TV Reviews

Legends of Tomorrow 3×02 – ‘Freakshow’ – Review

Legends of Tomorrow continues to embrace the absurd and play itself out as a comedy series as much as an action show as it pits the heroes of the Waverider against the attractions of of P.T. Barnum’s (Billy Zane) circus in 1870.

With the Legends feeling the pressure to try and get things right following the Time Bureau’s assessment of them doing more harm than good, the team finds a nice and easy level 1 anachronism to try and fix, just to prove that they’re capable. Unfortunately, the Legends soon end up elevating the anachronism to a level 8, showing that even though they can save the day, they’ll do it in spectacularly bad fashion.

Discovering that the legendary showman P.T. Barnum has a sabretooth tiger in his possession the team decide to try out Ray’s (Brandon Routh) new shrinking ray in order to turn the animal into a more manageable size. When it does the exact opposite and the team have a giant sabretooth tiger on their hands Sara (Caity Lotz) travels to 1948 to get Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) to help them.

With the rush of the previous episode, and the need to reintroduce many characters, choosing to wait until the second week to bring Amaya back was a wise choice, and from a narrative position it makes sense that the team would need her help with a giant sabretooth tiger. Thankfully, the episode also goes a long way to explain why Amaya chose to return to her own time, after seeing a news report of her granddaughter, the modern day Vixen, and realising that she would need to go home in order for her to exist.

Unfortunately, the fact that Amaya didn’t explain any of this to Nate (Nick Zano), and disappeared on his birthday without any warning, kind of makes her seem like a bit of a jerk. I can understand that she had the realisation that she needed to go back in time to ensure that her family would exist, but try not to be such a bitch about it.

Thankfully, Nate’s such a nice guy that by the end of the episode much of this has been put to bed. Nate gets why she did it, even if he doesn’t like it, and he respects that.

The rest of the episode is filled with wonderfully ridiculous moments as Ray, Nate, and Jax (Franz Drameh) manage to turn a quiet night out drinking into a full blown disaster when a drunken Nate reveals his powers to P.T. Barnum and gets the three of them captured to take part in the freakshow. With Ray and Jax unable to actually use their powers without their suit and Stein (Victor Garber) Barnum makes the most of the situation and decides to stick the two of them in a harness and present them as conjoined twins.

Things don’t get any less ridiculous when Stein and Mick (Dominic Purcell) have to rescue them, as Stein imitates one of the clowns, complete with magic tricks, and Mick appears to have a fear of said clowns. The moment when Mick dives at a clown screaming ‘Die clown!’ was a particular highlight of the episode.

With so much already going on in the episode it was impressive that the show was also able to make time to set up more hints about the season’s big bad, Mollus, with more vague hints from the time Bureau, and a small scene at the end of the episode with a mysterious hooded figure calling forth a water elemental that turns out to be Kuasa (Tracy Ifeachor).

For those not in the know, Kuasa is the sister of the modern day Vixen who was killed whilst in possession of a mystical Water Totem, which gave her magical water abilities. It’s nice to see the CW acknowledging the events of their animated DC series on CW Seed, and bringing them into the main live action series’.

The episode was also able to slip in another comic character, having P.T. Barnum’s henchman clearly be B’wana Beast, though never acknowledged by name. The cheeky mention of ‘man of steel’ also brought a smile to my face. With both Victor Garber and Billy Zane in the same episode, it was a little disappointing that the two didn’t get much time together in the same scene, especially after Garbers ridiculous Titanic joke at the start of the episode.

With some fun action sequences, ridiculous comedy, and more set up for the season’s big bad ‘Freakshow’ managed to prove entertaining throughout.

Legends of Tomorrow airs on Sky every Friday in the UK. Let us know what you think of the season.

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