Warning: This recap for the “Star City 2046” episode of Legends of Tomorrow contains spoilers.
The big draw of this week’s Legends of Tomorrow is the guest spot by everybody’s favorite Green Arrow — sorry, guy who played him on Smallville (Justin Hartley, for the record) and everyone who voiced him in cartoons — Stephen Amell. It’s thirty years in the future and neither he, nor Star City, have fared well.
Forced to crash land in Star City, circa 2046, the Legends run into the Green Arrow of that time: Connor Hawke, née John Diggle, Jr. (Joseph David-Jones). The city looks post-apocalyptic thanks to Deathstroke and his Mirakuru soldiers invading fifteen years prior. As Connor joins Rip and Sara to go looking for parts to repair the Waverider, Mick finds his bliss by taking over one of the local roving gangs of thugs, forcing Leonard to tag along. Deathstroke — actually, his son, Grant Wilson (Jamie Andrew Cutler) — orders all the gangs to hunt down Green Arrow, Rip, and Sara. This puts Mick into a moral quandry, which Leonard is forced to solve by knocking him out. They track down Oliver Queen, armless and bearded, hiding in the old Arrow Bunker. Sara convinces him to come out of retirement when Connor is captured and they defeat Deathstroke. Oliver decides to once again take up arm(s) to protect Star City. Meanwhile, back on the ship, Ray and Jax try to score with Kendra.
Oliver and Connor
You’d think that this would be one of the season’s high points, but mostly the only impression that was left was, “Wow. The best they could do was Oliver wearing a mountain man beard?” Week after week, the show continues to impress with its effects, but clearly old-age makeup is not in the budget.
It’s a shame they couldn’t call on Stephen Amell to make this a two-parter because the justification for him abandoning the city for fifteen years felt weak. There was just too much to cram into one episode, so there was barely enough time for set-up (“I can’t save this city”) and payoff (“Oh, I guess I forgot about my AMAZING ROBOT ARM”).
Ray, Jax, Stein, and Kendra
We knew this was coming. Eventually, the boys were going to seriously start pursuing Kendra as the only available woman on the ship. It makes sense for Jax, since he’s just a kid, and Ray, who only seems to be in it for the competition. It’s a bit icky that, essentially, Kendra is seen as a prize to be claimed, first by Carter, then by these two. Fortunately, it ends harmlessly enough by her telling them that going from barista to reincarnated Egyptian demi-goddess in just a few weeks is too much chaos, so she’s just not ready now.
It does make a wonderful interaction for Jax and Stein, though. We get a little more of their psychic connection and the interplay of the old man trying to be hip versus the young man gaining wisdom from his elder. This is a thousand times better than bickering Firestorm, so more of this please.
Leonard and Mick
It’s pretty clear that Captain Cold is a villain only by circumstance — in his heart, he’s really a hero just trying to do right by his people. But Heat Wave is a really problematic character on this show. He’s legitimately a bad guy and his new friendship with Ray isn’t enough reason for him to give up his main goal in life (to watch the world burn). Probably, if you’ve been watching Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell together since Prison Break, you take their eternal bond for granted, but Legends hasn’t really done enough to justify why Mick hasn’t just burnt Leonard to a crisp yet. No doubt, there’s an episode coming up where he has a Christmas Carol-esque, life-altering experience, but they’re straining credulity right now, so it had better be soon.
Inside Comics Moment
Connor Hawke indeed is the one to take up the Green Arrow mantle when Oliver Queen retires and he’s the version that fans reading in the ‘90s would find most recognizable. In the books, he’s actually the biological son of Oliver, though no explanation is given why John Diggle’s son takes that name specifically in the show. It’s actually a pretty inspired way to pay homage to the legacy of the comics and the series. Comics Connor is mixed race black, white, and Korean, which is pretty close to what the child of John and Lyla would be.
* It turns out Kendra was a shipyard welder in 1944. The game now is how arcane and specific will her past lives get? Maybe she slept with Shakespeare in Elizabethan England? Or sacked Rome as a Visigoth in the fifth century? Could she tell us if there really was a shooter on the grassy knoll because she was there when JFK was shot?
* Surely Felicity has a daughter that could join Connor in Future Star City?
* Line of the Night: “Where’d you get that?” “eBay.” Probably listed under Toys and Hobbies > Arson.
Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.