Legends of Tomorrow: Abominations
November 3, 2016 7:46 PM - Season 2, Episode 4 - Subscribe

The Legends discover a time aberration in 1863 and must fight for survival during the Civil War against Confederate soldiers who have been turned into zombies.

*Future Barry's secret message to Rip is about a war coming.
*The Legends respond to a distress call from a crashed Time Pirate, but a space-virus has turned him into a zombie and the infection has spread to the Confederate soldiers. Jackson and Amaya take on the mission of the slain dispatch to steal troop movement plans from the plantation house, while Nate & Sara go to warn Grant about the zombies.
*Rory gets zombified, but Ray invents a cure, and Stein must overcome his zombiephobia to administer the dose via fire extinguisher.
*Rory decides to give Ray Snart's freeze-ray.
posted by oh yeah! (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rory decides to give Ray Snart's freeze-ray.

Who is Ray Snart? Oh, right...
posted by Servo5678 at 5:38 AM on November 4, 2016

I actually got a little choked up by Rory passing the cold-torch to Ray - though the thought of the pissy reaction of whatever alternate-universe/timeline Snart we're getting will be when he sees Ray with _his_ gun is something to look forward to. But I'll always be sad we lost that particular Snart.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:02 AM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

This was a pretty jarring episode for me. Like, I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

On the one hand, we had the comedy zombie plot, which mostly worked. The highlights there included:

- Stein's bit about, "Please don't be dead... but if you are dead, please stay that way!"
- Mick getting cured right before eating Stein and being all, "Was I about to kiss you?" Mick is the best.
- Ray being completely game about getting benched: packing lunches, offering factoids, etc. instead of getting all angsty. I hate superhero angst. Ray Palmer is great partly because he's always just so chipper.
- Sarah plopping a zombie head on the general's table. Sarah is awesome.
- Nate getting blown up. (If only it had taken! Nate remained bad, this episode. He's got nothing on Rip, but he is a lousy addition to the team so far.)
- Mick giving Ray the cold gun was genuinely touching, and it's the mark of a good show that they can take something that goofy and make it cool.

So... that was pretty fun overall.

The slavery subplot... on the one hand, I want to thank them for going there. I'm PoC, superhero properties are typically really, really white, and I do find that somewhat alienating. Here, we had Jax being pretty great. I liked him pointing out to Stein that there's basically nowhere they could go where racism didn't exist, and that he had always been black. I also liked the interplay between Jax and Vixen quite well: both the 'we can't risk the future' and 'we can't let injustice happen in front of us' viewpoints have merit, and I could sympathize with both of them. Also, they went as far as to show the whipping, the fact that Jax just touching a woman would get him beaten, the creepy guy clearly planning to rape Vixen, etc.

So, like, honest effort. They don't have the budget or chops to do it justice, but I appreciate them trying.

On the other hand, mashing the two plots together felt jarring and disrespectful. Like, it was clearly the easy way out: they never fought proper Confederates, just zombies. Also, the zombie thing is incredibly goofy, and played incredibly goofy: Sarah is taken seriously pretty trivially, they get a lot of face time with a general who should be too busy to do more than have them shot, etc. It felt very Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Slapping that in the same episode where slaves tearfully recount stories about their friends being castrated? I... dunno what to make of that.

Also, making the Northerners unabashed good guys rubbed me the wrong way. Like... I know a superhero show isn't intended to cover the complexity of Southern vs. Northern attitudes about racism in the 1860s, but...


Trying to reconcile the two plot threads in the same space makes me feel like an android after Captain Kirk's been talking awhile.
posted by mordax at 1:40 PM on November 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

This episode was so frustrating. It seemed to pile the dumb on top of more dumb. Let's see if I can list at least some of what was obviously stupid.


(Okay, while I think that should be obvious, he's still absolutely terrible at the whole history thing and considering that's supposed to be his expertise, he's failing miserably. Jax did a better job than Nate did, plus Jax even remembered to give the real dispatcher's name to Grant. Also, I'm sure Nate would have been bitten before his powers kicked in. Plus, how hard would it have been to explain that the bodies of the dead had be resurrected by evil spirits? An explanation along those lines should have worked in that time period.)

Martin and Ray not taking advantage of Gideon to track Mick's movements, or help get him the cure. You're telling me they couldn't disperse the formula through the air vents?

