Thursday, April 14, 2016

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1, Episode 11 - The Magnificent Eight

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


The Legends travel back to the time of the Old West and hide out from the Time Master's assassins in the town of Salvation. It is here they make the acquaintance of the legendary Jonah Hex - a gun-fighter who it turns out has considerable experience with time-travelers and other things counted unusual in the late 1800s. He's also got a history with Rip Hunter that neither one is willing to discuss.

When the team butt heads with a local gang leader, Ray Palmer will find himself living out his dreams of being an Old West hero. Meanwhile, Professor Stein will use his expertise to save a sickly young boy as Kendra and Sara go after a mysterious older woman, whose presence causes Kendra to start having new visions of the past.


The comic series Weird Western Tales, the film The Magnificent Seven (the title and the general plot of multiple fighters coming together to save an oppressed town), the film High Noon (a climactic quick-draw duel at high noon with a lawman defending a town that is too scared to back him up in a fight with an outlaw gang),Jonah Hex: A Faceful Of Violence (the town of Salvation), the 2002 Hawkman series (mention of Hannibal Hawkes and the idea of his being a reincarnation of Carter Hall) and the 1985 Hex series (Jonah Hex travels forward in time, to a post-apocalyptic 21st century).


Rip Hunter says that Len Snart is suffering from linguistic dysplasia when he is unable to speak clearly. Linguistic dyslalia would be a more appropriate term, since dyslalia refers to a speech impedement whereas dysplasia refers to abnormal organ development. (He's a Time Master, not a doctor!)

Stein tells Snart about how he learned how to play cards by watching his father, who he claims was a degenerate gambler and criminal. This contradicts what little we've heard about Stein's father on The Flash, where Stein painted a picture of an affluent background and strict religious upbringing. He said his father refused to pay his way through MIT unless he became a Rabbi first. (Maybe this is a side-effect of the changes to the timeline due to The Legends' interference?)

Kendra's sudden desire to find Carter elsewhere in time has come out of nowhere.

It is said that Calvert was a town in Oklahoma in 1868. In 1868, the land that would become known as Oklahoma was still referred to as The Indian Territory. (Perhaps a difference between the DCTVU and our own universe is that Oklahoma achieved statehood sooner?)

Stein pulls a complete 180 on not disturbing the timeline. This might make sense if he were a medical doctor and had a Hippocratic Oath to uphold but he is a physicist - not a medical doctor!

When did The Legends learn how to ride horses well enough to do so going into a gun fight?

For that matter, how is Jax - who has no experience with firearms that we know of - able to shoot the gun out of a man's hand?

The team takes a pretty big gamble assuming The Stillwater Gang will leave Jax alive as a bargaining chip, just because they have their leader in custody.

Dr. Stein finds out that "Bertie" -  the boy whose life he saved - is H.G. Wells - the famous science-fiction author, most famous for his work The Time Machine. Ignoring that the actor here looks a bit old to play H.G. Wells (who would have been five-years-old at the time), one wonders how the very British H.G. Wells wound up in the Dakota Territory in 1871!


Johnathon Schaech is given surprisingly little to do as Jonah Hex. Still, he gives the role the appropriate level of gravitas and one is left hoping that he and Rip Hunter will meet up again in future episodes. Heck, maybe we'll see him as a regular in Season Two?

Again, Caity Lotz is the glue that holds the show together, getting great character moments with both Dominic Purcell and Ciara Renee this week that further develop their personal conflicts.

Ciara Renee has a good turn this week too. As problematic as her romance-driven storyline is (there's a reason Carter is nicknamed Stalk-man in the fandom), Renee carries off the conflict well in this episode as you can see the wall coming up between her and Ray despite her love for him.


The music for the episode is wonderful, perfectly replicating the feeling of an old Spaghetti Western.

The direction and cinematography of the scene where The Legends arrive in Salvation is similarly wonderful in evoking the proper mood.

The fight scene in the saloon is well-blocked and amusingly directed. I particularly liked the shot of the unconscious Mick Rory and the inclusion of The Wilhelm Scream.

Ditto the final fight in the streets of Salvation. And another Wilhelm Scream to boot!

Trivia Of Tomorrow

Jonah Woodson Hex first appeared in All-Star Western #10 - just two issues before the comic was renamed Weird Western Tales. Despite not being introduced to comics until 1972, Jonah Hex is probably the most famous of DC Comics Western heroes. He was the star of the New 52 All-Star Western series and has headlined several Vertigo mini-series as well as several DC Comics solo-series. There was also a movie based on his adventures, but it is not well-regarded by most fans.

