Ray and Stein struggle to save Kendra, Rip Hunter and Sara hunt Vandal Savage's money, and... Captain Cold visits his childhood home?
The “legends” haven’t figured out how best to be a team, but they sure know how to tug at your heartstrings. Despite losing her soul mate in the last episode, Kendra’s not the one who gets the weepiest — that would be Ray Palmer, the man of a humongous regret and a tiny suit — nor is she the one who has the most affecting backstory tonight.
That honor, at least for the hour, goes to Leonard Snart. Captain Cold himself attempts to do good by saving his father in 1975 — a move that’s the opposite of chilly (sorry); in fact, it’s the most heartwarming act any of the “legends” have pulled so far.
Then again, Captain Cold has been paying attention to the rules of time-travel, as he reminds Rip Hunter at the start of the episode. They’re trapped in 1975 while Kendra recuperates — fragments of the knife are moving toward her heart, leaving her in critical condition and definitely not time-travel-worthy — and as Rip considers their options for attacking Savage again in this era, Captain Cold already has a plan of action in mind, not for hunting Savage, but for hunting the man who put him and his family on a dark path. This leads us to…
Mission of the Week #1: Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and Jax IN Operation: Steal a Huge Emerald But Actually Repair the Snart Household
Captain Cold, after learning that the Waverider holds a smaller expeditionary ship, pickpockets Rip for the key. After Jax repairs it — looks like auto mechanics have enough skills to be spaceship mechanics, too — the Captain and his hotheaded partner convince Stein’s other half to tag along on their journey to steal an item off of their shopping list: a massive emerald in Central City. But while Captain Cold appears all:
…in reality, he wants to steal the emerald so his father, who was jailed for stealing it a few days later in his timeline, wouldn’t have to, and therefore wouldn’t abandon his family. At his childhood home, he speaks to “Leo,” his younger self, advising him, “Don’t ever let anyone hurt you, ever.” Just as he finishes his heartfelt speech, his father appears, pointing a gun at his head. Leonard gets away by giving his father the emerald, telling him he knows about his robbery plans, and leaving him stunned as he pleads with him to stay with his family.
Later, when the trio’s back on the Waverider, Leonard discovers that the future hasn’t changed — his father, it turns out, tried to sell the emerald two days later to an undercover cop and wound up imprisoned in Iron Heights anyway. It’s a gut-punch for Captain Cold, but all he can do is stare wistfully at Gideon’s projection. Mission status: Tragically failed!
While this is happening, Kendra continues getting worse, experiencing the same life-threatening issue Iron Man does: The tiny metal fragments keep traveling closer to her heart. Without Tony Stark around to build an electromagnet, the two scientifically minded “legends” come to the rescue, taking us to…
Mission of the Week #2: The Atom and Stein IN Operation: A Super Tough Game of Operation But in the Style of The Magic School Bus
Ray suits up, intent on saving Kendra before it’s too late. But after vaporizing one of the many fragments in her bloodstream, he gets hit, and the suit is too damaged to continue. Shaken by the failure, Ray refuses to try again — and his lack of confidence shakes Stein in turn. Insecure, Ray channels his disappointment into anger at Stein for not recognizing him as one of his former students.
But after leaving Ray to wallow, Stein later returns to tell him that he remembers a gifted student who made him feel inferior, and that he was messing with Ray because Ray’s, well, Ray. Spirits lifted, Ray decides to open up about his fear of failure: Ever since his fiancée was killed by Slade Wilson (in season 2 of Arrow, remember?) before him, he’s felt broken every time he felt helpless. Stein sympathizes and then advises Ray to try to save Kendra — after all, at least she has a chance at survival.
With that in mind, Ray manages to try again, vaporizing one piece after the other, and then exiting to call Stein out on the fact that he got a fact in his memory wrong, proving that Stein still must not remember him as one of his students. Stein admits to duping Ray, but with Kendra safe, the two heal their friendship.
NEXT: Has Vandal Savage met Stanley Kubrick?
Of course, there’s still Operation: Murder Vandal Savage to worry about, but with the rest of the team preoccupied, Rip and Sara are left to wonder what to do while they remain in 1975. Sara comes up with a plan to hit Savage where it hurts: his fortune. As Ra’s al Ghul once told her when she was in the League of Assassins, “If you can’t kill your enemy, weaken him.” And with pockets deep enough to own a mansion and a nuclear warhead, much of Savage’s strength in the 20th century comes from having deep pockets. And so, Operation: Murder Vandal Savage becomes…
Mission of the Week #3: Rip Hunter and White Canary IN Operation: Make Vandal Savage Poor
Gideon helps the two locate Savage’s bank: a shady operation that only deals with clients who can store $10 million or more in their accounts. Rip Hunter buys his way into a meeting with a slick banker, but Sara warns him something’s up. She noticed marks on the guards indicating they’re South African mercenaries, spotted the receptionist’s gun, and could tell the banker knows how to wield a sword.
