Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Legion of Super Heroes: In Your Dreams

The latest Legion of Super Heroes episode review.

I liked this episode a lot. We open with a bunch of bad guys breaking into a factory to steal some explosives. The Legion, in the form of Brainy, Timber Wolf, Lightning Lad and Star Boy, is there waiting for them (Timber Wolf growls, and Brainy says "I believe that's angry wolf growl for 'end of the line.'"), but the bad guys, the Dark Circle, manage to fight them off and blow the joint with the Legion still inside. (He says "Until next time," when triggering the explosion, which struck me as kind of a silly quip, seeing as he just blew them up and they're not going to be around for a next time.)


And freeze on the explosion. We were just watching some footage, a technique used earlier in the season in Cry Wolf. Timber Wolf says that Brainy has their attention, but obviously that never happened. Lightning Lad adds, "And never could. The only way those punks could beat us would be in their dreams."

From off stage Dream Girl answers, "Not in their dreams, Lightning Lad. In mine," which isn't bad as kiddie cartoon segues go.

Lightning Lad greets her coldly. She responds in kind. Brainy explains that Computo has been monitoring Dream Girl's dreams in response to the rise in Dark Circle activity in hopes of getting a leg up on them.

Dream Girl is adorable. Dream Weaver plays in my mind every time she's on the screen.  She's had some rough times in her comics incarnations though.  Was Dave Sim writing for the Legion? Here's her Wikipedia entry. (And I think it's so weird that Wikipedia lists the Legionnaires by their real names.I mean  Superman isn't listed under Kal-El.)

Back to the factory.  The Dark Circle repeats their break-in. This time the Legion is ready for them. We get a callback to Brainy's earlier quip.

Timber Wolf: *Growl*
Brainy: I believe that's angry wolf growl for-
Timber Wolf: -end of the line.
Lightning Lad: Blah blah blah.
Star Boy: It wasn't that funny the first time, Brainy.

The Legion defeats them handily while making bad jokes. In Fear Factory, I mentioned that I like the Legion cartoon because it strikes me as a bunch of buddies playing beer and pretzels superheroes around their dining room table. It's stupid for Lightning Lad to say, "Gosh, how are we gonna find them now?" but he does it anyway, and all the gaming groups I've been a part of have never passed up the opportunity to do something stupid if it gets a laugh.

"Gosh, how are we gonna find them now?"

They smack the shit out of the Dark Circle, and Timber Wolf suggests that Lightning Lad cut Dream Girl some slack because it was due to her efforts that the Dark Circle didn't escape with the explosive. Lightning Lad wants to know who to thank for the explosive triggers they did get away with. What kind of facility manufactures both explosives AND triggers? What kind of facility stores them both together? Jesus, the server room at my old job had tighter security than that.

We get a brief interlude with the Dark Circle boss. The subordinate who escaped capture on the mission suggests that they have a mole in their ranks, but the commander, Gullug, believes that the Leion must be using a precog. Nice to see some competence on the bad guy's part.

Back on board the briefing room in the Legion cruiser, Brainy is telling the other Legionnaires that he believes the Dark Circle will target the United Planet's dedication ceremony. Star Boy and Timber Wolf are ignoring him and playing with a paper football.

Brainy asks acidly, "I'm sorry. Am I boring you two?" Star Boy tells him to relax, that Dream Girl will give them what they need to stop the Dark Circle.

Lightning Lad points out again that she failed to prevent the theft of the triggers, and also brings up the fact that she worked as a con woman before joining the Legion. He stomps off, she follows, and she tells him that she never tried to con anyone with her powers, that she only ever tried to help people. He whirls on her and says, "Help? Is that what you were doing for my parents when they came to you? They were desperate for answers about my lost sister, and you promised them a miraculous reunion if they traveled to the planet Nema. When it didn't happen, they were devastated."

I'm not sure if Lightning Lad is wearing lifts or if Dream Girl is just three feet tall.

She says, "There were times when what I saw weren't what people wanted to see, so I made things up. It was easier that way. I'm sorry."

Lightning Lad is not having any of it, and I can't say I blame him. How is this anything but a con? One would assume that she accepted some form of compensation for her visions, and the only way this could be more of a con would be if she burglarized their house when they were away.

