Legends Season 1 Review “Lords of War”

Legends (TNT) Episode 3 Lords of War (6)

In the latest episode of “Legends,” we basically picked up where we left off with the Hubbard family still under captivity and the clock running on the father to produce the VX chemical weapon or die- right after he watched his wife and daughter killed in front of him, in “Lords of War.” Though papa Hubbard tried to make a valiant escape, starting a fire in the lab and knocking out a guard in the process, then setting his family free and making a run for the gate- they were caught before any of them could make it over the fence, and the only result was a sped-up clock in terms of how long he had to produce results.

Enter Dante, aka Odum’s black market weapons dealer alter ego. Reconnecting with facilitator Khalid, who Dante had dealt with before, he managed to finagle a meet with Ana Paulanos (Necar Zadegan, from “24”), a lovely lady that even Khalid wanted to keep his distance from- and advised Dante to do the same. Naturally, he did no such thing, wasting no time in coming on strong, especially since the clock was ticking, with the team predicting three days tops before the VX was good to go and the location of it was gone.

Problem is, she’s already got a buyer, and one she trusts, not some flashy new guy she knows nothing about. So, of course, Dante tracks the buyer down, and semi-tortures him with a flat iron (!), albeit not much before he spills everything, understandably. Dante advises him to stay away from Ana and has him sink the deal with her, before leaving after telling him they’d be watching, so he better make wise decisions in how he handled himself. Then, he waits for the inevitable call from Ana.

We discover Ana knows Colonel Yuri all too well, as he “rescued” her back in the day from Chechnya and that if she can’t fix it, he would need to “wipe the slate clean” and start fresh, which didn’t sound good- for her, at least. So, she calls Dante, has him thoroughly checked out while she seduces him (poor guy- not) and gets the go-ahead from her peeps after he passes the inspection. The meet is on with Yuri and all the team has to do is follow him discreetly, although he had to go in hooded, sans gun and phone, so it ended up being mostly guesswork as to where they were headed on their part.

Eventually the team figured out a likely hide-out that lent itself well to a lab in the general vicinity of where Odum/Dante was headed and descended upon it- only to discover that Yuri and the chemical weapons were long gone. On the plus side, the Hubbard family was still there, so they were able to rescue them from the armed guards keeping watch over them. But where was Dante?

Turns out he was meeting the big man himself, Yuri, who was taking no chances with Dante. After Dante pulled a bit of flashy moves and threatened to kill him- and his men did the same with Dante, Mexican stand-off style- the two came to terms on one condition: Dante had to show he was serious about buying the weapon at hand by using it on someone there that Yuri had decided was disposable. It was undeniably a rock-and-a-hard-place sort of situation, and maybe the guy in question was a bad guy, but still, killing another human being held against their will with a nasty chemical weapon is pretty freaking hardcore. And yet, Dante did just that, and that was where we left him.

This was another well-done episode, and once again, I was impressed that the show opted to adopt the long-form storytelling approach, stretching out the plotline over multiple episodes rather than solving everything in a tidy fashion like most crime shows. I suppose I shouldn’t have been that surprised, given that producer Howard Gordon is the man behind shows like the aforementioned “24” and “Homeland,” which also use a similar gambit, but it was still refreshing to see a show that doesn’t feel so compelled to wrap things up in a tidy one-hour package (or rather, forty-five minutes, sans commercials).

The chemistry between Sean Bean and guest star Necar Zadegan was palatable, even while it was readily apparent that their characters didn’t trust each other as far as they could throw each other. I really like the show’s combination of James Bond-style romantic spy intrigue and “24”-style anti-terrorist counteractions. The hook of Odum pretending to be different covers is a nifty one, and I like the idea that he sometimes gets a little too into his characters even more.

It certainly lent the scenes where he interacted with his decidedly concerned ex-wife a kind of unusual dramatic heft, as Odum admitted he couldn’t even remember how he’d proposed to his ex in the first place. Needless to say, this was cause for concern with her and team member (and also ex-girlfriend) Crystal, both of whom think Odum’s gotten in over his head and weren’t afraid to tell him or anyone else who would listen something to that effect.

Gunning even harder for him was Rice, the man Odum unwisely went to for info on the man that told Odum he wasn’t who they claimed he was in the first place, which is to say, Odum is another of his aliases, not his real identity at all, and someone was lying to him about his actual self. Rice may have shot himself in the foot threatening Gates, though, who later proceeded to show up at his house and threaten his livelihood if Rice didn’t back off while Odum was undercover.

Lots of cool stuff going on, lots of balls in the air, and lots of ways they could be juggled. I like that the show is zigging when you think it will zag and in no hurry to wrap things up neatly. That’s a big plus in my book, especially in this day and age of binge watch TV, and the popularization of long-form TV that continues a plotline throughout an entire season, instead of the by-the-book approach of stuff like crime procedurals and so forth. This is a show that realizes how things work now, and how people view television, and knows that it has to work a little harder to get people to watch. I, for one, plan to keep doing just that.

What do you think of “Legends” thus far? Are you a fan of long-term storytelling or do you prefer more week-to-week type stuff? Do you like the cast? Where do you think the show is headed with all the “Bourne Identity”-type stuff? Will Dante successfully take down Yuri? Will Ana get caught in the crossfire? Will Rice get himself fired- or worse? Let me know what you think down below and see you next week!