In Review: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: 3×04: “Phone Home”
HELPING ONE OF THEIR OWN — The Legends learn that Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) will die because they broke time, causing them to race back to 1988 to try and save his life. When they arrive, they are surprised to learn that young Ray Palmer has befriended a time-displaced baby Dominator putting him in harm’s way with the government and the Dominator’s mother. New to the ship and missions, Zari (Tala Ashe) must find her place and learn to trust the team. Meanwhile, Stein (Victor Garber) begins working on a secret project on the ship which makes Rory (Dominic Purcell) and Jax (Franz Drameh) suspicious. Caity Lotz, Maisie Richardson-Sellers and Nick Zano also star.
In a great week for 80’s nostalgia, viewers went from demogorgons to dominators. As Regan era creature feature homages go, though, I actually thought DC’s Legends of Tomorrow had a slight edge over Stranger Things.
I thought writer Matthew Maala’s choice to do a more direct, in your face, riff on E.T. really benefited the story. My favorite nods included the awesomely on point baby dominator hiding among Young Ray’s toys, and the absolutely stupendous bike race against the moon, courtesy of Zari’s Air Totem. Those homages helped to more effectively highlight Maala’s creative deviations, culminating in baby Gumball’s Singing In The Rain mind control. Yes, it was cheesy, but in the best way. Lastly, I really liked how Zari grew as a character throughout.
However, there were a couple of areas where the episode really fell flat. First, I really could have done without the subplot involving Nate and Ray’s mom. I got the point, but the whole thing was way too forced. Additionally, the set up of the Stein story should have been completely different. The Firestorm link should have prevented Jax’s paranoia, not exacerbated it. I get that Maala needed to structure the story to fill the running time and continue to lay the groundwork for Victor Garber’s departure, but he should have explored other options. I did really like Stein’s speech to baby Ronnie Stein, though.
Despite the flaws, “Phone Home” made me happy, and I can’t wait for the Legends Vs. Vampires story next week.