One the inherent and explicit tensions of Legends of Tomorrow is to what extent these not-yet-legends should interfere in the past. Or, put another way, if they witness an injustice, should they give into their heroic sides — which all of them have even if one or two of them aren’t willing to admit it — or should they turn a blind eye in order to preserve the time stream? “The Magnificent Eight” deals with this problem head on as the team heads to the Wild West, specifically, a town called Salvation in the 1870s.
The team decides on this time and place because it is a time fragmentation, a specific place in time that the good ol’ Time Masters can’t see. The legends are hoping to hide from the Time Hunters. For some reason, Rip thought he could bring his team here and just keep them on the ship. That’s definitely not the case because of a number of reasons, but also because Ray loves the Old West.
Sporting period-appropriate attire and side-arms, the team strolls into Salvation like they’re the men of Entourage: It’s a slow-motion entrance with swagger and dope tone-setting music. Because this is Legends, their first stop is Salvation’s saloon. Again, because this is Legends, a bar fight ensues after Stein’s poker opponent pulls on him for winning, forcing Leonard to shoot him. A quiet figure sitting in a corner of the saloon fires a shot into the air and brings the rowdiness to a halt. Everyone, meet Jonah Hex.
It becomes clear that this isn’t the first time Jonah has dealt with time travelers — he demands to speak to Rip Hunter because he has “some words that need saying.” So, they head back to the ship, and we learn that these two share a complicated history, one that involves Rip somehow gaining ownership of Jonah’s jacket. Jonah is concerned about what happened in the bar because the man Snart killed was a member of the Stillwater Gang, a group of raiders who have been pillaging the town. Obviously, Rip opposes interfering, because the timeline! But Ray demands that they stay and help because it’s the right thing to do.
“Quite a posse of saints you’re riding along with,” quips Hex to Rip.
Sara notices that Kendra has pulled away from the group. While they were at the bar, Kendra bumped into a woman and had a memory flash. Now, she wants to find the woman, and Sara decides to tag along, mostly so she can ride a horse, but also because she’s a good friend. Their trip into the untamed West eventually leads them to a camp where they find the woman holding a gun, telling them to get off her land. Thanks to another memory flash, Kendra realizes she’s talking to a version of herself.
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As Sara and Kendra chat with Old Kendra (The West Wing‘s Anna Deavere Smith), they learn that she’s been living out here on her own since Vandal Savage made her a widower. She warns Kendra that every relationship with someone who isn’t Carter will only lead to heartbreak — fate will always actively work against it. This is a lot for Kendra to handle since she’s been trying to make sense of her feelings for Ray while also dealing with her returning feelings for Carter.
Meanwhile, the team makes plans to take on the Stillwater Gang. The first step is finding out where they’re located, which Stein accomplishes by bribing a bartender for info. While at the saloon, he meets a woman whose son is dying of tuberculosis.
Jonah Hex and Ray (going by John Wayne because of course) head to the sheriff’s office for help. The sheriff is leaving town, though, because he’s tired of dealing with the gang… which means that Ray gets to be the new sheriff!
NEXT: The Time Hunters are coming!
The Stillwater Gang come to town looking for whomever killed their guy, but Ray, with the help of Leonard sniping from above, sends them running. The legends head back to the ship, and Ray is all giddy because he just checked something off his bucket list. Unfortunately, Hex brings down the mood by raising the important question: What happens to Salvation when they all leave? The gang will just come back and kill everyone. Hex has seen it happen before when time travelers have decided to play hero in the Old West.
See, years ago, Rip visited Calvert, Oklahoma, on a mission from the Time Masters and met Jonah Hex. He loved the era so much because it was ripe with opportunities to be a hero and make a difference (a revelation that shows he can be just as idealistic as some of his companions). Eventually, he had to leave and right after he left, a gang he’s had conflict with went on a rampage and destroyed the town. Hearing this story convinces Stein that saving that little boy’s life is the right thing to do; he doesn’t want to live with regrets like Rip.
After Stein saves the boy’s life with an antibiotic that won’t be created for another 70 years, the men ride off to find the Stillwater Gang’s camp. They find them, and after a gunfight, they apprehend the leader, Jeb. However, as they’re fleeing, one of the gang members lassos Jax off his horse and takes him hostage. The rest of the team is out of ammo and without their normal weapons, so they’re forced to ride off in the hope that they’ll be able to use Jeb as leverage to get Jax back.
Because Ray refuses to do a prisoner exchange, they have to come up with another way to get Jax back. Hex suggests a quick draw. “Finally, someone’s talking sense,” says Mick. At first Ray steps up to the dual, but Rip wants to do it to make up for his failure all those years ago with Calvert. So Jeb and Rip duel, and Rip — using his future gun — wins.
But the team’s troubles aren’t over quite yet. The Time Hunters arrive in town, and it’s time for everyone to stop hiding behind pistols. There’s this great shot of Hex doing the sign of the cross after he sees Firestorm take off. The sequence is a bit muddy as these big numbers tend to be on this show, but the Team wins. However, they receive a dire warning from one of the Hunters before Mick kills him: The Time Masters have sent the Pilgrim, their deadliest hunter who will do anything to stop them, including going after their past selves.
“The Magnificent Eight” ends with a woman sneaking up behind a young Mick Rory staring at his burning house. Uh-oh!
Cheesiest Line of the Week: “More specifically when” says Sara after Snart asks where they’re off to next.
Sara: “What’s the harm in us just taking a look around?”
Stein: “With this group? Clearly you haven’t paying attention.”
This Week’s Winner of the Unofficial EW Legends of Tomorrow Scenery Chewing but in a Good Way, a.k.a. The Legend–ary Ham of the Week: I’m going to have to give it to Brandon Routh, because I found him geeking out over the Old West and becoming sheriff so bloody charming and endearing.
Team MVP: Mick Rory. I’m impressed by how easily he rejoined the team and wasn’t a pain. Also, I loved how he stepped up to babysit the team while they ventured outside because he’s been around the block a few times as Chronos and knows what he’s doing.
- Mick tells Sara he was Chronos for so many years he didn’t bother counting. I like how the show uses Sara as the sounding board for everyone’s problems. Like her sister Laurel on Arrow, this character is really good at being supportive to her teammates.
- While talking to Old Kendra, Kendra learns that a bracelet she was wearing when she first died — a weapon that can kill Vandal Savage — is still floating around the world somewhere. Also, she chooses not tell Ray about the chat she had with her older, past self.
- Why didn’t Ciara Renée get the old make-up treatment like Stephen Amell did several episodes back? That being said, I wasn’t unhappy to see Smith playing Old Kendra.
- The boy Stein saves is a young H.G. Wells. Sometimes I can’t even with this show.
- How many hunters do the Time Masters have in their employ?