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Legends of Tomorrow - Star City 2046 - Review: "Oliver Queen? He's (h)armless"

While on the whole, I liked Star City 2046, there is one particular grievance that I need to air above all else. It feels like these reviews are becoming something of a broken record in that regard, but it needs saying.

Is there any chance that Legends of Tomorrow can make Kendra into an actual character at any point soon?

In recent weeks, we’ve seen her lose the man whom she’s destined to be with (and as such, I’m fine with her being in a relationship with), go through a phase of inability to control rage (after that particular topic had already been explored with Sara) and then mostly just stand in the background and spout exposition. But this week? Kendra went from reincarnated heroine Hawkgirl to a love interest for Jax and Ray.

I can’t decide what the worst thing about this storyline was. The clichéd idea that women characters on TV need to become love interests, even if for a short time? The fact that there was absolutely no build up to Jax’s seemingly strong interest in her? Putting Ray and Jax head-to-head and provoking memories of that awful Oliver-Felicity-Ray love triangle from Arrow’s third season? There were plenty of options to choose from.

The only minor redeeming factor was Kendra’s rejection of Ray, and her reasoning why she did so was well within reasoned logic. In fact, virtually all of those reasons were screaming out at me like alarm bells as the episode went on. Kendra needs something to do, that much is clear. But is the story - both Kendra’s and the overarching narrative - and Ciara Renée, really best served doing this?

The minds behind Legends of Tomorrow seem to have written themselves into a corner with Kendra. After killing Carter in the second hour of the pilot, the show hasn’t quite figured out what role she can play, beyond being confined to the Waverider because Rip won’t let the only person who can kill Vandal Savage die - despite her having proven that she can handle herself. While Carter’s death was a pretty ballsy move, it means now that there is no one on the team that can relate to Kendra, and so she feels like an outsider. Not that she didn’t when Carter was around, but at least she had another outsider to interact with then.

Normally, I’d suggest that Kendra is baggage that Legends of Tomorrow can afford to - and should - drop. However, Pilot: Part Two already established that she plays an integral role in the killing of Vandal Savage, and so it’s impossible to jettison her now. Instead, the show needs to give her something resembling a storyline, because currently, it makes for tiring viewing.

Anyway! Onto some stuff that was actually good. The desolate look at Star City in 2046 was really intriguing. Perhaps it was the fact that I considered Star City to be a terrible place to live already, and it was entertaining to see that the 2016 version is actually a pretty good place to live compared to this potential future, or maybe that all of Oliver’s work was, in the long run, unsuccessful. Maybe I, like Mick, just want to watch the world burn. Either way, I enjoyed it.

It seemed like we were back in the age of #PeakArrow, with Deathstroke taking over the city with his army. But it wasn’t Slade Wilson attacking, and it wasn’t Oliver Queen defending. No, this time it was Connor Hawke/John Diggle Jr. attempting to stop Grant Wilson from bringing any more chaos. I liked what they did with Wilson, with him following in his father’s footsteps. Switching up Connor Hawke and making him Diggle’s son instead of Oliver’s was good too. The reasoning for it - Diggle’s death at Wilson’s hand - perhaps seemed a touch too similar to Oliver’s initial motivation for donning the green hood, but I found it effective. The name change to Connor Hawke, less so, but they had to get the comic book reference in somewhere, so I’ll let it slide.

The highlight of the hour came as Sara, Rip and Connor found Oliver all alone and one-armed in the base introduced earlier in Arrow’s fourth season. “Everyone thinks that you’re dead,” Sara tells the former Green Arrow.

“Well, they’re not wrong,” he replies.

And they aren’t. At 61 years of age, with a missing left arm and all of his friends having been killed by Wilson, Oliver isn’t in the best condition. His state of mind is quite reminiscent of him after Tommy’s death, where he closed himself off and temporarily gave up the mantle of ‘The Hood’. This time, there was no one to bring him back. No Diggle and Felicity to parachute out of a plane to convince him to return. Instead, he remained in the base, wallowing in his own self-pity and remorse.

The scene he shared with Sara was pretty sad, actually, as he explained exactly why Star City lost its original Green Arrow. I enjoy watching Oliver broken and depressed more than I do at any other time, and this was no exception. Sara’s later attempt to bring him back into things was great too, even if perhaps a little rushed.

Also a little rushed? Bringing the entire team in to fight Wilson’s men. While I liked Stein’s speech to Rip, Legends keeps on doing this thing where it has team members split up and then just as something big is going down with one or two of them, suddenly everyone is there to help. Even if Legends can do the hard yards to justify their late-in-the-episode appearance, there comes a point where it’s no longer a fun gimmick. I think this is that point. Still, the action set-piece was good to watch, and I really enjoyed the battle between two Green Arrows and Wilson.

2046’s barren Star City was home to a plethora of criminals other than Grant Wilson. A perfect environment, then, for career law-breakers Leonard Snart and Mick Rory. Except Snart had no interest in sticking around, while Mick thought he’d hit the jackpot and was now king of the streets. And he only had to kill one person! Boy, controlling Star City in 30 years’ time is easy.

This divide between the two deviants caused a big ripple, so much so that Snart resorted to knocking out Mick and temporarily imprisoning him on the Waverider, before attempting to put Mick in his place. “I’m the brains, you’re the muscle,” Snart tells his hot-headed friend. Soon after, Mick threatens to burn Snart, along with the world, if he does anything like this again. It’s very intriguing to see how far Snart has come in just a few episodes, going from wanting to move from time period to time period pulling jobs, to wanting to be one of, and I quote, “the two baddest sons-of-bitches of all time.”

More to the point, he seems to care, even a little bit, about his teammates, which is more than can be said for his partner (except Ray, for a very short time). Snart is one of the two best characters on the show (Sara being the other), and it’s not difficult to see why. This aspect of his character is a great road for the show to travel on, and I’m happy to go along for the ride.

  • I apologise for the terrible pun in the title. I had to use it somewhere.
  • “That is not a nice family,” Ray says of the Wilsons. Worth remembering, Slade still has another son, Joe, out there somewhere.
  • “Palmer Tech sounds better, right? Be honest.” “Honestly, they sound about the same.”
  • A lot of Arrow score was used in this episode. You’ll hear no complaints from me on that one.
  • So, Diggle, Laurel, Quentin and Thea all died, and Felicity left town, never to be heard from again?
  • Even more repetitive (and boring) than the sudden timely appearance of the team is the constant use of these ‘we’re going to a new time but we won’t say which time until the next episode’ cliffhangers.
  • Did I mention how much I hate the idea of Kendra being a love interest?
Star City 2046 was an overall good instalment that offered us a bleak, yet fascinating look at the hometown of the Green Arrow in a Deathstroke-invaded future. Still, abysmally weak storylines like Kendra’s continue to prevent Legends of Tomorrow from coming close to the potential that we saw back when that first trailer dropped.

What did you all think of Star City 2046? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author - Bradley Adams
17 year old based in England, currently Senior Staff at SpoilerTV. Most of his posts are news/spoiler based, though he is currently the reviewer of Person of Interest, co-host on the SpoilerTV Podcast. Created and is in charge of the yearly Favourite Episode Competition and currently runs the Favourite Series Competition. A big TV fan, his range of shows are almost exclusively dramas, while some of his all-time favourite shows include 24, LOST, Breaking Bad and Friends. Some of his current favourites include Person of Interest, Banshee, Arrow, The Flash, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul and many more. He also runs an Arrow fans site, ArrowFansUK, and aside from TV, is a keen cricketer. Get in touch with him via the links below or via email bradley@spoilertv.com
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