow ratcheted up the stakes of ‘Doomworld’ when Sara and Amaya dragged the captured Felicity back to their boss, and mayor of Star City, Damien Darhk — who ordered the vigilante killed, and watched as Sara carried out the order. It’s a brutal beginning to a Legends of Tomorrow episode, to see one of the most beloved characters in The CW’s Arrowverse killed off in a quick, almost throwaway fashion, and it sets the stage for the entire episode. This bleak tone in carried through the rest of the scene as Damien adds Felicity’s discarded mask to a trophy case displaying vigilante headgear of those he’s taken down – including The Flash.
As for the Legends’ roles in the Legion of Doom’s alternate reality, the episode doesn’t linger too long on their lives in the darkest timeline. Essentially, ‘Doomworld’ briefly introduces the new normal for each of the Legends before they — all too conveniently — start to get their memories back. The heroes are able to do so because Nate figures out there’s something wrong with their current reality, that someone operated on it and left scars only he can see. It provides nice symmetry to the season premiere, when Nate was the person to round up the Legends after being time-scattered, but Ray having subconsciously built a memory-restoring gun is a little too convenient. Of course, Ray and Nate wouldn’t have been able to team up and get the Legends back together without the help of their old, turncoat friend Mick Rory.
Mick Rory, Hero – Leonard Snart, Villain
After Leonard Snart’s season 1 character arc concluded with the former criminal sacrificing himself for his teammates, cementing his status as a hero, Mick has struggled to come to terms with whether he’s a hero or a villain. Throughout much of the season, Mick has grown increasingly more heroic in his actions, but still rebelled against the idea of being a hero since he saw it as a betrayal of his partnership with Snart. In last week’s episode, Snart used Mick’s loyalty to his former partner to drive a wedge between Mick and the Legends. As a result, Mick ended up siding with the Legion — but their Doomworld isn’t everything he hoped it would be.
In Doomworld, Mick is particularly disconcerted when his and Snart’s attempts to return to their old dynamic of robbing banks and working together doesn’t quite feel the same. Though it appears at first that Mick is simply bored by the lack of difficulty in robbing a bank without anything at stake, it becomes clear that Mick has outgrown his criminal tendencies, and now leans much more toward heroics. This particular arc concludes with a parallel situation from the previous episode, wherein Mick must choose to give the Spear to either Snart or Amaya — but this time he chooses Amaya.
Of course, the decision is made moot when Snart freezes Amaya, killing her, and Reverse-Flash winds up destroying the Spear anyway. Amaya’s death, especially at the hands of Snart, offers a compellingly ironic parallel to season 1 since he died as a hero in the penultimate episode, only to return and kill a member of the Legends in this season’s penultimate chapter. But, Mick’s character arc in season 2 has been underdeveloped at best, often relegated to the secondary story of an episode, when it’s included at all. Now that ‘Doomworld’ confirms he’s the only reason the Legends had a chance to defeat the Legion after they rewrote reality, it only further affirms Mick’s backslide into villainy was included as a backdoor out of Doomworld. However, he still didn’t entirely save the day…
Stuck in Doomworld having just lost a core member of their team, and Reverse-Flash decidedly winning the day since he destroyed the Spear of Destiny, the Legends are at their lowest point of season 2 heading into the season finale, ‘Aruba’. Of course, since Legends of Tomorrow is a time travel show, they have the ability to rewrite history in their own way – provided they locate Rip Hunter and the Waverider, though that should prove easier now that he’s abandoned baking in favor of doing his part to find the others. To fix reality – and potentially bring Amaya back from the dead – the Legends resolve to go back to World War I and risk time folding in on itself in order to prevent ‘Doomworld’ from happening at all, though they’ll also face off against their past selves.
For the most part, ‘Doomworld’ is a much darker chapter for Legends of Tomorrow, but one that provides compelling symmetry to previous episodes of the show. And, perhaps most importantly, ‘Doomworld’ sets the stage for an exciting and compelling season finale in ‘Aruba’ as the Legends are tasked with fixing all that the Legion of Doom changed in their reality.
Legends of Tomorrow season 2 concludes Tuesday, April 4 with ‘Aruba’ at 8pm on The CW.