When it comes to new shows, pilots serve as an entry point, an introduction to the world and the characters that we’ll come to know. Therefore, it’s the episodes after the pilot that really establish what the show is and what we, as viewers, can expect. And I have to tell you, I did NOT expect what Legacies delivered in its second episode, and I LOVED it. Let’s get into it.
The episode starts by introducing the annual flag football game between the Salvatore Stallions and, of course, the Mystic Falls Timberwolves. Year after year, the Stallions have to check their supernatural powers at the door and get mocked as they lose to the “insecure small-town kids with small minds” as Alaric calls them. (No offense to the beloved Timberwolves of the past.) And to make matters worse, Alaric tells his daughters that he can’t attend the game because he and Hope need to make finding Landon their top priority. And you can imagine how his daughters see that: Alaric once again choosing Hope over them.
Speaking of Hope, she’s in the middle of a meeting with Emma, the school’s guidance counselor — I think? — who knows all about Hope’s decision to use black magic, and she is NOT happy about it. But Hope, who doesn’t give up Josie’s involvement in the spell, is too focused on revenge to care about the school’s rules. After she walks out of her meeting, she runs straight into Rafael, who’s busy breaking Alaric’s car so that they have no choice but to bring the mechanic along with them. After all, Landon is Raf’s best friend and he doesn’t like the look of vengeance in Hope’s eyes. Hope’s not a fan of the idea, but Ric tells Raf he can come along. Maybe his knowledge of Landon will come in handy … so long as he puts on a shirt.
The three of them head to the woods right next to where the bus was found. According to Hope, they tracked Landon to this area. It seems he didn’t run very far. But before they find him, they come across a woman who appears to be in shock. Ric plans to get her to safety while Raf and Hope go ahead, but Ric ends up being the one in need of some safety. It seems the woman is a pyromancer, a.k.a. a fire-breathing witch.
While Ric dodges flames, Hope and Rafael find Landon hiding in a root cellar, and he claims that he barely escaped what happened on the bus. He blames it all on a fire-breathing witch, an unlikely story … until Ric shows up and corroborates it. The group of them then come face-to-face with the pyromancer, who wants the knife that Landon stole. He claims he lost it in the woods, but when the pyromancer holds out her hand, it’s obvious he still has it. (So he did lie about one thing.) For now, they run.
The four of them end up back in the cellar where Ric uses one of the bus victim’s phones to call Dorian. (The witch stole his.) And when Dorian hears about the stolen possessions of all the victims, he realizes they’re not dealing with a witch. They’re dealing with a DRAGON!! Apparently, dragons steal treasure, hide their loot in a lair, and breathe fire. Ric tries the whole “dragons don’t exist or look like normal people” argument, but Dorian reminds him they once said the same thing about vampires. So, how do they kill a dragon? With a sword. Or in this case, with a knife.
Hope and Rafael work together to stab the dragon in the heart, which takes her down … but it doesn’t keep her down. And when she stands back up, well, she no longer looks human. IT IS A FULL-ON DRAGON GUYS! As in, where is Khaleesi, because one of her babies is missing!
Dorian claims you kill a dragon by stabbing it in its “soft spot,” but we’re not exactly sure where that is. And considering this dragon — which looks much cooler than I admittedly thought it would — just took flight, so there are bigger issues to deal with. (Next: Hope is letting her Klaus show…)
First, Hope plays the dad card to make Alaric get back in the cellar. She then pulls out a spell that not only takes the dragon down but also knocks her out. Ric then re-emerges in just enough time to stab the dragon in the neck, which is apparently the magical “soft spot.”
But as far as what spell Hope used to save the day, Ric realizes it’s black magic. Specifically, it’s a death spell, and it’s one that Hope packed for this trip long before she knew they were dealing with a dragon. So what, she was going to kill Landon? Ric reminds her that Landon did something stupid and maybe evil but that they need more information to make that call. After all, he’s still a kid, just like Hope. “This hatred, this vengeance,” he tells her. “This is your father. It can’t be you. I won’t allow it.” And now I’m crying. This show does such a beautiful job of being its own thing but then bringing in those subtle reminders of the shows and characters that came before it in order to make a moment have an even bigger impact. I almost forgot that Hope was Klaus’ daughter until this line, and that helped me feel like Hope probably did in that moment: Like Ric bringing up Klaus was an emotional slap in the face … and a major reality check.
By the time Hope meets Ric back at the car, Landon and Rafael are long gone. Landon left Hope a note attempting to explain how his upbringing led to his decisions. But more than anything, he wants her to know that the time they spent together was one of the happiest moments in his life, and he apologizes for ruining it. He promises that the Salvatore School’s secret is safe with him as he and Rafael hit the road. As for Hope, she returns to her room, where she’s greeted by photos of her family — of the people she’s lost, and of the father she doesn’t want to become.
While all of that is happening, Lizzie leads her team in a flag football game full of twists and turns. In the beginning, everyone’s on board to lose, as Ric instructed them to do. (Well, Kaleb isn’t on board but he understands.) But with a little influence from Penelope — she promises to help MG get Lizzie if he impresses her — and one too many digs from the Timberwolves players, Lizzie calls an audible: They are going to win.
And so, they start using their magic until they tie the game, but that’s when Josie has to step in. And when the twins can’t see eye-to-eye, it’s Penelope who has an idea: They stop using magic but still win … fair and square. But even that doesn’t last. Just as Caleb is about to make the winning catch, Josie uses magic to make him drop the ball. She knows how important it is for them to lose this game and keep their cover, and she’s not interested in disappointing dad.
But the action doesn’t end there! When Dana — a truly terrible Mystic Falls High student among a team of truly terrible young Tyler Lockwood types — insults Josie, Lizzie punches her in the face! It seems Lizzie is a fire-breathing dragon all her own, and I love it. But when she ends up with a black eye, Josie comes clean about making them lose the game. She also tells her sister that she helped Hope use black magic to find Landon. But once the girls promise to start telling each other everything, they cuddle up in their room and wait for Ric to come home. And by the time he does, he’s not angry about any of it. He just wants to hug his daughters.
As for Penelope, she tells MG that their plan is working. Before MG knows it, Lizzie is going to like him … if he sticks with her, the mini-Katherine Pierce of it all. (Translation: It’s a bad idea, MG. Penelope is only out for herself.)
We then end the hour with Ric and Dorian talking by the front gates. Ric wants to make sure they’re secure because suddenly, he finds himself worried more about what might get in than any secrets getting out. Over the years, Ric says they’ve gotten cozy and until today, he had forgotten that the world is full of “nasty surprises.” Today scared him. As he tells Dorian, “How am I supposed to protect them from stuff that’s not supposed to exist?”
Just then, as they walk back inside, a very creepy gargoyle — that’s within the gates of the school — opens its red eyes.
I have to say, when this show said it was going with the monster-of-the-week format, I did not expect it to go so big. Dragons and gargoyles?! It’s a definite twist. But it’s a great one because it’s yet another way that this show sets itself apart from the other shows in the Vampire universe. These kids are not simply dealing with monsters that might seem to fit into this world. Rather, they’re expanding this world, and it’s so, so fun.