Well, that hurt. Tonight, Legends delivered a brutal one-two punch: First, Leonard sacrificed himself — after Mick tried to do so first — to save Ray, which means no more brooding from Wentworth Miller and no more having chemistry with pretty much every guest star Snart has met. Second, everything the “legends” have been doing up until this episode has been orchestrated by the Time Masters, which means the show has essentially been following a losing script this whole time, with each episode’s missions mere diversions on the path to failure.
In other words…no one has any free will, everything we’ve ever done was predetermined by a council of cloak-wearing senior citizens, and Vandal Savage was always going to prevail? Way to toss the “legends” into an existential crisis, Legends.
So how exactly did the team find out about this timey-wimey twist? At the Vanishing Point, Time Master Druce pulls Rip away from his cell to show him that the Time Masters only worked with Savage because they saw that Savage could save the world in 2175, when aliens from the planet Thanagar attack Earth. Only Savage’s forces and total control prevent humans from going extinct. Rip looks dismayed, so Druce decides to sink the knife in deeper: He takes Rip to the Oculus viewing chamber, where he shows him what the High Council of Time Masters is capable of doing. Through a window into time, they can see everything in the past, present, and future, as well as manipulate and shape time however they need to. Which means everything Rip has been trying to do has been futile — the entire time (sorry), the Time Masters have been pushing Rip into helping Savage along by losing over and over and over again. And yes, that means Rip’s family will indeed have to die, no matter what he does. It wasn’t the nature of time being fickle after all — it was the Time Masters fiddling with the puppet strings. No, really, it all looks like a bunch of strings of light:
By the time Rip returns looking hollowed out, Stein has gotten sicker from being away from Jax while the guards have taken Mick to turn him into Chronos again and Kendra to place her on Savage’s ship with Carter back to 2166. Rip has even more bad news to share: During his trip in the Oculus, he saw Ray’s impending death, but Ray’s not quick to accept it, calling the rest of the team quitters for thinking they can’t escape their future. After all, Sara and Snart are still on the Waverider, hidden from the guards.
Indeed, the team assassin and team, uhh, cold-gun bearer managed to hide under the floorboards — Leonard had combed the ship when he first joined — and are able to make contact with Gideon after a tense standoff over whether to leave the rest behind. Gideon guides them into places on all the ships in the hangar, then reboots the time drive, and, with Sara in the captain’s seat, flies out of their prison.
As expected, the Time Masters quickly learn of the pair’s escape, and Druce deploys every time ship — until each one fails because of Gideon’s devices. With this distraction in play, Sara fires from the Waverider onto the Vanishing Point while Leonard bursts into the team’s prison and takes out all the guards with Mick’s help. (Mick managed to survive another round of being inducted into serving the Time Masters by focusing on his loyalty to the team, he tells Ray later. Aww, Mick! Heat Wave does have a heart.)
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With everyone back on the Waverider, the team just has to deal with a few more loose threads: Stein is growing sicker without Jax and stays in the medical bay, Kendra and Carter are still off with Savage, and Ray, determined to forge ahead despite his looming death, encourages the rest to do what the Time Masters won’t be able to control: return to the Vanishing Point — time can’t be shaped there — and destroy the Oculus so the Time Masters can’t help Savage and destroy the team any longer. Before they go, Leonard finds Sara to apologize for getting angry at her earlier, then muses about free will. Leonard hates the feeling of being played and, in a vulnerable moment, hits on Sara, saying he wonders what the future holds for them. Well, sorry, Leonard; Sara’s not really into playing any games right now.
By the time they reach the Oculus wellspring, the “legends” are thrilled at the prospect of taking fate into their own hands. But just as they arrive, the meet Druce and his forces near the entrance. Which means… it’s a trap!
NEXT: Eye of the Firestorm!