Abused as a child by his drunken father, Jonah Hex was sold into slavery to an Apache tribe by his father when he was 13. He was freed and made a full member of the tribe after saving the chieftain's life but was ultimately lost to them after his adopted brother attempted to kill him and left him for dead during their manhood rite. Jonah would find them years later and related his brother's treachery, resulting in a trial by combat in which is brother sabotaged his weapons. Force to defend himself outside the parameters of the duel, Jonah was outcast and given "the Mark of the Demon" - the scar on the right side of his face that would make him infamous.

Jonah Hex is characterized as an anti-hero, in that he is willing to use lethal force. However, he's generally considered a good man in spite of this, living by a unique yet seemingly contradictory code of honor while playing at being a hardened mercenary with few cares beyond getting paid. For instance, Hex fought for the Confederacy in the American Civil War despite being a strict abolitionist due to his own experiences as a slave, because his land was in The American South and he wanted to defend it. This code frequently got Hex into trouble.

Around the time of Crisis On Infinite Earths, Jonah Hex was given a mini-series - Hex - in which he was transported forward in time to a post-apocalyptic Seattle. The series did fair business in the United States, but was wildly popular in Europe. It's still considered in-continuity, though the series never did explain just how Jonah Hex made his way back to his own time.

Jonah's exploits as a time-traveler have been referred to Hex's few media apperaances.  Hex was the hero of the Batman: The Animated Series episode Showdown, in which Hex thwarted an attempt by Ra's Al Ghul to halt the United States' westward expansion.While no reference was made to Hex's past, he seemed remarkably undisturbed by the steampunk weaponry Ra's and his men employed.

Hex was also one of several Western heroes who teamed up with Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman in the Justice League Unlimited episode The Once And Future Thing: Part One: Weird Western Tales. Hex deduced the three were time-travelers before they revealed himself, saying only that he'd had an interesting life and time-travel wasn't the strangest thing he'd seen when asked how he figured it out.

Ray Palmer uses the alias John Wayne while in Salvation. John Wayne is perhaps the most famous American cowboy actor of all time.

Rip Hunter says that the town of Calvert was destroyed by a gang lead by Quentin Turnbull. In the original DC Comics, Quentin Turnbull was a frequent enemy of Jonah Hex and perhaps the closest thing Hex had to an arch-enemy. Turnbull was a plantation owner who blamed Hex for the death of his son during The American Civil War. He hired multiple assassins to try and kill Hex and had him tried on false charges on one occasion.

The DCTVU version of Quentin Turnbull seems to be just an ordinary outlaw gang leader, though Jonah Hex seems to hold him in unique contempt.

Kendra finds out from her past self that Carter's reincarnation in the 1830s was a man named Hannibal Hawkes. In the original comics, Hannibal Hawkes was a Western hero called The Nighthawk, who was a traveling repairman in his secret identity. He first appeared in Western Comics #5 (Sep/Oct 1948)

In the 2002 Hawkman series, Nighthawk was retconned into a reincarnation of Hawkman, with the Western heroine Cinnamon (First appeared in Weird Western Tales #48 - October 1978) being similarly retconned into a reincarnation of Hawkwoman. In the retelling of their life's story in Hawkman #7 (Nov 2002), they die in order to free a wrongly accused man from jail before a lynch mob can hang him.

 Kendra's past self is not named in this episode, but it seems likely that she's based on Cinnamon as well. It is also not confirmed that the DCTVU version of Hannibal Hawkes was a vigilante called The Nighthawk.


Rip Hunter refers to Snart's temporary inability to speak clearly as linguistic dysplasia.

Time is not as fluid as most people think. Time wants things to happen and will work to make sure that things happen. It takes time for things to harden once a change to the timeline has been made. The timeline is occasionally unclear and constantly in flux. This is what makes it difficult to track an immortal like Vandal Savage with any certainty.

Another interesting aspect of time travel is the existence of Fragmentations - temporal blind spots that The Time Masters, for some reason, can't see into remotely. The town of Salvation is one such Fragmentation.

Most guns of The Old West period had hammer blocks, limiting the number of shots they contained to five.

Professor Stein uses Gideon to synthesize Steptomycin - a common antibiotic used in treating tuberculosis today but futuristic by the standards of the 1870s.

