DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Putting the Fun in Time Travel!

Rip, Ray, Oliver, Connor, Stein, Jax, Sarah - DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Spoiler warning: I will be discussing recent episodes of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, including the episode that aired April 7, 2016, “The Magnificent 8.” If you are not up to date with your viewing, you might want to tread lightly.

Time travel, besides giving us headaches, is usually dealt with in a serious manner. The current program 12 Monkeys, which airs on Syfy and the recently concluded program Continuum, which also aired on Syfy, take just such a view of time travel. Dealing with death and destruction typically leaves little room for humor, so their serious tone is certainly understandable. And, really, time travel is dangerous, what with all the causality loops, paradoxes, butterfly effects, and other assorted problems – potential and guaranteed! So, a somber treatment is definitely indicated.

That said, we have also had ample examples of the lighter side of time travel; just consider the Back to the Future movie trilogy! While there was drama and danger in those movies, there was also a lot of fun stuff that made you want to go along for the ride with Doc and Marty and Einstein!

One of the most fun aspects of time travel is exploring the character as a fish out of water – sticking out so far that people become suspicious. Making excuses and mid-sentence corrections is always a joy to watch as the character stumbles his or her way through a sticky situation.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
, which is currently in its first season, is still finding its footing. In my opinion, it takes time for a program to settle into place and find a rhythm for its stories. Because of that, I am glad to have read that DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has been renewed for a second season. That will give it even more time to establish itself. It will also give it more time to visit more time periods, historic and futuristic! While I cannot predict with certainty how many future timeline venues I will relish, as of right now I have three favorite episodes set in distinctive time periods.

Feeling Groovy
 

Stein, Lance, Jackson - DC's Legends of Tomorrow

The first two episodes of season one, creatively titled “Pilot, Part 1” and “Pilot, Part 2,” take our intrepid band back to 1975. This was Rip’s first attempt to stop Vandal Savage by traveling to his past. These episodes were a lot of fun because of a couple of things.

First, the team got to meet a young Dr. Stein. This not only gave great insight into Stein’s behaviors today, but also allowed old Dr. Stein to work with young Dr. Stein which clearly was an eye opening experience for the elder. Our memories of who we were are very much shaded by time and the predilection to remember the positive more readily than the negative. Furthermore, the reactions of the other characters to the younger Stein were funny and revealing as they worked to make sure they did not pollute the timeline.

Of course it is always important to blend in with your surroundings when time traveling, and then there is the required snarky dialogue on the fashion sensibilities of the past era! This episode did not stint on either mandatory aspect of the adventure. The costumes were fantastic and the dialogue revolving around what people were wearing made me giggle. Full disclosure, I was alive during that time period and fully remember those clothing styles.

Back to the Future
 

Connor and Oliver - DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Another one I really enjoyed was episode six, “Star City 2046.” For this episode, Waverider crash landed after being thrown out of the time stream when Chronos fired on it. Fans got to see one possible future for Star City; one in which Oliver Queen has hung up his suit since losing an arm, and the new Green Arrow is Connor Hawke, aka John Diggle, Jr. Did I mention that I also really enjoy cross-over episodes? This cross-over with Arrow was bittersweet but satisfying.

In addition to time travel being fun, let me add that alternate time lines are also amusing. Listening to Ray’s commentary on Palmer Technologies now being labeled Smoak Technologies was hysterical! Certainly who better to have taken over in his absence, but still, he sounded like a bit of a wounded puppy.

Of course, this episode also gave us the very important plot point of the devastating rift between Leonard and Mick. While this was not funny, it was a critical plot point that carried over into future episodes with extremely serious consequences.

The Wild, Wild West
 

Rip and Ray - DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Really, can you ever go wrong setting a time travel piece in the Old West? Classic Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation both did it, and now DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has joined them with episode eleven, “The Magnificent Eight.”

For this type of setting, the trope requires that one of the characters have a secret fantasy to visit the Old West, and of course Ray, adopting the moniker of John Wayne and then ending up as sheriff was predictable but no less funny! Ray is the quintessential fan boy of a lot of things, and was used to good measure in this episode. Then there is the obligatory ill child who is saved by the time travelers and turns out to be some famous historical figure. In this case, the boy turned out to be HG Wells, a very popular character to use in sci-fi and fantasy programs; most notably Warehouse 13.

 

How about you? Do you enjoy the fun that DC’s Legends of Tomorrow puts in time travel? Do you have favorite time periods that were visited so far? Do you have any particular era that they have not yet visited that you want to see?