Legends of Tomorrow: “Fail-Safe” Season 1 Episode 5 Review

Photo Credit:http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2016/02/promo-images-for-dcs-legends-of-tomorrow-season-1-episode-5-fail-safe.html

Legends of Tomorrow has nailed cliffhangers in its infancy. “Fail-Safe” has a legitimately thrilling episode-long conclusion to last week’s episode, but it’s not over there. Knocked off course in the not-so-distant future, where some of the other DC pals can pop up as older versions of themselves, I’m frankly way more excited for next week’s episode than this one.

That’s not to say “Fail-Safe” was bad by any means, but it did tread very closely along the formula that has worked thus far for Legends of Tomorrow. Various character pairings get themselves in sticky situations that lead to the whole team coming together for a final shebang. It works, especially when you realize just how well this cast works together. But I am nonetheless pleased that next week’s episode will be a little different.

Continuing from “White Knights,” this episode had Stein, Ray, and Heat Wave in an Soviet prison that nightmares are made out of. Meanwhile, Rip, Sara, and Snart devise a plan to get them out, leaving Kendra and Jax to the wayside because they’re “too valuable” in the fight against Savage.

The opening fight scene in the sauna where Rip confronts the Russian mafia boss was easily the best of the episode. With Snart teasing him in the background with his syrupy voice and White Canary kicking ass as usual in the other room, Legends of Tomorrow continues to excel best when its putting action on the screen with relatively low stakes. “I took out six guys and you two couldn’t even handle one?” Sara quips to Rip and Snart. The line is corny and predictable, but the whole tone is as well, and Caity Lotz’ perfect delivery had me actually laugh out loud.

Moving to more serious matters, Rip informs Sara of the dark future where the Soviet Union perfects the Firestorm formula. He tells her that, if worst comes to worst, she’ll have to kill Stein to prevent this dark future. But then, there was the very odd choice to have Captain Cold as the voice of reason imploring her not to kill the good doctor. Legends has given us some of the best Snart material in this universe, but this did not feel earned. The arc itself is a great idea, having Sara fighting her killer instinct, but Snart was a weird choice to play straight man in it.

But as the plan is executed and things naturally go awry, it’s Jax’s turn to take the spotlight. As the other half of Firestorm, and the one without the brains, when fire isn’t emitting from his hands, Jax has been pretty useless thus far. But after Stein is forced into a new Firestorm pairing, it’s Jax’s strength and ability to learn that saves him and the future. Does this bring Jax up to speed with the rest of the cast? Not yet, but he’s on his way.

So with the level of pure superhero fun still present in this darker entry, Legends of Tomorrow continues to deliver. A couple strong character arcs helped pave the way as well. With a fully formed team increasing in power, now’s a great time to throw some curveballs at them, which is just what the show looks to be doing next week. Grade: B+

Some Other Notes:

  • I’ve got to admit, it’s hard not to love the all-American Ray Palmer, who pulls the classic “laughing through torture” this week like a true American hero. He’s this show’s Steve Rogers and that’s just fine. Even better? He and Heat Wave, who acts like a 1940s comic book villain, sort of bond over their mutual old-fashioned ways. This show knows how to pair characters better than any other campy, pulpy ensemble I can think of.
  • Hawkgirl did next to nothing this week, which is, unfortunately, how I like it. A lot of lost potential here so far…
  • Smoak Industries? Some other new hooded vigilante? Just what has become of Star City in 2046?! The preview for next week’s episode showed a new Deathstroke too, but what it didn’t show was Oliver Queen with the classic facial hair. It’s going to be a long week.

By Matt Dougherty

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