DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 Premiere Shows the Crisis Didn’t Change Much

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BY January 22, 2020

Technically, the last hour of the Crisis On Infinite Earths finale was the season 5 premiere for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. (If the giant walking Beebo wasn’t a clue.) However, the spiritual season 5 premiere of Legends of Tomorrow was Tuesday’s episode “Meet the Legends.” In the Legends of Tomorrow season 4 finale, the entire Time Bureau was shuttered. So, in theory, the Legends have to fight for the right to keep gallivanting through history screwing things up for the better. It also positioned the show for a major change to the status quo. The Legends, after their battle at Heyworld Amusement Park, became public figures. In order to manage their image, Jes McCallan’s Ava Sharpe embeds a documentary crew on their time-ship the Waverider. Hijinks ensue.

Thanks to the Crisis, many of the CW shows get to soft-reboot things because the universe itself was rebooted. On Supergirl Lex Luthor is a good guy. On Black Lightning Freeland is a part of a larger, superheroic world. So, the status quo change for the Arrowverse writ large could help one on Legends. Well, that’s not what happens. We won’t spoil the episode, but it suffices to say that by the end, the Legends again are the forgotten superhero team in the eyes of Earth-Prime. Similarly, the show remains the mad romp that it is, full of action, preposterous plots, and very silly gags. The arc of season 5 will find the Legends traveling through history fighting evil humans raised from Hell with the help of Matt Ryan’s John Constantine. The below poster for the season highlights what a strange, diverse show it is.

Season 5 premiere legends of tomorrow poster Image via CW

The Season 5 Premiere Does Bring Changes to Legends of Tomorrow

Season 5 premiere legends of tomorrow Ray Nate and Behrad Image via CW

There is one big change for the Legends, and it has nothing to do with the Crisis. In the last season, Tala Ashe’s Zari Tomaz changed her timeline for the better. Yet, it meant that she vanished from the Waverider and the minds of her teammates (because they never recruited her). This is especially hard on Nick Zano’s Nate Heywood, the unlucky-in-love Legend. He knows something is missing, just not what (or who) it is. In Zari’s place, Shayan Sobhian steps in as her brother Behrad, now the bearer of her “wind totem.” A power he used in a pretty funny gag to quickly the clear his room of marijuana smoke when the documentary crew steps in. Shot in a semi-mockumentary style, this episode finds the Legends in an awkward situation, coping as public figures. This actually helps Caity Lotz’s Sara Lance in her story, dealing with the death of her friend and ex-boyfriend Oliver Queen.

Lotz played her grieving process honestly and powerfully, but without bringing down the tone of the show.  However, not all the changes are positive. The season 5 premiere of Legends of Tomorrow also highlights how swollen the cast currently is. Brandon Routh who plays original Legend Ray Palmer (The Atom) will leave the series this year. He and Courtney Ford’s Nora Dahrk are going to be written off, likely with a happy ending. Still, that leaves 10 Legends on the ship (and Adam Tsekhman’s Gary Green). The series has always been an ensemble, but the Waverider is getting very crowded. The series may end up shedding more characters. Sad as that would be, it could help the series from becoming too crowded. This show only works so long as we care about the individual characters.

The Arrowverse Needs the Levity of the Legends After Crisis

Season 5 premiere legends of tomorrow The gang Image via CW

Unlike The Flash, Supergirl, or Black Lightning, the Legends don’t get full seasons. Instead of 23 to 25 episodes, they run for around 16. This year, they will get only 15 episodes, counting their Crisis hour. Still, with all the heavy drama playing out on the other shows, especially the mournful final season of Arrow, the Arrowverse needs to spend some time with some idiots. Just like with The Guardians of the Galaxy, there is something satisfying about seeing a bunch of dopes be heroic. Striking the balance between fun and drama is the challenge all comic book properties face. Almost impossibly, the formula Legends uses works brilliantly.

In leaning into the inherent silliness of many comic book exploits, it helps to stave off staleness in the genre. If all of the CW cape shows were dour, brooding affairs with heroes in (emotional) crisis, it could wear on the audience. This is a series that has murderous unicorns, literal fairy godmothers, had the whole cast as puppets for an act, and routinely uses an Elmo knockoff named Beebo as a villain. It still delivers emotional character stories, but only to fans able to balance that sort of thing with pure goofiness in the same hour of television.

What did you think of the season 5 premiere of Legends of Tomorrow? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Featured image via CW

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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

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