Legends of Tomorrow: “Return of the Mack” Review

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By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

Resurrections, vampires, and totems are just a taste of what Legends of Tomorrow had to offer this week. The show is known to be wild and wacky, but did it miss the mark in this go-round or nail the bulls-eye? Read on for a (spoiler-filled) review to find out!

In “Return of the Mack,” Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) made his way back to the team, and at the start it was rip-roaring fun! (You bet your britches that pun was intended!) The fun began with Rip time-traveling to London and acting kooky with the investigation of a body. The entire set-up and episode atmosphere felt so much like Doctor Who, it couldn’t have been an accident. With the team traveling through time, fixing anachronisms and outlandish problems, the whole show is feeling more and more like the British science fiction show with every episode. The only thing that would have made it better is if John Barrowman had showed up in the mix. (Writers missed their chance this week! Malcolm Merlyn could have been in the story instead of Damien Dahrk!)

To be honest, having Rip around, in general, on Legends of Tomorrow was really nice. Despite the fact that his character is the one who brought the crazy time-traveling ship and the Legends together, Rip offered a sense of grounding to the team that Sara (Caity Lotz) hasn’t been able to fully provide. His character may have been taken out of the picture to get rid of the time-traveling subject matter expert, opening the door for the team to comedically bumble through their missions (which is highly entertaining, of course). However, some of that bumbling continued as per usual in “Return of the Mack” with the added benefit of having Rip around, even if it was just for a little while, and it took an unfortunate turn in the end.

On the subject of Rip, his time on the Waverider also brought about the naming of the evil he hopes the Legends can defeat – Mollus. With such a build-up in the previous episodes about the great mystery of the big bad feared by the Time Bureau, the reveal lacked flair. The entire episode was then supposed to be centered around Mollus, but more exposition or villainous character development might have formed a more cohesive connection between the alleged antagonist and the episode’s vampiric/Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) plot line.

Speaking of vampires, Mick (Dominic Purcell) having such an obsessive interest in the supernatural creatures in “Return of the Mack” was a humorous surprise. One of the genius things about Mick is that despite apparent one-dimensional character writing, there are always fun and interesting surprises to be had. The character often has unexpected depth or personality aspects that the audience will likely never be able to guess. (Everyone remembers when he was Kronos, right? Genius!) The unpredictability is an essential part of the wild character as a bit of an outlaw, showing that he may seem to be one-dimensional upon first look, but there’s more than meets the eye.

While fight sequences on Legends of Tomorrow are generally broad in scope and smooth in delivery, this week’s fight sequence was lacking. It wasn’t due to the introduction of Damien Darhk’s power, it was due to rough handling of the cameras and poor music choice. The song accompanying the scene was clearly designed to be amusing and off-kilter, but it unfortunately missed the mark, feeling more incongruent than humorous. Plus, musical compositions by Blake Neely are so well-suited for superhero television, they’re almost impossible to top, even for the sake of a laugh. Why mess with a good thing?

“Return of the Mack” brought up the issue of totems once again. However, very little actual exposition around Zari (Tala Ashe) and the totem she wears has been presented. Amaya’s (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) totem gives her the power to channel the spirit of animals. But the true nature of Zari’s totem is still unknown. But the audience is being encouraged to accept that her totem is meant to work in tandem with Amaya’s, tying the two characters together to face more dangerous threats. This week might have been an opportunity to explain Zari and her role with the team. It’s easy to read between the lines and see that Zari (and Amaya) will one day face the season’s big bad, whom we assume will be Mollus. However, the chance to set that up and begin to truly build tension around it was missed in this week’s episode. Will we ever know what the deal is with Zari?

What was truly missing from Legends of Tomorrow in this week’s episode was the humor. There were dashes of it thrown in, especially at the open of the episode. However, the drama quickly took over and overshadowed the fun. Unfortunately, that is not always the best direction for the show. Some of the best episodes have been filled with jokes and laughter, rather than drama and darkness.

This week, Legends of Tomorrow started out strong, with laughter and fun. Unfortunately, “Return of the Mack” ended on a totally different note – and it might have been a sour one.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Worth the watch or should have taken a walk in the park instead?


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