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'Legends' recap: Witness not so protected

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “Chemistry” | Aired Aug 20, 2014

This week’s episode of Legends starts with two “cops” pulling over a family for what they assume is speeding. I put “cops” in quotation marks because they’re actually Russian mobsters looking for a Russian chemist. Aren’t there bars for this sort of thing? Just as the chemist realizes he’s in danger, an actual cop pulls up to the scene—and receives a bullet to the skull for his trouble. Probably not the way that particular officer thought his day, or life, would end.

The faux cops proceed to kidnap Richard Hubbard, real name Alexander Novelsky, who we find out is under witness protection after fleeing Russia. He’s being pursued by a gentleman known as the Colonel. Side note: What’s with the villain names on this show? First we had the Founding Father. Now we have the Colonel. Next I expect the Secretary of Pain, followed by the Pastry Chef. These are bad men!

Anyway, Richard is now being forced to create deadly VX gas for the Colonel—or else his wife and daughter, who were in the car with him, will be murdered. Martin Odum and the DCO team catch wind of this kidnapping case and begin to formulate a plan to find Hubbard. Agent Troy Buchanan has a Russian criminal informant, so they opt to use Troy’s legend, Spencer Holt. Crystal and Martin accompany Troy to his C.I.’s nightclub as Spencer Holt’s accountant and a bodyguard. What could go wrong?

For the second straight episode, Crystal McGuire, played by Ali Larter, uses her sexuality to (sigh) penetrate an operation. Now, I’m not Captain Feminism, but I hope this doesn’t become a weekly trend for the show. It just sends an outdated message that women secret agents have to use sex in order to be a useful part of a mission. In the scene with the Russian mob’s hit man, Crystal even says, “I’ll sleep with you if you’re for real,” or something hokey like that. It took me out of the story for a moment, because the scenario started to become unbelievable. I don’t mind using Crystal’s sexuality, but let’s establish that she’s a legit, qualified secret agent first, OK?

Then all hell breaks loose as a hit squad comes in to gun down Troy, his C.I. and anyone else standing around. Martin and Crystal escape and hide out at Odum’s apartment. Later, Crystal is visibly shaken by Troy’s death, but we have no idea why. Were they romantically involved? Brother and sister? Do they own a time share in Boca Raton together? A little more backstory on their relationship would’ve helped here. I hope it’s not a romantic involvement, because that would put Crystal’s interoffice relationship count at two. We get it; Ali Larter is hot. Let’s move on.

Legends: Morris Chestnut, Sean Bean (Doug Hyun/TNT)Morris Chestnut makes his debut on this week’s episode as Tony Rice, an FBI agent who covers all things transportation. Martin comes to Tony with questions about the hobo’s death from last week’s premiere. You remember our secretive, stabbed-in-the-gut hobo buddy from last week, right? Good. Tony has a name for Martin, and some background on the newly identified Robert McCombs. He was a crazy ex-Marine. That’s it.

Later on, Martin and Tony cross paths at a taco stand, where Tony reveals he now has cell phone video of Martin holding the hobo in his arms as he died. Martin seems mildly shaken by this, and then Agent Rice gives Martin a heads-up about how he handles cases:

Tony Rice: “I don’t drop the ball. I catch the ball. I run with the ball. I score with the ball, then I take the ball home and put it in my trophy case so every morning I can wake up and remind myself that I don’t drop the ball!”

Tony Rice is no ball dropper. Also, he begins tailing Martin against his boss’s orders. Tony Rice is a direct-order ignorer who doesn’t drop … you get the point.

Episode 2 of Legends fell a little flat for me. I still see great potential in the show, but this episode seemed like hour number two of the pilot. Not much new ground was broken, another team member died (we hardly knew you, Troy), and we had another brief interaction with Martin’s wife, Sonya, to remind us he’s a terrible father.

Sonya: You’re going back under again, aren’t you?
Martin:
Sonya: You’re going to get yourself killed.
Martin:
Sonya: (walks into the house)

Actual scene!

Next week on Legends, we’ll be fully introduced to Dante Auerbach, one of Martin’s most successful legends. The DCO will be using Dante to infiltrate the Russian mob and try to rescue Richard Hubbard and his family. Will he succeed? Will another team member go down? Will Martin once again find his Auer-back against the wall? I’m sorry. I had to. Tune in next week to Legends on TNT to find out!

TNT: No Ball Droppers Allowed.

Legends airs Wednesday at 8/9C on TNT.

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