DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow S02E08 “The Chicago Way” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Sky1, Thursdays, 8pm
Writers: Sarah Nicole Jones, Ray Utarnachitt
Director: Ralph Hemecker
Essential Plot Points:
- Having joined forces, Eobard Thawne, Damien Darhk, and Malcolm Merlyn arrive in Chicago in 1927 to team up with Al Capone.
- This triggers an aberration which alerts the Legends to their presence. The team must stop Capone’s henchmen from killing Eliot Ness.
- During the mission, Stein becomes distracted when overcome with memories of his newly-acquired daughter.
- When the team finally tracks down Ness, a battle ensues with the armed henchmen and Ness is badly injured. It’s then revealed to the audience that this was bait that Merlyn has formulated.
- Nate is chosen to take Ness’s place in history since Ness is too injured to take down Capone, an important historical event.
- Mick remains onboard with Amaya, who is watching over Ness’s recovery. Mick begins hallucinating Snart, who is berating him for bonding with the team.
- Sara and Stein are abducted by Eobard during the mission to raid Capone’s club.
- Malcolm visits Sara and offers her the opportunity to change her past in exchange for the amulet she took from Darhk in 1987, but she refuses.
- Stein confesses to Sara about his daughter before being led away to be tortured.
- The team is able to rescue Sara and Stein but Stein is actually Eobard in disguise.
- During his search for the amulet on board the ship, Eobard learns of Stein’s new daughter.
- Eobard ditched his disguise. While the team fights off Eobard on board the Waverider, Malcolm begins attacking the Waverider from outside with Capone’s henchmen.
- Mick helps Amaya in her quest to revenge-kill Eobard while being advised against doing so by hallucination-Snart.
- However, Eobard manages to escape.
- Sara fights Malcolm, determined to get Stein back. She is only able to get his location and save him from being killed by Capone’s henchmen in return for surrendering the amulet.
- The Legends have fixed the timeline, but the trio of villains now has the two pieces of the amulet. When they put them together they trigger a holographic map that will lead them to the Spear of Destiny, which can rewrite reality.
- Finally, the Legends must track down Rip Hunter, who is shown to be working as a film director in 1967 Los Angeles.
As the Legends get back to dealing with the challenges in their own series after the detour of the “Invasion” crossover, this means that some of the characters benefit from some stronger character moments.
Sara’s leadership is tested in the choice between tactical advantage or compassion for one of her team; Stein wrestles with the tidal waves of emotions regarding his new daughter; Amaya is on her vengeance quest; and Mick deals with the hallucinatory manifestation of his dead friend.
The annoying thing is, all those character were already being served well in the first part of season. The weaknesses lie in the writers’ inability to utilise all that Ray has to offer or truly demonstrate why they feel Nate needs to be a fundamental member of the team.
The writers appear to have intend there to be some kind of humorous rivalry between Ray and Nate in this episode but it served more to expose how Nate could have simply been left out of the series and his screen time given to Ray so that his character journey could be more deeply explored.
The same may be said about the villainous trio of Darhk, Eobard and the latest addition, Malcolm Merlyn. Nothing about their collaboration is fundamental to the story. Given how consistently surface-level Savage was in season one, it would be wise for the Legends writers to ease up on this overcrowding of characters and simply develop one villain thoroughly.
- Sara and Stein’s material throughout the episode, and how their relationship interacts, was excellent for demonstrating their strengths in the respective roles of leader and mentor. The solidarity of their bond even extended so far as to Stein opening up to Sara about the existence of his daughter and Sara giving up the amulet to Eobard Thawne in order to secure Stein’s safe return.
- Amaya and Mick’s pairing is another compelling relationship and source of quality character material. Amaya’s vengeance story is quite compelling in how it allows her to maintain her own backstory and agency but also connect with Mick in a way that the others do not.
- Mick’s hallucination of Snart poses an interesting question of whether this is simply a symbolic story-telling tool to show how Mick is wrestling with the manifestation of new emotional attachments to his team members, or an indication of some form of mental illness, or a foreshadowing that Snart will be brought back to the team through some sci-fi loophole.
- Two villains being recycled from old stories on other CW DC shows was already pushing it but three is downright gratuitous. It’s already been established that Legends is a show that has its origins in both Arrow and The Flash. But now the series is putting too much focus on drudging up old characters/stories that would’ve been better off left to rest.
- Much like in the terrible token “Japanese” episode, Nate is given a significant amount of responsibility in this episode. This time it’s up to him to take down Al Capone. It’s quite baffling why the writers keep prioritising him while continuing to give Ray mere scraps. It would be more meaningful to develop the nuances of his characterisation than to continue piling on such large plot points.
And The Random:
- While pretending to be Eliot Ness, Nate gives Ray the alias “Bob De Niro”. Robert De Niro played Al Capone in The Untouchables (1987). Ray also does an impression of Sean Connery, who plays Jim Malone in the same film, and also comments that Ness looks nothing like Kevin Costner, who played Eliot Ness in The Untouchables.
- Ray obviously knows the film inside out as his also adapts Malone’s quote, “Bringing a knife to a gun fight,” to, “Bringing a Tommy gun to a Ion blaster fight.”
Reviewed by Jenevia Kagawa Darcy