[Warning: Spoilers from Season 1 of Legends of Tomorrow]
Legends of Tomorrow has been running for 10 episodes as of writing this (9 if you count the two part pilot as one episode) and I know that people have had their fair share of jabs at the show.
Before I stress my issues, I'd first like to point out that I enjoy this show along with the other CW shows because they all have their different tones and unique aspects. I am a huge fan of crossovers and an ensemble show is a great way to execute a continual crossover. However, this show is just starting out and it has some issues to work through accordingly:
Now, returning readers may remember that just a few weeks ago, I wrote about the misleading marketing presented by both Civil War and Dawn of Justice. However, Legends of Tomorrow is not a whole lot better than the aforementioned films. While its not being sold entirely on misleading marketing, its premise is still something of a waste of time (no pun intended) given the set up being partially nullified by the pilot.
I'm referring to the introduction of Hawkman and Hawkgirl in the Flash/Arrow crossover episodes "Legends of Today" and "Legends of Yesterday" respectively. These episodes were meant to serve as a crossover event as well as a set up for the show Legends of Tomorrow. Ultimately, this set up seems to be in vain because Hawkman doesn't even survive the pilot. Yes, one of the characters used to introduce the concept of Legends of Tomorrow was killed after less than an hour of the show beginning. After all of the posters and TV set up they went through, the character would most likely have gotten more time to develop instead of going the way of the Quicksilver - sorry for those of you who have not yet seen Age of Ultron.
To me, that just seems unfair to have taken the time to set up this character, found an actor who seemed to put a lot into the performance and made attempts to develop the character over what little time he had on screen, but kill him off after he's had almost 4 episodes. Not only is it a poor marketing strategy, but it has repercussions on the plot that will most likely never actually be addressed.
This brings me to my other, more prevalent issue:
Plot Holes and Time Travel Errors
I am a huge fan of time travel, but time travel stories must walk a fine line between continuity and plot. This show leans far more heavily on the plot instead of striking a balance between a great story and a linear structure that does not have the potential to alienate the audience. By that I mean the time travel aspect does not confuse the viewers on how it actually works. The Flash has periodically gone through the dangers of time travel, so one would think that the writers would keep this in mind when doing a spin-off show of The Flash.
Instead, we're given continuity errors almost on a weekly basis that ultimately cannot be resolved efficiently. The errors can be resolved, but it would require re-shoots or at the very least a retcon such as an "alternate universe" explanation. Neither of these options are ideal, so it seems that, at least for now, the show will be plagued with fallacies for the remainder of the season. This is assuming that Vandal Savage is finally defeated instead of being more of a Malcolm Merlin character - a recurring villain.
Now, to get into the holes. This is the last chance to avoid spoilers:
The entire basis of this show is that the man pictured above, Rip Hunter, is attempting to prevent Vandal Savage from killing his family and becoming powerful enough to take over the world. The idea is reminiscent of Terminator albeit a different approach to stopping "Skynet."
However, much like the plot of Terminator, a glaring paradox is created at the end of the mission: Defeat the future threat and you no longer have a reason to go back and stop the threat. Now, to the show's credit, most time travel stories hit this fallacy because diverting this error can be confusing to the audience. It has been done, though. Back to the Future, Looper, and Terminator: Genysis utilized the "alternate timeline" aspect of time travel as has The Flash TV series multiple times.
Efficient as this may be, the sporadic jumping of time periods that Legends of Tomorrow goes through prevents an adequate path towards developing alternate timelines. The episode "Star City: 2046" touches on the idea of an alternate timeline along with "Fail-Safe," but the latter shows a potential future and the former implies the death of all of the characters, preventing a return to 2016.
Ultimately, the defeat of Savage, assuming such a thing does happen, will create a paradox that will most likely not be addressed. Speaking of, no one has questioned the defeat of Savage in "Legends of Yesterday" in relation to him being a threat to Rip Hunter's time. Hawkgirl was there, so she of all people should be questioning the validity of Rip's story.