The Omega Protocol is the last-ditch effort used by The Time Masters to deal with those they consider a threat to the space-time continuum In this case, an assassin is dispatched to kill the threat while they are still too young to be a threat..

Dialogue Triumphs

(After Rip denies the crew any chance of "shore leave" while in The Old West.)
Sara: Oh, come on! What's the harm in us just taking a look around?
Stein: With this group? Clearly you haven't been paying attention!

(As he is distributing the weaponry)
Rip: Now this should go without saying, but considering this group, I am going to say it - only use these weapons in the case of extreme emergencies!

(Kendra, Mick and Sara are at the bar)
Kendra: (taking a sip of her shot) Gah! It tastes like gasoline.
Mick: Pretty much. (To the bartender) Hit me again.

Jonah Hex: All right. Why don't you folks tell me where you're really from?
Ray: I'm not sure that's any of your business, sir.
Jonah Hex: Well, let me rephrase that. Tell me WHEN y'all from.
(The Legends just glance at each other.)
Jonah Hex: You seven stick out like a dog in a manger.
Jax: Like you said, we're not from around here.
Jonah Hex: You think you're the first time-travelers I've ever come across?
Stein: Uh - yes?
Jonah Hex: Where is he? I've got some words that need saying.
Sara: With who?
Jonah Hex: Rip Hunter.

(As Ray is made the new Sheriff of Salvation.)
Jonah Hex: Congratulations. By the way. you might find a warrant or two out for me around these parts.
Ray: You know, we have stuff back on the ship that can fix your...
Jonah Hex: Fix what?
(Jonah Hex just fixes Ray with a LONG glare.)
Ray: Yep. Nothing. Nevermind.

(As her past self talks about trying to find love after the death of Hannibal Hawkes.)
Kendra; What happened?
Past Kendra: He was a good man, but he wasn't a soul mate. It was like Fate was trying to break us apart. Eventually Fate broke both our hearts. So I made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to do that to a person again.
Kendra: I'm... I'm sorry to hear that.
Past Kendra: No, I'm who's have to be the one to let you go that you're never going to be able to love anyone else ever. How much do you know about our previous lives? I eeckon not a lot because you didn't recognize me. So let me tell you that we did love other men. Loved them real and pure. But it never ended well. Not ever. Tragedy or heartbreak - that's how it always ends if the man's not Carter.

Rip: A Time Master is trained to do his work without interference. Which means not helping people or being a hero. But as you've seen Dr. Palmer, this era offers many opportunities for heroism. I found it... enticing
Jonah Hex: And you still managed to leave. (pauses) Something's been bugging me all these years. If you'd have known what Turnbull was going to do to Calvert, would you have left?
Rip: That's the thing, Jonah. I did know.
( Jonah Hex knocks Rip down with one punch.)
Rip: I deserved that.
Jonah Hex: You deserve a lot worse! You knew and you still left!
Rip: Of course I knew! Because I was a Time Master. And therein lay the problem. Like Raymond. Like Martin. I felt the pull of heroism, of this era's penchant for opportunities to make a difference. That's one of the things that called to me and that's why I had to leave. Because had I stayed... I could no longer remain a Time Master. (pauses) But I'm no longer a Time Master. Which is why I will face Stillwater.
Ray: Wait... I said I would do it!
Rip: And get yourself shot and killed and it's appreciated but I'd rather you stayed alive.

(Kendra and Sara arrive back on The Waverider, entering the cargo bay.)
Sara: You want to talk about it?
Kendra: Not really.
(Sara seals the door and steps over to Kendra.)
Sara: You don't have to listen to her, you know?
Kendra: Is this you not talking about it?
Sara: No. This is me ignoring you saying you don't want to talk about it. (sighs) Look, I get it. Things may have gone very wrong for Old West You and whoever she loved that wasn't Carter.
Kendra: ... but?
Sara: But Old West You didn't know Ray Plamer. She didn't love Ray Palmer. You do. And you have to live your life. She already lived hers.

Rory: You think Hunter can pull this off?
Jonah Hex: Reasonably. If not, I got dibs on that newfangled revolver of his.

Rip: (passing his newfangled revolver to Jonah Hex) I think you'll find this slightly more effective than your current sidearm. (pauses) Yes, I will be wanting that back, by the way. (passing the case with the ATOM suit to Ray) And you'll be needing this.
Ray: What about revealing our future tech to the locals?
Stein: (looking around at the panicking townsfolk) They don't seem to mind. (To Jax) Shall we?
(The two join hands and change into Firestorm. Jonah Hex crosses himself in response.)

