It’s a dangerous and deadly world out there for a hero (or a villain). Especially so on The CW, between Arrow and The Flash, the network has not been afraid to kill off some main characters. Both of series ended their first season in a shocking death of a main character. Now Arrow and The Flash have been joined by a new spinoff, Legends of Tomorrow. It’s a huge superhero team-up show surrounding time travel with eight(!) core members on the team.
It’s super cute that the leader, Rip Hunter, has arranged all the seats on his time machine in nice pairs. Maybe it would be Legends of Tomorrow’s best interest to cut down on that massive team. Perhaps rather than end the season on a major character death, Legends of Tomorrow should open on one. Legends of Tomorrow should kill a team member off sooner rather than later.
Spoilers may follow for the episode 2 of Legends of Tomorrow….
How Many Legends are Too Many Legends?
One of the main criticisms that has been levied against Legends of Tomorrow is that the team is too big. It’s understandable, the amount of regulars on the team is huge. When everyone is gathered together it’s kind of dizzying to imagine how Legends of Tomorrow will possibly be able to make of all it work. If there is such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen, there should be a thing as too many superheroes in a time machine. The CW felt they needed a whole half hour special before the series premiere to reorient or introduce all the character.
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On a personal level while I thought the first half of Legends of Tomorrow pilot was a lot fun, it did feel crowded. There’s a lot going on with the plot because time travel is always tricky. There is even more going on with the characters. I’m unabashed nerd so I have near encyclopedic knowledge of these characters but the average viewer, the normal sane person, they have to be struggling to know everyone. A shocking death at the end of the second episode would be a nice way to alleviate that problem and be an unexpected story swerve at the same time.
Raising the Stakes
At the end of “Pilot, Part 1” the heroes of Legends of Tomorrow have very little riding on their mission. They’ve been told that history views them as failures and insignificant blips on the radar. They are determined to make something of themselves by hunting Vandal Savage. It’s a definitely a motivation but it’s a pretty abstract one. With the exception of Rip, Kendra and Carter are the only ones who have a personal stake in taking down Vandal Savage. The team is also about as motley and disorganized as you can imagine.
Tragedy could be the unifying factor for the team. Now no one from the team, with the exception of a few pairs, is particularly close. However if one of their own were die it would have impact. The team might be largely ambivalent to one another, but seeing one of their own perish could be a powerful motivator. There’s a big difference between ambivalence and wanting someone dead.
A pop culture legend in his own right, Joss Whedon, has been very vocal about one of his creative wishes. Whedon has said in multiple interviews that he loves the idea of putting a character front and center, in the credits, and killing them off right away. It’s the subversion of expectation. Here’s this guy (or a girl) who you think you are going to follow and then they are ripped away. Nothing is as it seems and the world is full of danger. Whedon has never been able to quite pull the theory of the idea off, though he’s tried several times. Legends of Tomorrow is now in a perfect position to do this bold and daring move.
So Who Should Kick the Bucket?
The matter then has to be settled who should die on Legends of Tomorrow, which character would be better off dead in other words. Though Mick Rory was surprisingly entertaining in the first part of the pilot, his power set is kind of irrelevant. Heatwave is a guy with a flamethrower gun. There is another member on Legends of Tomorrow who is half a brilliant scientist and half a former star athlete and skilled mechanic. They form together to create a superhero that can shoot fire from all over their body and fly. Heatwave and his tiny little gun seems a little silly and useless in comparison. For that reason, it might make sense to kill off Heatwave but that doesn’t mean he is most likely to die.
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Reading the official episode descriptions released from The CW, the finger points in a different direction. In the description for “Pilot, Part 2” Falk Hentschael who plays Cater Hall, Hawkman, is listed as a guest star. Carter is only described as helping Kendra, Hawkgirl, remember something vital in that episode. In the episode descriptions for the following two episodes, Carter’s name (and Hentschael’s) are completely missing. It’s been previously established that the Hawkpeople’s memories of their past lives are triggered by trauma. It is possible that Carter will make the ultimate sacrifice in a way that brings all of Kendra’s missing memories back? Could Carter’s death galvanize the team into real action and give them a real to fight another than Rip’s (admittedly) tragic backstory?
What do you think? Will Hawkgirl be flying solo come episode 3 of Legends of Tomorrow? Should Hawkman die? Should any of the Legends of Tomorrow meet their end? Are you fine with the size of the team or could it use some trimming? What did you think of the first episode of Legends of Tomorrow?
Legends of Tomorrow season 1 airs Thursdays at 8pm on The CW.
(Images courtesy of The CW)