Legends Of Tomorrow Welcome To The Jungle Review
Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 7: Welcome to the Jungle is a brilliant take on the Vietnam War and easily the best episode we’ve seen so far this season.
While previous installments of Season 3 have all excelled in their own ways, they’ve all had their very noticeable shortcomings as well. “Zari” proved to be a most inadequate introduction for its titular character, and “Return of the Mack” seemed to err a little too much on the side of parody, for instance. So it says a lot about Tuesday night’s show that it didn’t contain any glaring missteps on par with these and other episodes, instead boasting a litany of strong qualities.
For starters, the Vietnam setting and storyline are handled remarkably well. As the years go on and the war fades from memory, it becomes easier and easier for people to forget the trauma the experience of that conflict and the resulting havoc wreaked on American society (to say nothing of the much more bloody havoc wreaked on the Vietnamese countryside and people). And although 40 minutes is hardly enough time to delve deep into the ethical questions and issues surrounding the war and its conduct, the program does an excellent job of capturing the ambiguity and anxiety of it. Even a simple line by Ray (Brandon Routh) about the US military’s objectives in the conflict being unclear and murky does its part to emphasize the moral grayness and borderline insanity of the Vietnam War.
But wait, there’s more! As if telling a smart, well-crafted story about one of the most controversial episodes of American history wasn’t enough, the showrunners went ahead and threw in everyone’s favorite evil telepathic ape into the mix! Yes, Gorilla Grodd is back, and hellbent on triggering a nuclear war this time around. As you might imagine, it’s hard to not think of Kong: Skull Island with the Vietnam-era setting, to say nothing of the giant killer ape, but Legends manages to make much better use of both of these elements than that film did.
The only real flaw the episode has is the acting of two of its guests. Evan Jones and Peter Hall guest star as Mick’s (Dominic Purcell) father Dick Rory and then-president Lyndon Johnson, and both apparently saw fit to use the most put-on voices possible for their respective roles. Although Jones has the excuse of trying to sound somewhat like Mick, Hall’s portrayal of LBJ borders on outright caricature and would probably be more at home in South Park than Legends of Tomorrow. Still, I wouldn’t hold this against the episode however.
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