Time Travel Cliches... WTF?

One day you're picked up by a time-traveling space jockey. He whisks you off to dance through time on a quest to save the future. At one point you touch down in the old west. What do you do?

After watching episode #11 of Legends of Tomorrow titled The Magnificent Eight, I know what not to do. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the show. I know it's an overwhelming task trying to give each character some screen time. There are many on-going plot threads woven in among the crew such as Kendra Saunders/ Hawkgirl's past lives coming back in powerful memories or the on again/ off again criminality of Captain Cold and Heat Wave. And time travel is such a tricky subject. Much like the old Butterfly Effect, any shift in the past could and should have radical affects that can not be foreseen. As I recall the writer's wedged in a caveat that the location of  this time and place was in a manner of speaking, "off the grid", making it out of view of the Time Masters.

But what's digging at me was the horrible clichés played out in the episode. The heroes wander into the small town of Salvation, population of fifty give or take, expecting to be inconspicuous. Not much of a chance of that seeing how most of the people there know each other on a first name basis. They enter the one and only bar and start drinking, gambling and engage in a classic oater bar fight. Now, right there I'm thinking WTF? Can they be that jaded from time jumping to think that this is ok?

Cowboys pack them thar six-shooters and if I recollect correctly... bullets kill! You can't continue on a monumental journey when you're pushing up daisies. Yes, this is a television show with superheroes, time travelers and immortals but they do attempt to ground it in some semblance reality to make it more accessible. Not an easy task but still you don't want your viewers rolling their eyes at how cliché your show can become.

In some respects I can see how damned irresistible it would be to immerse one's self in an alternate timeline and culture; play the part of an icon I mimicked back when I was a kid. That's part of the charm of the show. But I wouldn't put my neck out and risk getting shot. Hell, even Capt.Hunter decided that having a shoot out with a notorious outlaw was worth screwing up his plan to save his family from the clutches of the evil Vandal Savage. At one point I expected Ray Palmer/ The Atom to turn to the camera and give a wink after his lines.

I do hope that the writers decide to stop taking detours and playing tongue-in-cheek with time travel. This past episode fell so flat for me. Maybe they will turn down a more spy thriller road and treat this team like a militaristic group of misfits looking to establish themselves as the legends Hunter continues to boast about. The show has the potential as long as it doesn't keep flirting with caricatures of these classic heroes/villains.


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