DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: “The Justice Society of America” Review
By Jonathan Kincaid
Legends has always been a show that centers heavily around teamwork. There’s no disputing how incredible it’s been seeing such iconic characters come together in live-action for the first time ever on TV. Having all these different characters with different backgrounds and outlooks unite for a common goal made season 1 absolutely amazing and undoubtedly the most distinct superhero show on the CW. But more than anything else, arguably the greatest quality about Legends as a show is how adventurous and fun it is, especially when compared to the more grounded and gritty Arrow. And now that we’re two episodes into season 2, I’m happy to report that it’s more entertaining than ever. “The Justice Society of America” only substantiates my claim. With this week’s episode, we’re introduced to the JSA and we see the Legends try to function without the guidance of their captain, Rip Hunter.
Now that the JSA is in the picture, the team begins to realize just how poorly they perform as one cohesive unit. In a sense, this is ultimately a good thing because it’s no secret that as a team the Legends have a rather difficult time seeing eye to eye with each other. They seriously lack structure and coordination – something the JSA prides themselves on. And with the absence of Rip Hunter, they’re more lost than ever now. Rip has always been the mediator and voice of reason in the group; he maintained order and civility among the crew whenever there was conflict.(well, he tried anyway). And now that he’s gone, the team’s slowly starting to fall apart from the inside out. But most notably, the Legends seem to be somewhat envious of the JSA and how well they operate as a band of heroes. They want to be like them: always in agreement and on the same page. And how can you blame them? We’re talking about the Justice Society of America here. Anyway, I found this to be a really fascinating aspect of the episode because the Legends(and we) got to see how a more coordinated team gets things done. They got to see the legendary and iconic JSA in action firsthand, and in the end, it served as a valuable learning experience for them. They learned through the JSA that in order to survive and thrive as a whole they must change their ways. Personally, I thought this was brilliant as they were in dire need of a wake-up call. Additionally, I very much so appreciated the interactions between the two groups. Initially, the JSA regarded the Legends as reckless amateurs. We’re so used to seeing the Legends and their unorthodox(but still effective) way of doing things, so it was rather refreshing seeing a more experienced and organized pack of heroes for a change. In the end, however, the two groups came to admire each other for their own individual differences and ways of handling business. The approval of the JSA should mean a great deal to the Legends. Furthermore, it goes without saying that I definitely want to see more of the JSA in episodes to come, and at this rate I think I’ll get my wish so I’m extremely excited.
Continuing on, we got to learn quite a bit about Nathan Heywood this episode. As I mentioned in my review of “Out of Time” last week, Nathan apparently has a superhero family connection and we now know to who. It turns out that Nathan is actually the grandson of none other than Henry Heywood, more commonly known as Commander Steel of the JSA. That’s right – Nathan’s grandfather was a prominent member of the fabled JSA. To me, this was quite a surprise, and the unforeseen revelation served to really flesh out Nathan more as a character which I thought was nice. Because of this, we got to see him for more than just some geeky history professor. And the time spent between him and his grandfather was heartfelt and educational to say the least. After hearing so many heroic stories about his grandfather as a child and then meeting the man himself in person, it granted him a whole new perspective on himself. In a way, he came to understand that the role he plays is just as pivotal as everyone else’s and that he doesn’t have to wear a cape to be a hero. I really enjoyed seeing Nathan develop more as a character through interacting with Henry and it’s my sincere hope that we’ll see more of him as the show moves onwards.
Moreover, Martin played a very different and unexpected role this episode: with the indirect encouragement of the JSA, he assumed the daunting role of leader of the group. I personally loved this. It was a very abnormal route for Martin to take and one that I certainly didn’t see coming, so it was a rather nice change of pace. I mean, we’re not really used to seeing Martin rise to the occasion in such a bold way, so it was very interesting seeing him in such a demanding position this time around. And needless to say, he wasn’t the right man for the job. The pressure of having to lead the team and make certain choices got the better of him and as a result he buckled. This was a given. But you wouldn’t think that Martin out of all people in the group would be the most ideal candidate for the position. He realizes this and steps down, handing over the leadership to Sara who’s way more qualified than him. I still enjoyed the abnormal role Martin played here, and seeing him in such a different kind of way was pretty cool to say the least.
Lastly, I’d like to touch up Eobard Thawne and the brief presence he had in this episode. From what we know as of now, Eobard is obviously working in conjunction with the Nazis alongside Damien Darhk. Eobard was hardly in the episode, but what he supplied the Nazis with just goes to show how intent he is on stopping the Legends by any means necessary and altering history for the worst. It’s still not entirely clear what the bigger picture is for Eobard and Darhk, but it’s certainly not good. It’ll surely be interesting seeing the uneasy alliance between Eobard and Damien develop as the season continues, and I can’t wait to find out exactly what the two evil masterminds are up to with the Nazis.
The Verdict: As a follow-up to the season premiere, “The Justice Society of America” unquestioningly delivers in every way that matters by successfully managing to balance character drama with intense action while setting up a must-see next episode. The highlight of “The Justice Society of America” was without a doubt the introduction of the JSA and how they mixed with the Legends. Another high point of “The Justice Society of America” was the conflict with the Nazis as well as the development of Nathan Heywood as a character. All in all, “The Justice Society of America” was simply an outstanding installment that more than entertained from beginning to end.