The “legends” have spent so many episode intent on murdering one man that they never stopped to think about whether what they were doing was right. Sure, they spent the first episodes wavering back and forth on whether the mission was worth it, but it isn’t until now, faced with a pint-sized solution to the Savage ordeal, that they finally wonder whether they’re stooping to Savage’s level. They’d have to kill a boy, a boy they learn would grow up under Savage’s tutelage, catalyze the destruction of civilization, and eventually be killed by Savage himself when he was no longer useful.
But as Rip admits to Mick in his visit, the only way to face a problem is to tackle it head on. He spent too much time in denial of Mick’s true nature and has to own up to pushing Leonard into trying, and then failing, to “deal with” Mick. So with that in mind, Rip decides to dive into Savage’s true nature by returning to his origin story — or rather, the origin story of Per Degaton, the young villain who would grow up, in the DC universe, to become a supervillain obsessed with time travel. (Hmm, wonder where that obsession starts…) This means exploring the Kasnia Conglomerate in 2147, when corporations really have taken over the world. Even S.T.A.R. Labs now controls Central City, which disturbs Ray.
Even more disturbing to Ray in the sleek, slightly monochromatic future? The robotic law enforcement based on Ray’s Atom suit designs. They’re more Ultron than Rosie in nature, but because they’ve eliminated crime, the human population doesn’t mind. Still, not everything’s perfect, and Rip can tell: He, along with Sara and Leonard, make it into the board meeting, during which Rip listens in on how Savage encourages population control and later spies Savage playing mentor to Per Degaton, whose father runs the board, grooming him to join the Dark Side. (Now that I think of it, Savage would be a lot more menacing with a Star Wars helmet on.)
Thanks to these revelations, the team then splits into two missions: The first pursues a kidnapping of Per Degaton because killing him is an option more than half the team would rather avoid, and the second aims to take down the robot law enforcement.
Team Kidnapping succeeds fairly easily: Sara’s aim, Rip’s quick thinking, and Leonard’s, well, cold gun manage to stop the security detail around Per Degaton in time for them to smuggle him aboard the Waverider, where they can continue to bicker about what to do — especially after Gideon reveals that little has changed because they kidnapped the kid. Team Robots, on the other hand, encounters a shocking surprise: When their guide at the corporation’s lab reveals the bust made in honor of the company’s founder (and her great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, it turns out) is a man named Palmer who looks strangely like Ray, Ray is stunned to have both had a love child and to have caused the very Ultrons he disapproves of now.
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And that’s not the end of Ray’s problems: He and Kendra have been feeling awkward around each other because he’s distracted by his love child (and love-descendants?), and she’s distracted by sepia-toned flashbacks to her time in the 1920s, when she and Carter were still together and took care of their son, Aldus. (Remember him? And no really, are her memories sepia-toned?) She recalls their time as the Hawkcouple and how her paranoia led them to move every few years, culminating in one night when they had to tell Aldus the truth. The memories leave Kendra reeling, and she admits to Ray that she still has feelings for Carter and that she feels like she’s cheating on her partner-in-reincarnation. Ray reveals his secret about the love child in return.
They’re not the only ones having a heart to heart, though: Sara stops by Mick’s glass cell to tell him that Leonard valued their partnership. After all, when she and Leonard were certain they would die freezing in that locked room aboard the Waverider, he only thought about how important Mick was to him. Mick looks defiant, but he also listened — and that gives him a boost back to humanity.
Meanwhile, Rip finally takes matters into his own hands
and smiles by snatching away Per Degaton on his own. They fly beyond the borders of the Kasnia Conglomerate, and Rip prepares to shoot, telling the boy that he’s not killing him; instead, he’s saving his son’s life. That logic, though, doesn’t fly with Per the mini Savage. While Rip hesitates to pull the trigger, Per challenges him, teasing that Rip would never be a killer, that Rip is too weak to be one. In response, Rip decides not to kill the boy. He can’t imagine stooping that low.
NEXT: It’s not easy being the older models…