You know what they say: When one flagging Terminator franchise’s future goes up in the air, simply move that franchise to the small screen, gender-flip the villain, and make it the plot of the week.
Oh wait, is that not what happened? Whatever, it happened anyway: “The Pilgrim,” the Time Masters’ best assassin, goes on a hunt for every Sarah Connor of the “legends” — as in, the “legends” themselves, but younger — to stop them from ever becoming a time-traveling team. But weirdly enough, the “legends” actually pulled off survival…as a team.
Because this time, well, they really had to save their own skins. The Pilgrim begins by going after Mick in Central City in 1990, where a young version of him had just set his home on fire and walked away unscathed while the rest of his family burned. Ray steps in and saves the young Mick, bringing him on board the Waverider to wait out the ordeal. But with several more team members to pick and choose from, the Pilgrim gets permission to go after each of them — the ones that make sense, anyway, so no Time Master-ing Rip and no reincarnating Kendra — and their younger selves. Next up: Sara in Starling City, 2007.
This Sara, complete with bangs and a ruffly skirt, is no assassin. She’s handcuffed by Starling City PD, and father Quentin cheerily chides her for getting into trouble. (Hey there, Quentin! Love the hair.) Future Sara saves her younger self, fighting the Pilgrim and later bringing young Sara to hang out with young Mick.
After saving two members, however, the “legends” can no longer track the Pilgrim’s movements. While they debate what to do, the younger versions of Sara and Mick fight, but it’s nothing compared to the emotional chaos Ray and Kendra are about to endure. When the Pilgrim decides to attack younger Ray next in Star City, 2014, Ray begins to die on board the Waverider, and after the team saves younger Ray, older Ray hastily proposes to Kendra, who just as hastily accepts. But of course, Kendra immediately questions what she’s done afterward and confesses to Sara her doubts in a conversation Ray overhears. But she’s right, in a way: Didn’t her older self in the Old West just tell her that she can’t live with the wrong romantic partner? When will reincarnating, cursed women ever have it all?!
Anyway, at least Rip’s figured out a plan. All they’ll have to do to stop the Pilgrim from destroying each of them is to kidnap themselves as newborns so they won’t risk the possibility of the Pilgrim finding them at any age. (Just ignore the fact that the Pilgrim mercifully decides against simply tracking down their parents and immediately killing them. The whole Sarah Connor idea just didn’t strike anyone.) Sara and Kendra are successful in finding (and cooing over) baby Leonard in Central City in the ’70s while the rest manage to talk Stein’s father into letting his son be snatched away. Later, their kidnapping mission even gets Jax face-time with the father he never met. In Central City, 1993, Stein leads Jax to his father, who’s staring at his newborn son. His father gushes about how his son is “destined for great things,” and, well, I’m totally not crying — you’re crying! (Sniff.) Jax almost warns his father about how he dies in battle but leaves instead with his newborn self safely in tow, juuuust out of reach of the Pilgrim.
NEXT: How does a cutpurse, orphan, son of a — nevermind, Rip’s past is still in the shadows[pagebreak]
The team can’t bring their younger selves around on the Waverider for too long, so Rip hauls the entire nursery to his mother’s place, where she reveals that she’s his adoptive mother, takes care of children who are groomed to become Time Masters, and knows his real name: Michael. (So where did “Rip” come from?) The pair have a lovely chat about his trouble, and she offers him her best serving dish in response, along with the advice that it’s important they’ll have to run.
Also getting a heart-to-heart: older Mick and younger Mick in a scene where older Mick tries to discipline younger Mick; Jax and Stein when Stein finds Jax sobbing about his father in a Waverider corridor; and finally, Ray and Kendra when the former tells the latter he understands if she doesn’t want to marry him but that she can choose to be happy with him or to believe a former version of herself who believes in curses. With that in mind, it looks like the choice is clear!
But don’t celebrate just yet. The Pilgrim contacts the ship and explains that she’s finally Sarah Connor’ed the plot but didn’t bother to kill anyone. She’s simply gathered all of the team’s loved ones — as in Quentin; Lisa Snart; Stein’s wife, Clarissa; the former love of Ray’s life, Anna; and most painfully, Jax’s father. Rip retaliates by offering himself in exchange, explaining that he’ll hand over himself as a child, a version who has not yet become a Time Master. If she eliminates young Rip, she’ll be able to stop the team from ever forming, so no need for a half-dozen more deaths!
Luckily, the Pilgrim agrees to meet, and what follows is a rapid descent into the regularly scheduled chaos that always appears on Legends of Tomorrow. Slow-motion camera work follows each of the “legends” in action while the Pilgrim slows time down and then carefully spins back to show each of them in action, effectively roasting the Pilgrim to a crisp.
And with that, everyone gets a happy ending. Older Mick offers younger Mick advice and forgives him for what he did. The “legends” offer their human cargo “amnesia pills” so that when they wake up, they’ll have no knowledge of time travel existing. (The “legends” are monsters.) Ray and Kendra make up and make out right outside of where Ray’s former fiancée is resting.
Still, nothing’s ever perfect. When Stein tells Rip he’s concerned about how his wife didn’t recognize him, Rip realizes they’re running out of time. If they don’t deliver the babies and younger selves back inside the right times and eras, they might be trapped forever in limbo — which means they better hurry fast, and because Gideon would need longer than they have to track down Savage, they’ll just have to go to where he definitely is: 2166, the year of his ultimate power. In other words — sigh — they’re probably not going to manage to take him down this time.
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Cheesiest Line of the Night: “You thought you could snuff me out? You don’t know me at all, miss.” Aww, baby Rip!
This Week’s Winner of the Unofficial EW Legends of Tomorrow Scenery Chewing but in a Good Way Award, a.k.a. The Legend-ary Ham of the Week: Caity Lotz — but mainly as pouty, teenage Sara. It’s a side of Sara that Lotz never really got to play beyond flashbacks, and it looked like fun playing the same character from two different timelines and two opposing levels of maturity.
Team MVP: Rip “Michael” Hunter, for planning and executing a plan that actually worked. Seriously — they’re all alive! And no one really bickered! Except for Leonard and Rip, but Leonard’s always trying to start a fight.
- Even though I didn’t love how her story was paced (or how her objective was full of plot holes and potential loopholes she could have used), the Pilgrim was pretty cool, especially in this one-take, VFX-heavy, Matrix-y scene:
- Also, her hair, makeup, and outfit bring to mind A.L.I.E. from The 100. Anyone else?
- “Who are you?” “I’m no one.” Whoa, could the Pilgrim be a Faceless Man?
- Another secret we learned of Rip’s this week: He keeps a stash of cereal aboard the ship. Useful!
- “I know I make a gorgeous baby, but I should warn you: You’ll have your hands full.” Oh, Captain Cold. I’ll never tire of you.
- “What a literal codswallop!” Yup, I officially love Rip’s adoptive mom.
- There sure are a lot of kidnapping plots on Legends of Tomorrow. Just saying.