When Chronos makes his appearance in Harmony Falls, Oregon, the Waverider quickly takes off leaving Kendra (Ciara Renée), Ray (Brandon Routh), and Sara (Caity Lotz) behind, stranding them in 1958.
I think everyone needed this two week hiatus. Legends of Tomorrow was gaining some momentum before the break but it was inconsistent and unbalanced. Tonight’s episode, “Left Behind” is, dare I say it, the most focused, consistent, and interesting to date.
It’s hard to think of where to start because in previous weeks I have had many problems with this show that all seemed to be addressed this episode. In no particular order, my issues have largely stemmed from the acting, lazy and haphazard storytelling, and overcrowding.
This week easily defines and explains storylines for each character. Kendra (Renée), Ray (Routh), and Sara (Lotz) are left behind as the Waverider takes off while Chronos wreaks havoc onboard. Sara and Ray both respond to the situation very true to their established characters on Arrow. Ray is positive and upbeat, trying to create a time beacon radio to contact the Waverider. Sara is quick to angst, believing the worst. As the weeks drag on Ray gets comfortable in 1958 and Sara becomes antsy. Ray plants and creates a life. Sara runs to Nanda Parbat. Kendra, during their two years in the ‘50s, seems content.
When the ship eventually picks up Kendra and Ray in 1960, Kendra is relieved and Ray is upset. It makes sense. At first I felt really bad for Ray because Kendra seems to so easily drop the two years they had together. But as the episode went on I changed my tune. It’s understandable for Ray to love living a normal life in the ‘50s. He is a simple man with a giant brain. He is easy to please and, if we’re being real, the 1950s were the golden age for straight white men. Kendra doesn’t know who she is because of the reincarnation thing and continuously being pulled into different eras can’t help. When they are stranded in the past, she has to shrink and hide who she is. Not only as a woman of color, but also as Hawkgirl because her powers are dormant.
These three characters’ storylines wrap up together at the end with Kendra battling Sara at Nanda Parbat in a trial by combat. She gains her powers back and Sara, who had become a loyal servant to Ra’s al Ghul, finds her real self once more. Ray and Kendra resolve their relationship woes. Kendra is done with the ‘50s, not with him. DUH, RAY. For a romance that started out in high school land just a few episodes earlier, Legends of Tomorrow manages to turn it around and create a very poignant relationship that is helping to round out these characters.
The acting is on point this week and I am so grateful. It had felt so forced and over the top. It was like no one was really certain who their character was or what they were even doing there. But “Left Behind” is different. Arthur Darvill comes out in full force. As Rip, he’s a convincing leader for the first time since the show started. Jax (Franz Drameh) and Professor Stein (Victor Garber) are barely seen or heard, which is exactly how it should be. Though when they are on screen everything is toned down and polished more than it was before. My favorite acting improvement might have to go to Caity Lotz though, who, for the first time since she appeared on Arrow in 2013, does not act with her lips.
The biggest (expected) shock of the night is the Chronos reveal. Snart (Wentworth Miller), as we all assumed, did not kill Mick (Dominic Purcell) at the end of “Marooned.” Mick instead was stranded and lost his mind. He was on the brink of death when the Time Masters found him. They threw him in a time thing that revived him and then gave him a bounty hunter job which he is now using for vengeance on the team and Snart. This storyline is still strong because it has focus and, of course, having Wentworth Miller in a scene ALWAYS helps. Yet it is slightly problematic only because the reveal feels too soon. I personally didn’t care who Chronos was and never really thought about it and so when he only kidnapped Snart, which the entire cast references approximately 9000 times, the impact of his reveal is lukewarm.
Besides that, though, I thoroughly enjoyed “Left Behind.” It’s the strongest episode that makes a lot of improvements in areas that had been dragging episodes down since the show began. Legends of Tomorrow, in its short existence, has burned me before. However, I’m hopeful that the rest of the season will follow in “Left Behind”’s footsteps.
Rating: 7 out of 10