By Josh Melo
‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Review – S1 Ep.5 (Fail-Safe)
With half of the team locked in a Soviet Gulag and Professor Stein forced to perfect the Firestorm matrix for Vandal Savage, it is up to Rip, Cold, Sarah and Kendra to rescue the others and save the world from a time-altering super powered invasion. Featuring a fun cameo from a Flash alumni and providing an interesting background in Russian mob history, Fail-Safe is a ton of fun and surprisingly informative!
Keeping with tried and true Legends of Tomorrow tradition (can I say that yet?), the episode is split down the middle. One half of the action takes place in the Koshner Gulag while the other focuses on Rip and company devising and implementing a plan to save their comrades. Also playing into the larger LoT pattern is Rip forcing his teammates into less than desirable situations. Sarah is tasked with killing her own teammate should the plan fail, Snart is motivated to grow a conscience, and Rory and Ray are forced to fend for each other. The unique circumstance each pairing finds themselves in provides interesting and engaging new character dynamics to play around with, and they all work!
Of the many partnerships created in the episode, perhaps the most intriguing of the bunch comes in the form of Sarah Lance and Rip Hunter. The two have teamed up before, but the dynamic at work here is quite a bit more volatile. Rip spends the better part of the episode under the assumption that despite the teams best efforts, destined to fail. In his bout of pessimism, he orders Sarah to kill the captured Professor Stein should she fail to save him before a certain point. The fact that both of them resign to the decision so quickly is troubling, especially when the pair worked together just last 2 weeks ago to overcome her bloodlust. They do eventually come to their senses but the idea that they could so willingly sacrifice one of their own could come to play a major part in future storylines.
Having Snart play the voice of reason was an interesting decision considering his criminal past. The constant talk of his code and his willingness to jump into the fray in order to save his partner played into his anti-hero persona showcased on The Flash but it also set him up as a potential “captain” outside of his super villain name. Out of all the characters making up the team, the only ones with consistent cool heads are Rip and Cold. If Rip continues to doubt himself and his teammates, maybe Cold would make for a good substitute leader?
With Ray and Snart seeing a lot of action together, it was time to pair him up with the other member of the Rogues. His chemistry with Heatwave was surprisingly fun. Ray’s inability to let someone take a fall if he can do something about it led to a new level of respect between him and the villainous pyromaniac. There interactions together also went a long way in developing Mick Rory’s character outside of the buff dude that makes heat puns. It’s weird not seeing Dominic Purcell play the character so over the top, but it’s a change I could get used to.
Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) and Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) just hanging out.
Plus, it was a ton of fun seeing Miller and Purcell team up again for a Prison Break (complete with Prison Break one-liner!).
Jax and Kendra were left on the sidelines for the majority of the episode but their final moments did play into Stein’s core narrative. Tortured, pumped full of drugs and forced to watch the torment of his companions, Professor Stein proved he is one tough son of a bitch. Unwilling to give up the secret to the Firestorm matrix even when threatened with his life, he showed that he has what it takes to be considered a hero even when his better half is nowhere to be found. The finale was a bit underwhelming and Valentina looked a bit goofy as Firestorm, but overall her arc this week played extremely well. Hopefully this also marks the end of the pointless bickering between Jax and Stein. Firestorm is always at his best when “firing” on all cylinders (Rory doesn’t get all the heat puns!).
The twist ending with the team ending up in 2046 made for an exciting change of pace. Gone are the funky outfits or drab soldier uniforms, now we’ll get to see how horrible the Rip Hunter’s future truly is. And the shocking reveal of the black Green Arrow is sure to have fans speculating away (I could have sworn the Green Arrow from the Speed Cannon sequence was a white guy…).
Fail-Safe remains consistent with a number of emerging Legends of Tomorrow patterns, but most importantly, it’s still super enjoyable. As long as the character dynamics continue to be engaging and satisfying and the week-to-week stories remain fast-paced and engrossing, Legends of Tomorrow will remain a massive outlet for DC nerds everywhere.
Overall, Fail-Safe gets a 9/10.