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Legends - Wilderness of Mirrors & Identity - Review

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We got a lot of answers in the final two episodes of the Legends season one finale. We also saw a major shake up that leaves us with a cliffhanger and lots of story to explore should Legends return for a season two.

I’m having a little trouble with writing this review without knowing whether this was a series finale. On my first watch, I found the pace of the revelations a little jarring. After a full season of getting clues delivered slowly, suddenly there was an information dump – too much to handle really, and too much that involved newer characters who weren’t introduced until the final few episodes.

While I could make the argument that it’s important that we got these answers if the show is cancelled, if it’s not, then I would have preferred that the pacing was slowed at the end with only a partial reveal on what had happened in Iraq, who Martin was, and why there was a cover up. There was a lot of plot development put into these last two episodes. The first one, I thought, was handled a little better than the second for reasons I’ll get into below.

Wilderness of Mirrors

The penultimate episode starts with Sonya and Aiden kidnapped by thugs who are working for Bashir, who in turn is working for Prince Fayeed – the man behind the Saudi oil minister assassination. Bashir knows Martin’s “Martin Odum” identity, and is using threats against Sonya and Aiden to force Martin into giving him information.

This episode’s biggest strength is that it illuminates and ties off some loose ends to storylines that we’d been following all season. A lot of this first episode focused on Martin and his family. We received a double payback – we finally saw Martin learn that Sonya had been lying to him about his identity and being in a car accident, and we were treated to a more intimate look into their family relationships.

One of the parts I enjoyed more was getting a glimpse into the dynamics between Aiden and Sonya. One of the kidnappers users the expression “chip off the old block” to describe Aiden, tying his spunk back to Martin, but as I watched he and Sonya being held captive, I couldn’t help but think he was as much if not more like his mother. This was a rare opportunity to see more of Aiden’s personality.

Putting on my critical hat, I think Aiden has been portrayed as a little too flat. I’ve had trouble reconciling his actions with his age - he acts too adult and well-adjusted for a child who is presumably under 10 years old if he is, in fact, Martin’s son. But it was nice touch to see he’s being written as having a little of his parents in him. Speaking of the question of his parentage, I think they’re going with Aiden being Martin’s son, if for no other reason than the fact that Martin didn’t react that Aiden couldn’t be his son when he realized he was someone else in 2004.

The episode continues with Martin freeing himself, leaving a lot of bodies on the floor in a nice action scene, and then later Sonya and Aiden being rescued by Martin and an FBI team. The second half of the episode largely focuses on Martin and Sonya. Gates had confessed to Martin that he had worked for WITSEC (the federal Witness Protection Service) and had been given orders to make Martin disappear – hence the creation of the Martin Odum legend. With that new knowledge, and piecing together that Sonya had insisted he was in a car accident in 2004, Martin had some questions for her.

During their confrontation in which she confessed the truth, we learned Sonya was CIA and saw through flashbacks that looked a lot like a blond Trinity (The Matrix) back in 2004. She had been ordered to help Martin disappear and saved him from attackers at the hospital and became his “wife.” She tells Martin that she grew to love him and left his role in the CIA to be with him.

As I watched this episode, I wished that I had seen more of Martin and Sonya’s past relationship. Actress Amber Valletta (Sonya) gave a very strong performance as someone who genially loves Martin, but we saw so little context of their relationship over the season that it was hard to feel as attached to it as we maybe should have been feeling at this point in the story.

Some of my nitpicks with this episode included the complete dropping of Hani Jibril’s storyline. Once it took a turn and focused on Bashir revealing Martin’s identity, we never heard anything more about Jibril’s case or fate. While last week I remarked I wasn’t invested in this case, nonetheless, they wasted about two hours of our time on it, so they should have least tied it up.

Speaking of loose ends, during the shootout, Sonya told Aiden to hide under the bed and not come out until she came to get him. As parametics were carting the shot Sonya away, Aiden was nowhere to be seen, so I couldn’t help but think he was still hiding under the bed because she never came to get him.

Another nitpick was Odum pulling out a gun in a meeting with a senior FBI agent, with a mild threat attached, and this being considered OK. I get it, he does things his own way, but come on.


