Legends of Tomorrow Abominations Review
The CW‘s Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 4: Abominations opens with the crew of the Waverider receiving a distress signal from a time pirate who has crashed landed in Mississippi in 1863, right smack dab in the middle of America’s Civil War. In his
message, he mentions a dangerous futuristic weapon: TX-90 that could have a terrible impact on the timeline.
Obviously, the crew knows they need to check out whatever has unraveled in 1863. Shortly after touching down the team comes across a young black man being chased by a group of soldiers. Now that we’re one season deep we have a general sense of the group’s initial reaction: don’t do anything to the timeline. But the Legends do take action and also discover that the group of soldiers is really actually a hoard of zombies. Who knew.
The young black man is injured in the attack. As he lays dying the group learns that his is a man sent by General Grant’s army to locate and bring back the Confederate attack plans. After the timeline reveals the impact of their dead messenger, Jax (Franz Drameh) feels obligated to finish the man’s task.
But Stein (Victor Garber)is more concerned about his other half of Firestorm: Jax. Stein is fully aware of the state of things in 1863. He is concerned about how dangerous it may be for Jax. But Jax makes a really great point that really sets the tone of this particular episode. He equates the young man being used as a spy for the Union because in his world Black people are ‘invisible’.
It is a very honest commentary coming from a young man from 2016 who has most likely seen and encountered his own fair share of racism. In this episode, we get a lot better sense of who Jax is on the inside. At the beginning of the first season, Jax is an irritated teenager who had no interest in time travel. But in Abominations we are allowed to see Jax morph before our eyes as a seasoned time traveler who knows the limits of his actions but becomes a young man who looks his ancestors in the eyes and sees their unwillingly to be broken.
At one point, Jax witnesses a slave being beaten by her master. Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) moves to stop the beating, but Jax reminds her of the timeline. This is probably the beginning bookend that the writers of Legends of Tomorrow are using to shape Jax’s character for the future. The fact that he is willing to stand down is surprising. But is also highlights the fact that even though Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) isn’t around at the moment doesn’t mean his constant nagging about interfering with events in time hasn’t paid off somehow.
But despite being in 1863 that does not stop Jax from being a teenager from 2016. When he enters the location of the documents he is meant to steal, he has an unfortunate run-in with one of the white slave owners. Unless you have an intimate understanding of how slaves were meant to speak to slave owners back in the day no one, not even Jax, had a chance of avoiding a situation like that.
After the slave owner locks Jax up with a bunch of slaves on the property, Jax has a very gut wrenching conversation about the suffering that African-American people were forced to endure during this time. At one point, he even asks them the question, flat-out: how do they manage, how do they keep from losing their minds? To which they reply that they refuse to allow the slave masters to break their spirit.
Even though the episode focuses mostly on the Confederate soldiers turned zombies, the meat of this episode is the evolution of Jax.
There is another great moment that dovetails the events of the previous episode. Ray (Brandon Routh) has been benched by Sara (Caity Lotz) because of the destruction of his ATOM suite. While the team is out dealing with zombies, Ray is left inside the ship sorting out where he fits in the team now. At the end of the episode Rory (Dominic Purcell), who has been dealing with a loss of his own, offers up Snart’s (Wentworth Miller) old weapon. This is really a big deal. When you look at where Rory was in season one, being sort of evil and everything, it really shows growth. Not to mention he’s actually concerned about giving Ray a role now that his suite is in pieces.
Despite the various new cast members that have somewhat slowed the pace of Legends since the end of season 1, it is reassuring to know that the original characters that are still around aren’t getting lost in the shuffle.
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