Random Musings: DC TV universe updates, part 2: Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow

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Legends of Tomorrow

This season of Arrow has seen Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and his allies confronting the machinations of Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), a former member of the League of Assassins and founder of H.I.V.E. who somehow possess paranormal powers, including the ability to stop one of Oliver’s arrows in mid flight. Darhk also has a stranglehold over Star City, reinforced by his assassination of several mayoral candidates.

Damien Darhk confronts the Green Arrow

Damien Darhk confronts the Green Arrow.

Oliver himself recently campaigned for mayor, but dropped out of the race and endorsed Ruve Adams (Janet Kidder), who is (unknown to the majority of the populace) the wife of Damien Darhk. Oliver did this because Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) revealed to Darhk the existence of Oliver’s 10-year-old son, William (Jack Moore) and Darhk subsequently threatened the boy.

Oliver himself had only recently learned of William’s existence, having previously been told by his mother, Samantha (Anna Hopkins), that she’d miscarried.

Team Arrow rescued William (who doesn’t know that Oliver Queen is his father) and at Oliver’s urging, Samantha and William, who were living in Central City, relocated someplace even Oliver doesn’t know about for their protection.

Malcolm betrayed Oliver because the latter wrested control of the League of Assassins from him and gave it to Nyssa Al Ghul (Katrina Law), who subsequently disbanded the organization. A vengeful Malcolm allied with Darhk out of spite (and possibly because Oliver cut off his hand).

Oliver, who’d defeated the previous Ra’s Al Ghul (Matt Nable) last season, had willingly passed on the title to Malcolm. However, when Malcolm put his control of the League above the life of his daughter (and Oliver’s sister), Thea Queen (Willa Holland), that was the last straw.

Thea herself is now a full member of Team Arrow, operating under the sobriquet “Speedy”, which had been Oliver’s nickname for her in her youth. Hopefully, that’s just a family nickname and not generally known by her friends and associates.

Speedy

Thea Queen as Speedy.

Oliver himself is now known as Green Arrow and the general public believe this person to be a successor to the bow-wielding vigilante who’d been operating for the past three years.

Meanwhile, John Diggle (David Ramsey) has discovered that not only is his brother, Andy (Eugene Byrd), still alive, but that Andy was working for Damien Darhk and involved in various illegal activities. The brothers have since made tentative steps toward reconciliation.

The fact that Oliver didn’t share with her that William existed has driven a wedge between himself and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), who has called off their engagement. Felicity is also recovering from a near-fatal attack by Darhk.

One running mystery in this season of Arrow is who dies by season’s end? In a flash forward, we see Oliver standing at someone’s grave promising to “kill him.” We know it’s not Felicity, because she’s shown in a subsequent scene (urging Oliver to seek revenge) and Thea seems to have recovered from her own brush with death.

Could it be Diggle? I doubt it’ll be Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), since the Black Canary is a significant character in the Green Arrow mythos.

Perhaps it’ll be Laurel’s father, Captain Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne), an ally of Team Arrow who is also dating Felicity’s mother.

In Legends of Tomorrow, Time Master Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) has come from the mid 22nd century to recruit a team of heroes and villains to stop an immortal named Vandal Savage (Caspar Crump) from conquering the world in Hunter’s own time.

Rip Hunter

Rip Hunter.

Hunter recruits Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), the White Canary; Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh), who comprise the superhero Firestorm; Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renee) and Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel), Hawkgirl and Hawkman and Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), The Atom, to travel through time and stop Savage before his rise to power. He also recruits criminals Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller), Captain Cold, and Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell), Heatwave, though why he included them is yet to be revealed. We do know that he only recruited Rory because he and Snart are a package deal.

In the series, Savage, like Hawkman and Hawkgirl, was originally an Egyptian. Exposure to special meteorites gave him immortality while they would be reincarnated again and again. His immortality is renewed by killing them. This incarnation of Hawkman has already fallen to him.

In the comics, Savage is much older, dating to prehistoric times and known originally as Vandar Adg. In both the comics and the TV series, Rip Hunter tried without success to kill Vandal Savage before he became immortal (in the comics, he mistakenly killed Savage’s father).

In one recent episode, set in the 1950s, Savage was using the name Curtis Knox, a nod to the Smallville episode “The Cure” in which Dean Cain played an immortal named Curtis Knox who was implied to be Vandal Savage.

The various characters making up the team (except Hunter) had previously been introduced in episodes of Arrow and The Flash, including Firestorm, who had previously been a merging of Professor Stein and Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell). Ronnie was apparently killed at the start of the season on The Flash and the folks at S.T.A.R. Labs subsequently discovered that Jefferson Jackson was compatible with Stein in generating the Firestorm matrix. Jackson was initially reluctant to become a superhero or join Hunter’s team (Stein literally kidnapped him), but later changed his mind.

Firestorm 2

The Jefferson Jackson/Martin Stein incarnation of Firestorm.

As to Ronnie Raymond, I thought it might turn out that he had somehow been transported to Earth 2, just as Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) had come to Earth 1, but that appears not to be the case. While we saw Ronnie in a recent episode of The Flash, it was his (evil) Earth 2 counterpart.

Most of the time zones visited by Hunter and his team have been within the last 60 years or so, but one journey did take them to a possible future where an elderly Oliver Queen has lost an arm (a possible allusion to the 1986 mini series The Dark Knight) and the current Green Arrow is a man known as Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones). In the comics, Hawke is Oliver’s son, but in Legends of Tomorrow he is revealed as the son of John Diggle (one not yet born in present continuity).

Legends of Tomorrow has been good about avoiding time travel paradoxes. While Savage appears to know that Rip Hunter is a time traveler, he seems unaware that Hunter has assembled a team of fellow time travelers to stop him. Although he met Ray Palmer in both 1974 and 1958 (the former was the first meeting, from Ray’s POV), he didn’t appear to show any recognition in 1974.

As to Rip Hunter, it turns out he hasn’t been exactly honest with his teammates. It turns out he’s acting against the wishes of the agency he once served, The Time Masters, and is actively pursued by other agents. He also lied about his reasons for recruiting his team, causing a number of trust issues. For the most part, they’ve accepted that his overall goal of stopping Vandal Savage is worthwhile.

If you like time travel stories, you’ll enjoy Legends of Tomorrow.

Copyright 2016, Patrick Keating.

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