Title: Legends of Tomorrow: “Welcome to the Jungle” Review
Release Date: October 21st, 2017
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
Despite having a compelling story devoted to Heatwave, this week’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow hit a rare snag in an otherwise great season. All of which is considerably surprising considering both the prominent setting for “Welcome to the Jungle” and the appeal of having such a well-loved Villain in Grodd, yet both were misused.
The Vietnam War has a very storied history as being one of the most violent, unnecessary conflicts in human history. While Legends of Tomorrow has dealt with wartime periods in the past, it doesn’t really delve into difficult subject matter too often. As a result, the tone the Legends are used to really didn’t mesh with the actual setting. More than anything, it felt like the episode couldn’t stick to one frame of mind or the other, failing to deliver any inciteful looks into the War’s background or even exhibiting the usual quirky nature the team is known for.
That lack of decision making to commit to either campy or dark and gritty really took away from one of Legends of Tomorrow’s ability to create a sense that the viewer is really in that time and place being visited by The Legends. Episodes like “Phone Home” and “Helen Hunt” managed to create a sense of nostalgia for the time period that was visited thanks to aesthetic and music. “Welcome to the Jungle” could have passed for any dense Jungle in the world though, as the Vietnamese were few and far between, and also spoke English.
Even the cameos for noteworthy figures in history this episode, which Legends of Tomorrow has always done so well in the past, didn’t click. While Lyndon B. Johnson’s appearance was interesting, if not short, the rest felt out of place considering the time period the episode dealt with, even if they weren’t involved in the main plotline.
No cameo was more disappointing than the episode’s antagonist though, the telepathic Gorilla known as Grodd. Having seen just how well Grodd can be in the past, playing a notable role in the past few seasons of The Flash, but his goals seemed rather-low tier this week. Though his plans in starting WW III apparently succeed according to Gideon, seeing him act as a God to Vietnamese villagers is pretty subpar considering we’ve seen him lead an army of Guerillas to attack a whole city.
There was certainly an opportunity to create a captivating narrative with Grodd though, as the connection seen between the Gorilla and Amaya showed off a unique bond. Grodds motives and actions throughout his existence have been grayer than most villains in any of the Arrowverse series, as the loneliness, tragedy, and anger he is caused by humans fuels his intentions. There’s certainly still an opportunity to explore this later on in the series, as the ending revealed, but it’s a shame Legends of Tomorrow didn’t delve a bit deeper this episode.
It’s a shame everything else couldn’t come together too, as “Welcome to the Jungle” is the first episode in which Dominic Purcell gets to show off his range this season. Don’t get me wrong, I love one liner Mick Rory, but the progression of the storyline with his father this episode was rather heartwarming (no pun intended). As we saw in season one of the series, Heatwave’s origins revolve around his love of fire, one which sees him accidentally setting his house on fire, killing both of his parents. Despite his display of guilt about the incident in the past, he has still always hated his father for the abusive relationship they had. Like most dealing with Soldiers after returning home from war, the episode shows Mick his father wasn’t really the monster he thought he was, as he was dealing with his own demons.
Purcell’s performance and storyline aside, this was one of the more forgettable episodes of Legend of Tomorrow in recent memory. More than anything, this episode simply felt like an attempt to buy time for next week’s crossover episode on the back of a well known, anticipated villain in Grodd.
Verdict: “Welcome to the Jungle” suffers from a lack of commitment to its setting, poor use of a well known, favorite character, and much meaning outside of a tragic side story for Mick. Just like any show, Legend of Tomorrow isn’t exempt from filler, but this was one of the weaker attempts the series has put forth in a history of great, campy episodes.
What did you think of the most recent episode of Legends of Tomorrow? What scene or scenes did you like the most? What are your predictions for the rest season three as things begin to unravel? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. Also be sure to check back next week for the third episode of the season, “Crisis on Earth X, Part 4,” immediately after it airs on The CW next Tuesday 9 PM ET.
- The Rory family
- Amaya and Grodd connection
- Lack of commitment to setting
- Use of Grodd
- Filler plot