Heroic actor of the week (3/16): Brandon Routh

In this week’s edition of Heroic Actor of the Week, we look at how Brandon Routh moved us beyond words with his emotional final performance in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

It’s been a strange week for the Arrowverse. Not only have all of The CW’s shows ceased production due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, much of the due-to-air episodes have since been postponed in order to ration what each season has left (should production be unable to resume).

And yet, that didn’t stop the shows – particularly The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow -knocking it out of the park with their installments this week, especially when it comes to the cast’s performances. And while there was some incredible competition this week – especially from The Flash‘s Tom Cavanagh – there was one performance that stood out among the rest.

Brandon Routh – DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow

It’s hard to fully describe the impact that Brandon Routh has had on the Arrowverse since his introduction all the way back in Arrow‘s third season. As classic DC Comics character Ray Palmer, he had no problem lighting up the show’s otherwise gloomy landscape with his light-hearted approach and self-deprecating humour. And in the end, that made him a perfect fit for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

It was never going to be easy to watch such a beloved character leave our screens after such a long tenure (especially when there’s no damn excuse for it), but Routh’s beautiful performance made it that much harder.

Leaning into Ray’s silly humor in the beginning, we couldn’t help but feel for him as he hid behind his stereotypical goofiness to conceal how much he (Ray and Brandon) didn’t want to leave. And he continued to do so in order to spare Nate – and himself – of the realization that there would be no more time-traveling hilarity for The Atom on the Waverider… at least for now.

Much like Courtney Ford’s moving performance last week, Routh gave us the very best that Ray had to offer in his swan song, showcasing the character’s greatest hits in a highlight reel of a performance. But nothing – and trust this writer when he says nothing – could have prepared viewers for his final few scenes in which he and his wife Nora Darhk (Ford) departed the Waverider and he bid farewell to Nate.

A powerhouse of a performance, Routh managed to imbue us with a sense of hope and joy, because even though his departure is unjust, unfair and completely uncalled for, Ray gets the happy ending he deserved. And that‘s worth something at least.

As he has always done, the Superman Returns veteran poured his heart and soul into that final performance, and in doing so he reminded us just how much we’re all going to miss him. And nothing will miss him more than Legends of Tomorrow.

Thank you Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford for making us smile, laugh and cry over these past few years. You have both truly been Legendary.

Next: 25 most heartbreaking Arrowverse deaths of all-time

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs on The CW on Tuesday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET. Come back next week to find out who the next Heroic Actor of The Week will be. You can check out previous winners here.