Martin's irrational fear. Yes, I realize it was supposed to be the light-hearted comic relief to balance all the traumatic slavery stuff, but it was ridiculously overboard (except for the line about Ray staying dead).

The errant time pirate is still (as far as the Legends know) out there somewhere, ready to wreck havoc on the timeline. Yes, he doesn't have his ship any more, but I'm sure he could interfere in history in all sorts of troublesome ways. And nobody from the Waverider seems to care that the pirate is still roaming free.

The dead Confederate leader and all his dead cronies and officers now won't be able to take their place in the upcoming battle and won't even be alive to share the plans of the battle with those under their command, so that will surely, somehow mess up history.

Chekhov's bloodhounds were mentioned but never seen. Are we supposed to assume the zombies got them? If not, why weren't they a problem as Amaya (hope I got her name correct) and Jax led the escaped slaves away from the plantation.

Sara's and Amaya's really bad-for-the-time-period hairdos were really atrocious. They made the women stick out like sore thumbs. (Only included to keep up my habit of fashion commentary on superhero posts.)

I'll admit, I was touched when Mick passed Snart's gun to Haircut. That was so sweet.

While I hated the out-of-the-blue "Nate said you're having trouble sending men into battle, Sara" moment from Grant, I'd almost swear that was thrown in just so somebody could call Sara "Captain Lance" and remind her of her dad. That wasn't entirely terrible.

This really felt not just like a filler episode, but an episode that the producers felt they had to address: "We've got a time travel show and therefore we must tackle slavery, especially with two black characters in the cast."

And since I'm thinking about Jax, shouldn't he have been able to summon Martin to merge even from a distance or does that just apply to the comic books? I mean if Martin could feel Jax's anguish, you'd think the connection would be powerful enough to allow the two to form Firestorm.
posted by sardonyx at 8:42 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I could only make it through one episode of Timeless, but this episode still handled PoC time traveling better than that show did, even if it wasn't perfect and was pretty simplified/short.

Sara still awesome. Ray making himself useful is good and getting Snart's gun was touching. I concur that Martin's zombie fear seemed a bit much. Nate still sucks but wasn't quite as terrible as last week (or shall I say, less spectacularly terrible), though him turning up covered in zombie blood and Sara still touching him was such a bad idea.

I'm amazed Grant was so friendly with the idea of a female commander. I like Grant, but was he really that liberated?
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:49 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

It seems that Jax and Martin have to touch in order to become Firestorm. No, this isn't how it works in the comics, though depending on which comics version of Firestorm we're talking about, the way the CWVerse version works is a lot different. I presume the show handles this the way it does because (a) there's more drama in making it harder for the team's most powerful member to come out and play, and (b) Firestorm FX = $$$.

So I am not a PoC, and I'll be the first to admit I'm probably not the best judge of how well the show dealt with slavery. I do think that while LoT did an admirable job of not flinching from the ugliness of it, I am just not sure a light-hearted superhero show like this one is built to bear that kind of weight. I think a sincere effort was made. I really do. But it's like...can you have a man talk about being hobbled or castrated, horrific fates that befell people in real life, and then go to a light comedy scene on a spaceship with two dudes chasing a zombie around without...well...trivializing the first scene, even a little? It's a little like if Steven Spielberg had decided fuck it and just made Jurassic Park and Schindler's List one big movie. I want to say that I was able to kind of resolve the tonal shifts as I watched and still enjoy the episode, but I'm not sure it's territory LoT should try for again.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:18 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's a little like if Steven Spielberg had decided fuck it and just made Jurassic Park and Schindler's List one big movie.

I think you have summed up why I was flummoxed better than I did, in that line: this was totally Schindler's Jurassic Park.

Okay, while I think that should be obvious, he's still absolutely terrible at the whole history thing and considering that's supposed to be his expertise, he's failing miserably.

Yeah. I was hoping they'd tone him down a bit, but this episode didn't. (And this show increasingly feels aimed at children rather than the usual CW demographic, which made the tonal dissonance here even stronger. Like, Nate and Stein were both behaving more in line with old fashioned Saturday morning cartoons than 'modern teen friendly drama.')
posted by mordax at 10:28 AM on November 5, 2016

« Older The Good Place: ...Someone Lik...   |  Supernatural: American Nightma... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments