You know the unbridled arrogance of this show just makes me love it more and more as we hurdle into “Pilot, Part Two”. We get to see what happens when everything goes belly up and our team is forced to improvise under dire circumstances, but we still manage to see that they are not quite a team. They are an assortment of misplaced parts that are trying to work together, and even when they don’t succeed they are learning to work together in some manner. Case in point this week’s “teams” as both the A and B teams managed to develop their characters in ways that I was not expecting. Of course this is all while the stakes are constantly being raised higher due to everyone mucking up the timeline in their own special ways. It says a lot about the show that all I want is to see each one of these characters somehow take the reins and elevate this spectacle to a whole other level.
First thing’s first we really need to set some ground rules for time travel, because as with any good time travel show the longer we wait the wonkier the rules will become. Exhibit A is Marty, Dr. Stein’s younger self who is allowed to see basically his entire future and yet it has no clearly visible ramifications on Stein getting to see all of this future tech. Also apparently you can screw with your own timeline and have no real ramification, which feels like a real breach of the time traveler’s code. Similarly, Savage now knows about the team so if they somehow run into him in the past won’t that negate the whole him not knowing who they are part of the arms deal? There are a ton of questions about the rules that I hope will be answered moving forward, because as of right now it doesn’t feel like there are any real stakes to screwing with the timeline.
With those qualms out of the way I basically loved everything else as we get to see all of these characters play off of each other in strong ways. Watching Marty hit on Sara while Stein and Jax are watching and getting stoned was all kinds of enjoyable. I especially liked how Stein knew exactly how to stroke his younger self’s ego in order to find the device they required to track down Ray’s broken suit. Better still was the fact that Stein has seemingly come to terms with just how much of an arrogant bastard he is, and watching Jax remind him that those qualities make them a good team. It helped to solidify their bond more after the entire drugging Jax nearly screwed up their partnership. Also, although I have my problems with the rules of time travel not being concrete yet, I did enjoy the final moment between Rip and Stein. Despite Rip being an arrogant and curmudgeonly leader, he does seem to care about the team in his own special way.
We also managed to have a nice bonding moment as Ray was forced to team up with Snart and Mick and actually see how the other half works. I loved the fact that Mick and Snart were on the exact same page and knew exactly how this entire affair would play out. That is a testament to how well Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller know each other that this scene came off with such a natural flow to it that it was not even funny. Similarly, watching Brandon Routh fumble around and assume he was hot stuff was super humbling, since Ray thinks that he is the greatest thing since sliced bread. That moment where Snart and Ray have a heart to heart could have easily come off as super cheesy or off key, but Miller and Routh know the exact right notes to hit to make us care about their budding friendship/rivalry.
The other thing that the show has going for it right now is that apparently the CW has given them a blank check in terms of budget to just go super big. All of the action from the opening fight at the arms deal to the final battle in front of Savage’s mansion just shows how epic in scope this series is. I mean the effects of the last two episodes alone probably equal up to five episodes of The Flash, and they look damn good doing it. Even when all of this action is going on we get some great moments including Hawkman’s unfortunate demise and Jax being able to contain a nuclear explosion. Hawkman’s death is huge for the team as it is their first casualty, but I am assuming that we will run into another incarnation of Carter at some point. I also loved seeing just how much more confident Jax has become in his abilities as containing that nuclear explosion was no easy task, hopefully he will do something else besides shoot fire in the future as half the fun of being Firestorm is transmitting things.
Overall it was a really strong continuation of the first part of the pilot, but I am looking forward to getting out of 1975.
Final Grade B+
+Excellent team ups
-Vandal kind of weak still
-No concrete rules for time travel yet
-Rip kind of sidelined
-I seriously hope there is a running gag of the team running into Carter in the past and having him die. It seems like a fun way to keep him on the show.
-The moment where Sara tells Jax she is “Not too high to beat up a bunch of scientists” was pure gold. Caity Lotz working early and hard on being the MVP of the series.
-Rip really didn’t do much this week besides give his best “I’m the Doctor” smirk at the end.
-Lines of the night all involve Stein. Marty for “Let’s go spark a doobie and rock about physics.” and the best Stein and Sara conversation: Martin: “We wouldn’t want my former self tempted by a sexy assassin from the future.” Sara: “Aww, you think I’m se—” Martin: “Do not finish that sentence.”