As stated previously, Hawkman was killed during the pilot. While part of my problem with this stems from the advertising, this also has repercussions that aren't addressed:
The first, and most obvious, is that the team is now down a member within the second episode of the show. While this would be rectified by finding the next incarnation of Hawkman, and the respective Hawkgirl would presumably understand the situation and allow him to leave, this option is not possible because of a much deeper cutting repercussion:
The Flarrow crossover that set up the show could be nullified. Given that Savage is now that much more powerful than he was during the original event, he has that much more potential to defeat Hawkman again or Hawkgirl to become even more powerful. This would still have the same result of him destroying everything, but for the sake of argument, let's just take this as a potential separate paradox wherein Savage can become infinitely more powerful so long as he continues to kill various incarnations of Hawkman/Hawkgirl when they travel back with Rip Hunter. We'll never know given this is purely theoretical, but it's still a glaring consequence that will not be addressed.
Yet another common fallacy of time travel stories is the self-fulfilling prophecy - the protagonist causes the event he/she attempts to prevent. This show is no exception because in the second episode, along with the death of Hawkman, Savage learns about Hunter's family and plans to kill them. The exact event he was preventing was actually caused by his own bloodlust.
As I said, the show jumps around a lot in time periods. So, by choosing 1975 as the first time to take on Savage, every meeting with him after that pivotal moment will continually remind him of who Hunter is and further drive his motive to murder Hunter's family out of revenge. It is also makes it increasingly more difficult to attack Savage because he's expecting them. At the same time, going back further to attack Savage before that event sets up the paradox that Savage should already recognize the group at the auction before Professor Stein reveals himself. So, the more they attack him before that point, the more driven by vengeance he becomes until he receives the information he needs to take that revenge. Either way, Rip Hunter shot himself in the foot here.
The Identity of Chronos
In the episode "Left Behind," the identity of Chronos is revealed to be Mick - the character supposedly killed by Leonard Snart at the end of "Marooned." Chronos was a previously established character and by giving him the identity of a member of the ensemble, it opens up a new paradox:
Mick has been attacking Hunter for a considerable amount of time such that Hunter knows of him, but Mick was going after Hunter before his team was even formed in 2016. Add to it the fact that this situation started after Mick was taken to a place where "Time does not move" or something to that effect as he put it, but he was then able to travel back and begin following Rip as soon as he defies the Time Council.
The situation that has now been created is one that I referred to in the beginning of this article - one where continuity is thrown away and causes confusion for the audience. Chronos somehow traveled back through the time stream to attack Hunter . . . even though the time stream is supposed to be an infinite space between points in time which would mean that events that occur in the time stream have no moments prior to nor after the events. Unless Chronos went to the point before Hunter initially entered the time stream and defied the Time Council, then followed him from that point on until he eventually reached the point where Hunter hit 2016. This isn't an easy idea to follow by any means, so it's unlikely that it will actually be explained.
Sara and the League of Assassins
Yet another hole from the "Left Behind" episode. However, this hole comes from yet another common time travel fallacy: causation of events that occurred before your time. This is similar to the self-fulfilling process, but different in that this causation is not always intentional.
In this situation, it was intentional and not just one, but two events were caused: the existence of Nyssa al Ghul and Sara's induction into the League of Assassins. Before leaving Nanda Parbat, Sara tells Ra's to name his future daughter Nyssa and to have assassins off the coast of the island Oliver was shipwrecked on at the time she almost drowns. The former is more accidental, but still secures the existence of her future lover and the latter sets up a paradox similar to Rip Hunter's attempts to stop Savage: In saving her, she's alive to go back in time later to ensure she's saved. There aren't any real repercussions to this it's just more of a glaring hole in that the writers justified Sara's induction into the League of Assassins, an event which became extremely important throughout Seasons 3 and 4 of Arrow, with a paradox. In my opinion, the event did not need justification given it was only mentioned once in Season 2 of Arrow as a small plot twist.
These are the errors I have with Legends of Tomorrow to this point. Some of the errors are more glaring than others. But, some of the errors could have been avoided if more effort had been put towards developing a logical plot instead of following the faults that normally plague time travel stories.
Legends of Tomorrow still has 6 more episodes left in the season, so expect a follow up article when this season ends outlining the fallacies that arise over the remaining 6 episodes!