Spoilers below for anyone who hasn’t seen tonight’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow.
Over the course of 15 episodes, Legends of Tomorrow is going to do an astounding amount of things with an astounding amount of characters. At least, that’s how the creative team has been touting it in the months ahead of last week’s premiere, an episode that upended some of the expectations that viewers had going into it. Episode 2, unfortunately titled “Pilot Part 2,” kept true to its stakes-raising boasting with the death of a main character, Carter "Hawkman" Hall,who was the guy we knew the least about out of anyone. Well, maybe not less than Rip Hunter's family. Still, though. He's dead now. In the 1970s.
As a character, Carter did about as much as he could have in his limited screentime opposite the rest of this motley crew, most of whom were already familiar to Arrow and The Flash fans. He rocked his superhero powers a couple of times, he delivered a fairly interesting glut of exposition built on the history of an eternal love, and he turned his soulmate from Kenra Saunders into Hawkgirl. All while earning sympathy for having died without knowing he helped Kendra remember their origin story. And he got to die in one of those "I'm the villain and I'm pulling a card you didn't know I had out of my sleeve" moments that plainly lay out one more narrative rule. R.I.P. Hawkdawg.
I say those things as if this is a eulogy. I know he wasn't all that great. But I'm also not mourning him in full, since we'll probably see Falk Hentschel returning as Other Carter in future episodes in different timelines. I don't know how that would work out with different versions of Other Kendra, but that could make for a spicy soap opera sequence. Is that what this show needs? Not without some wings coming out and some walls getting destroyed, that's for sure.
Hawkman shuffling off this mortal coil opens the door for other non-reincarnated characters to meet their doom, so it makes sense that it came this early. It also serves as a team-bonding tragedy to get them on Rip's side against Vandal Savage, as well as a standout example of his villainy. He has yet to make a huge impression, but offing members of the titular team is a good way to get a food in the door.
What will Legends of Tomorrow do to its characters next? (Besides this awesome shit.) I'm hoping they run into Leonardo di Vinci at some point, who takes the A.T.O.M. suit as inspiration and starts the robot uprising. Find out how good Rip's leadership skills are when it airs on Thursday nights on The CW.