The Legends of Tomorrow are hands down the worst time travelers of all time when it comes to keeping things in check! “The Magnificent Eight” finds them using the year of 1871 as their new harbor, as it’s a “blind spot” for the Time Masters who are currently on their tail. With the team feeling bored, they decide, against Rip’s advice, to venture out into the Wild West town of Salvation and explore. To extrapolate on the first sentence, time travel is always tricky in media but they’re going under the assumption that anything changed in the past will have grave future implications. This of course doesn’t stop them killing, saving the lives of those who were supposed to die, and generally changing everything they come across. I’m somewhat reminded of that scene from one of the Halloween Specials of the Simpsons where Homer goes back in time, becomes frustrated, and just starts beating the hell out of everything in his past with a club.
Anyway, the Legends find themselves in a saloon, with each of the characters winding up in a different part that plays to each of their strengths. Stein and Snart play some cards, revealing Stein’s past with a con-man father which gives him an edge in cards. This of course leads to Stein ticking off the wrong guy, Snart shooting that guy, and the team being dragged into a battle against the town’s evil gun slinging posse: the Stillwater Gang. Before things can get too out of a hand, a shadowy figure fires his pistol into the air putting a cease to the commotion. It’s revealed to be Jonah Hex, played by Johnathon Schaech. Schaech’s performance as Hex here is serviceable, but it’s not mindblowing, and I feel doesn’t bring the character to the level you’ll see him in some of the animated series and most assuredly not the comics. I’ve always had something of a soft spot for Hex, the resident cowboy in the DC Universe, and while Schaech does an alright job, I just felt that something was off or that the character just wasn’t given enough to do. To be fair, Jonah immediately revealing that he knew they were time travelers from a previous encounter with Rip, that we have yet to see, was a nice nod to Hex’s history of constantly running into time travelers in the funny books.
After bringing Hex back to the Waverider, the team is told of their blunder, putting the town in the direct path of the bloodthirsty Stillwaters. The main plot revolves around the team fighting off the gang with Ray inadvertently becoming the town’s sheriff as “John Wayne” in a humorous series of events. We’re also given scenes of Kendra and Sara exploring a mysterious woman Hawkgirl encountered at the saloon and Stein attempting to cure a child’s case of tuberculosis. Kendra’s arc is inventive in that she actually encounters an old woman who turns out to be a past reincarnation of her, who gives her advice on her love life, of all things. Hawkgirl seems to be, more so than anyone else, the focal point of the series with her relationship to Savage, Hawkman pushing up daisies, and the potential of remembering past lives. Ultimately, I don’t know if it’s the best well for the show to keep pulling from, but an inventive idea here or there takes it a long way from simply being filler.
The main team decides to stop the Stillwater Gang before they can attack, after hearing a story of Rip’s infatuation with the timeline. Like most well laid plans in the CW universe, everything goes wrong, as the Legends manage to catch the boss of the gang, but Jackson gets captured in the process. The team decides that the best route is to challenge the Stillwater Gang to a showdown at high noon, with a fantastic little scene of Rip shooting the boss in grandiose fashion, coat flapping in the wind. Thinking everything is wrapped up in a neat little package, the gang begins walking away only to be confronted by the Time Master’s “Hunters” in full blown cowboy attire! The following scene with the Legends going full-out with their powers against the technologically advanced future bounty hunters is more of the kind of crazy I was hoping to see from this episode, but at least we got it as a nice cap to the proceedings.
The Legends manage to beat the Hunters, and pay a fond farewell to Hex as he rides off into the sunset, and Stein even discovers that the boy he saved with modern medicine turned out to be none other than author H.G. Wells! I guess this is one of those time travel stories where the gang travelling back in time had already happened so they can’t truly change the future even if they wanted to, which is a boon to them for sure. Kendra even gets an opportunity to chat with Ray about the fact that her older self told her to do away with all relationships. Finally, the team learns that they’re currently being hunted now by something even worse: an assassin for the Time Masters named Pilgrim. Pilgrim won’t be hunting them as they are now, but travelling through the time stream to kill each member at a much more convenient time, most likely during their childhoods.
Ultimately, “Magnificent Eight” was a solid episode, but it didn’t reach the heights that it could have and didn’t utilize Hex to the character’s utmost potential.
Rating: ★★★ Good
Notes of Tomorrow
-I think it’s hilarious that the name of the man who directed this episode was Thor.
-Heatwave losing to Sara at the bar in the drinking contest and being fast asleep during the fistfight at the saloon was a highlight of the episode for sure.
-Remember in the Jonah Hex movie starring Josh Brolin where it ended with the President offering Hex the position of “Sheriff of America”? That isn’t really related to this episode, but I still think it’s the most ridiculous scene I’ve seen in a major motion picture.
-Ray: “I can’t feel my…I’d better not say.”
-Hex: “You all stick out like a dog in a manger.”
-Ray: “Why can’t a gang ever be a bunch of good guys?”
-Hex: “Quite a posse of saints you’re riding around with these days.”
-Ray: “Howdy, I’m John Wayne.”
-Rory: “Nice, haircut.”
-Stein: “I refuse to live with the regret I see on your face right now.”
-Ray: “Let’s ride! Up high.”
-Snart: “There won’t be Miranda rights for another hundred years.”
-Rip: “Send word to his posse, I believe high noon is in less than three hours.”
-Rory: “Friends, welcome!”