I like Ray Palmer as a character in DC's Legends of Tomorrow. I think he's a super nice guy, but he might be just a bit too nice. It's difficult to see him as a hero when the heroic qualities only come with his suit. There are times when heroes need to get tough. We've seen that happen with Arrow and all of its masked heroes as well as The Flash and the other "legends" on Legends of Tomorrow. Ray, however, has remained nice guy and that's about it.
This might be what the writers are going for, but, in Arrow, he was prepared to be tough after the loss of his fiancee. Now, it seems he's reverted back to the "aw, shucks" guy that originally appeared as Ray Palmer. Here's how Palmer could become the hero we deserve:
He Needs To Downplay The Emotions
Ray's a good guy, and there's nothing wrong with that except when a bad guy's ready to beat the crap out of you. This season, we only saw the affable, goofy guy who was always looking on the bright side of things. That often led to him wearing his heart on his sleeve like he did with Kendra.
After Ray and Kendra came back from the 1950s, and Ray saw how excited Kendra was to be back aboard the ship, he was clearly heartbroken. It was written all over his face, and while that isn't a bad thing overall, it wasn't the only time Ray let his emotions control him. Ultimately, he thought with his heart instead of his head, and that's a good way to get into some trouble. Ray definitely needs to grow as a hero and part of that growth is learning to control his emotions so that no one knows his Achilles' heel.
He Needs To Remember His Purpose
After his fiancee died, Ray was determined he wouldn't feel that helpless again. That lasted for maybe an episode on Arrow. When Oliver took him down when Ray was wearing the suit, Ray seemed to lose his desire to be a hero. He wants to be remembered, to leave a legacy behind, and to do that, he will need to remember that he's fighting for the good of the world, to make sure that it doesn't fall into the hands of evil dictators like Savage. Optimism has its place, but, at times, Ray has been a little too optimistic. I think it would be good for character growth if the writers allowed him to show a little more of what he's lost or what he has to lose.
He Needs To Learn To Protect Himself Without The Suit
Ray doesn't have super-abilities, but neither does Sara Lance, John Diggle, Roy Harper, Thea Queen, and the list goes on. All of these people learned to protect themselves without any fancy equipment or specialized gear. It's time for Ray to start training so he can hold his own in a fight which, as we know, he can't at the moment.
Remember what happened when his suit got taken away at Nanda Parbat when the team went to rescue Sara? He was helpless, and, in spite of the suit, he doesn't instill confidence in his team members. I think it's time Ray begins training like all of the other masked superheroes have had to do. The suit can be the icing on the cake, but the guy needs to know how to take care of himself without technology. He needs to become the weapon like Oliver Queen told him in Arrow.
Brandon Routh, who portrays Ray Palmer, has played Superman as well as a villain in the TV series, Chuck. So we know he's got the acting chops to pull off tough and mean when he has to. And there are times, as a superhero, he has to do just that. My hope is that the writers will allow Ray to become a hero outside of The Atom suit just like they did with Leonard Snart.