That was a great scene, because not only do we get a callback to the events involving his sister Ayla (resolved in Chained Lightning), but it provides a very convincing explanation for what initially appeared to be irrational dislike.

She excuse herself in order to go to Brainy's lab for another dream recording. We get a brief scene of a cloaked Dark Circle guy sticking a little widget on the dream recording device.

You can insert your own quote from Predator here.

The framing shots suggest that these scenes are taking place in the Legion Cruiser, and if the Dark Circle can sneak on board undetected and pretty much have the run of the place I don't know why they're having so much trouble stealing a little bit of penatate.

Next scene, the Legion is watching one of Dream Girl's dreams. She comments that she doesn't remember having one last night, but Mister Twelfth level intellect brushes that aside with the observation that people often don't remember their dreams. It's a second manufacturing facility for the exact same explosive. Thank goodness they had a precog on hand to identify that as the next target!

Timber Wolf, Star Boy and Lightning Lad are down at the facility, and Brainy is coordinating. He has two monitors set up, one for real time, one for the dream. I liked this scene quite a bit too. Things diverge almost immediately, and the Legionnaires on the ground figure out that something isn't right. Brainy looks closer at the recording, sees that it was time stamped with yesterday's date and realizes that they were set up.

A bunch of Dark Circle dude decloak and open fire, but Star Boy pulls a Neo and stops their bullets.

Star Boy got a lot of play as the series wound down, and they did make him pretty cool. They were expecting this, and one of them pushes a button to detonate the bullets and release some tear gas. The Dark Circle monologs for a bit and implies that Dream Girl helped them. They go to execute the Legionnaires, but Brainy shows up and the good guys fight their way out.

They return to Cruiser to arrest Dream Girl. Timber Wolf looks pretty cool in this scene, and I think that's the one and only time I'll say something nice about him for these reviews.

Dream Girl manages to elude them, at one point donning a suit of power armor similar to what Superman wore when he fought against Drax in Phantoms.

Dude, you just got schooled by a girl, in a swimming suit, with a butterfly on it.
They capture her, and she wakes up. It was only a dream! I should have known. Timber Wolf would never be cool in real life. She's worried that it will come to pass, so she leaves the cruiser, and is captured by the Dark Circle. They inject her with a sedative and monitor her dreams, just as the Legion was doing. They get a sneak preview of the satellite dedication ceremony and make their plans based on that.

Cut to the actual dedication ceremony. Timber Wolf says they've done everything they can. Personally, I think "doing everything you can" should include assembling a team including Superman and his clone instead of Star Boy, Timber wolf and Lightning lad, but I'm not a Legionniare.

Some hideous brain monster is speaking at a podium

Who knew Validus had a brother?

when an explosion goes off and the Dark Circle attacks. Star Boy expresses surprise that they made it through the alert perimeter, but Brainy tells him that they must have seen it in the dream.

The battle begins. Lightning Lad charges in and says, "They may know what I'm going to do, but they still have to stop it." which reminds me of the cool quote from Terminator,  "There is no fate but what we make for ourselves."

What's the deal with this guy?  Presumably he's some kind of alien with four eyes, but what's the point of having identity concealing masks if you're going to customize them like that?

The Legion retreats to a bridge, the Dark Circle detonates the explosives they'd hidden there and they briefly dance a victory jig before Brainy reveals that those were just holographic projections that they saw on the bridge. I liked that. I liked this whole episode. It had sensible measures and countermeasures on each side, which was something I enjoyed about Sundown back in the first season.

Lightning Lad rescues Dream Girl, and back at the ceremony, Gullug, the head bad guy attempts to trigger his failsafe explosions, but they don't go off. The camera pans up to Dream Girl holding the triggers. She says "How'd I know where to find them? Came to me in a dream!" which is pretty weaksauce as plot twists go. Dream Girl saw the future in her dream? Holy Shit. I think the best part is Gullug's expression of baffled disbelief as he's dragged away.

"...and I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for you meddling Naltorian!"
Otherwise, pretty good. And that's the last of the standalone episodes before the two part series finale.

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