And she’s right: The staff of the bank show up ready to kill the pair, but Sara’s brought her knives — sorry, Rip — and unleashes her resurrected-in-a-Lazarus-Pit fury. She slices her way through the enemies, and is about to decapitate the banker, Mr. Blake, when Rip Hunter stops her, as they’ll need him to get to Savage.
Disturbed by Sara’s violence, Rip questions Sara’s instincts and lets slip that she seemed like an “animal.” Ashamed, Sara tells him what every Arrow fan knows already — that the Lazarus Pit left her with “bloodlust,” making her want to kill. The revelation doesn’t scare Rip off, though; instead, he brings her along to interrogate Blake, and when Blake points out that Rip had a chance to kill Savage in the past, Rip shares his secret as well. Through flashbacks, we see Rip in 1700 B.C. attacking a hooded Vandal Savage, hesitating just before he can kill him. Rip tells Sara that’s the mark of a monster: Someone who gets the chance to avenge his loved ones, but doesn’t.
Eventually, the pair make it to the building where Blake said they can find Savage and Carter’s remains, and after knocking Blake out, Rip and Sara head to the dance floor, where they don’t see Savage, but do look like a pair of grumpy, pissed-off-but-gorgeously-dressed spies on a mission:
When they worm their way into the room holding Carter’s body, they’re found by Blake and Savage’s other goons, who haul them away to a red-lit room that looks exactly like — as Mick Rory points out later — a scene from Eyes Wide Shut. Savage, they discover, has taken Carter’s body so he can drain it of blood, and pass the blood to his followers to drink, so they can also have a taste of immortality. Ugh.
Luckily, Kendra’s able to sense what’s happening to her better half, and her cries to “save them” alarm Ray and Stein, who learn from Gideon that Rip and Sara are off on their own mission. They alert Jax, Leonard, and Mick, who show up, guns blazing, to the party. Chaos, as always, ensues.
But after Savage uses his power to knock everyone in the room over, only Sara and Rip stay behind to keep fighting. Sara takes on Blake, while Rip gets his hands on Savage, finally “killing” him with a knife while saying his wife and son’s names. Savage relishes the knowledge, particularly the fact that Rip’s son’s name is “Jonas,” and warns Rip that when he heals, he’ll put his energy into tracking down the people Rip eventually loses. Heartbroken at his mistake, Rip looks to Sara for support — and at least she’s managed to get a grip on her flaw, for now: She takes her bloodlust out by stabbing the floor instead of Blake’s face.
NEXT: Time to prep those parachute pants…
In the hour’s final moments, the group gathers to bury Carter and Professor Boardman. It’s a touching scene — the “legends” listen carefully as Rip eulogizes their fallen colleagues and reminds them that they need each other to save the world. Back on the Waverider, he repeats the sentiment, telling them that after their recent adventures, he’s eager to keep fighting, but knows he needs all of them, including himself, “working in concert.”
Captain Cold sums it up best: “You don’t ditch us, we don’t ditch you. Deal?” And with that, the team’s established. Gideon plots a course for where Savage is likely to be next, and sets their target as 1986, where Ray’s eager to don parachute pants again — while Jax is about to find out what they are.
Cheesiest Line Exchange of the Night: It’s not so much cheesy as delightfully glib, but here goes… Jax: “Is there anything you think about other than yourself?” Captain Cold: “Yes. Money.” (Honorable mention goes to Blake’s “It seems you brought a knife to a sword fight.” There is just… so many things hilariously strange about this declaration, I’d need a whole other page to go into it.)
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: Casper Crump, who somehow imbibes every syllable of every word he has to say with campy venom. “I pity you,” he snarls at Rip Hunter. “You have no idea what it’s like to have people willing to follow you to the gates of hell.” It’s a ridiculous role, but Crump’s lovin’ it.
Team MVP: Sara wins this new weekly Legends superlative. Besides rocking the ’70s look, she’s able to save her teammates and face her fears of becoming a monster. That’s value.
And now, finally, a few timey-wimey notes: