Legends of Tomorrow “Night of the Hawk” Review
Legends of Tomorrow arrives at its mid-season finale with Night of the Hawk. The Legends have been through a lot lately. Despite finding a new lead on Vandal Savage, they’ve abandoned Heatwave to an apparent death after the supervillain allied himself with time pirates and sold the Waverider crew out. Arriving in a stereotypical 1950s American small down called Harmony Falls, it doesn’t take long to realize something is afoot, besides Vandal Savage living there of course. Several of the town’s residents have gone missing and to discover why; the Legends take up residence in Harmony Falls.
Last episode saw a lot of changes, particularly with the loss of Heatwave. It’s hard not to say the series is somewhat lesser without him. Not only is Dominic Purcell’s performance one of the silent gems of the show but it shares great chemistry with the series other stand out, Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold. His absence is felt which Miller uses to great effect as his place in the team is changing and makes it into continued excellence, however the episode isn’t about him. The episode’s main focus is on Hawkgirl and the Atom who take up the roles of newly-weds and buy a house in Harmony Falls and Professor Stein and White Canary posing as hospital personnel.
It’s here Legends of Tomorrow does something quite astounding as it ditches its typical flight of fancy routine with acknowledging the rampant racism, sexism, and homophobia that is often overlooked when reminiscing about the American 1950s. When Stein waxes about a simpler time, Jefferson and White Canary point out serious problems in the era which persist to this day. The comment continues into White Canary’s sub-plot as she helps a fellow nurse come out of the closet. It’s refreshing to see the Sara Lance’s bisexuality not be sidelined. Likewise, it’s great to see the show have non-straight characters be from the historical settings the team visit given the far-too common complaint from close minded fans that having people of marginalized orientations exist is “historically inaccurate. “
Oddly enough, it seems Vandal Savage and Rip Hunter take a back seat to this episode as Rip has very little to do beyond be an extra set of hands and Savage’s appearances are kept very minimal. Without going into spoilers, the episode’s ending is really rushed with consequences instantly resolved over the last commercial break. It’s a shame, especially when the final action scene turns into a PG-13 rated grindhouse movie with White Canary beating up monster people and indulging in post-fight making out. This episode is directed by Joe Dante of Gremlins fame and it’s obvious this is the scene he was building up to all episode. This week ends on a cliffhanger with chances for continued fantastic character moments from the cast.
All in all, Night of the Hawk might be the weakest episode of the series. That’s not a condemnation, simply it lacks the hype previous episodes have ended on. The character moments aren’t quite as good and Heatwave absence has left a massive hole in the team’s dynamic. It’s great that the show recognizes the flaws in the rose-colored 1950s, but maybe a few extra scenes would have helped. Despite the story’s emphasis on the fantastical America small town, there isn’t much memorable about Harmony Falls or its citizens. The best case is where a henchman for Vandal arrives who is mostly superfluous and is just a convenient obstacle. Legends of Tomorrow continues to be great, but this episode definitely lacked the impact, though still making it the highlight of the DCWverse.