Legends of Tomorrow: ‘Compromised’ Review
By Mitchell Sigal
Welcome to Miami, 1987! Actually, Washington, DC, 1987, but I appreciated the Miami Vice-like opening to the episode.
“Compromised” is a very accurately titled episode, as just about everyone finds themselves in that sort of position tonight. From Sarah’s struggle between her role as leader and her desire for vengeance to Stein’s academic interests vs. his romantic ones to Amaya and even Mick of all people! Everyone’s dealing with a clash of interests personal and professional tonight. Hell, even Darhk ends up there by the end.
For Sarah, the struggle is the most obvious. Her desire to kill Darhk and save her sister from dying in the future was nearly a costly mistake for the team last time they saw him, and now she’s keenly aware (and reminded by Stein) that she’s their captain. Going rogue isn’t really an option anymore, but that doesn’t stop her from trying it once anyways. And no surprise, it goes extremely poorly once again. Seriously, what do they teach you about assassinating in the League of Assassins? None of them seem to be very good at it. Breaking out knives in the middle of the White House of all places is very clearly a recipe for getting yourself killed–and she nearly does just that, as well as nearly getting Ray, Mick, Stein and Jax killed. She does at least learn from this…sort of. The next time she sees Darhk, Sarah manages to contain her vengeance, but unfortunately makes one of the biggest time travel mistakes ever in telling him what his fate will be. She really should know better, especially since she knows he’s working with a time traveler, but given that she’s being denied killing him and saving her sister outright, I can see why she’d take the opportunity to rub his face in his future utter failure. So in the end, Sarah is not only herself still compromised (if less so), she’s compromised everything else for the team and their future now, too.
The next major story of being compromised is also about compromising, with Mick and Ray. Mick’s attempts to turn Ray into Snart are, of course, not going well. Ray’s desire to tamper with the cold gun to improve it/make it easier for him to use is largely a practical matter, but Mick’s reaction is in truth completely emotional as he denies this over and over again. His inability to even say the word “feelings” in that car heart to heart is pretty amusing, even if it is silly. But it’s about as stilted and awkward as any non-explosive display of emotion could ever be from Mick, and it shows some growth that he gets this out at all, along with his advice to Ray.
Ray’s continued storyline of trying to find his new place on the ship turns into a larger personal crisis for him this week. It being Ray, even his identity crisis sort of happens in stride and with a fairly chipper attitude. It feels off that he needs Mick to say he believes in him in order to figure out how to defuse the bombs, though. I much preferred his talk with Stein prior to the state dinner scene, accompanied by Stein’s continued bafflement at the attitude of his younger self and his ignoring of his wife. But Mick’s acceptance after this of the fact that Snart’s gun will need to be dismantled is another good step forward for him in realizing and acknowledging that Snart cannot truly be replaced; that’s a space no one else will ever fill, and that’s okay.
Speaking of Stein, his compromised status here is more about his younger self than it is about him, and while it’s a fun enough storyline, we’re of course more invested in the late model than the young one. However, going back to that talk with Ray, Stein does get to offer some good insight to both Ray and young Stein. This is in a way the kind of perspective I was hoping we’d get more of from Stein in the first season, a man who was older and therefore had a different perspective on life and time than anyone else. What he tells Ray is really solid advice, too — you learn who you are by living, and living and learning from it? That’s the point. Take it from the guy who’s got a few decades on you, Haircut.
Finally, we’ve got Amaya, who has a little more to do here, but it doesn’t feel like a whole lot, to be honest. It takes the whole episode for her to admit that yes, she and Rex were involved — or at least, they were going to be until he was killed. Todd, aka Obsidian, is the only one who seems to be insisting that she’s compromised by her feelings for Rex, but those feelings never actually get in the way of anything for her. She’s still dedicated to justice over revenge, and pledges to arrest Rex’s killer rather than kill him herself; her talk with Sarah makes this clear, as well as giving Sarah some food for thought. Now, anyone who’s seen Thawne on The Flash knows it’s unlikely anything but death will stop this guy, but right now, Amaya remains steadfast. And actually, would killing Thawne even do it? He should be dead already per his storyline on that show, yet he’s not, and if in theory this is Thawne before he’s erased from existence, then doesn’t that mean he needs to escape in the end or else a whole lot of the timeline on The Flash will be undone…? Ugh, time travel problems.
Back to Amaya. Most of what I liked her was getting to see her interact with Nate, and finally tell him some personal details about his grandfather in the end, accepting that having personal attachments really isn’t such a bad thing on a team. So, it’s good to see her stoic nature crack a little. Todd’s goodbye to her heavily implies that yes, there will be a romantic interest in her future, and right now it looks like it’ll be Nate. Though she did have some flirty vibes with Ray in their team-up a few episodes back, so, who knows?
Which leaves us with Darhk, a man who barely has enough emotion to be compromised, but when Sarah spells out his failure and loss to him, this all changes and he’s ready to go change history and his own destiny with Thawne’s help. This does not bode well for anyone, and leaves me even more certain that by the end of the season, Season 4 of Arrowwill have been rewritten in significant ways.
– Nate is just plain fun! I like him. His exchange about hugs with Sarah was great, his enthusiasm for all things historical is endearing, and he’s just continuing to bring the charm.
– However, the CGI for his steel-face when he’s talking is pretty awful.
– Some good fight scenes in this episode! I feel these are the one thing that hasn’t been up to par compared to last season so far, so it was good to see that bar being raised.
– I don’t know exactly what kind of security measures and such the White House had in ’87, but I really feel like the Legends here would’ve been full of bullets and that the not-very-wel–hidden bomb should’ve been found without their help!
– Todd admitting he’s gay to Amaya is a nice moment whose weight should be more. He’s a man admitting to his friend from the 40’s that he is gay in the 80’s. Neither of those can have been easy for him, and she should’ve had more of a reaction, I think.
– When are these guys going to think about looking for Rip or finding out what happened to him? Or just, you know, say his name?
– Don’t cross the streams!