‘Legends of Tomorrow’ (Season 3): Fixing the Firestorm Problem

Losing a fan-favorite character is always a bummer, so seeing Legends of Tomorrow manage a two-for-one special of sorts was a special sort of downer. That’s the problem with a nuclear man: can’t really have one without the other. Well, that’s not entirely true, but it makes a sort of sense to remove both characters when one is leaving anyway.

Stein’s death was a tragedy, but the Crisis event handled it well, giving a major Arrowverse character a fitting send-off that resonated across multiple series. Given actor Victor Garber’s desire to focus on Broadway again, it was an understandable, if depressing, turn of events. However, seeing Jax decide to leave the Waverider to find himself in the very next episode? Arguably more of a bummer, even with the door open for him to return one day. Both Victor Garber and Franz Drameh have been major parts of the show since day one, but Garber’s departure was at least expected.

However, it makes a kind of sense to send Jax away since there’s no denying Legends has always had a bit of Firestorm problem. With the ability to create massive explosions and transmute matter, Firestorm is easily the most powerful member of the team, if not the entire Arrowverse. As a result, the show has frequently gone out of its way to keep either Stein or Jax on the ship during missions, or knocked one out, or created some other reason they couldn’t just fuse and solve the problem of the week.

Stein’s departure solves that by taking the powers of Firestorm away. Giving someone else the other half of the Matrix – as was done when Ronnie died – would allow the hero to live again but that would require inventing yet another random new character to add to the team. And just giving Jax the full powers of Firestorm? Not exactly doing much to solve the overpowered problem the hero provides.

Admittedly, there’s no reason Jax couldn’t just exist as a character without powers on the ship; he serves as a much-needed mechanic, and it’s not like Rip or Rory ever brought anything to the table other than fancy guns. However, one of the joys of Legends is admittedly the rotating team roster that has let it explore all corners of the DC Universe. And with the announcement that a character from another Arrowverse show will be joining the team soon – here’s hoping for Kid Flash! – at least the vacancy on the roster won’t stay open long.

Still, Stein and Jax both will be missed. Even in the show’s rough first season, their odd-couple dynamic brought a lot of likability to the proceedings, and they’ve only grown better over the past two years. Hopefully Jax’s soul-searching journey will bring him back to the Waverider someday down the road.