Legends of Tomorrow concluded its two-part pilot last night, and it featured a surprising character death that not only catalyzed the team, but opened the door for some very interesting storytelling.
Spoiler warning: This article contains speculation on a major plot point from the Legends of Tomorrow episode “Pilot Part 2”.
Last night's episode of Legends of Tomorrow showed what happens when the team tries to solve their problems on their own, without functioning as a group. Doctor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) charged into the arms deal and let slip he was from the future. Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) tried to be cleverly break into Vandal Savage's (Casper Crump) property, and invariably set of an alarm. At one point Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) even told Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) – the Time Master – to step back and get out of the way. This kind of team jostling is typical when characters aren't used to working together, and represents a lack of common ground.
While each character learned a valuable lesson about leadership and pride by episode's end, they still had nothing to unite them in a common goal. It wasn't until the last few minutes of the episode that they found one – the death of their colleague and teammate, Carter Hall/Hawkman (Falk Hentschel). Carter's death catalyzed the team who now has a deeply personal reason to bring down Savage.
This type of death is rare to see in a pilot, but it does make sense. I actually think it's a very smart move on behalf of the showrunners because it frees up Carter to appear as multiple versions of himself throughout time. It also leave Kendra (Ciarra Renee) room to discover who she is on her own for the first time in centuries. This death reminds me of when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) killed Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) in The Avengers. Coulson's death catalyzed The Avengers into finding common ground, which eventually led them to capture Loki.
The question now becomes, when will we see Carter again? According to a recent TVLine interview with executive producer Marc Guggenheim, “It gets a little complicated because he died ‘out of time” essentially. The way that the reincarnation works is once they both die, that”s when the clock gets reset for them, and that”s when two babies are born.” So if this version of Carter is dead, and he won't be reincarnated again until Kendra dies, the only way we would see him again is in other parts of the timeline. That works well because he should be in every timeline. The only catch? He may not remember Kendra yet, which could lead to some star-crossed lovers drama.
Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays on The CW at 8 p.m. ET/PT.