I’m less kind to the second hour of the finale. While I think where we ended is intriguing, and sets up a potentially very interesting plot for season 2 – should the show return – too much of it was centered around new characters and new developments, leading to it feeling too rushed. I honestly had to watch this a few times to get all of the characters and the story straight. The show did what it has been doing all season long, and that is make a jarring sudden turn that leads us into new territory without much of a build up.

Another issue is that it ended on a cliffhanger – a dangerous practice for a new show without any sense as its being produced of what its numbers will look like and whether it will be renewed. It leaves us with Martin on the run after being framed for assassinating the director of the FBI, and Verax having inserted their people into all relevant government agencies – which clears the path for them to continue their evil plans. I have mixed feelings about the cliffhanger. On the one hand, the show did answer the most important questions they’d been teasing all season, which are who Martin really is, what happened in Iraq, and why there was a cover up. The show took a gamble that it would get a second season. And should it survive, it ended on a strong finish. On the other hand, so many shows fail after their first season, and networks ending shows on cliffhangers is a sure way to burn trust with viewers.

The major plot in this second half of the two-part finale was that Jason Shaw, the CEO of Verax, finally comes to learn that the man he has been looking for is living as an FBI agent by the name of Martin Odum. He then arranges to have Martin kidnapped, where we are treated to a big information dump by means of exposition and some flashbacks. We end with Martin framed for the murder of the FBI Director, the one high ranking government official who is a potential threat to Verax, and Verax succeeding in getting complete control over the US government.

What we learn during this information dump is that Martin was a British Secret Service agent who ordered the bombing of their Iraqi position (causing the horrific friendly-fire event) because he had learned Verax had obtained Saddam’s missing weapons of mass destruction. The bombing was intended to destroy the weapons before they could be transported and cause even more deaths.

We also learned that before this event had occurred, Verax men had stolen American money meant for funding insurgents and had killed American soldiers in the process. Martin, being undercover, played a role in this event as well – the revelation of which ties back to the idea that Martin has things to feel guilty about that he’s forced to so while undercover (killing the man with VX while working the Yuri case).

Meanwhile, the Deep Cover Operations unit has been shut down. Crystal, we saw, was a faithful friend in the end, arguing on behalf of Martin and their unit in government hearings. Gates also remains a friend and ally to Martin, meeting Martin in secret with an offer to assist where he’s needed.

Thoughts on the Season

This show looked very promising at the start – an FBI agent with mysteriously erased past who is under a lot of pressure and having issues with his memory. Sean Bean as Odum was excellent casting, and his strong performances combined with his charisma mostly carried the show. While there were also some strong actors in supporting roles – Gates, Maggie, Sonya, and Rice come to mind – the supporting cast was never given much more than a superficial role to play in this story. Their characters remained mostly flat.

I was hoping a lot more from the character of Crystal because she was set up as a pretty important character in the series, but the character seemed from the start to be shoehorned into a romantic pairing with Martin and never given much attention in the way of development outside of that. She was angry with him, trying to control him, and then at the end his best friend. And that was a shame, if for no other reason, than Martin and Crystal never had much in the way of chemistry. Martin had better romantic chemistry with both Sonya and Ana, and friendship chemistry with Maggie and Gates.

But one of the biggest issue was that this show had trouble keeping a consistent feel. It jumped back and forth between trying on a typical case of the week format (even if those cases extended to two weeks), to having an X-Files (conspiracy, everyone’s out to get you) feel to it, to a 24-vibe when it was one many many racing against the clock to stop a dirt weapons attack on American soil.

Another major issue was that there was too much repeating of information we already knew (Martin had trouble keeping his legends straight and was having flashbacks to bombs in Iraq), but key characters and pieces that we didn’t know weren’t even introduced until the final episodes.

I’m hoping this show comes back. Despite my criticism, I looked forward to it each week, and Bean as Martin was really hypnotic to watch. We also did get some good side stories, and there was potential set up for a strong second season if they can work out the bigger problems.

What did you think of the finale episodes and the series? Let me know in the comments.

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