Legends of Tomorrow - S2E17: Aruba- Review: Many Legends Make Awesome Finale!
Aruba – After reuniting with Rip Hunter and the Wave Rider, the Legends must break their biggest rule in order to save reality from Doomworld. They must revisit their own timeline in 1916 in the hope of finally destroying the Spear of Destiny before the Legion ever uses it.
Despite being a show revolving around time travel, Legends of Tomorrow has taken a very safe and linear approach to the concept so far. That is until this episode as Legends goes full blown Doctor Who in spectacular fashion with a special past & future colliding episode. Everything about this idea was done brilliantly. It was built up to be a “crossing the streams” style desperate last resort, the play out was incredibly rewarding both in story and entertainment purposes. Then to top it off, it incurred clear and meaningful consequences in a wonderfully bonkers little tease for season 3: the most Whovian moment of episode, feeling like a Legends play on The Wedding of River Song. In keeping with the show’s playful tone the bigger dramatic stakes of potentially screwing up time worse than Terminator Genysis becomes a lot of fun. The first half sees some classic Back to the Future 2 style unexpected self run ins as the future Legends fail spectacularly in going unnoticed. As usual, Mick is on fire (#worstpunever) in such awkward humour from his genius little Freudian slip to his running gag about screwing the mission for a beach vacation. This gets even better when things go full blown multiplicity (“oh bollocks”) but at the same time nicely works in some reflective dramatic angles.
Without detracting from the fun tone of the episode, writers Phil Klemmer & Marc Guggenheim give some Legends members meaningful discussions with themselves. There were a lot of good emotional elements in play like Nate reuniting with Vixen after seeing her die. The only thing that didn’t work as well was Sara’s reluctance over using the Spear because of her inner darkness. While this does appeal to the resurrected assassin side of her character it was only thing in the episode that felt forced. We already had the idea of Sara fighting the Spear’s temptation to save Laurel, not get shipwrecked, not get killed by Thea etc. and that was enough to give here meaningful conflict without taking it further.
The exponentially timey whimey nature of the episode also paid huge dividends on the action and dram as The Legends become The Expendables. In an ideally simplistic explanation, the future Legends of Doomworld realize that they are in affect the time aberrations in this scenario. Their lives don’t matter and so their mission becomes ensuring their past selves survive to be the big damn heroes. While that immediately screams that we’ll see many of them killed off purely because they can (especially after losing Vixen last episode) it’s used immensely well as a positive to add to dramatic stakes. While deaths come as quick as the Red Wedding, none feel meaningless as they becomes points of sacrifice or their team mates take even just mere moments to grieve and take in the shock of losing a friend. It all combines to make supposedly meaningless deaths feel meaningful (Legends Lives Matter). One in particular is so genuinely shocking it leaves you wondering how they hell it got past the watershed censors. The action also gets delightfully comic booky as Eobard Thawne pulls an ace out of his evil yellow sleeve.
For it all its wide scope, Aruba is actually the most well-rounded and complete season finale of any Flarrowverse show since Flash season one reset the curve. Every developing plot throughout this season comes to a satisfying finish point. Even hitting a timeline reset on the defeated Legion members felt right and Mick’s goodbye to Snart was genuinely touching (“You get to be a better man… and so do I”). It’s an episode that covers a lot of ground yet never feels rushed. Even resolving last episode’s “I’m Tiny Rip, woohoo!” tease in less than 6 minutes didn’t feel like a cop out. It’s bold, it’s confident and fully committed to being its own geeky self which is why Legends of Tomorrow has risen into such adoration this season. I’m genuinely going to miss this show for next 6 months because even with the Tardis materializing next week Legends now feels such a unique show that nothing can truly fill its quirky crooked cut hole. For now, let’s hope season three will just as legen….