(Rip sees Jonah Hex readying his horse for the road.)

Rip: You're not staying?
Jonah Hex: And you'?
Rip: Me? Nah. You know I can't. But this town still needs a Sheriff...
Jonah Hex: Well, I'm not the law and order type. Nor the staying in one place type, either.
Rip: Well, we have that much in common at least.
Jonah Hex: (nodding after a long pause) At least.
Rip: Be well, Jonah.
Jonah Hex: Nice thing about my world, for you? It ain't going anywhere.
Rip: Perhaps we will see each other again, my friend.
Jonah Hex: Yeah. I reckon that'd be okay.


Rip says it's been a while since he felt the effects of a Time Jump, this jump having taken them back in time 271 years in one go.

This jump leaves Jax unable to feel his face, Ray unable to feel an embarrassing part of his body and Snart with a case of linguistic dysplasia (i.e. the words he uses are said out of order).

Rory is unaffected by the time jump. In fact, he sleeps through it.

The Waverider has an arsenal of historical weaponry.

It also apparently has a store of historical money or the means to counterfeit it.

Ray Palmer is something of an Old West history buff, knowing that six-shooters were quite rare and that most guns of the period only held five bullets.

Rip Hunter is also something of an Old West fan.

Time doesn't pass normally in the Vanishing Point.  A side effect of this, according to Mick Rory, is that the glasses and bottles kept refilling.

Sara Lance can hold her liquor better than Mick Rory can.

Martin Stein is a skilled card player.

Len Snart is a crack-shot with an Old West pistol and rifle.

Rip Hunter and Jonah Hex pet at some point in the past. During that adventure, Hex did not get a chance to see The Waverider.

Rip Hunter's coat was stolen from Jonah Hex.

The Stillwater Gang have been harassing Salvation for three months when The Legends arrive in town.

Rip refers to the events of 102 and Ray leaving a bit of his suit in 1975.

Calvert, Oklahoma was a town in 1868, where Rip Hunter lived for a time before he got married. It was destroyed the day after he left by Quentin Turnbull's gang.

While living in Calvert, Rip suffered from Time Drift, as Ray, Kendra and Sara did in 109. He was barely able to pull himself out of the time period and even then only managed it for fear of losing the woman who would become his wife.

Rip named his son, Jonas, in honor of Jonah Hex.

Professor Stein uses 20th century medicine to treat a boy named Bertie Neal's tuberculous. He finds out later the boy's name was Herbert George Wells - i.e. H.G. Wells - the noted author famous for such science-fiction novels as War Of The Worlds and The Time Machine.

Kendra also gets flashes of her past whenever she comes into contact with a past incarnation of herself.

Carter Hall's past self in 1830 went by the name Hannibal Hawkes. He was killed by Savage at a relatively young age and left his wife a widow.

Kendra's past self says that she tried loving other men besides "Carter" in other lives but it always ended badly - either in heartbreak or tragedy - as if Fate was twisting things to cause the other men she tried to love to get hurt.

Ray attempts to read Jeb Stillwater his Miranda Rights. As Snart points out, Miranda rights won't be codified for "another 100 years." (95 to be exactly, but trust Snart to know that and not Ray!)

Rip Hunter does not have access to any technology that can erase the minds of an entire town. At least, he denies having access to such technology, saying that skepticism and disbelief are far more effective for covering up evidence of time travel in the past.

The Pilgrim is the most deadly assassin employed by The Time Masters. Her talents are reserved only for Omega Protocol targets.

The episode ends with The Pilgrim getting ready to gun down a young Mick Rory, as he watches a house burn.


Salvation, Dakota Territory - 1871
Central City - 1990.

Untelevised Adventures

Kendra is told by her past self about how the 1830's version of Prince Khufu died fighting Vandal Savage.

We are told about Rip Hunter's time in the town of Calvert, which was destroyed by outlaws the day after he left. We are not told the details but this left Jonah Hex with a grudge against Hunter.

The Fridge Factor

Kendra and Sara are sidelined for most of the episode to deal with a totally new subplot regarding Kendra's emotional conflict over her feelings for Ray and her history with Carter. While the scene is well acted by Caity Lotz and Ciara Renee, it is still bothersome.

The Bottom Line

The script is full of logic gaps and anachronisms. Turn your brain off, however, and it's as amusing as any cheesy old Western you might stumble across on the Late, Late Show.

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